We asked Sam Wilhelm of the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions he could find—not just his own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some he works with every day at the Resort. Maui offers a stunning array of tropical landscapes, from rain forest to volcanic landscapes, and outdoor activities ranging from golf to outrigger canoes. You will also find upscale shopping, fine dining, art and entertainment.
Golf Where the Pros Play
Golfers love to tackle courses they’ve seen their heroes play on television. The Gold Course at Wailea Golf Club hosted the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game for years, while Wailea’s Blue Course was long the home of the LPGA’s Kemper Open. Royal Kaanapali now has the Skins Game, while the PGA Tour season always starts at Kapalua’s Plantation Course with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Shop and Be Seen
Attracting the most discerning visitors and locals alike, the Resort is home to two premier retail boutiques—Cabana and 22 Knots. Peruse merchandise from top luxury designers, including such iconic brands as Missoni, Stella McCartney and Lanvin. Several times a year, the boutiques feature trunk shows, for which elite designers travel to Maui to grant exclusive access to their newest collections.
Winter Whale Watch
The narrow channel between Maui and Lana‘i is among the best places in the world to see humpback whales, which frolic between December and May. Visitors can see dolphins in the same waters. Among many tour operators, the non-profit Pacific Whale Foundation stands out with its eco-friendly catamarans.
Hotel or Museum?
The world’s pre-eminent collection of contemporary Hawaiian art cannot be found in a museum: It’s on display throughout the Four Seasons Resort Maui. A curator painstakingly assembled more than 280 important paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles and artefacts, all created since Hawaiian statehood in 1959. A podcast tour is available.
Everybody’s Gone Surfing—and Diving
With waves rumoured to reach up to 120 feet (36 metres) high, Maui’s “Jaws” is among the planet’s most famous expert surf spots. But Maui is equally welcoming to beginners, for whom qualified instructors offer lessons, and perfect waves can be found near Wailea. Novice divers can try a scuba lesson from Maui Under Sea Adventures right in the Resort’s pool before moving on to a beginner reef dive or certification program.
Step Back Through Time
The famous road to Hana is a must-do drive while on the island. Conquer the 620 hairpin curves and 59 one-lane bridges. This full-day journey offers glistening waterfalls, tropical flora and lush sea cliffs—all a stone’s throw from the winding road. Points of interest are abundant along the way, giving you the opportunity to revitalize your senses with an invigorating waterfall swim, stroll through a botanical garden, picnic at Waianapanapa black sand beach, and share in the magic of Hana. Round-trip drive time to Hana from the Resort is about four and a half hours.
Above the Treetops
Soar above Maui on an exhilarating eco-adventure! Pi’iholo tours zip over ravines of eucalyptus and koa trees in the beautiful up-country area and offer some of the longest lines, allowing you to zip over 1,000 feet (300 metres). Highly trained experts safely lead you through the scenic courses, disclosing historical and cultural lore of the land as well as facts on flora and fauna.
Paddle Polynesian Style
Outrigger canoes are the most traditional Hawaiian vessels, and they are still a popular form of exercise, recreation and competition in the islands. The Resort offers a complimentary program four times daily, Monday through Friday, that covers history and technique, then a trip around the reefs of Wailea Bay, teeming with wildlife, led by the Resort’s championship paddling team.