One of West Maui’s most lavish accommodations, the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua sets off its silver anniversary in style. The quiet allure of the splendid resort remains unchanged, though the landscaping was redone with reverence for Hawai‘i foliage like bold hibiscus and sweetly fragrant puakenikeni, and glorious hala trees. The suites and residences were transformed by Honolulu-based Philpotts & Associates, a design studio whose portfolio includes Four Seasons O‘ahu, Royal Hawaiian Hotel and Hotel Wailea.
Bright tropical palette was traded for more subtle Earth tones inspired by the lush greenery of West Maui mountains, the blue skies and oceans-cape below the gentle knoll on which the hotel is built. The overall aesthetic is anchored by a backdrop of classic neutrals conveying comfort and a modern sensibility. The walls boast organic and rich textures with natural woven wall coverings from Phillip Jeffries. The team also curated exceptional artwork by local artists— there is multi-disciplined artist Marcia Ray, print-maker Abigail Romanchak, modernist sculptor John Koga, painter Tracy Dudley, traditional kapa maker Dalani Tahany, and textile designer Coleen Kimura of Honolulu’s legendary Tutuvi brand to name a few. Techy upgrades, expected of any up-scale trappings, allow for more Smart device connections if need be. The residence units were also enhanced with slick kitchen appliances and furnishing upgrades like black and white marble counters.
The departure of the legendary Kai Sushi might leave Kapalua’s sushi aficionados forlorn, but, reimagined as Kai Cafe, the space caters to a daytime clientele that leans towards healthy eating. Whether you want to knock back a wheatgrass shot at the cafe or a Maui Brewing Co. Bikini Blonde at Alaloa Lounge across the way, the lobby opens up to new fire pit hangs for sunset and scenery gazing. Right below the lobby, the picturesque cascading, tri-level pool and 20,000-square-foot deck are newly equipped with stylish lounge pods and cabanas complete with a dedicated attendant.
Final renovations to The Terrace and The Banyan Tree restaurants will wrap up the hotel’s transformation by the end of the year. The Terrace will unveil a refreshed breakfast buffet and The Banyan Tree will add more open-air, covered seating. The Banyan Tree’s chef de cuisine Alvin Savella, who has led the kitchen since 2016, was recently awarded Maui’s food and beverage industry’s prestigious ‘Aipono Award for Chef of the Year. Savella has built an impressive following with his rambunctious personality and fun, modern approach to island cuisine. Enjoy freshly baked pop-over style Hawaiian sweet roll with Kula strawberry jam with whipped foie gras and Surfing Goat chevré,, and hearty seafood ramen with red miso coconut and Kona lobster truffle broth, along with garden-to-glass crafted cocktails.
While external transformations on the property abound, the team keeps the sense of place authentic with weekly ceremonies to honor the sacred Honokahua ancestral site and programs like the weeklong Celebration of the Arts, which gather noble cultural practitioners and artisans to educate and share local traditions and crafts among guests and kama‘aina. Meanwhile, the keiki and youth program, Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment, looks to the future with a focus on marine conservation and environmental sustainability. ritzcarlton.com