Private Villa Rentals
Attentive Concierge Service, Trusted Experience

First Impressions of Maui

October 30th – November 7th 2008
by Liz Drayton

The measure of a vacation rests in the long lasting impressions which linger long after you set foot back onto the familiar turf of home. Maui will ever be etched into my subconscious for all of the "firsts" she bestowed upon me.  My first helicopter ride, the first time I have ever seen a rainbow touch the ground, the first time I have seen a bathtub with a fill spout in the ceiling, my first black sand beach, the first time I have sat on the beach beside cows grazing on a verdant pasture, the first time I have peered down at the cinder cones inside a volcano, my first tasting of a lillipot fruit, my first glimpse of a green sea turtle, my first, and probably only, encounter with a hitchhiker named "Universal Eternity Live Well Be Free".


The villas we saw in Maui were unlike any I have seen anywhere else. They were spacious, if not outright huge! Part of the illusion of grandeur emanated from the high ceilings, many of which were accented with a tray inset featuring either a fan or the glow of recessed lighting.  These towering tray ceilings served to further define the rooms within the open floor plan that seemed to be hallmark of the current Maui design trend (big, bold, beautiful, top quality materials).  Most villas featured generously sized bedrooms whose beds were adorned with lovely handmade bedspreads and stacked high with pillows. You could just imagine the sensation of slipping your clean sun soaked body between the cool soft sheets to melt into a satisfied slumber at days end. Just about every bathroom featured some kind of fabulous soaking tub, Jacuzzi tub, or shower stall armed with an arsenal of spray jets and rain head shower fixtures. Water is not at a premium in Maui, and her bathrooms attest to that.  Some of the tubs take almost an hour to fill.  The kitchens are another focal point of almost every house.  Magnificent marble and granite countertops set on to fine koa wood cabinetry anchor kitchens that truly take center stage in wide open living spaces.  When we asked our private chef Jana (whose spirit was as delightful as her food) which kitchen she liked cooking in best of all the villas, she honestly couldn't answer.  She did note that she loved the hint of blue iridescence, reminiscent of blue morpho butterfly wings, which shimmered at certain angles from the marble counter tops at Villa HHI ABS where we were dining that night.

Kapalua Bay Beach
Kapalua Bay Beach

Maui is a lush, well watered, fertile some parts... and a stark parched moonscape in others. It just depends which side of the car you are looking out of! I was astounded, confused and mesmerized by this phenomenon constantly as we drove around the island.  Some of the nicest beaches do not lie in the shadows of high rise resorts or condos.  Surprisingly, they hug the shore of the roads connecting the major towns.  At first I found this odd – seeing arriving waves.  On a calm day, the waves seem to pop up out of nowhere, almost random in their formation. I am beginning to understand why surfers in Maui always seem to be scoping out the beaches and the waves, as the surf seems to change at whim and you need to be ready to seize the moment when it presents itself. This wonderful unpredictability is the twinkle in the eye of Maui. Like the sudden arrival of a soft rain shower amidst brilliant sunshine, or the thread of a waterfall cascading through ancient foliage, or the eye of a burgundy colored octopus peering at you from beneath a coral covered lava rock, or the end of a rainbow kissing the ground in front of you, but disappearing as you reach out to touch it's indigo stripe.

There is something fleeting but everlasting about these magical moments in time in Maui.

Maui's history doesn't seem to be captured in its bricks & mortar, or caged in museum halls. It is in the air, whispered in the rains, fed up through the roots of its ancient trees, dancing in the shadows of the clouds as they linger along the crater edge or cascading down the emerald ravines of the West Maui Mountains, and in the sapphire blue waves rising up to burst white upon monumental craggy black lava rocks.  No matter how much man has infiltrated with his roads and buildings, commerce, signage and exhaust, the ancient gods seem to have empowered these natural elements to maintain dominion. There is intriguing Maui history, folklore and spirituality that awaits discovery. It is hinted at commercially through the Luau celebrations and more modern interpretations such as the Ulelana performance in Lahaina.  And then there were the missionaries, and the plantation era with all of the influences that pumped through the veins of those times to fuel the culture and relationship with the land. Add to this the eastern religious and cultural influences of the Chinese workers who labored to build the irrigation systems down the treacherous mountainsides to sustain the sugar cane and pineapple plantations in the flats below.  On the last leg of our helicopter tour we cast our tiny helicopter shadow over square miles of waving green sugar cane and over the meticulously edged, rigid purple & green spikes of the pineapple fields.

Kapalua Countryside
Kapalua Countryside

The fertility of this volcanic island, fed by abundant rain, irrigation and sun allows Maui to produce so much of it own special quality food. Persimmons and avocados were dripping from trees up in Kula while we were there and our chef Jana prepared fresh persimmon capriccio topped with a thin slice of parmesan as one of our in villa dinner  hors d'oeuvres.  Restaurants such as Merrimans, IO, and Pacific O have their own farms providing fresh produce, herbs and specialty items for their menus.  Even at the Ritz Carlton, the scent of sun warmed basil and rosemary fills the air as you stroll by its new poolside herb garden. All of these fresh local fruits and vegetables and fish, along with the locally produced Surfing Goat Cheese, grass fed Maui beef and the wild boar, coupled with their pride in their nurturing and preparation makes for some great dining in Maui.  You will find this wonderful freshness in the small village eateries as well as in the best restaurants throughout the island.

PrintNext »

Browse All Maui Villas

Browse Maui Travel Articles

Our Staff Recommends
Villa WV BAY, St. Barthelemy Vacation home rentals, St. Barthelemy VillasPointe Milou Vacation home rentals, Pointe Milou Villas


All-day sun and ocean views, contemporary style with African décor, beautiful sunsets to the west

3 br / 3 ba

Browse All Maui Villas

Featured Maui Villa Rentals

WIMCO Villas,  St. Barthelemy Vacation rentals WV BEV, St. Barthelemy, Mont Jean Vacation home rentals, Mont Jean Villas


Well decorated and private, magnificent sunsets, spectacular views of the ocean and nearby islands

4 br / 4 ba

WIMCO Villas,  St. Barthelemy Vacation rentals WV GRO, St. Barthelemy, Marigot Vacation home rentals, Marigot Villas


Ultra modern, minimalist style with clean-cut lines and angles, a short walk from the beach

3 br / 3 ba

WIMCO Villas,  St. Barthelemy Vacation rentals WV BEA, St. Barthelemy, Marigot Beach Vacation home rentals, Marigot Beach Villas


Beautifully maintained and modern, charming beachfront cottage opens to magnificent bay views

3 br / 3.5 ba

Browse All Maui Hotels

Featured Maui Hotels and Resorts

WIMCO Villas and Hotels, Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France, St. Barts Resorts. Book now with WIMCO

Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France

Situated on Flamands Beach, this hotel is elegant, upscale and intimate. Perfect for honeymooners, couples or families. Brand new spa, 2 pools and tennis nearby. Suites and rooms are either garden or ocean view, some have 2 bedrooms.

St. Barts

WIMCO Villas and Hotels, Le Sereno, St. Barts Resorts. Book now with WIMCO

Le Sereno

Le Sereno is the renaissance of a beloved hotel on St. Barths. Recently, the hotel was re-designed, rebuilt and repositioned as the deluxe property among the islands select group of hotels.

St. Barts

WIMCO Villas and Hotels, Hotel Guanahani & Spa, St. Barts Resorts. Book now with WIMCO

Hotel Guanahani & Spa

Full-fledged resort, with a spa, tennis, waterports, 2 pools, boutique, 2 restaurants, concierge service, this property has it all. The luxurious rooms and suites have either ocean or garden views, some have private pool and 2 or 3 bedrooms.

St. Barts

WIMCO Villas and Hotels, Eden Rock Hotel, St. Barts Resorts. Book now with WIMCO

Eden Rock Hotel

On St Jean Beach, this property has it all, perfect beach, gourmet restaurants, watersports and a spa. Each room is different and offers amazing views. Very unique and luxurious property

St. Barts

WIMCO Villas and Hotels, Le Toiny, St. Barts Resorts. Book now with WIMCO

Le Toiny

Perched high above Anse de Toiny, this hotel resembles a dream come true. Each suite has a private pool. You will have the most intimate, private, relaxed, and impeccably serviced stay. Welcome to the hotel of your dreams!

St. Barts

Back to Top