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Record Shots: Kapalua

A few record shots of an spot that has changed dramatically in recent years. This is the site of the old Kapalua Bay Hotel, originally built as a Rockresort (as in "Rockefeller", i.e. luxury resorts for the rich and famous). Long-time readers of LAHP may recall photos during the demolition and new construction — showing the changes over time, which is the purpose of these "record shots". Every year, walking along the new shoreline trail, I have been intrigued by the new Ritz-Carlton Residences at Kapalua — but their "No Trespassing" signs have kept me on that trail. This year, I decided to take my camera onto the grounds — if they were to kick me off, so be it. Actually, the few employees I ran into did not seem to be concerned with me and were quite friendly.

I must say, the grounds are gorgeous — but of course that is what you would expect for such luxurious residences (now available on a time-share basis too). From their website...

"It is often said, 'location is everything' – for without it, the perfect home cannot exist. Nowhere else is this more true than along the pristine shores of Kapalua Bay. No other setting is more enchanting, where white sand beaches, renowned golf and dramatic neighbor island views are made all the more perfect by the legendary luxury services of The Ritz-Carlton®."


Regarding the full ownership units, the website reads...

"The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Kapalua Bay offers 84 private ownership residences featuring elegantly appointed and luxurious three- and four-bedroom floor plans, with media room and den options, that range from 3,002 to 4,271 square feet. Ritz-Carlton's management services ensure the surrounding property will remain in immaculate condition, while a 24-hour concierge will offer an array of services found at the best hotels."

And for the time-share units (which, if the property is considered "luxury living", must be called "fractional ownership") the website documents as follows...

"The Ritz-Carlton Club®, Kapalua Bay, Hawaii's first fractional offering in a resort setting, offers 62 fully furnished residences with inviting two- and three-bedroom floor plans ranging from 1,912 to 2,257 square feet. Club Residences are being sold in deeded, one-twelfth fractional ownership interests, giving Members the opportunity to stay 21 days or more per year, while enjoying the services of a dedicated concierge staff in the Ritz-Carlton tradition."

Curious — you pay for one month but only get 21 days of that month? But what the heck, with that deal, you get to relax on your lounge chair sitting in the water. Is that cool or what?

The landscaping is awe-inspiring. Here a white hibiscus to accompany the yellow hibiscus pictured above.

The designers have really created a tropical paradise with the artful combination of flora, hardscaping and water. If you visit Kapalua, it is worth a stroll around the grounds — just try to look like you belong.

Continuing along the shoreline trail one finds varied and beautiful plants — here a Christmas Berry AKA Brazilian Peppertree. If you see one, grab a berry and remove the flesh. Then crush the seed and smell the aromatic aroma of freshly ground black pepper.

Unfortunately, it is considered an invasive species because it crowds out native plants and inhibits their growth by releasing allelopathic substances. Birds eat the fruits and are responsible for spreading the seeds.

Next stop along the shoreline trail is an area where shorebirds nest in small underground dens. Signs inform the visitor of that fact and ask that you not leave the trail so as to not harm the dens.

Another sign asks, "KOKUA. RESPECT THE CULTURE. PLEASE DO NOT STACK STONES. mahalo." Many visitors are under the impression that the act of stacking stones is an offering to the Hawai`ian gods. I do not know when or why the practice started but it is now considered a sacrilege by the Hawai`ian people — and also a problem for scientists doing research. In fact, it is a misdemeanor to stack rocks regardless of your good intentions.

So stay on the trail and look but don't touch. Of course there are many vistas to enjoy so why worry about stacking rocks?

This is the view of the Kapalua Ironwood Villas and the beach below, known both as Ironwood Beach and by its Hawai`ian name, Oneloa (curiously, also the Hawai`ian name of Big Beach at Makena). By the way, this is some very expensive real estate we are looking at.

This is a good sign — the boardwalk that was built as part of the shoreline trail appears to be in quite good shape. The ocean air and salt spray is very hard on wood surfaces — but so far, so good.

The end of the boardwalk offers a wonderful overlook of Ironwood Beach. This is a nicely secluded beach so it is rarely crowded. The waves are often up and perfect for board, boogie and body surfing. Often when I am doing my morning jog or walk, there will be just a couple board surfers enjoying good waves and almost no one on the beach. I am tempted to linger but I cannot stay long because I know that more delights await me uphill.


Life is good.

B. David

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