An iconic resort gets a new $8-million restaurant and luxury catamaran. We get two new reasons to visit
On a recent tour of the islands, we visited the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa for the opening of an impressive $8-million addition to the property: a beach- and poolside restaurant called Umalu.
Translated as “the shade beneath a cliff,” this bar and caftyle venue indeed provides a cool and refreshing respite from the midday sun.
Umalu’s beachfront location is one of its greatest assets, with outdoor dining overlooking Ka’anapali Beach and the islands of Molokai and Lanai lying serenely beyond.
Choose from traditional patio seating or relax and curl your toes in the sand as you contemplate the full menu and, more importantly, which tropical drink to order first (the Lahaina Lemonade — trust us). Listen to live afternoon music while munching on Volcano Stix — more French fries you’ll ever again see in one bowl.
Be sure to try the Maui Waui fish tacos for lunch. Even if the derivative name sounds like standard Hawaiian fare, they are remarkably tasty and fresh — and it may literally be impossible to limit yourself to just one. Even better are the Hawaiian ahi poke nachos, which are meant to be shared, and can indeed fill two sun-soaked bellies with ease. Taro and sweet potato chips, Surfing Goat cheese and firecracker caviar give this dish a Hawaiian flair and satisfying bite.
Chef Kevin Boyle prepares his menu with a special focus on local agriculture and fishing. The payoff is on your fork, where you’ll find the latest catch, fresh upcountry greens and countless other native ingredients.
Arriving in concert with Umalu’s opening weekend was the Hula Girl, Hyatt’s exclusive new catamaran just delivered from a company in California.
This immaculate ship was specifically designed to host luxury tours off Maui’s Western Coast. Many argue that Maui’s splendor is most effectively enjoyed from the open water, where the islands of Molokai and Lanai are also on view, each rising grandly from the sea.
Impressing sunbathers and surfers with beach landings on the Hula Girl; devouring macadamia nut ice cream cookie sandwiches with reckless abandon; and reclining poolside with a fresh fish taco in each hand are just three of the thousands of reasons — did you really need another? — to find yourself in gorgeous Maui.
— Mara Lepere-Schloop, Special Advertising Sections Writer