The Plantation Inn on Maui is a tranquil oasis two blocks from the ocean in the center of Lahaina – a historic whaling town, and the original capital of Hawaii. Opened in 1973, the inn is now owned by Sir Run Run Shaw, a 100-year-old Hong Kong movie mogul and philanthropist.
Built in turn-of-the-century style, the inn’s nineteen rooms each include a private bath, antique furnishings, hardwood floors, stained glass and brass or canopy beds. Most of the soundproof rooms have a private Lanai (veranda), some of which overlook the inviting tiled pool and jacuzzi. If you’re looking for quiet and low-key surroundings, the inn will feel like your home away from home.
The Plantation Inn is also home to the award-winning Gerard’s Restaurant, where guests of the inn get a special discount. The four-star restaurant is the only restaurant in all of Hawaii that is owned by a French chef, and Chef Gerard can be seen chatting with guests nightly in his romantic candle-lit restaurant and veranda.
Classic French cuisine is incorporated with fresh products from Maui for innovative creations, such as roasted Hawaiian snapper cooked with star anise, and caramelized pork tenderloin with roasted bananas. Traditional island ingredients such as taro root, mango, green onion and gooseberry have become staples in Gerard’s kitchen, and the resulting recipes are exceptional. For example, his out-of-this-world gelato is infused with cassis, mango and raspberry.
A daily breakfast, served poolside, is included in your stay. Start with coffee and chilled pineapple and strawberries, then dig into French toast, or keep it light with yogurt, granola and fruit.
Things to Do
Although the grounds are quiet, the inn is only a few steps from Front Street, Maui’s main shopping hub. Restaurants, surf shops, and galleries featuring studio art glass and oils by established Maui artists line each side of the street, where locals and tourists gather to watch unsurpassable sunsets. In the shade of the sprawling and famous Banyan Tree, which was planted in 1873 by the sheriff of Maui, local Hawaiian artists and crafters display their wares (weekends only). Another popular historic site is the Old Lahaina Courthouse, which was the original seat of justice for the kingdom of Hawaii.
Try not to be too tempted by the touristy restaurants on Front Street, on a whole the service is rushed and the food is mediocre. Treat yourself to Mama’s Fish House on the north shore of Maui. You’ll be dining on authentic Polynesian food in the ocean breeze.
The inn’s sister property, the Ka’anapali Beach Resort, is located on the beach three miles away. Guests of the inn are invited to use the resort’s pool and beach.