As the season cools the gays head west to warmer climates of Hawaii. The island of Maui is one of the most diverse and whether your looking for action, traveling with your kids, or just looking to drop out for awhile, there is is something for everyone. Here are four very different but equally fabulous ways to enjoy this beautiful destination:
A place for gay families at Kaanapali Beach
For those who have tykes traveling with you, Kaanapali beach is a great right fit. The hotels on this strip of beaches are packed with kids and most feature some kind of day care service, and same-sex parents are definitely in this comfortable mix.
In the 1980s most of the hotels converted pools into mini water parks complete with multi-story slides, lagoons and other kid friendly areas. These are fun for big kids as well, though you might look a bit ridiculous hanging in the 5-year-old crowd. The beaches are actually some of the best on the island but every inch is jammed so get there early.
The hotels in this area are reasonably priced and while the kids are in their play group, dads and moms can enjoy a romantic Luau, one of the best of which being found at The Westin, where you can watch scantily clad Hawaiian men in grass skirts get oiled up, climb on each others backs, and juggle fire.
Located on the Eastern shore of the Island, the Maui town of Hana is accessible only after a two-hour drive along a twisting, turning one-lane road that skirts the cliff edge of the Island. Once you arrive you will find one of the most remote locations on any of the islands–just a gas station, a couple of locals running restaurants out of their homes, and the town’s only hotel, The Travaasa Hana. Recently purchased by the Travaasa Hotel Group, the hotel just reopened under its new name, but little has changed. The hotel still features ocean view cottages, a couple of which include hot tubs on your private lanai. And a world class spa. They have changed from a la carte to all inclusive though, so for around $650 you get three meals, a spa treatment a day, and lodging.
Try the Lomilomi massage which is based on the hula and meant to evoke the movement of the waves. With civil unions starting January 1 in Hawaii, Hana is a great place for a honeymoon, and the hotel has as many activities as a cruise, or you can just sleep out on your lanai and listen to the numerous daily rainshowers.
Gay Specific in Kihei
Everyone I saw on Grinder seemed to be staying on the south shores of the Island in the town of Kihei, so that tells you something. It is home to one of Hawaii’s only gay resorts the Maui Sunseeker Hotel. Located in the “hippie” district the Sunseeker is like a page out of an Armistead Maupin novel and is perfect for travelers who want to patronize gay businesses and to be around travelers with similar interests.
If you are used to the W Hotel, the Sunseeker, with its mismatched rooms and sun worn lounge chairs, is going to be roughing it, but they are currently undergoing renovations and will soon be offering up refurbished rooms with new windows to cushy new beds. Still the place will not lose the subtle, old-school charm of its older clientele, clothing optional sun deck and hot tub, and little pots of herbs placed near the communal barbeques. With some of the most affordable rooms on the island, the price seriously can’t be beat, and the hotel is located next to Little Beach, Maui’s world famous nude beach.
Luxury in Wailea
Wailea is the Beverly Hills of Maui and its hotel attract a well-healed clientele. With hotels like The Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons, cute preppy guys litter the beaches and good food and good shopping abound. The still relatively unknown gem of this area though is the Wailea Beach Villas. This collection of multi-million dollar condos offers rentals by the night or week to those looking for something more upscale.
Marble featured bathrooms, soaking tubs, granite kitchens with multiple sub zero refrigerators are standard, though you are at the mercy of each units owner’s decor—mine had some terrible silk flowers and Pier One lampshades.
The resort has no restaurant so unlike other hotels tourists don’t come in off the street which is a plus if you are looking for privacy or you don’t want anyone to see who you are with. My favorite feature, though, was the children-only black bottom pool which meant I didn’t have to be around anyone’s screaming little brats. The Villas offer all the autonomy of condo rental with all the amenities of a hotel: room service is available via the restaurants in the adjoining Shops at Wailea, and the hotel’s concierge.