Review of Travaasa Hana Experiential Resort at Hana, Maui.
Each morning as the sun begins to shine on the island of Maui, rental cars rev up by the dozens to make a daily migration east. For most of these travelers, it will be a day trip bookended by the sinuous 2.5-hour outbound and return drives. But for the lucky—especially those who can opt for a midday drive when traffic lightens and the road unfolds like a souvenir book of postcards—their scenic drive to Hana will be just the start of a memorable stay on Maui’s quieter side. And for the very lucky, that stay will be at the haven of unplugged wellness and repose: Travaasa Hana.
Though Travaasa Hana was recently voted the #1 Best Hotel/Resort for a Romantic Getaway by readers of Hawaii Magazine, families should know there is space set aside just for them on this sprawling acreage too. In fact, one thing that sets the resort far apart from most others on Maui is the wide open green space you’ll find throughout, like the soft grass slope rolling down from our lanai that just begged the kids to cart-wheel and roll down it unfettered (the perfect release after enduring both the flight from the mainland and the road to Hana in one very long morning).
And although you may have a few fleeting pangs of, “Why didn’t we come here before we had kids?” when you take a solo stroll through the gated Sea Ranch Cottages section of the resort (for guests 16 years and older only), we found that staying at Travaasa Hana with kids is a rewarding vacation in itself.
The setting alone lends itself to quality family time, with nary an in-room television set competing for attention and no shortage of on-site activities to help you make the most of your time in Maui’s east. Whether you opt to join a lesson on making leis, playing easy ukulele, or mastering traditional Hawaiian pole fishing, the complimentary daily activities connect families with each other as much as the culture. In fact, one of my daughters’ favorite memories from our trip is the evening we spent learning to dance the Hukilau beside the family pool (many laughs and a good work out, I assure you).
To the pool…
From our Garden View Suite and lanai, we overlooked the family swimming pool with views of palm trees and the ocean beyond. Even as faithful door-lockers at home, we felt perfectly comfortable coming and going from the pool using our back patio door without need of locking it–very helpful when you’re one of those families that always leaves something back at the room.
With the exception of the select dates when children are allowed in the Sea Ranch Cottages, guests younger than 16 may only use this swimming pool and facilities on the Garden View/Waikoloa Family Suites side of the property–not the Wellness Pool overlooking the ocean that you most often see representing Travaasa Hana.
To the beach…
One of the great perks of staying at Travaasa Hana is the complimentary shuttle service to Hamoa Beach, one of Maui’s loveliest–and least crowded–beaches. Hamoa Beach is almost exclusively frequented by guests of Travaasa because only service vehicles can park anywhere near it and it’s a long walk from town. At the beach, Travaasa provides its guests with a private lounge, changing facilities, beach umbrellas, and lounge chairs.
Before catching the shuttle to Hamoa Beach, check out your complimentary boogie boards, snorkel gear, and beach towels to take along with you. And if you like, pre-order picnic box lunches to be delivered while you’re there. Also good to know: Travaasa Hana guests may use the beach and shuttle service beyond their checkout time on the day of their departure.
Families with smaller swimmers and beginning snorkelers may also want to catch the resort’s complimentary shuttle to the beach at Hana Bay, where they’ll find calmer water, restrooms, and a snack shop.
Around the resort…
While I expected to find a fair amount of fitness and wellness activities at Travaasa Hana, I was stunned by the daily activity schedule, which listed offerings for nearly each hour or half hour of the day from 7:30 in the morning to 8:30 in the evening. No matter what your family has on its agenda, you’re sure to find a way to slip in a yoga, core, or aqua aerobics session, if not a smoothie-making or juicing class, or a group coastal walk & stretch. And if you’re up for a family bike ride, you can also borrow the resort’s colorful cruiser bikes, which include kid-size bikes, for up to 2 hours at a time. Ask the concierge in advance if you’d like to arrange to have a baby bicycle seat during your visit.
In addition to numerous daily activities just a short walk from your suite, Travaasa Hana offers activities and adventures off site, including 1-hour horseback rides (9 years+), glider airplane adventures (9 years+), fruit tasting tours at Ono Farms, and stand-up paddle boarding (16 years+). Be sure to check for age restrictions and sign up early wherever required–especially if there are many of your own tribe to fill the spaces for an activity. Additional fees apply for most off-site activities, though guests staying on the all-inclusive plan can apply their resort credit to some activities (see note on all-inclusive “Total Travaasa” for adults below).
Slipping away to the spa…
Paddle boarding, croquet, and juicing aside, no mom should miss her chance to slip off to the Travaasa Hana Spa during her stay (it offers plenty for dads, too, but priority in our family goes to the one who conquers the hairpin curves of the Road to Hana). If you have ever wanted to try Hawaiian Lomilomi massage with its broad, deep strokes, rest assured this is an excellent place to do it (having tried any number of massage therapy techniques, this is now a favorite!).
Whether you go in for hot stone or aquatic renewal therapy, a scrub or body wrap, be sure to show up plenty early to enjoy the spa facilities–and do bring your bathing suit to enjoy the coed outdoor lava rock spa overlooking the sea. In the ladies’ spa, a steam room awaits, with a lovely little jewel of a plunge pool waiting just outside, along with cleverly hidden outdoor showers stocked with Made in Maui bath products. If you’re enjoying a good book, bring it along and spend some time with it and a citrus-infused ice water or tea on a lounge chair in the courtyard or quiet room before returning to your brood.
Inside the suites…
Before booking your reservation at Travaasa Hana, make sure you understand what will be included in your stay–and what won’t be.
Accommodations for families begin with the most modestly priced Garden View Suites (starting at $350/night), which sleep up to 4 in beds or 5 with a complimentary rollaway bed or Pack ‘n Play, and include a mini refrigerator, coffeemaker, and electric kettle (no microwave).
The Waikoloa Family Suites, which sleep from 6 to 8 in beds, include a full gourmet kitchen and living room area that’s ideal for big family gatherings or small family reunions (from $725/night).
As mentioned earlier, the luxury Sea Ranch Cottages are only for guests 16 years and older, except during select dates each year (from $450/night, see upcoming family weeks at http://www.travaasa.com/hana/).
Dining at & around Travaasa Hana…
Travaasa’s Ka’uiki Dining Room specializes in “Hana Fusion” cuisine that is not to be missed by appreciative adults (eg. charred wild New Zealand salmon), though there are also some usual stand-bys like pasta as well, and a brief keiki breakfast menu for kids under 12 years ($7 to $9). Dinner reservations are strongly recommended, and there is no kids’ menu in the evening, though you could order a simple pasta marinara for your child at around $12.
Just a few minutes’ walk down the road, you’ll find the Hana Ranch Restaurant, a steakhouse also owned by Travaasa. With a more casual evening atmosphere, it may be a better fit for many families with young children. Dinner prices are also less expensive than at the Ka’uiki Dining Room.
There is also a Thai restaurant within walking distance and, certain nights of the week, other driveable options include beachside barbecue dinners (and sometimes lunches) at the nearby Koki Beach and “clay oven wood-fire” pizzas on Friday and Saturday nights. Just look for the colorful signs posted by the main road as you drive past Travaasa Hana.
Extra tips for your travels…
Flying to Hana – If you long to experience Maui’s east side, but would rather steer clear of the long, curvy drive, Mokulele Airlines offers 20-minute flights from Maui’s main Kahului airport three times daily (priced from $59 each way). The planes are small and seats often sell out, so don’t delay in making your reservation if this option appeals. You can also follow this link and use the promo code you’ll see in the lower right for extra savings when you book your Mokulele flight through CheapOair.com (affiliate link – thanks for supporting this site!).
For a limited time, Travaasa Hana is also offering a special fly-to-Hana-free bonus when you book three or more all-inclusive “Total Travaasa” nights, which are not available for kids under 16, so your mileage with this offer may vary. Call reservations for details at 1-888-820-1043.
Banana bread and snacks – While the room descriptions promise banana bread and welcome snacks in all room types, we didn’t see any on our arrival and they never materialized during our stay. There was complimentary bottled water and cream for our morning coffee in our mini refrigerator. Fortunately, the Hasegawa General Store, with ice cream and snacks aplenty, is just a short walk from Travaasa.
Maui babysitters, vacation nannies, and baby gear rentals – If you need help finding a qualified babysitter or vacation nanny in Maui, be sure to see the directory of Hotel Babysitter and Vacation Nanny Agencies at TravelswithBaby.com. For baby gear rentals in Maui, see the Hawaii Baby Gear Rental Agencies in the Worldwide Directory of Baby Gear Rentals. Enjoying your mornings in Maui’s east – There’s no question that those overnighting at Travaasa have significant lead time over all the daytrippers in reaching the most beautiful and popular sites on Maui’s east shore. Take full advantage by using your mornings to visit the east Maui attractions that make the journey so worthwhile. Then relax and spend your afternoons and evenings enjoying Travaasa Hana–which makes you all the more glad you made the journey to Maui’s east side.
To see Travaasa Hana’s current rates and offers, visit www.travaasa.com/hana/.
For more Maui family travel inspiration and ideas, visit my Pinterest board!