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Sneak Peek: Travaasa Hāna restoration

It’s no doubt the road to Hana can be a long one, but you might be surprised to find it’s common for kama’aina to make the journey to spend a weekend getaway in one of the most isolated places on the island. Built in 1946, Hotel Hana has long been a vacation destination for visitors and locals alike. In 2011, the hotel opened to the public with a new name, Travaasa Hana, and a new experiential, all-inclusive, rejuvenated direction was born. Earlier this year, the resort began a $12-million property restoration and room renovation. With much of the major construction complete and the majority of the work expected to be finished next spring, minor construction and remodeling continues and I got a sneak peek of the changes.

Minor signs of construction still exist with some of the pathways a bit worn and black barriers in place near the oceanfront.

Four years after new ownership took over, the resort now welcomes a new General Manager, David MacIlwraith, formerly from the Volcano House on Hawaii Island, has been on property for six months. He also brought the food and beverage management and operations back in-house by bringing in his friend and former co-worker Chef Jay Johnson (who was also the Executive Chef at the Volcano House) and Sharon Jahns formerly of Sam Choy’s and Joe’s in Wailea, as the new Food & Beverage Director of the resort. I will have more on the new chef and refreshed menu offerings in my next post.

Nearly all rooms are restored and new furniture, art and bathroom amenities added.
Nearly all rooms are restored and new furniture, art and bathroom amenities added.

With $170,000 invested in each renovation, the “room refresh” includes all bungalows, suites and guest rooms. “We are touching all 70 guest rooms inside and out. All new furniture, all new drapes, refreshing the rooms and brightening them up,” MacIlwraith said. Outdoor lanais have also been restored and new chaise lounges added and sliding glass doors put in. The interior includes new artwork, custom-made furnishings, organic linens and eco-friendly bath accessories. The construction work is thanks to East Maui construction workers and Maui-based laborers.

The hotel staff are charming, hospitable and many are third generation employees.

Once you enter you feel the warm Hana welcome, soft breezes and tropical elegance that is Hawaii. The room itself is very impressive, the oceanfront views are captivating and all the amenities of the bungalow are at your fingertips. The only constructive criticism I have is the organic linens are a bit rough on the skin, but that soft touch should come in time. The lanai also serves as a great sun deck with a private tanning area and comfy lounge bed to sit and relax. The WiFi comes in handy as this resort does not have any televisions, so bring your iPad, laptop or do something crazy like read a book or an actual magazine.


Overall, the resort appears fairly empty, surprisingly occupancy was near capacity but you don’t really see much of the guests on property. My hunch is most spend their days adventuring in and around Hana, instead of hanging out on the hotel grounds. Which gives Travaasa Hana an intimate relaxing feel. Some changes to the hotel policy include allowing children on the sea bungalow side of the grounds, which includes an infinity pool and jacuzzi. This portion of the resort was once limited to adults only. That has now changed and it’s invigorating to see a few young families enjoying their time together in the pool. I chatted with several guests staying the weekend and the majority of them were visiting from “the other side” of the island capitalizing on the kama’aina 20% off discount on rooms and food & beverage.

Promotional Considerations:
Inter-Island Travel for Olena is brought to you by Island Air.
Travel Accommodations provided by Maui Coast Hotel.



About Olena Heu

Olena is Executive Editor, Food & Lifestyle at MAUIWatch. The founder of Olena Heu Communications, a social media, digital marketing, consulting and freelance writing company, Olena holds a BA and MA in Communication and Speech from Hawaii Pacific University. An adjunct professor, lecturer and motivational speaker Olena is also an award winning journalist, writer, photographer and avid traveler.

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