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Kapalua Bay Resort: Casual Elegance in Hawaii

By Lottie Tagupa, Contributor

You've probably already had a few glimpses of this resort as a backdrop to one of those famous Tiger Wood tee shots. Beautiful and picturesque, Kapalua is a destination for golfers that delivers casual elegance, three white sand beaches, a selection of luxurious accommodations, a variety of cultural and recreational activities, sunny days, and warm romantic tropical nights. Best of all, it delivers golf, lots of golf, in a way like no one else in Hawaii can.

Kapalua was opened in 1975 on 1,650 acres on the northwest coast of Maui just 10 miles past Lahaina. The resort is amidst of a 23,000-acre working pineapple plantation owned by Maui Land and Pine. Historic sites still exist at the resort, including an ancient Hawaiian preservation site, country preschool, and plantation homes.

There are two airports that service the Kapalua area. Maui's largest airport, Kahului, is a 50 minute drive along a scenic two lane coastal freeway. While Kahului offers a wide range of international, domestic, charter, and inter-island service, the much closer Kapalua or West Maui Airport is located just five minutes away.

Kapalua Airport's air service is limited to daylight hours only. Commuter flights are currently operated exclusively by Island Air. The airport is free of crowds and traffic, with unobstructed views of the islands of Lana'i and Moloka'i. Complimentary shuttle service is offered from the airport to various locations throughout the resort.

Accommodations at the resort are all decidedly luxurious. Ranging from the opulence of the 548 rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, to the recently renovated Kapalua Bay Hotel with 194 rooms. In addition, for larger groups, families, and privacy, the Kapalua Villas offers 280 villas and luxury homes for rent.

There are a wide variety of activities to enjoy. Three white sand beaches, 20 tennis courts, exercise and fitness facilities including a full service spa at The Ritz-Carlton.

Ocean activities include snorkeling, scuba, kayaks, boogie boarding, sunset sails, wind-surfing and deep-sea fishing. Also available at the resort are miles of scenic jogging, walking, and mountain hiking trails.

For those in search of more artistic and cultural recreation, the Kapalua Art School offers a selection of classes for resort guests. Classes include pottery, painting, yoga, and dance. The Kapalua Discovery Center exhibits ancient artifacts and historic memorabilia, and tours of the surrounding pineapple plantation is also available.

If all of this is just not enough, the whaling town of Lahaina is just a short drive away. Lahaina is small, quaint and historic, one can wander through the shops, museums and enjoy any one of many fine or informal restaurants. At night bars, luaus, and shows are all a part of the evening excitement.

Then there's golf. Lots of golf. This is golf that golfers dream of. There are no less than 54 holes of award-winning golf at Kapalua. The Plantation, The Bay, and The Village Courses are all certified by the Audubon International as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries for protecting the environment and conserving the island resources.

The Plantation Course is a par 73, 7,263-yard championship course. Built on a scale larger than life, it is the pride of Kapalua with vistas and natural elements that incorporate natural elements of the landscape and surrounding pineapple plantation fields. It is also the site of the PGA Mercedes Championships each January.

The Bay Course was the first of the resort's courses. This 6,600-yard par 72 course is a series of gentle sloping fairways and spacious greens. Designed by Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane over 20 years ago, it is still one of the finest in Hawaii.

The #5 hole is the signature hole, a hole that all other Hawaii courses have come to emulate. This hole requires a tee shot over crashing waves and over the ocean and sand trap that is positioned just before the green.

The Village Course is the most variable of the three in it's layout. Primarily an upland course with steeper grades, it meanders through stands of Norfolk and Cook Island Pines. There are majestic views of the blue ocean and beyond, the neighboring islands of Lana`i and Moloka`i. It is a par 71 6,632-yard course also of Arnold Palmer design and is the newest of the three courses.

But there's more. The newest addition to the resort's menu of golf goodies is the new Kapalua Golf Academy. The 23-acre facility opened in March of 2000.

Located at the entrance to the resort, this facility is by far Hawaii's most advanced and complete golf academy and practice facility. The facility consists of a learning center surrounded by a facility specifically designed to fine tune and improve every aspect of your game. There is a large teeing area, practice putting greens, bunkers, 18-hole putting course, target greens, short game area, tee boxes, indoor hitting bay, and more.

For instruction, Kapalua's staff of PGA golf professionals are available with your choice of private lessons or daily clinics. Group instruction is offered as a wide variety of clinics that range from the beginning golfer to a nine-hole ProAm scramble. These clinics are two hours in length and reasonably priced at $50 per person. There are also one hour clinics scheduled during the week for $25 per person.

For those interested in more detailed instruction, there is a selection of golf sessions that range anywhere from half a day to 3 days that cost from $245 to $795 per person. Each session includes continental breakfast, lunch, instruction manual, workbook, and digital video analysis. What golfer could want for more?

Plan on a visit of at least a week or longer, if possible. Because there is so much to discover and enjoy here, a short stay is not recommended. This resort is Hawaii's finest example of what a golfing resort can be. It integrates many different elements and aspects that make Kapalua a truly historical, luxurious, enjoyable, and recreational experience.

Kapalua Bay Resort

800 Kapalua Drive
Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii 96761
800-KAPALUA (1-800-527-2582)
(808) 669-0244

Lottie Tagupa, Contributor


 
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Dates: January 5, 2014 - December 20, 2014
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