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Hawaii: Maui's Kaanapali Beach Hotel is a festival of culture

March 08, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • Lei-making is just one of the many cultural activities offered to guests at what's been called Hawaii's "Most Hawaiian Hotel."
Lei-making is just one of the many cultural activities offered to guests… (Kaanapali Beach Hotel )

Visitors to Maui who want to learn just a little about native culture can attend a hula lesson at many hotels, but those who want a more in-depth cultural experience may find it at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. it has a long history of immersing guests in island traditions and offers more than 30 cultural activities each day.

Besides hula classes, guests can also study the Hawaiian language or learn to play the ukulele. They can practice their handiwork weaving baskets from the lauhala plant or stringing leis from fragrant flowers. Visitors who consider such activities too daunting can sit back and enjoy traditional music or storytelling.

Maybe best of all, most of the activities are free.

Since 1986, the Kaanapali Beach Hotel has offered pookela (excellence) classes aimed at preserving Hawaiian culture. Four times a year, everyone from the general manager on down participates in classes on topics such as Hawaiian history, language and mythology.

Because of its ongoing efforts, the hotel has been honored by both the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Waiaha Foundation, a nonprofit created to promote native culture in the hospitality industry. Based on 100 criteria, the latter group labeled the Maui property the “Most Hawaiian Hotel.”

Room rates in April begin at $169.

Info: Kaanapali Beach Hotel, (808) 661-0011.

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