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Westin Maui Prince at Makena: Golf Like Royalty in Hawaii

By Lottie Tagupa, Contributor

MAUI - If you like your Maui golf along with sun, sand, surf, relaxation, and privacy, the Westin Maui Prince will live up to all your expectations. The Maui Prince is no newcomer to the Maui resort scene. The Maui Prince was the first in what has now proven to be the quieter and sunnier side of the island.

Built in 1986 during a period when resort development was focused on the Kaanapali and Kapalua areas at West Maui, it has been well cared for and maintained over the years. Today it employs a staff of over 400 and has all the amenities and services one would expect from a fine Hawaii resort.

The resort is at the very end of the road well past the newer, glitzier resorts at Wailea. The 25-minute drive from Kahului Airport is an excellent introduction to the island. Once past the central commercial and industrial center of Kahului, the two lane highway breaks free from the traffic lights and busy intersections and quickly slices through sugar cane fields through which, there are glimpses of the neighboring islands of Kahoolawe, Molokini, and Lanai.

The road continues through residential areas and schools - actual evidence that real lives are lived in this expanse of sun, soil, and sea. Freeway signs indicate that the small seaside town of Kihei is close at hand. Just a few easy minutes from Makena, Kihei is the commercial center of Maui's south shore. It offers everything from fine restaurants, supermarkets,public parks, and playgrounds. Kihei also offers a wide selection of moderately priced hotel and condominium accommodations.

The slopes of Haleakala dominate the "mauka" or inland side of the island as the freeway continues onward and eastward. It's a rare day that the entire summit of the now dormant volcano is visible. Haleakala is known in local legends to be the "House of the Sun" and is a popular spot to experience the sunrise up and over this massive volcanic crater.

The vegetation along the roadway is dry, arid, and typical of the leeward side of all the Hawaiian Islands. Such vegetation is a promise that sunny and warm weather is no stranger to this part of the island. After a few more miles, the freeway begins narrowing gently, then comes to an abrupt end at the entrance to the Wailea resort. The transition is even more noticeable by the appearance of wide tree shaded thoroughfares and the generous landscaping along the resorts median strips.

Wailea resort includes several large resort complexes, white sand beaches, private homes, and condominiums. The resorts are luxurious and distinctly upscale. The finest of which quickly appear after a turn onto the main thoroughfare called Wailea Ala Nui. Renaissance, Four Seasons, Grand Wailea, Kealani, Outrigger, and several other luxury beachfront condominium complexes are carefully positioned along the oceanfront to take full advantage of the spectacular views for which Maui is famous.

But, the Westin Maui Prince is yet to appear. The roadway continues and begins to narrow as the Wailea resort is left behind. But, just when it seems that the dry arid landscape is quickly closing in, the warm, welcoming entrance to the resort appears ahead on the right. The entrance is well shaded by several mature monkey pod trees. The parking lot is shady, and the mood is cool and calm. The peacefulness of the area is accentuated by the occasional calls of wild native birds and the sound of crashing waves in the distance.

The open-aired lobby is simple and elegant with balconies that look over the one acre inner courtyard, atrium koi pond, and waterfall. The atmosphere is one that whispers, rather than shouts relaxation.

The Westin Maui Prince and the Makena Resort encompass over 1,800 pristine acres of prime oceanfront property fronting one of Hawaii's largest and most secluded beaches. If the quiet atmosphere and secluded location aren't enough to enjoy, the resort has a long list of complimentary facilities to use including an exercise room, library, whirlpool, croquet lawn, six-station fitness trail, ping pong, volleyball, shuffleboard, badminton, and hammocks.

There are also several jogging and walking paths ranging from just over a mile to over two miles in length. The sun and scenery along these paths will easily keep most motivated.

Any visitor to the Maui Prince must make time to take a catamaran sail to the island of Molokini. A protected fish sanctuary, it is a popular spot for snorkeling and other water activities. Teaming with the most colorful of tropical fish, it is an experience that will be the highlight of any trip.

Golf is the main attraction at the resort. There are two courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and a host of other services for the beginning to advanced golfer to experience. The older South Course is a 6,739-yard, par 72 course with natural kiawe tree lined fairways, well manicured greens, and outstanding ocean and mountain views.

The par-5 number ten, which sits at the base of the ancient Puu Olai cinder cone, has been rated one of Hawaii's driving holes. It's long 502 yards allows golfers to get the most out of their woods.

The par 4 number 16 is the highlight of this course and reminiscent of number 17 at the Cypress Point Golf Club at Pebble Beach, California. A gentle sloping two tiered green is visible across the dune-swept ravine that is bordered along its entire length by the blue Pacific.

The North Course was finished in 1993. Hidden cart paths and fantastic views of the ocean and the islands of Molokini and Kahoolawe complete the feeling of seclusion and serenity. Playing this course during the winter months may bring a peek or two of breeching humpback whales frolicking in ocean waters nearby.

Overall, Westin Maui Prince is neither glitzy or gaudy. It's quiet, secluded, serene, and elegant a peaceful way. It's location and facilities are ideal for the relaxation, recreation, and the rejuvenation of the soul. It's a place far from the crowds that celebrates the importance simplicity and harmony of life.

Westin Maui Prince at Makena

5415 Makena Alanui Makena
Maui, HI 96753
Fax 808.879.8530
Web: www.makenagolf.com

Lottie Tagupa, Contributor

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