Kapalua and Beyond: Classic Golf, Maui Luxury

Plantation Gets The Headlines, But Other Charms Await
kapalua plantation rainbow


When the sun finally sets over Lanai to the west, the pros – and the folks who line the fairways to marvel at their skill – need a place to stay.

Not to worry: This verdant corner of the “Valley Isle” fills the bill as luxuriously as any Hawaiian destination.

Most if not all players stay at the Montage Kapalua Bay, a high-end collection of two-to-four-bedroom residences, “grand residences” and, for the money list-toppers (or anyone with the scratch), an ocean view penthouse. They’re all stunning in fit and finish, with full kitchens, huge bedroom-bathroom suites and lanais with garden or ocean views.

For groups (including certain millennial-aged Tour players who make sure to set aside bro-and-family time), there’s the Cliffhouse, a 1940s-era holdover from the property’s original farmer-owners, which hangs over the crashing waves with updated bathrooms and showers downstairs and a large entertaining space upstairs.

kapalua montage
View from the lobby of Montage Kapalua Bay. Photo by Vic Williams/Golf Tips

The Montage’s main buildings surround a multitiered pool area with rental day beds. Not far away is the resort’s secluded beach with paddleboards and snorkel equipment available for rent, while a hiking path leads to a tidepool and connects to the rest of the Kapalua complex. Just across the way awaits a full-service spa with his and hers Jacuzzi pools, steam rooms and saunas, a small outdoor pool and open-air massage cabanas. If you don’t carve out a few hours between rounds to romp among these God-given and manmade creature comforts — with a sublime meal at Cane & Canoe (with its Hawaiian-inspired seafood dishes and succulent steaks, plus a stellar breakfast) or the more casual Hideaway (creative cocktails and island comfort food),  it’s time for a priority check.

The other main lodging option is certainly no slouch. The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua spreads its well-appointed fingers between several holes of the resort’s Bay Course and, like the Montage, welcomes guests via a classic Hawaiian breezeway-style lobby framing the blue ocean horizon. Rooms are, as one would expect, beyond comfortable and plenty spacious; the lobby-side Alaloa Lounge is a fine unwind-and-nosh choice while the other restaurants (including the headliner Banyan Tree upscale venue and poolside Burger Shack) hit the spot with flair and freshness.

sunset off kapalua
Sunset over the island of Lanai, from just off the Maui coast. Photo by Vic Williams/Golf Tips

Kapalua, like the Kaanapali Beach hotel strand just down the road, is technically part of Lahaina, a fishing village-turned-tourist magnet and year-round party spot. Need to load up on sea-scented tchotchkes? Hit Lahaina. Hankering for a whale-watching cruise or fishing excursion? Plenty of options out of the town’s marina, though if you can hitch a ride on the Maui Jim boat for a sunset cruise, go for it. Hungry? The main drag is packed with options, including Fleetwood’s (as in Mac drummer and rock legend Mick Fleetwood), a casual purveyor of sturdy, straightforward Hawaiian-flavored fare. Even tastier is the downstairs shop of Mac-branded keepsakes, special record collections and one of the most extensive collections of rock ‘n’ roll concert and studio photos you’ll ever see.

kapalua bay course
The Bay Course at Kapalua

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