The resort community of Kapalua is host to some of the most exclusive and prestigious special events held in Hawaii. Even before tourists found this magnificent 1.7-square-mile patch of West Maui, Kapalua was known for “the good life.”
In old Hawaii, Hawaiians residing in Kapalua grew taro and caught fish from the bay. The area was abundant in natural resources and much of the land was considered sacred. Ruling Alii (royalty) would bring their families to Kapalua to relax and play.
In 1836, Dwight Baldwin was granted 2,675 acres of land as a reward for his missionary services. Through various dealings, that expanse grew to 24,500 acres in 1902 and came to be known as Honolua Ranch. Later, 20 acres of pineapple were planted, and a cannery was constructed. In 1914, the first pineapples were shipped to the mainland. Baldwin Packers eventually merged with Maui Land and Pineapple Company, which is today the largest employer on Maui. Seeking to diversify, the company envisioned a resort on some of the prime oceanfront pineapple land—a world-class retreat that, once again, would be worthy of royalty.
The dream has been realized. Kapalua Resort includes a trio of award-winning hotels—the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua (recent $180 million remodel), Kapalua Bay Hotel and The Kapalua Villas—as well as three 18-hole championship golf courses, two tennis facilities and nine communities of condominiums. Its trio of white sand beaches includes Kapalua Bay, named “America’s Best Beach” in 1991 by “Dr. Beach,” one of the country’s foremost beach experts (once a beach wins the award, it is ineligible to win again).
Each year, the Kapalua resort hosts a number of pull-out-the-stops festivals and events. The Kapalua Food & Wine Festival celebrates the best in wines, food, and good living. The Celebration of the Arts is regarded as Hawaii’s premier hands-on arts and cultural festival. And Kapalua’s Plantation Course is the host site of the annual PGA Mercedes Championships.