Romantic Maui

Continued (page 3 of 3)

The Hamoa Bay Bungalow (rate starts at $195, 808-248-7884, hamoabay.com), which I'd discovered on the Internet, is designed to be a very private experience. You pay your bill in advance and follow e-mailed directions, like in a treasure hunt. A key is left out for you, and you need never see another human unless you seek out the gardener to cut down a bunch of fresh bananas or papayas—all growing on the property.

The clean, comfortable Balinese-themed bungalow is actually a cottage on stilts with an open first floor and screened-in quarters above that make you feel like a little bird perched in the tropical-tree canopy. The fresh coffee beans, whirlpool tub, and cable TV remind you that you are not. The grounds are a true botanic garden, sporting lush ferns, banana trees, and giant Dr. Seussian flowers in vivid colors. My favorite feature was the outdoor shower, where the sun shining through the water created tiny dancing rainbows and the ginger-scented breeze could blow you dry. And all this only a 15-minute stroll from Hamoa Bay Beach, the best on the whole east coast. One caveat: There's only a general store in town and very little fresh food. We were glad we had done some shopping in Lahaina beforehand. We enjoyed our candlelight dinners, talking, sipping wine, and watching geckos traipse over the picture window. It was a little slice of domestic perfection, yet still utterly exotic—not a bad way to start married life.

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