After our excitement at the Andaz, Haleakala and other activities we embarked on our journey on the Piilani Highway or the “Back Road to Hana.” Since the journey to/from Hana is a destination itself we navigated it using the “Shaka” audio guide on our phones. It worked well and we were able to pick up all of the overlooks, waterfalls and lava tubes that we desired to see.
To get to our stay at the Hana-Maui we decided to take the Piilani Highway or the “Back Road” to Hana. We started off the journey from Haleakala with a stop at Maui Wine. The road itself wasn’t as difficult as rumored. There were many single lanes, blind corners/hills and random livestock but nothing terribly treacherous Best word I would use to describe it is “sketchy.” Very beautiful but also barren landscapes on this dry side of the mountain. It’s sparsely inhabited by independent people who value living off the grid. At times it felt like “Deliverance” meets “Castaway.” As we got closer to Hana and the wet side of the island we did encounter a couple of waterfall pools to swim in.
Pools of ‘Ohe’o
Coming via the back way we came across the “Seven Sacred Pools” before reaching Hana. They were somewhat disappointing since the water level was low and due to COVID swimming was still not allowed. Still a neat sight and admission was covered by the Haleakala NP passes we purchased at the summit earlier that day.
Once we reached Hana, accommodations were at the Hana-Maui Resort for 2 nights @ 30k Hyatt points/night. No trip to Maui is complete without a trip on the famed “Road to Hana.” Normally this journey to and from is undertaken in one very long 10-12 hour day. We weren’t too enthusiastic about making this journey there and back in one shot so in our initial planning stages we were excited to learn about the Hotel Travassa located in Hana and considered a cash stay there. In late 2020 I was even more excited to learn that this resort was purchased by Hyatt and rebranded the Hana-Maui. Without haste as soon as award space became available late last year, I booked 2 nights in a standard room.
The Hana-Maui is a sprawling resort that takes up most of the town of Hana. It is an excellent place to stop and break up the Road to/from Hana journey. Thanks to a Globalist upgrade we were put in an Ocean View Bungalow. Nowhere on the property has A/C but it’s not a problem with fans and strong ocean breezes.
There was a picturesque “infinity pool” right outside the bungalow that had drink service and nice lawn chairs overlooking the ocean.
The bungalow side of the resort was much more picturesque and private than the part with the standard rooms. The lawn chairs offered a fabulous place to sit and relax with a bottle of Maui Wine while enjoying the ocean views.
The less scenic side of the resort did however have a great open air gym with Pelotons setup next to the second pool.
There were really only two places to speak of to eat. A handful of food trucks right in downtown Hana which had lots of fresh fish, Thai and other local fare.
The Ranch Restaurant was the second option which served lunch and dinner in addition to a hearty breakfast which was covered as a Globalist benefit.
Sunrise at Fagan’s Cross
Located directly across from Hana-Maui Resort it was a ½ mile hike to top of the hill for great views of Hana and the sunrise over the ocean. This was our consolation for missing out on the sunrise at the Haleakala Summit.
Waiʻānapanapa State Park
With our stop in Hana we were able to explore local sites at a more leisurely pace. We reserved tickets a few weeks in advance to the Waiʻānapanapa State Park which included the famous black sand beach along with short hikes to lava tubes and a blow hole. Not a great “laying out beach” but fun to wade into the surf at and definitely something that shouldn’t be missed.
After checking out from our leisurely two days at the Hana-Maui we took the Hana Highway to get to our final stop in Kaanapali. This traditional “Road To Hana ” in reverse was in a lot better shape than the back way. We explored a lave tube and stopped at a number of epic waterfalls including the Wailuaiki Falls which was a ½ mile hike from the road.
Next Report: Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali