We’re talking vacations and productivity this week. And I figured I would just throw out a little recommendation from a trip we took last year: the Makena Beach & Golf Resort in Makena (south of Wailea) on Maui.
For the weary advertising pro looking to unplug just a little bit more, this might be the right place for you.
Built as the Maui Prince back in the 80s, the property still retains its sense of history and Asian influence, but with some profound new updates from the new owners. Interiors are very nice (and while we there, the upgrades were in full swing) but, let’s face it, you probably won’t be spending much time indoors as the draw on Maui, and Hawaii in general, is to be outside, enjoying every sun-soaked second.
The location of the resort, far south, is for those looking to be more secluded. Yes, there are some amazing resorts on the island but, if you feel like getting away from it a little more, this is probably your best bet.
The staff, with the possible exception of the overly-aggressive concierge, is superb. After an awkward exchange with the aforementioned concierge, we decided that the bell staff was the best place to ask about all things local. We were never disappointed when Bernard and Laurence sent us on our Maui adventures. From the road to Hana and small places Upcountry, we knew that we were in great hands.
One of the interesting aspects of the Makena Beach & Gold Resort is that they are poaching some of the best talent from the island.
The tennis club director, Frank Salvador came from another resort. He was, simply put, the best. The new facility (substantially upgraded) is a real jewel on the island and Frank was very proud to share it with us. The consummate pro, we took one of his classes and he didn’t even blink when he saw my bizarre two-handed backhand, which is actually a two-handed left-handed forehand (don’t ask). He simply encouraged me to make some tweaks and I came back to Portland playing better than I had in ages.
I recommend that, if you’re there for a week, that you do buy the weekly pass. It ends up being a good bargain.
Golf was a complete kick as well. The course is hilly, lush and just easy enough to make even the more casual golfer feel as though they are in moderate control. There are a couple of high tee boxes that makes one swing away with vigor (and, in my case, a delightful slice). The vistas are gorgeous. The course is always in immaculate condition. And the staff? What we expected from Makena — top notch and highly attentive.
The golf course restaurant was where we first sampled the food. This is not a lie. I ate the best hot dog in my life after our round. The Makena Ali’i Dog has pinto beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, cheese, grilled green onions, BBQ pineapple slices and special seasoning. Oh, and all wrapped in Applewood bacon.
We came to learn that the new executive chef, Marc McDowell, had been working on Maui for years and is among the raft of talent being recruited to the resort. Originally from the Midwest, Marc got the island and never left. His adventurous spin on food is heavy on local ingredients and culture. At dinner, every dish was in perfect balance and never overwhelming.
So, haggard advertising pro, take this as a recommendation when you’re looking to point your windless sails towards Hawaii. When you plan, consider using SaveOnAloha out of San Diego. Probably better to call directly, but Jennifer took amazing care of us. Hotel, car, all taxes and fees (with the exception of the resort fee) were included in the price, which made it easier to budget for the trip.
For those of you out east, there are some United nonstop options. But, if you’re going to have to make a stop, I’m partial to you coming to Portland first, then taking Alaska Airlines directly to Kahului. You won’t be disappointed.