Romance can take shape anywhere in the world, but there’s something magical about experiencing the tropical shores of Hawaii with someone you love. Chris and I recently were whisked away to the island of Maui to reconnect and indulge in a little bit of alone time. While we were able to explore the entire island, we found ourselves gravitating to the two hotels at which we stayed: The Grand Wailea and The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Both seemed to offer everything one could need for a romantic Hawaiian getaway. Here’s a rundown on the very best parts of our experience.

Stay

The Grand Wailea is a hotel, shopping center, spa, and art gallery, all rolled into one. The oceanfront rooms are as romantic as they come, with large lanais (or patios, as we mainlanders like to call them), spacious tubs that are big enough for two (hint, hint), and some of the most comfortable beds we’ve ever laid on. It took most of our strength to pry ourselves from the room to explore the rest of the resort. Luckily, the Botero bar enticed us with its elaborate cocktail menu and beautiful setting. Fans of artist Fernando Botero will find his voluptuous sculptures graciously placed throughout the hotel’s bar and lobby. The art pieces are perfect conversation-starters for any romantic night out.

 

The beautiful Grand Wailea

While I love a good beach, the Grand Wailea also boasts an adult-only pool that allows you and your lover to catch a little sun in solitude. You’ll also avoid the usual beach annoyance of getting sand in uncomfortable places. I haven’t even touched on the Grand Wailea’s crown jewel, it’s Spa Grande, but I’ll get to that later in this post. Believe me, it’s worth the wait.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua knows how to make guests feel like a part of the hotel ohana, or family. Every time we encountered a member of the staff, we were greeted with a warm, “Aloha,” and a smile. We always felt like they truly were happy to have us there.

This resort is perfect for couples seeking relaxation and convenience. The beautifully manicured grounds make for unforgettable sunset strolls, while nearby Honokahua Bay offers the ideal launching-point for an afternoon of kayaking or snorkeling. Save some space for a romantic dinner at one of the resort’s on-site restaurants. Perhaps a meal at The Terrace, a restaurant that features a distinctive menu with some of the island’s freshest seasonal, organic and sustainable ingredients.

Be sure to take advantage of the resort’s 10,000-square-foot, three-tiered pool. You and your amour can even take a little midnight dip as the pools are open 24 hours a day. Bonus!

The gorgeous ground at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Relax

Few spas are more magical than Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea. Voted by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure as one of the “Top Ten Spas in the United States,” Spa Grande is a slice of paradise that every couple should enjoy. Whether you want to do your treatments together or separately, you’ll leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

While the spa’s treatments themselves are superb (especially the rhythmic lomi lomi massage), the exclusive Termé Hydrotherapy Circuit is what sets Spa Grande apart from the rest. The Termé is available to all customers an hour before their scheduled treatments. Features on the circuit include a steamy sauna, Swiss jet showers, and five Hawaiian island-themed specialty baths. My favorite of these mini-pools was the “Oahu” bath that contained a fragrant blend of bamboo green sea salt, Hawaiian spirulina, and organic seaweed powder. I could have spent the entire afternoon soaking in those baths, and I found myself incredibly relaxed before I even stepped foot in my treatment room.

Viewfinder Tip: Make sure you try the gooey cinnamon rolls at the Cafe near the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. They sell out quickly, so snatch one early if you can.

Dine

Fans of Japanese food will find themselves in heaven at Kai Sushi, the sushi restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Chef Tadashi Yoshino is a mastermind, and our plates were as much a feast for the eyes as they were for our mouths. Being someone who doesn’t particularly care for sushi, I was thrilled to learn the menu offered an assortment of delicious creations without seafood. While Chris claimed Kai Sushi gave him the best sushi of his life (true story), I found myself drooling over the braised shortrib potstickers and chicken yakitori. We always welcome a little libation, and we took ours in the form of a sake flight. Those four delicious sake samples had us soaring out of the restaurant after our superb meal.

 

The start to our perfect sushi experience

We also loved dining at Matteo’s Osteria, a wonderful Italian restaurant and wine bar. The restaurant isn’t located inside either of the resorts at which we stayed (it’s actually down the street from the Grand Wailea), but it dishes up healthy and locally sourced Italian food that is sure to please both you and your partner. What’s more romantic than Lady-and-Tramping it over a plate of spaghetti and meatballs? If spaghetti isn’t your thing, one of the pizettes (house made pizzas) is sure to tease your tastebuds. Our favorite was the Maui pizette, which came with shaved beef tenderloin, maui onion, and a Barolo wine and cherry sauce. Portions of the menu also cater to those with gluten allergies. If you’re not in the mood for a full meal, hit up Matteo’s for its Happy Hour, which offers affordable drinks and small plates.

What sorts of activities do you seek out on romantic vacations?