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On the southern edge of the isthmus that forms Maui’s Central Valley, lies a thriving yet tranquil community: Ma’alaea, population 352, plus or minus. This intriguing corner of Maui includes a bustling boat harbor offering excursions that range from whale and dolphin watches to snorkel and snuba adventures to romantic dinner and sunset sails to chartered fishing expeditions. Adjacent to the Marina are the Ma’alaea Harbor Shops, including The Maui Ocean Center Aquarium (voted Maui’s nbr.1 attraction), The Maui Golf and Sport Park for mini golf, water bumper boats, extreme trampoline and rock climbing, and various shops, restaurants, and a gas station.
And then, tucked away off the main roads, on a secluded cul-de-sac named Hauoli Street (Hawaiian for Happy Street), you’ll find a small community of laid-back direct oceanfront resorts. The Hono Kai Resort is one of these.
The Hono Kai’s four 2-and 3-story buildings rise just above the white sands of Ma’alaea Beach, facing the bay straight-on. From the pool and barbecue areas, you have a panoramic, nothing peek-a-boo about it coastline view that extends down to the Makena cinder cone, up the heights of Haleakala, and that sweeps out across the bay to the sunken volcanic cinder cone of Molokini Crater and neighbor island, Kaho'olawe. Lounge chairs are lined up on the front lawn at the ocean’s edge to give you a front row seat to the watch the comings and goings of harbor boats, surfers, sunrises and sunsets by day—and the silver beams of moonlight sliding across the bay by night. During peak whale season (Dec-April) whale activity is visible in the bay all day long. The beach in front of Hono Kai is family friendly and has the added attraction of being home to many honu (Hawaiian Green Turtles); you will often see them bobbing in the surf. The Hono Kai boasts fully-equipped kitchens, grounds that are perfectly manicured, and a beach front pool and barbecue area that are meticulously maintained. The parking is plentiful and free, as are cable TV and internet connections. There are washers and dryers on each floor. There are no elevators at the Hono Kai; second and third floor condos are walk-ups.
From Hono Kai, walk west to the harbor and features described above—or head east, to the end of the road to access Haycraft County Beach Park. This is where you begin your stroll down the serene, spectacular 2.5 mile stretch of white sandy shoreline known as Sugar Beach. It is perfect for morning and evening walks or runs; you will have unobstructed views (no buildings until North Kihei). Also, you will encounter few people as this beach is mostly the domain of kite & windsurfers and kayakers who launch from it. It gives you such a local vibe to watch the surfers, paddlers, and sometimes racing outriggers from the Kihei Canoe Club.
Most importantly, you can easily venture forth from Ma’alaea and the Hono Kai to enjoy the full assortment of Maui attractions and adventures. Because of its central location and proximity to major roads you will have low commute times of between 15-30 minutes to experience: Kihei, Wailea, and Makena (economical to world-class restaurants, shops, resorts, golfing, and gorgeous beaches—south side style); Lahaina and Kaanapali (ditto—west side style), Kahului and Paia (Kahului: including shopping malls, Costco, and the airport; The Old Plantation Town, Paia: majestic-waved surf beaches and surf culture , eclectic shops and restaurants—north side style); and historic, charming Makawao Town (art galleries, eclectic shops and restaurants, and a “new-age mixed with cowboy” atmosphere—upcountry style). The summit of Haleakala and The Road to Hana are further, of course—but well worth the drive. Splendid!
Add it up: Direct Ocean Front Resorts in a private, tranquil setting with sweeping Ocean and Mountain Views, convenient location from which to venture forth, AND affordability. The Hono Kai and Ma’alaea, Maui are truly No Ka Oi—the best!