Travaasa Hana – Where to Go to Unplug and Reconnect

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Travaasa Hana is not your typical luxury resort. It's better. If your life seems overwhelming and you need time to think and stare at the ocean, Travaasa is for you. This hotel in the sleepy town of Hana, Maui is where to go to unplug from technology and stress to connect instead with people, nature and the spirit of Hawaii.

Travaasa Hana view

The view from my lanai at Travaasa Hana

Unplug

There are no televisions, WiFi, or air conditioning in the rooms at Travaasa Hana, and this is on purpose. When I realized my hotel room had none of these things, a bit of panic washed over me. But the absence of these modern conveniences forced me to live in the moment and take notice of the beauty of the moon shining in the sky and the smell of fresh, clean air tinted with a hint of tropical blooms.

With the breeze flowing through the screen doors on either side of my Sea Ranch cottage, air conditioning was not necessary. I fell asleep to the sound of waves and felt very much a part of nature and Hana. If you must, there is a television and complimentary guest WiFi in a common room off the lobby.

Mahalo to Travaasa Hana

Mahalo to Travaasa Hana

Meditation at Travaasa Hana

To ease into the slow pace of Hana, I recommend attending a meditation session at Travaasa. After a relaxing guided meditation, my auburn-haired 20-something instructor, Ruth, told me she wasn't originally from Hana. I asked Ruth what she does for fun as a single gal in this sleepy town. She said, “I'm from a small town so I knew what I was getting myself into. If I want to have an improv class, I need to organize it. If I want to have smoothies, I need to invite my friends over for smoothies. I can't expect to find a smoothie bar here. But I chose this place. This is where I want to be.”

Throw net fishing in Hana

Throw net fishing in Hana

Throw net fishing lesson

I had never considered net fishing before in my life so when Travaasa's concierge suggested I attend the complimentary Throw Net Fishing class, I was all, “Really?!” She assured me that this is one of the coolest activities available, so despite my doubts, I signed up.

Later in the day, I met with my throw net fishing guide, Andrew. He has been fishing since he was 8 years old and knows all there is to know about this traditional Hawaiian method of holoholo (fishing). First of all, you should never eat bananas or whistle when fishing…it's bad luck. Don't ask someone with a net or rod if they're going fishing either, unless you want to spoil their chances of landing a big fish.

You might think net fishing consists of simply throwing a net in the water. You would be wrong, oh so very wrong. It's a multi-step process of holding the net properly with one hand, looping it over your shoulder, gathering up the filament over your knee, and tossing the net with the right arc over the water at just the right moment for your best chances of snaring an aholehole (silver perch) or, better yet, a moi—a shark-like delicacy with eyes that glow at night, which was once reserved only for Hawaiian royalty. I caught a mullet that Andrew estimated was over a half pound in weight, but it slipped away before my trusty teacher was able to snare it. He caught a baby kupipi (damsel fish), but let it go because it was too small.

Throw net fishing in Hana

Andrew demonstrating how to prepare a net for fishing success

Andrew is also a Hawaii and nature aficianado. He will share with you knowledge that goes way beyond fishing. He told stories about his boyhood, when he and his friends used to fashion mini sail boats and nature-made squirt guns from beautiful orange African tulips. He told stories about Menehune, Hawaiian mythic creatures who like to play tricks. He told me about canoe plants, like the Kukui nut that can burn like a candle, which was brought from Marquesan ancestors in 700 AD.

During my solo lesson, Andrew's aunty and uncle, who were sitting nearby in their pick-up truck, brought us two cans of passion fruit juice. (Aunty and uncle are terms of respect and familiarity among Hawaiian friends; these two, however, are actually Andrew's blood relatives.) I asked Andrew why his aunty and uncle were at the beach that day. “Oh they just come here to sit and look at the view and talk story and stay away from the TV.” That's how it is in Hana.

Horseback riding in Hana

Horseback riding in Hana with my trusty guide, Jolyn

Horseback riding

If you are ever lucky enough to visit Travaasa, I hope you will sign up for a horseback trail ride in Hana. It is a peaceful, beautiful experience you won't ever forget. With all of the wonderful things I experienced my Hana trail ride with my guide, Jolyn, stands out as the most meaningful. There's something about connecting with an animal, and a horse in particular, that forces me to live in the present moment and be my true self.

Angela, a Hana transplant from Venezuela, manning her Shaka Pops handmade popsicle stand in "downtown" Hana

Angela, a Hana transplant from Venezuela, manning her Shaka Pops handmade popsicle stand in “downtown” Hana

Exploring “downtown” Hana

If you're looking for nightlife and dining options aplenty, Hana is not for you. Hana is where you come to slow down, way down. There are but a small handful of restaurants in town including Hana Ranch Restaurant up the hill from Travaasa Hana and Ka'Uiki Dining Room at the resort. One night I had dinner with Travaasa Hana's marketing manager, Hubert, who recently moved to Hana from fast-paced Atlanta with his wife and children. He said, “I moved to the middle of nowhere where no one cares about anything but love.”

You'll find two mini-grocery stores in town that offer expensive necessities like milk (at nearly $10 per gallon) and goodies (banana chocolate candy bar, anyone?). You'll also find a florist peddling Hawaii's finest flowers, a post office with very limited hours, and a couple of gift shops.

Be sure to get a homemade popsicle from the bright green Shaka Pops tricycle cart parked outside the Hasegawa General story. Choose from flavors like Lava Flow, Coconut Lime, Pineapple Ginger, Passion Orange Guava, and Maui Mocha.

When venturing into town at night, bring a flash light (supplied by the hotel) because street lights aren't abundant. If you want to party down like a local, the entire town heads to the high school to watch the big game on Friday nights during football season.

Sea Ranch cottage infinity pool at Travaasa Hana

Sea Ranch cottage infinity pool at Travaasa Hana

Why Travaasa Hana

I could tell you about the infinity pool at Travaasa Hana (it's incredible), or how you're welcomed with a glass of tropical juice, kukui nut lei, and cold cloth to freshen up after a long drive on the Road to Hana. I could tell you about the gorgeous fresh-cut flowers in my room and the private hot tub on my lanai. But Hana is about so much more than luxurious accommodations fabulous hotel amenities (although Travaasa boasts plenty of both).

Sea Ranch cottage at Travaasa Hana

Sea Ranch cottage at Travaasa Hana

On my last night in town, I caught a ride back to my room aboard a Travaasa golf cart driven by Hana native, Patrick. He said, “Want to know my philosophy on life? I got three things: love, honesty, and respect. I treat you the same way I want to be treated. I don't care what color you are or where you come from. I treat everyone with love.” That's what Travaasa Hana on Maui is all about.

Have you ever been to Hana? Did you like the slow pace or did you crave more action? Let us know in the comments below! 

A Note from The Travel Mama: I received complimentary accommodations at Travaasa Hana as part of a press trip. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. Thanks, Colleen. This truly “brought me back.” I am visiting Travaasa Hana for a three-night stay next month and am so very excited to return. I cannot wait to see all my friends there. Along with the Island of Molokaʻi, it is where I love to go (and quite frankly need to go as often as possible) to truly unwind, disconnect and reconnect. Mahalo to you!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Kelii – I am so envious that you can visit Hana and Molokai so easily. I need to figure out how to find that kind of peace somewhere closer to home…if that’s possible! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  2. Ellen Lanin says:

    This story made me feel relaxed. The people of Hana would be the best part of my stay.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      The people of Hana were the best part of my stay! And that’s saying a lot, given the incredible scenery and accommodations!

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