Pursuitist presents our guide to the Top 5 Best Things To Do in Maui, curated by acclaimed luxury travel expert and journalist Christopher Parr. With accolades including USA Today’s “Top 10 Luxury Travel Blogger” and Luxury Lifestyle Awards’ 2023’s “Top 50 Best Luxury Influencers and Bloggers in the World”, Parr lends his expertise to craft an extraordinary 48-hour adventure in Maui. Dive into the heart of this tropical paradise, experiencing its lush landscapes, vibrant culture, and luxurious amenities.
As the second-largest island in Hawaii, Maui brims with unrivaled natural splendor and offers a wealth of adventure. From the winding, picturesque Road to Hana to the breathtaking sunrise at the Haleakala National Park, the island’s inherent beauty holds visitors spellbound. This mingling of terrestrial and marine beauty makes Maui an adventure playground that leaves explorers thrilled, no matter their pursuit.
But the allure of Maui goes beyond the surface. The island seduces the senses, offering tranquil spaces for rest and rejuvenation. Luxury resorts, like the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, provide world-class service, stunning vistas, and spa experiences that meld ancient Hawaiian healing practices with modern wellness techniques. These luxurious havens cradle their guests in the essence of opulence and tranquility, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
What further sets Maui apart is the harmonious fusion of authentic Hawaiian culture and contemporary luxury. As the cradle of ancient Hawaiian traditions and modern amenities, Maui offers a unique cultural voyage that is deeply entwined with a luxurious lifestyle. This is reflected in its culinary scene, where restaurants like Spago and Mama’s Fish House offer a gastronomic experience that combines the freshest local ingredients with innovative culinary techniques.
Maui is an island that spoils you with choices. Whether you want to hike through a bamboo forest, lounge on a secluded beach, indulge in a spa retreat, or savor world-class cuisine, Maui offers a luxury experience that caters to every desire. With its winning combination of unparalleled beauty, top-notch service, vibrant culture, and thrilling adventure, Maui stands tall as the epitome of luxury travel and an absolute must-visit for discerning travelers in 2023.
Pursuitist invites you to join us as we explore Maui’s exquisite dining scene, luxurious accommodations, thrilling activities, and sophisticated shopping destinations.
Where to Stay
The journey begins with the iconic Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, a world-class beachfront resort famous for its exceptional service, gourmet dining, infinity pools with gorgeous views, and a tranquil spa. This resort is the epitome of luxury with magnificent ocean views and beautifully-appointed suites. Rates start around $1,600 per night.
- Reserve an ocean-prime suite for the most awe-inspiring views of the Pacific.
- Pamper yourself with unique Hawaiian-inspired treatments at their award-winning Spa.
- Arrange a private beachside dinner at Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante for a magical evening under the stars.
As an alternative , consider the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, a stylish and contemporary beachfront hotel with several infinity pools, world-class dining options, and a top-rated spa. The resort’s chic design and its commitment to local culture make it a refreshing choice for discerning travelers.
- Book one of their luxury villas for an elevated experience.
- Their signature ‘Awili Spa and Salon offers bespoke experiences blending traditional Hawaiian and modern treatments.
- Enjoy an intimate dinner at Ka’ana Kitchen, where you can sample locally-sourced dishes.
Where to Eat & Drink
Embark on a culinary adventure starting with Spago, nestled within the Four Seasons Resort. This acclaimed Wolfgang Puck restaurant is known for its Hawaii-meets-California fusion menu, and elegant setting.
- Experience the diverse flavors of the islands
- The lounge offers a panoramic ocean view, perfect for a sunset cocktail.
- Try the Asian Pear and Burrata
For a relaxed meal with sweeping ocean views, head to Sea House Restaurant on Napili Beach. Known for its outstanding Hawaiian regional cuisine, it’s a great spot for a laid-back lunch or dinner.
- The poke-topped nachos have won awards – try them for yourself.
- Tables by the beach offer the best views and ambience.
- Check their Happy Hour for some great deals.
If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, consider Mama’s Fish House. This iconic restaurant serves fresh catch from local fishermen, with the day’s offerings written on a chalkboard.
- Their fish dishes change daily based on the catch, so expect fresh and seasonal specialties.
- Don’t miss their Polynesian Black Pearl dessert, a signature sweet treat.
- Make sure to book a reservation, as this spot is popular.
Additional Spots: Paia Fish Market, a cherished seafood spot in the vibrant Paia village, offers local and sustainable meals, including vegetarian and gluten-free options, and is best visited during off-peak times to avoid crowds. Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman provides a laid-back dining atmosphere with a menu full of locally-sourced items, including a range of 36 craft beers, and wood-fired pizzas or locally caught fish tacos as highlight dishes. For sushi lovers, Koiso Sushi Bar is a must-visit spot offering the freshest sushi and sashimi on the island, including an omakase tasting menu, although securing a reservation is recommended due to its limited seating capacity.
What to Do
Explore the breathtaking Road to Hana, a legendary drive through lush rainforest, impressive waterfalls, and panoramic sea views. This is a full-day adventure filled with numerous stops for exploration and photography.
- Start early to beat the crowds and take your time to enjoy each stop.
- Swimming at Ohe’o Gulch, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools, is a must.
- Carry a picnic for a refreshing break at one of the numerous scenic spots.
Venture to Haleakala National Park, home to Maui’s highest peak. The sunrise or sunset from the summit is a sight to behold, and the park offers numerous hiking trails and stargazing opportunities.
- Dress warmly as temperatures can drop drastically.
- Reserve a spot in advance if you plan to witness the sunrise.
- Explore the hiking trails; there are paths suitable for all fitness levels.
For water enthusiasts, try a snorkeling tour to Molokini Crater. This partially submerged volcanic crater is a marine sanctuary teeming with vibrant coral and diverse marine life.
- Early morning tours offer the best visibility for snorkeling.
- Don’t forget your underwater camera!
- Keep an eye out for Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.
Additional Things To Do: From November to May, visitors can witness the awe-inspiring migration of humpback whales to the warm waters between Maui, Lanai, and Kahoolawe, either from a comfortable lounge chair on Wailea Beach or by joining a variety of whale-watching tours offering both intimate and grand experiences, with expert guides providing valuable insights into the creatures’ behavior and biology. Don’t miss the chance to explore Maui’s eastern side, home to the stunning natural wonder of the Seven Sacred Pools, a series of crystal-clear cascading waterfalls and pools nestled in a lush tropical landscape teeming with rare plant and animal species, easily accessible from the Road to Hana. Visitors should take heed of safety precautions due to potential risks during high rainfall, respect the cultural and spiritual significance of these pools to the Hawaiian people, and always practice responsible tourism to protect marine life and the environment.
Where to Shop
For a high-end shopping experience, visit The Shops at Wailea. This upscale shopping center houses luxury boutiques, local art galleries, and gourmet restaurants.
- Luxury fashion enthusiasts must stop at Louis Vuitton for the latest collections.
- Visit the local art galleries for a taste of Maui’s vibrant art scene.
- Treat yourself to an authentic Hawaiian gelato from Lappert’s Hawaii.
Another shopping destination is Whalers Village in Kaanapali. It offers a mix of designer boutiques, interesting specialty stores, and diverse dining options.
- Explore Maui’s history at the Whalers Village Museum.
- The village often hosts live hula shows – check the schedule and don’t miss out!
- They offer free hula, lei making and ukulele lessons.
With its stunning natural beauty, rich culture, world-class dining, and luxury accommodations, Maui is an island paradise that offers the perfect balance between adventure and relaxation. Whether you are planning a romantic escape or a family vacation, Maui promises an unforgettable experience for affluent travelers in 2023.
Christopher Parr, is the Editor and Chief Content Creator for Pursuitist, and a contributing writer to USA Today, Business Insider — and the on-air host of Travel Tuesday on Live at 4 CBS. He is an award-winning luxury marketing veteran, writer, a frequent speaker at luxury and interactive marketing conferences and a pioneer in web publishing. Named a "Top 10 Luxury Travel Blogger” by USA Today, Parr has also been selected as the official winner in Luxury Lifestyle Awards’ 2023 list of the “Top 50 Best Luxury Influencers and Bloggers in the World.”