Towering lush greenery surrounded our car as we carefully navigated down a steep, winding road covered with rocks and uneven terrain. Wide enough for one car, we prayed for no oncoming traffic. A sigh of relief filled the air when the parking area appeared. After 7 hours of navigating the curvy Road to Hana, we found our evening retreat 30 minutes south of Hana in a town called Kipahulu at a sanctuary called…Halemano.
We parked our car, and per the instructions from our host, started to explore the expansive 7 acre eco-friendly grounds in search of someone to assist us. The marked path took us by cozy cabins, an open air, shared bathroom and the outdoor, communal kitchen overlooking the ocean.
“Jennifer?” Tanya happily emerged from the kitchen. “Welcome to Halemano!”
Tanya, the daughter of the owner, Manju, was filling in while Manju was away. She and her boyfriend, Stephan, were very friendly and immediately gave us a tour of the cliff side paradise.
Our accommodation for the night was called the “Ridge Cabin.” More like a tree house, this simple, charming cabin consisted of a bed with mosquito netting, a small light, windows, an outlet, artful touches and a jaw dropping view of the tropical landscaping from the lanai.
Halemano had other sleeping accommodations to choose from consisting of a yurt or a hotel room with private bathroom.
If you require cell reception or wi-fi 24/7, this is probably not the place for you. Part of the charm of Halemano is that you are totally disconnected from the outside world. It gives you a chance to unwind, decompress and become immersed in nature. Just be sure to bring insect repellent!
Before entering our cabin, Tanya explained the 2 house rules:
- Remove your shoes before entering the cabin to keep the rug clean.
- No food in the cabin because it attracts ants and bugs.
After getting settled into our cabin, I decided to experience the open air shower before dinner. At first, I felt a little uncomfortable showering without the privacy of a door, but it’s not like I was out in the open for all to see. You walk into the open air restroom, round a corner, and the shower is tucked away in a little nook…so if you hear water running or see clothes lying on the bench, you know it’s occupied. For the toilet, Tanya advised that we remove our shoes and leave them out before rounding the corner to show that someone is there. It all worked out fine, and the refreshing breeze felt wonderful as I showered. The property operates on solar power and water catchment. Be sure to bring a head lamp or flash light in case you need to use the restroom when it’s dark, like I did!
That evening, we enjoyed a special vegetarian Indian dish prepared by Tanya. For $20 per person, this delicious feast, comprised of rice, beans and squash, was the perfect way to end a long day on the Road to Hana. Since the closest restaurants were about 30 minutes away, we decided to place our order ahead so we could just relax, unwind and enjoy our dinner as the sun went down.
The kitchen is an experience in itself. Everything you need is there! Avocados, papayas, bananas and any other fruit you find on the grounds is yours for the taking (and enjoying!) Everything is recycled, and leftover food is used as compost. The kitchen is open air, so you are sharing it with little critters.
After dinner, we explored the grounds and spent a good part of the evening sitting on a small bench positioned a few feet away from the steep cliff. The view of the ocean crashing into the rocky shore below was hypnotic. It’s easy to fall under the spell of the magnificent view and sounds of the water.
Both mornings, I unintentionally woke up before dawn, so I grabbed my camera and headed outside to take some photos while the early morning light painted the grounds.
There is a magical garden to explore and photograph. Secret artfully decorated paths take you through perfectly manicured tropical landscaping with exotic plants, small benches and even an open air yoga studio tucked away to sit, relax, take in the scenery or participate in a yoga class.
Surrounding Halemano is a fence, and attached to this fence is an inconspicuous little door leading to a neighboring state park. Walk down the length of the park until you come across a cemetery that is home to the grave of the great aviator Charles Lindbergh. Charles loved this particular part of Maui so much that he decided to be buried here.
If experiencing paradise, unplugging from the digital world, and letting tranquility fill your soul sounds appealing, then Halemano is the sanctuary for you!
Prepare to be transformed.