Friday

Honing in on happiness at the Hyatt Regency Maui


If we learned anything at all the past year, we learned patience. For those who love to travel, or travel for work, having our collective wings summarily clipped made for an excruciating long, stressful and difficult year. As COVID-19 vaccinations are now more wildly available, travelers are again taking to the skies. Since many international destinations are still off limits to Americans, many are heading to Hawaii. First time travelers to Maui will find an interlude at the Hyatt Regency Maui is a good way to kick away the chaos of the COVID-era while safely masking and maintaining social distancing.


The bed



Located in Ka’anapali on Maui’s west coast, the 40-acre Hyatt Regency Maui has 810 rooms, many of which have been renovated in three separate towers, Napoli, Atrium and Lahaina. Facing three miles of gorgeous white sand beaches, there is a paved path along the beach for memorable sunrise or sunset jogs or walks. The Hyatt has six swimming pool areas, including an adults only pool. The main pool area has a lovely grotto, with a full bar to keep the adults happy and a 150-foot lava tube water slide, waterfalls and rope bridge to keep the kids enthralled.



If fish float your boat, there is excellent snorkeling just to the right of the property. Large sea turtles regularly come to the sand to the left of the Hyatt to rest a bit before returning to sea.



Golfers will want to tee off at one of the scenic Ka’anapali golf courses. At the Royal Ka’anapali or Ka’anapali Kai courses, golfers will enjoy emerald green expanses, trade winds and panoramic ocean views. Despite its size, the Hyatt Regency Maui hotel staff manages to maintain the warm spirit of aloha for which the islands are famous.


The meals


If you are feeling carnivorous, Son’z Steakhouse will fit the bill. Though you will certainly want to start the meal with ahi sashimi that is garnished with mango and avocado relish. The airy ocean facing setting has a large pond with dozens of flamingos, ducks and swans. The pond is also visited by a host of colorful chirping birds, including cardinals.



While walking by the vegetable garden, I saw Chef Gavin Utrillo happily clipping fresh herbs. That made me more excited to dine at Japengo, the Hyatt’s signature Asian fusion restaurant housed in a dreamy ocean front location. The Chef’s delicious special that evening was fresh ahi and crab sushi topped with micro greens and caviar. Tasty sashimi was followed by flavorful unagi sushi and ended with Ka’anapali pie, a brownie, coconut ice cream, banana smile maker.



Located near the main pool, Ululani Hawaiian Shave Ice is a must try. A local favorite, Hawaiian Shave Ice is no ordinary snow cone. Try the No Ka Oi – Hawaiian for the best – with mango, passion fruit and coconut. It must be ordered with vanilla ice cream and sweet Japanese Azuki beans. You can thank me later.


The finds


The onsite Wildlife Tour is led by knowledgeable naturalists and is enjoyable for both adults and kids. The property has six African penguins, crown herons, 60 massive koi fish, and several exotic bird species including Australian king, African Grey and Amazon parrots. As some speak and are rather intelligent, you may wish to curb your conversations lest they speedily repeat any secrets to strangers.



The pond has Australian black swans, flamingoes, mallard, red-billed and American Pekin ducks. While I was there it so happened that a couple of swans had a slew of flappers and several ducks had duckings. To say it was adorable would be a vast understatement.



Another great Hyatt experience is the Star Gazing Tour with their onsite Astronomy Director and celestial guru Edward Mahoney. On the roof are three massive Celestron telescopes and Mahoney shares his decades of vast knowledge and experience with a handful of guests each night. The expensive and high powered scopes permit a bird’s eye view into the faraway galaxy. Morning yoga is offered at the Hyatt on artificial turf beach front. If I could regularly downward dog to the sounds of the surf, I might do it more often! After a workout at the Moana Athletic Club available to Hyatt guests, you will want to have a treatment at Kamaha’o, a Marilyn Monroe Spa. My skilled masseuse made me completely forget the pandemic happened. At least for a blissful hour.


The lesson learned


If ever there was a time to hone in on happiness, it would be now. The Hyatt Regency Maui will help you do just that. www.Hyatt.com


As of press time, to avoid a 10-day quarantine, the State of Hawaii mandates a negative COVID PCR test taken by a ‘Trusted Travel Partner’ within 72 hours of departure to the islands. Additionally, starting May 4, 2021 travelers to Maui (airport code OGG) will require a second, cost-free, rapid test on arrival to be administered at the airport. Fully vaccinated Americans are not yet exempt from either testing requirement, though Hawaii Governor Ige indicates that may change in the near future. There is also a statewide mask mandate in place with which all travelers are expected to comply. www.HawaiiCovid19.com/travel


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