march • 2020 keiki cover model

Sending a warm Aloha and Mahalo to Kendall Damo-Perez and family for sharing her sweet smile with us this month.

Mom is Imee Damo, PBX operator at Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel, and dad is James Perez, a supervisor at ProPark.

Kendall is three years old, and is happiest when playing with her cousins. She also loves dinosaurs!

Mom shared with us, “Kendall is very sweet, loving and thoughtful. She is energetic and smart, she also loves to sing and dance. Kendall inspires us every day to be more patient and loving.”


grand wailea resort’s art collection tour: experiencing an outdoor museum – in grand style

When Japanese developer Takeshi Sekiguchi began building what’s now known as the Grand Wailea Resort (GWR) in 1989, his vision was to create the world’s #1 art hotel. “Mr. Sekiguchi’s greatest passion is art,” says Michael Gilbert, curator of corporate collections. “His vision was to create an outdoor art museum that happened to have a hotel inside. This property is the result of one man’s dream.”

And Mr. Sekiguchi decided Michael was the man to help him achieve that dream. “I was working for the Four Seasons in Canada, when he contacted me by phone,” Michael recalls. “He asked, ‘How would you like to come to Maui?’ My background was nineteenth-century art curating, and I’m a portrait painter by trade, but I’d done a lot of art restoration. I probably wasn’t the best candidate for the job, but because I have multiple talents, he felt I was the one. So I happily moved to Maui, and have been here ever since. I was present from the very beginning when they were digging the first holes in the ground.” Continue reading ‘grand wailea resort’s art collection tour: experiencing an outdoor museum – in grand style’

maui ocean center’s kaho‘olawe exhibit honors the island’s past, present & future

Kaho‘olawe is a sacred island of cultural reverence. Originally known as Kohe Malamalama o Kanaloa, Kaho‘olawe is dedicated to Kanaloa, a Hawaiian god associated with voyaging, the deep sea, and marine life.

Once a center for navigational training, agriculture, and cultural and religious practices, Kaho‘olawe experienced a controversial era of intense U.S. military activity that brought significant destruction to the island. A successful grassroots movement grew in Hawai‘i and reached Washington D.C., resulting in the end to nearly half a century of military operations. This movement ushered in a new era of restoration and healing. Continue reading ‘maui ocean center’s kaho‘olawe exhibit honors the island’s past, present & future’

february • 2020 keiki cover model

Eight-year-old Keoni (Noel) Agmata is a happy third grader at Kamehameha III in Lahaina Town. He loves to surf, sing, and play with his dog Cocopuff.

Mom is Brie Protzeller, restaurant manager at Sansei Kapalua, his dad Noel cooks at Kimo’s, and his tutu wahine is Shirley Enebrad, a personal vacation planner (pre-arrival concierge) for all three Westin resorts on Ka‘anapali Beach.

Mom shared, “Keoni is such a sweet boy and freely shares his aloha spirit with everyone he meets. Hugs and kisses are his thing. He inspires me to treat guests with the same sense of aloha.”

the leis family class act restaurant: uh maui college culinary students shine in living classroom

One of Maui’s best-kept culinary secrets is located on the second floor of the Pa‘ina Building on the UH Maui College campus. For the past 15 years, Leis Family Class Act (LFCA) has been wowing guests with creative and tasty three-course prix-fixe meals, earning this student-run dining room a spot on Open Table’s prestigious list of top 100 restaurants in the United States.

Under the guidance and watchful eyes of Chef Instructor Tom Lelli and Dining Room Instructor Mark Malone, second-year culinary program students enrolled in the course entitled “Culinary 160—Dining Room Service” spend one half of the 16-week semester in the LFCA kitchen learning to prepare a variety of dishes based on a weekly theme, and the other half in the front of the house honing their skills as server, bartender, and maitre d’. “Roles are rotated weekly, so students gain the full experience,” Mark tells me. “This is the only course in the entire culinary program where students receive actual dining-room training, and many are ready to be servers after completing this class.” Continue reading ‘the leis family class act restaurant: uh maui college culinary students shine in living classroom’

humpbacks of hawai‘i exhibit & sphere celebrates anniversary!

A year ago, the Maui Ocean Center opened its Humpbacks of Hawai‘i Exhibit & Sphere, creating a new and immersive dimension to Maui’s fabled humpback whale season. Until now, visitors have observed humpbacks from above the ocean’s surface. The Humpbacks of Hawai‘i experience breaks this barrier, transporting viewers into the humpbacks’ world beneath the waves for a rare, face-to-face encounter with one of the world’s most majestic marine mammals.

Heralded as the first exhibit of its kind in the United States, the Humpbacks of Hawai‘i Exhibit & Sphere saw over three years in its development that included production by German filmmaker Daniel Opitz, filming expeditions off Maui’s coastline, and collaboration with the local and scientific communities of Maui. Continue reading ‘humpbacks of hawai‘i exhibit & sphere celebrates anniversary!’

maui plein air painting invitational saturday, february 15 – sunday, february 23

What is the Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational? This 9-day event highlights 24 professional plein air painters from throughout Hawai‘i, the United States mainland, and Australia. The painters capture the images of Maui – its people, its beaches and ocean scenes, its majestic mountains and valleys, and its historical buildings. The public watch artists create inspiring artworks, attend art sales, and attend educational events.

Artists create inspiring paintings from locations around Maui and specifically at Lahaina Harbor, Kapalua Bay, and Royal Lahaina Resort Beach Area. Guests and locals will love this up close and personal experience with these talented artists! Continue reading ‘maui plein air painting invitational saturday, february 15 – sunday, february 23’

14th annual whale tales presented by whale trust

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), Maui, Hawaii

Whale Trust invites the public to join world-renowned scientists, photographers, and conservationists at the 14th Annual Whale Tales, February 14th-17th, at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Whale Tales is presented annually by Whale Trust, a Maui-based nonprofit organization dedicated to whale research and ocean education. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua has been home to Whale Tales (formerly Whale Quest) since the inception of the event in 2006.

Whale Tales is both an educational event that bridges the information gap between scientists working in the field and the public and a means to raise funds to support whale research in Hawai‘i. In 13 years, Whale Tales has raised more than $725,000 for whale research in Hawaii and reached tens of thousands of people, including thousands of local schoolchildren. Continue reading ’14th annual whale tales presented by whale trust’

january • 2020 keiki cover model

Happy New Year and Mahalo to the family of Andreana Faith Perez-Duque for sharing her with us this month!

Andreana is four years old. Mom is Jenny Perez, front office employee at Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel, and dad is Dixon Duque; the family is from Lahaina.

Mom shared, “Andreana is a bright, outspoken girl. She enjoys going to the beach and playing with her cousins, especially her older sister Bianca. Everyone calls her ‘Yana,’ and she loves to share her gorgeous smiles and cannot go anywhere without her stuffed toy ‘Andy’ from her Granny. God has blessed me with loving children, and for that it inspires me to be a great mother and person and also grateful for a wonderful life.”

tripadvisor announces travelers’ choice restaurant awards

Travel review and booking site TripAdvisor announced the winners of its annual Travelers’ Choice Restaurant Awards, and six outstanding Hawai‘i restaurants made the cut!

The winners were recognized in three categories — Fine Dining, Everyday Dining and Fast Casual — and were determined by the quantity and quality of reviews over a 12-month period.

The awards feature 584 winners throughout the world, and 75 in the U.S.

Lahaina Grill, Mama’s Fish House and Merriman’s in Waimea were among the top 10 high-end establishments in the U.S. Fine Dining category, at No. 4, No. 8 and No. 9, respectively.

The Everyday Dining category features reasonably priced restaurants that are hubs for gatherings of family and friends. Duke’s Waikiki ranked No. 7 for U.S. Everyday Dining, and Kona Brewing Company’s Pub & Brewery came in at No. 15. Teddy’s Bigger Burgers’ Kapahulu location ranked No. 8 in U.S. Fast Casual eateries, which include restaurants that offer both quality and value.

We are sending our CONGRATULATIONS to all of the winners!

For more information about TripAdvisor and the Travelers’ Choice Awards, you can view the full results online at the TripAdvisor website: