Maui is and has been a highly coveted getaway destination for celebrities, adventure seekers, families and honeymooners alike. Boasting some of the most luxurious sights and hospitality that money can buy, Maui has solidified itself as a premier destination catering to just about any traveler. Adding to its long list of ever-increasing travelers is the Eco Tourist.
Maui was created for eco-tourism. Most people that travel to the island go to enjoy its unique landscape and the distinctly diverse cross-sections of paradise; like its golden beaches, mountain ranges, rich rainforests, and pristine ocean. The progression to cater to and accommodate eco-tourists has been something that Maui has taken great pride in, not only for the monetary gain but also for its positive effects on the island itself.
 
Maui is only 48 miles long and 26 miles wide, according to preliminary year-end statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. It’s a very small island setting record numbers for annual visitors, and even though tourist dollars drive their economy, tourists also create a tremendous strain on the environment. Native Hawaiians and locals have maintained a great deal of respect for the island’s environment. As such, they pay close attention to how the increasing number of visitors has affected their natural resources.”We must be more open to caring for the places we visit so the next generation can enjoy the places we enjoy today” states the Mayor of Maui, Alan Arakawa. Overall, sustainable eco-travel is worthwhile for the island of Maui and is essential to its environmental legacy.  Thankfully, modern resorts and business owners in Maui are aware and taking note.
So what does this mean for travelers? Is luxury out of the window? No. Can you do a large hotel and still be eco-friendly? Yes.
The Andaz Wailea Resort is a prime example of being sustainable and not sacrificing the highest levels of luxury or size. This 5-star, 15 acre, Mokapu Beachfront, Hyatt owned property boasts 300 guest rooms, four ocean-facing infinity pools, private cabanas, a premium eco-friendly spa, and four award-winning on-site restaurants. The Andaz resort opened in 2013, but four years later it still amazes. From the moment you arrive on the property, lush palm trees, local plants and flowers rush to greet you. The open-air lobby with sprawling views of the beach and the horizon let you know quickly that there is something special about this resort. And special it is.

IMG: Andaz-Maui-at-Wailea. Source: www.morimotomaui.com

The modern decor, created from locally sourced materials and products, highlight the artisans’ handicrafts that are on display throughout the property. Without a doubt, Morimoto Maui is the shining star and the must-try restaurant on Maui. The open-air restaurant with its amazing sunset views is just as breathtaking as the rest of the hotel and the dishes and cocktails served lend to the eco-friendly atmosphere created. The restaurant, led by world-renowned celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto, truly embodies sustainability without forgoing the culinary finesse. Blending Hawaiian and Japanese traditions, Morimotos’ masterful ability to create a locally sourced menu that is impeccably fresh and abundant in flavor is something that must be experienced. Also, the cocktail program created by Oahu native and acclaimed mixologist Julie Reiner is equally impressive. She utilizes fresh, locally sourced fruits, spirits and spices in her recipes and they are sure to quench anyone’s need for thirst and luxury.

IMG: Andaz Maui at Wailea. Morimoto-Andaz-Maui. Source: www.morimotomaui.com

IMG: Morimoto Maui menu item. Source: www.morimotomaui.com

The Andaz Resort has shown what the future holds for Maui with larger hotel groups and properties. Following their lead by not only providing luxury accommodations for their guests but also respecting the local landscape is how large hotels should move in the environmental space. Indeed becoming a partner to the island and not merely another corporation will only enviably enhance the majestic island.

So the next time you think about where you are going to stay and spend your hard earned vacation dollars, take a moment and think about what types of locations and companies you are supporting and use your green wisely.
Mahalo

Across the globe, luxurious eco-resorts abound. Have a favorite? Leave your recommendations in the comments and let travelers know where they can spend their green to stay green.

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