Upcountry is completely free of resorts and different than most Maui experiences. Peace and tranquility replace mai tais and swimming pools, and the cool mountain area is a refreshing change from the sun-baked shorelines below. Most accommodations are 20 minutes from the beach, although most are also conveniently located within an hour of Haleakala Volcano. Rustic, cool, and blissfully laid-back, Upcountry is where visitors come to relax.
MakawaoBuilt in 1924 and used by a Portuguese family to raise 13 children, the five-bedroom plantation house Hale Ho‘okipa Inn (32 Pakani Pl., 808/572-6698, $138-173) has been turned into a lovely B&B within walking distance from Makawao town. While improvements are constantly made, this still has the feel of an old-fashioned country home, and the accommodating owners provide local tips and insight into everyday Maui life. Organic fruits are served from the garden, rates for the one-bedroom rooms are $138-158, and the two-bedroom suite is $173.
Half a mile down the hill from Makawao town, the Banyan Bed and Breakfast (3265 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-9021, $165-190) is an old plantation bungalow with adjoining cottages that provides laid-back accommodations in a country setting. The complex is shaded by a monkeypod and banyan, where swings hang from the wide boughs to complete the rural feel. All cottages and suites have kitchens or kitchenettes, breakfast is included, and Makawao town is a short walk away.
Down near the intersection of Hali‘imaile Road and Baldwin Avenue is the Peace of Maui (1290 Hali‘imaile Rd., 808/572-5045, $85-95 main lodge, $185 cottage) guesthouse, which is centrally located between Makawao and Pa‘ia. Peace of Maui overlooks the pineapple fields, and while the rooms aren’t extravagant, they are clean and affordably priced. Rooms in the main lodge share a kitchen and bathrooms. For your own bathroom, rent the two-bedroom cottage, which also provides access to the property Jacuzzi.
In the forest above Makawao town, you will find Aloha Cottage (808/573-8555, $199-299) down a quiet country lane off rural Olinda Road. As quiet as quiet can be, its only neighbors are the horses in the pastures beyond the distant fence. This intimate venue sits on a five-acre estate and offers panoramic views from the deck of the octagonal structure. Slink into the two-person hot tub on the cool Olinda nights, and wake each morning to the chirp of the birds as they sing from the surrounding forest. Rates vary depending on length of stay, and there is $100 cleaning fee added to the total cost.
In Lower Kula on the drive out toward Keokea, Upcountry Bed and Breakfast (4925 Lower Kula Rd., 808/878-8083, $150) has rooms in a relaxing Upcountry setting. The owner is a wealth of information on everything island-related, and locally grown Upcountry fruit is served with each morning’s breakfast. There is also free Wi-Fi, fireplaces in winter, and sweeping sunset views.
Above Highway 377 is Puluke Farms B&B (26 Wahelani Rd., 808/878-3263, firstname.lastname@example.org, $95). Attached to the main house, this one-room hideaway has great views over the isthmus. The studio has a kitchenette and full bath, and continental breakfast is included with the stay. Sunset and early-morning hours are best appreciated on the deck. Since the house is at 3,500 feet, winter nights can be refreshingly cool.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.