Hello Friends and Family,

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Ka`anapali, Part 1

Ka`anapali is the huge planned resort community located on West Maui just north of Lahaina. In ancient times, this area was a royal retreat and playground — the beautiful white sand beach, the gentle waves (generally), the excellent weather and the verdant fields running up the slopes of the West Maui Mountains. Those aspects have not changed much except with the addition of numerous high-rise hotels and condominiums — and, oh yes, all the visitors who fill those buildings. I love the views where you can imagine what the ancient Hawai`ians saw such at this spot on the Ka`anapali Golf Course looking through the vegetation toward the island of Lana`i.

The North Course at Ka`anapali, now called "The Royal Ka`anapali Course" was opened in 1962 with the inaugural shot being played by Bing Crosby. This course is one of only two courses in Hawai`i designed by famed golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones, Sr.

The South Course is now called "The Ka`anapali Kai Course" and was added in 1976. Both courses occupy land that was once part of a sugar cane plantation. The Sugar Cane Train runs along the this tract of land and can easily been seen when you play here. Just hope they don't blow their whistle in the middle of your backswing.

This view, at the lower holes on the Royal Course, shows the tops of the high-rises that I mentioned above. They used to hold a Senior PGA Tournament here and it often seemed to coincide with my Maui trips. One year, I watched one day of competition then signed up to play this course immediately after the pros finished — thinking that it would be in PGA shape, offering a rare opportunity to play on a course the way the pros experience it.

I have to tell you that the course was in terrible shape. The bunkers did not have much sand and the greens were infested with an invasive grass. I was quite disappointed. And I suspect the Senior Pros probably voiced their complaints in loud and no-uncertain terms. The next year, that tournament moved to Turtle Bay on Oahu. A coincidence? I think not.

My first visit to Maui was to Ka`anapali Beach, staying at the modest and historic Ka`anapali Beach Hotel — "Hawai`i's most Hawai`ian hotel". Since it was my first trip, the accommodations were suggested by my travel agent who had also never visited the islands (I was living in Minnesota at the time) and she just picked it out of a brochure.

There was a lot of construction going on at the time — the Whaler Condominium was just being built and the Hyatt Regency had just been completed. But it was the Hyatt that caught my eye — I had never seen such an opulent hotel in all my life! This and the next few photos will help explain my initial reaction.

Not only were the grounds impressively landscaped but they were populated with exotic birds such as this pink flamingo. Ah, a face only a mother would love. Look at that eye — is it a space alien? Or Photoshop? Or Mother Nature?

And we all know the story of the ugly duckling. But have you ever seen a black swan?

Not only does the Hyatt feature beautiful landscaping but incorporates hardscaping such as this waterfall. The hotel also features one of the first large meandering swimming pools in the islands. It even includes a swim-up bar — where you can purchase your beverage of choice without ever getting out of the pool.

The entire hotel, inside and out, also displays a vast array of Asian art. Here a decorative stone lantern overlooks a small stream.

Need I say more about the landscaping? Magnificent!

This is one of my favorite spots on the property — Swan Court. Fine dining in a setting overlooking a placid pool where swans congregate with the ocean beyond (behind us from this vantage point). I have had many a wonderful meal at this location but one has a special meaning. This is where Kona and I had our wedding dinner after being married overlooking the ocean at Napili Shores. My parents and "baby" sister as well as Kona's adult daughter were in attendance — a wonderful memory for all of us.

This shows the interior of the Hyatt Regency. As you can see, the main part of the hotel was built as an atrium with the center open to the sky. When it was new, there was a huge tree which has since fallen and allowed to remain where it fell. Other trees and plants still adorn the interior.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com