MAUI, Review of Travaasa Hana Resort with Kids – Each morning as the sun begins to shine on the island of Maui, rental cars rev up by the dozens to make a daily migration east. For most of these travelers, it will be a day trip bookended by the sinuous 2.5-hour outbound and return drives.
But for the lucky—especially those who can opt for a midday drive when traffic lightens and the road unfolds like a souvenir book of postcards—their scenic drive to Hana will be just the start of a memorable stay on Maui’s quieter side. And for the very lucky, that stay will be at the haven of unplugged wellness and repose: Travaasa Hana.
Though Travaasa Hana was recently voted the #1 Best Hotel/Resort for a Romantic Getaway by readers of Hawaii Magazine, families should know there is space set aside just for them on this sprawling acreage too.
In fact, one thing that sets the resort far apart from most others on Maui is the wide open green space you’ll find throughout, like the soft grass slope rolling down from our lanai that just begged the kids to cart-wheel and roll down it unfettered (the perfect release after enduring both the flight from the mainland and the road to Hana in one very long morning).
And although you may have a few fleeting pangs of, “Why didn’t we come here before we had kids?” when you take a solo stroll through the gated Sea Ranch Cottages section of the resort (for guests 16 years and older only), we found that staying at Travaasa Hana with kids is a rewarding vacation in itself.
The setting alone lends itself to quality family time, with nary an in-room television set competing for attention and no shortage of on-site activities to help you make the most of your time in Maui’s east.
Whether you opt to join a lesson on making leis, playing easy ukulele, or mastering traditional Hawaiian pole fishing, the complimentary daily activities connect families with each other as much as the culture. In fact, one of my daughters’ favorite memories from our trip is the evening we spent learning to dance the Hukilau beside the family pool (many laughs and a good work out, I assure you).
To the pool…
From our Garden View Suite and private lanai, we overlooked the family swimming pool with views of palm trees and the ocean beyond. Even as faithful door-lockers at home, we felt perfectly comfortable coming and going from the pool using our back patio door without need of locking it–very helpful when you’re one of those families that always leaves something back at the room.
With the exception of the select dates when children are allowed in the Sea Ranch Cottages, guests younger than 16 may only use this swimming pool and facilities on the Garden View/Waikoloa Family Suites side of the property–not the Wellness Pool overlooking the ocean that you most often see representing Travaasa Hana.
To the beach… Hamoa Beach to be precise
One of the great perks of staying at Travaasa Hana is the complimentary shuttle service to Hamoa Beach, one of Maui’s loveliest–and least crowded–beaches. Hamoa Beach is almost exclusively frequented by guests of Travaasa because only service vehicles can park anywhere near it and it’s a long walk from town. At the beach, Travaasa provides its guests with a private lounge, changing facilities, beach umbrellas, and lounge chairs.
Before catching the shuttle to Hamoa Beach, check out your complimentary boogie boards, snorkel gear, and beach towels to take along with you. And if you like, pre-order picnic box lunches to be delivered while you’re there. Also good to know: Travaasa Hana Maui guests may use the beach and shuttle service beyond their checkout time on the day of their departure.
Families with smaller swimmers and beginning snorkelers may also want to catch the resort’s complimentary shuttle to the beach at Hana Bay, where they’ll find calmer water, restrooms, and a snack shop.
Around the Travaasa Hana resort…
While I expected to find a fair amount of fitness and wellness activities at Travaasa Hana, I was stunned by the daily activity schedule. The resort had offerings for nearly each hour or half hour of the day from 7:30 in the morning to 8:30 in the evening.
No matter what your family has on its agenda, you’re sure to find a way to slip in a yoga, core, or aqua aerobics session, if not a smoothie-making or juicing class, or a group coastal walk & stretch. And if you’re up for a family bike ride, you can also borrow the resort’s colorful cruiser bikes. Yes, they do have kid-size bikes and for up to 2 hours at a time. Ask the concierge in advance if you’d like to arrange to have a baby bicycle seat during your visit.
In addition to numerous daily activities just a short walk from your suite, Travaasa Hana offers activities and adventures off site, including 1-hour horseback rides (9 years+), glider airplane adventures (9 years+), fruit tasting tours at Ono Farms, and stand-up paddle boarding (16 years+). Be sure to check for age restrictions and sign up early wherever required–especially if there are many of your own tribe to fill the spaces for an activity.
Additional fees apply for most off-site activities, though guests staying on the all-inclusive plan can apply their resort credit to some activities (see note on all-inclusive “Total Travaasa” for adults below).
Slipping away to the spa…
Paddle boarding, croquet, and juicing aside, no mom should miss her chance to slip off to the spa at Travaasa Hana during her stay. It offers plenty for dads, too, but priority in our family goes to the one who conquers the hairpin curves of the Road to Hana.
If you have ever wanted to try Hawaiian Lomilomi massage with its broad, deep strokes, rest assured this is an excellent place to do it. Note: Having tried any number of massage therapy techniques, this is now a favorite!
Whether you go in for hot stone or aquatic renewal therapy, a scrub or body wrap, be sure to show up plenty early to enjoy the spa facilities before your spa treatments. And do bring your bathing suit to enjoy the coed outdoor lava rock spa overlooking the sea.
In the ladies’ spa, a steam room awaits, with a lovely little jewel of a plunge pool waiting just outside. And cleverly hidden outdoor showers brim with Made in Maui bath products. Enjoying a good book? Bring it along and spend some time in the courtyard or quiet room before returning to your brood.
Inside the suites at Travaasa Hana…
Before booking your reservation at Travaasa Hana, make sure you understand what will be included in your stay.
Garden View Suites
Accommodations for families begin with the most modestly priced Garden View Suites (starting at $350/night). These sleep up to 4 in beds or 5 with a complimentary rollaway bed or Pack ‘n Play, and include a mini refrigerator, coffeemaker, and electric kettle (no microwave).
Waikoloa Family Suites
The Waikoloa Family Suites sleep from 6 to 8 in beds. Plus, they include a full gourmet kitchen and living room area that’s ideal for big family gatherings or small family reunions (from $725/night).
Sear Ranch Cottages – 16 yrs +
As mentioned earlier, the luxury Sea Ranch Cottages are only for guests 16 years and older, except during select dates each year (from $450/night, see upcoming family weeks at http://www.travaasa.com/hana/).
Dining at & around Travaasa Hana…
Travaasa’s Ka’uiki Dining Room specializes in “Hana Fusion” cuisine, which is not to to be missed by appreciative adults (eg. charred wild New Zealand salmon). But do know that there is no kids’ menu in the evening. There are, however, some usual stand-bys like pasta marinara (around $12) as well.
In the mornings, however, there is a brief keiki breakfast menu for kids under 12 years ($7 to $9). Dinner reservations are strongly recommended.
A few minutes’ walk down the road, you’ll find the Hana Ranch Restaurant, a steakhouse also owned by Travaasa. With a more casual evening atmosphere, it may be a better fit for many families with young children. Dinner prices are also less expensive than at the Ka’uiki Dining Room.
Also just a short walk away, a Thai restaurant awaits. Other driveable options may include beachside barbecue dinners (and sometimes lunches) at the nearby Koki Beach. Plus “clay oven wood-fire” pizzas on Friday and Saturday nights. Just look for the colorful signs posted by the main road as you drive past Travaasa Hana.
Extra tips for your family’s travels to Hana…
Flying to Hana
Do you long to experience Maui’s east side, but would rather steer clear of the long, curvy drive? Look to Mokulele Airlines. They offer 20-minute flights from Maui’s main Kahului airport to the Hana Airport three times daily.
The planes are small and seats often sell out, so don’t delay in making your reservation if this option appeals!
Occasionally, Travaasa Hana offers a fly-to-Hana-free bonus when you book three or more all-inclusive “Total Travaasa” nights. Note: this is not available for kids under 16, so your mileage with this offer may vary. Call reservations for details at 1-888-820-1043.
Banana bread and snacks
While the room descriptions promise banana bread and welcome snacks in all room types, we didn’t see any on our arrival and they never materialized during our stay. Though, complimentary bottled water and cream for our morning coffee awaited in our mini refrigerator. Fortunately, the Hasegawa General Store, with ice cream and snacks aplenty, is just a short walk from Travaasa.
Maui babysitters, vacation nannies, and baby gear rentals
If you need help finding a qualified babysitter or vacation nanny in Maui, be sure to see the directory of Hotel Babysitter and Vacation Nanny Agencies at TravelswithBaby.com.
For baby gear rentals in Maui, see the Hawaii Baby Gear Rental Agencies in the Worldwide Directory of Baby Gear Rentals.
Enjoying your mornings in Maui’s east
There’s no question that those overnighting at Travaasa have significant lead time over all the day-trippers in reaching the most beautiful and popular sites on Maui’s east shore.
Take full advantage by using your mornings to visit the east Maui attractions that make the journey so worthwhile. Then relax and spend your afternoons and evenings enjoying Travaasa Hana.
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