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Lahaina Shores

Maui, Hawaii

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Situated halfway up the western flank of the Hawaiian island of Maui, Lahaina is a comfortable, established place, which originally grew to prosperity not on the back of tourism but because of the rich local plantations which grew – among other fruits – pineapple for the huge US market. These days most of the plantation buildings have been demolished, sold off as luxury dwellings, or – as in the case of the Lahaina Shores Beach Resort – converted into hotels.

The Lahaina Shores is, it proudly boasts, the only beachfront resort in Lahaina. It’s pretty hard to argue with that, as the building is literally right on the beach. It’s a huge old place which still looks like the colonial mansion it once was. Its stuccoed walls, cool corridors and exterior colonnades make it look more like a Latin American monastery than a vacation resort. But a resort is what it most emphatically is – and it’s one of the best-value resorts in Hawaii, at that.

The range of accommodation on offer at the Lahaina Shores is impressive to say the least. All of the hotel’s rooms are excellent, and even the budget accommodation on offer is of a very high quality. However, once you move above the hundred dollars per night line and beyond, you have a great range of options to choose from. As well as the spacious standard rooms – which come with excellent amenities, furniture and king and queen-sized beds – there are a number of studios and rooftop penthouse suites. These feature one or two bedrooms plus a dining area and a kitchenette which contains a microwave and a coffee-maker. Outside the main hotel building itself there are bungalows and condos on offer that allow families and other large groups the best in quality and flexibility during their vacation. All accommodation features color TV and excellent views of the deep blue Pacific Ocean, or, alternatively, of Maui’s spectacular island.

One of the other great things about the Lahaina Shores Resort is its central location in Lahaina town. On one side, the hotel faces out to sea; on the other it overlooks Front Street, the town’s main thoroughfare. Lahaina may not be a particularly busy town today by the standards of say, Honolulu, but it once played a crucial role in the history of the islands. As capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii for several years during the first part of the nineteenth century it was the cultural and political hub of the island. Today it’s a slightly sleepier place, but there’s still plenty to see and do.

One of the most interesting sights is the nearby Whaler’s Village Museum. Hawaii was once at the center of the Pacific Ocean whaling trade, and Cap’n Ahabs from all over the Americas would set sail from here to go about their bloody business. The museum contains exhibitions and artifacts documenting the hard life of these incredibly tough mariners who would put to sea in all weathers in pursuit of their prey.

If finding out about death, suffering and destruction on the high seas isn’t really your idea of a good time, you can relax and unwind a little by strolling around the Kula Botanical Gardens. Featuring exotic flora from all over the Hawaiian Islands, this is a great place to relax and chill out.

Back at the Lahaina Shores Resort you’ll hardly find yourself short of things to do. Any activity you can think of that isn’t actually offered by the resort will most likely be available within a short distance, and you’ll find the reception staff friendly and helpful if you ask them to help you with bookings and inquiries. If you simply feel like chilling out, the Lahaina Shores has an excellent stretch of beach, as well as a large pool and a whirlpool spa. More active vacationers can choose from any number of watersports, or stroll across Front Street for a game of tennis on the local court – time can be booked through reception.

The Lahaina Shores Resort’s restaurant serves excellent food, mostly on a buffet basis. There are also a number of really good places to eat in Lahaina itself. The Pacific’O Restaurant, at 505 Front Street. The unique style of head chef James Macdonald infuses the whole atmosphere of this friendly and relaxed establishment. The menu centers around excellent local ingredients carefully and freshly prepared. In particular, Macdonald is very proud of the variety and quality of the restaurant’s seafood.

Lahaina isn’t the wildest vacation destination you could visit, but it is certainly one of the friendliest. The Lahaina Shores Resort’s location right in the center of this beautiful, relaxed town makes it a great choice for those who want to spend a well-earned break really chilling out!

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