You Can Snorkel With Turtles, Learn to Make Poke, and Pool-hop All Day at This Stunning Hawaiian Resort

With sprawling residences and one of the most coveted coastal perches on Maui, Montage Kapalua Bay made it easy for this Hawaii first-timer to feel at home.

Aerial view of Montage Kapaula Bay

Courtesy of Montage Kapaula Bay

Arriving in Hawaii for the first time, I couldn’t quite believe I was about to touch (back) down on U.S. soil as our plane approached the beautiful surroundings of Maui's Kahului Airport. We had taken a nearly six-hour flight from Los Angeles to one of Hawaii’s most popular islands, the time passing surprisingly quickly with an enthusiastic Southwest crew. Maui’s airport felt a lifetime away from LAX — there was an immediate sense of being on “island time” as soon as we entered.

Montage Kapaula Bay's Cliff House overlooking ocean

Courtesy of Montage Kapaula Bay

We had the fortune of staying at Montage Kapalua Bay, and one of the hotel’s fleet of Cadillacs was duly awaiting our arrival, ready to whisk us on the hour-long, scenic coastal drive to the property.

One of Maui’s most stunning resorts, situated in the most enviable of locations on Kapalua Bay, the Montage greets guests with a breathtaking view over its layered pools, which flow seamlessly into the bay beyond. An early morning flight meant we had arrived in time to enjoy a poolside lunch, indulging in fish tacos and washing them down with the hotel’s supercharged Mai Tai — yes, we were definitely adjusting to island time with ease. 

It’s easy to lose hours of your day exploring the hotel’s main pool area, which is dotted with jacuzzis and also includes an adults-only infinity pool with partially submerged loungers. Being a huge enthusiast of all things water, I had built up an image of Hawaii which was always going to be hard to match, but at this property, there truly is endless entertainment off of dry land. Perched on the edge of the shore, it felt only natural that every morning should begin with a snorkel adventure — usually an hour spent slowly following a family of turtles eating their breakfast before we dried off to enjoy our own selection of breakfast treats from the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Cane & Canoe. 

Montage Kapaula Bay's Cane & Canoe restaurant patio with ocean views

Courtesy of Montage Kapaula Bay

Our breakfast favorites included lobster eggs benedict and the house-made granola served out of a famous local Maui Gold pineapple. Montage Kapalua Bay delivers its guests a home-away-from-home experience, which we saw firsthand in our two-bedroom residence, equipped with everything we needed to immediately feel settled and make the most of our relatively short stay. The residence was sprawling, with two separate wings, each containing an en-suite king-size room opening onto a huge shared balcony looking out to the ocean.

Montage Kapaula Bay's spa reception

Courtesy of Montage Kapaula Bay

While I can’t personally claim to have taken advantage of the fully equipped kitchen, we did indulge in what is, for me, one of the real highlights of the Montage’s guest program: the in-house chef experience. Following a day enjoying the famous Hawaiian surf break with local instruction company Keep It Simple, we returned to our apartment to be greeted by Chef Riko Bartolome, who was in the midst of preparing a wonderful three-course dinner. I immediately spotted his perfectly prepared chocolate soufflés as he opened a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc ready to be paired with his spicy tuna ahi poke. He talked through the preparation of each delicious dish as he imparted a small part of his considerable culinary knowledge on us throughout the evening. 

By night, the Montage resort comes alive and there is no better way to walk off a considerable dinner than enjoying the hotel grounds which are lit by tens of tiki torches. For our final day, we enjoyed the hotel’s spa, an impressive complex which boasts its own pool, a state-of-the-art gym, and numerous zen treatment huts surrounded by lush forest. It wouldn’t have been a true Hawaiian escape without indulging in a traditional Lomilomi massage, which was made all the better having been preceded by a couple’s coconut milk bath in the resort’s epic stone-carved outdoor bathtub, all part of the Maui Romance spa package

Montage Kapaula Bay's spa pool rendering

Courtesy of Montage Kapaula Bay

While the property has everything a couple or family could possibly need, I would certainly recommend exploring this beautiful island further, especially when you can take one of the hotel’s new Cadillacs to drive to a local surf spot or explore the famous Road to Hana. For a Hawaii first-timer, I couldn’t have wished for a better introduction to one of the most beautiful destinations the U.S. has to offer.

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