Maui’s free for all
An old saying goes, "You don't get something for nothing." Maui's Kaanapali Resort proves that wrong. You can enjoy these great activities, attractions and events without dropping a dime. Here is a list of activities at the resort. (Note: Some restrictions might apply.)
COURTESY OF THE KAANAPALI BEACH RESORT
The Sheraton hosts nightly performances of diving off Black Rock in homage to Maui's King Kahekili, who would jump off the rock 250 years ago as a display of courage and prowess.
Whalers Village Museum, Whalers Village
Artifacts, murals and interpretive graphics tell the story of Lahaina's colorful whaling era (1825-1860) from the perspective of an ordinary sailor. The re-created forecastle of a whaling ship shows the cramped quarters where 25 men lived during hazardous voyages, some lasting as long as five years.
Other exhibits include one of the world's largest scale models of a whaling ship and a rare collection of 19th-century scrimshaw, illustrations carved on whale teeth and bone, then rubbed with ink to bring out the design.
Video presentations on Hawaii's whaling history and self-guided audio tours run continuously from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Call 808-661-5992.
History and Legends Tour
History comes alive at 10 culturally significant places in Kaanapali, including the site of the ancient village of Kekaa, the Stones of Moemoe and Wahine O Manua/Wahine Pee, and Koko O Na Moku horse racing track, a favorite escape for Hawaiian royalty at the turn of the last century.
The tour guides are employees of Kaanapali properties and graduates of a course in history, culture and theatrical performance offered by Maui Community College's Visitor Industry Training & Economic Development Center. You also can take a self-guided tour of this historical trail using the free Kaanapali Resort brochure (see sidebar).
Runs 9 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. Check in at 8:45 a.m. at the Royal Hale across the Royal Lahaina Resort's parking lot. Tours are open to a minimum of five and a maximum of 22 people. Reservations are required. Call 808-661-3271.
COURTESY OF MONTY AND SUSAN DEHNERT
Mark Johnstone performed last week at the Whalers Village free Sunset Jazz show.
Black Rock Cliff-diving
The imposing promontory called Puu Kekaa or Black Rock is a sacred uhane lele, where the souls of the dead leaped from earth into their ancestral spirit land. Hawaiians believe only a person with great spiritual strength can enter that world and return.
From this lofty landmark some 250 years ago, Maui's King Kahekili displayed his courage and prowess countless times by leaping feet first into the ocean in the sport of lele kawa. By doing so and safely returning to shore, he won his people's respect and admiration.
When the Sheraton Maui Resort opened in 1963, it instituted a nightly tradition in honor of Kahekili and his feats at Black Rock. There, at sunset daily, a youth lights torches and presents lei offerings, then re-creates the mighty king's dramatic dive into the sea as the sun sets.
At Sheraton Maui. Call 808-661-0031.
Evening entertainment in the open-air Tiki Courtyard begins with a half-hour of Hawaiian music followed by a torch-lighting ceremony and hula show from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. After a brief break, the band returns to play another hour-long set of music.
Step onto the dance floor and show off your sharpest moves under the stars, with nearby palm trees nodding in tune. It's fun, it's romantic and you can make a truly memorable evening of it with dinner and/or drinks and pupu at the adjacent Tiki Terrace Restaurant and Tiki Bar and Grill.
At Kaanapali Beach Hotel, sunset to 9 p.m. nightly. Call 808-661-0011.
COURTESY OF THE HYATT REGENCY MAUI RESORT & SPA
A mother swan watched over her new baby Australian Black Swans in Swan Pond in the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa's Oriental Gardens. They are just a few of the menagerie the hotel boasts.
Art and wildlife tours
Appraised at $3 million, the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa's extensive art collection consists of more than 500 pieces from exotic locales such as China, Bali, New Guinea, Japan, Thailand and, of course, Hawaii. Highlights include cloisonné bowls, celadon vases, wooden drums, bronze urns, brass sculptures, porcelain figurines, stone busts, original oil paintings, masks decorated with cowry shells and feathers, and a Hawaiian outrigger canoe, hand-carved more than a century ago from solid koa wood.
Among the hotel's menagerie of resident wildlife are African black-footed penguins, East African crowned cranes, swans, flamingos, macaws, cockatoos, ducks and dozens of varieties of fish, including beautiful koi. The complete name of these Japanese carp is nishikigoi, meaning "living jewel"; their value is determined by their colors and markings. At 9:30 a.m. daily, guests can feed the koi, many of which are more than 40 years old.
The art tour runs 11 a.m. to noon Monday and Friday; wildlife tour 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Call 808-661-1234, ext. 3282. Open to Hyatt Maui guests only; reservations are required.
This event jazzes up Kaanapali's night life for the next nine weeks! Maui's Mike Buono, Gene Argel and Chiro Mori will perform tonight. In April (exact date to be announced), renowned percussionist Emil Richards will be in the limelight.
Other performers who might appear at Sunset Jazz again this year are local favorite Jimmy Borges, Grammy winner George Benson and Phil Benoit.
At Whalers Village, 6 to 9 p.m. Sundays through April. Call 808-661-4567.
COURTESY OF THE MAUI ONION FESTIVAL
Farmers from the Maui Onion Growers Association serve up fried onion rings at the annual Maui Onion Festival.
Maui Onion Festival
The 17th annual Maui Onion Festival promises a day of fun, including Maui onion-themed games, live music, food tastings, cooking demonstrations by renowned Maui chefs, onion rings fried up piping hot by farmers from the Maui Onion Growers Association, and a recipe contest featuring an elite field of 10 professional chefs.
Serious onion lovers, both kids and adults, can participate in the perennially popular Maui Onion-Eating Contest; whoever eats the most onion in a minute takes top honors. Winners receive cash prizes and breath mints.
At Whalers Village, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 5 and 6. Call 808-661-4567.
Na Mele O Maui
Entertaining, joyous and inspiring, the Na Mele O Maui Song Competition showcases the talents of Maui children from kindergarten through high school. Each class shares two songs in Hawaiian; their performances are judged on music, presentation and proficiency in the language.
Winners in each grade level are awarded prizes of songbooks and musical instruments based on their combined scores for the two songs. The school named the overall winner will have its name inscribed on a perpetual trophy. Admission is free but a $2 donation is suggested.
The High School Art Competition, held in conjunction with the song contest, is a juried exhibit open to Maui County students who interpret Na Mele O Maui's theme through original two- or three-dimensional artworks that they've completed in school. The winning entries will be displayed at the Hyatt before and during the song competition.
At Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Dec. 8. Call 808-661-3271.
Deals for the keiki
At the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, kamaaina rates start at $99 per night, based on availability. Children 17 and younger stay free using existing bedding. Kids 5 and under eat free with a paying adult at the hotel's Tiki Terrace and Mixed Plate restaurants. Call 800-262-8450.
The Royal Lahaina Resort is offering a Free Grinds and Parking Promotion for kamaaina that includes a full American breakfast buffet for two and free parking each day (a combined daily savings of $40). The program is available from April 19 through June 9 and from Sept. 5 through Dec. 20. Nightly rates begin at $171. Call 800-22-ALOHA.
Kamaaina rates at the ResortQuest Maui Kaanapali Villas start at $125 per night for a studio garden-view room, which includes a complete kitchen and accommodates up to four people. At check-in, guests receive ResortQuest's Aloha Book, which is filled with valuable coupons for dining, shopping, attractions, golf and more; on Maui, participating businesses include Kaanapali Golf Course, Hard Rock Cafe, Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and Ruby's Diner.
In addition, ResortQuest's Kids Stay, Play & Eat Free program provides kids 12 and younger one free admission, meal or retail deal when an adult purchase is made at equal or greater value. Participating Maui vendors include Atlantis Submarine Adventures, the Sugar Cane Train and Maui Tropical Plantation. Call 800-321-2558.
Come to Kaanapali
Kaanapali Resort, spread over 1,200 beachfront acres in West Maui, is a 10-minute drive from historic Lahaina town and the Kapalua-West Maui commuter airport and 45 minutes from Kahului Airport.
The resort encompasses five hotels, six condominiums and vacation club resorts, two world-class spas, two championship golf courses, 35 tennis courts and Maui's only beachfront shopping complex.
Contact the Kaanapali Beach Resort Association for a free full-color brochure by writing to: 2530 Kekaa Drive, Suite 1-B, Kaanapali, Hawaii 96761. Or call (800)-245-9229 or (808) 661-3271; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can download a brochure from the Web site www.kaanapaliresort.com.
Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi is a Honolulu-based free-lance writer and Society of American Travel Writers award winner.