Elements that are unique to a locale help most travellers remember where in the world they have been. In south-west Scotland, the luxury Turnberry golf resort has a lone piper, kilt and all, who parades outside the long building at six every evening. Here in Hawaii, at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, a guy in traditional attire, namely head wreath and grass skirt, leaps around at sundown, bearing a flaming torch that he uses to light decorative flares set around the gorgeous gardens of the beach-set estate. From time to time, as in the photograph, he blows hard into a large conch style. The gal was amazed at the noise resonating far and wide.
This is a resort that, like many others, comes to life as the sun goes down. Day-long, you wonder where all those staying in the 380 bedrooms, which are all suites, are. Some spend the entire day lounging around pools, others are working out in the open-air 24/7 gym, or playing pool in the adjacent games room. As flares and candles are lit, however, groups head for the lobby bar, which has live music. There honestly is not a spare sitting space to be had by about 6.30 pm. I suppose people do tend to congregate in places that are popular with others – who wants to miss out on the fun?
Two 24/7 residents, by the way, appear to have a lot of fun. Ricky, the green parrot, and Lucy, the red parrot, are in one gigantic cage at the bottom of steps leading from the aforementioned lobby lounge down to the gardens. They have lots of brightly-coloured toys that look like, and probably are, the same kind of quasi-educational hanging things that yummy mummies put handy for their toddlers, who are to be seen around here the whole time. This is an ideal hotel for children of all ages – see the lovely cartoon booklet, Howie Goes To Maui, by television writer Danny Zuker, with humorous illustrations by John Gregg (it was put together by the hotel’s own Mark Simon, whose own kids are actually teenagers).
Like nearly all Four Seasons, there is a Kids For All Seasons club, so yummy mummy, probably wearing the 2014 de rigour Maui-resort gear of panama hat and horizontally-striped ankle-length skinny T-shirt, can drop little Felix or Felicity off before heading for the spa, or sunbathing, or a walk along that marvellous coastal path that stretches from the Fairmont, immediately to the south of Four Seasons, north as far as the Andaz. For those using the kids club, by the way, staying in the hotel’s North Tower is definitely an advantage as the elevator takes you straight down to it, and to the gym, games room and spa.
At breakfast, too, the kids’ corner is delightful. I heard kids-gone adults of retirement age cooing at it, just as they might have done when looking at Ricky and Lucy. Kids have special things at this Duo breakfast, but so do healthy adults. At dinner last night I had eaten really authentic Italian fare in the most-enjoyable outdoor Ferraro restaurant – Italian waiter, live music. Now, at breakfast, I especially admired the choose-your-own-smoothie bar. Go for kale and spinach, or whatever, and the smoothie specialist blends it specially. Stick with coffee, and you get a big thermal pot, esconsed in a padded fabric cosy.
Michael Dell owns this place, and he has invested in two significant sculptures, shown on the back of room keycards. As I left this luxury hotel, I passed the originals. Jun Kaneko’s 2007 pieces, both 50 inches high, glazed ceramic, are stylised heads. On my left, as I exit, is yellow and silver striped head. On my right is a blue and silver striped head. Another memory for the Girlahead scrapbook…