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Aloha by Nature

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Immerse yourself in an authentic Hawaiian experience deeply rooted in local culture, environmental adventure and a warm spirt of Aloha. The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua located on Maui’s lush, northwest coastline is committed to forever preserving the Honokahua preservation site and perpetuating the Hawaiian culture. Offering a visually stunning experience, our iconic resort continues to emphasize unparalleled Ritz-Carlton service while delivering experiences filled with Aloha.

The Land

Honokahua Preservation Site

A 13.6-acre parcel of the land between Honokahua Bay and the present hotel site, the Honokahua Preservation Site is the resting place of more than 2,000 Hawaiian kupuna (ancestors) dating from A.D. 850 to the early 1800s. Unearthed during the construction of The Ritz‑Carlton, Kapalua in 1987, the significance of the discovery became apparent, and the entire hotel was redesigned and moved inland. Working with cultural leaders, the remains were re-interred and the preservation site was created. Entry to the site is restricted to those performing ceremony and protocol. Each hotel employee is empowered to malama ka ‘aina, or care for the land, to ensure the site is undisturbed.

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The Culture

Immerse Yourself in the Spirit of Aloha

Kapalua and Maui are rich in Hawaiian culture, tradition and history. Cultural Advisor Clifford Nae’ole has adopted the motto “We are a 5 diamond hotel immersed in a 5 diamond culture.” He is committed to providing guests with the opportunity to experience genuine Hawaiian cultural practices that fulfill emotions, promote self-discovery, unite the family, and rejuvenate the spirit.

A hula dancer cuts a striking silhouette at sunset

One such experience is the sunrise ceremony entitled “hiuwai” (cleansing”) and “e ala e” (awakening). Participants gather at Honokahua Bay (DT Fleming Beach) in the darkness of the dawn and learn of the protocol that is sure to leave a lasting impression upon their lives.

Attendees will venture to the ocean’s edge to ceremoniously immerse in the cleansing waters of the ocean and allow their troubles and negativity to be washed away. Once the guests are settled with their thoughts, they gather back onto the sands where the rhythmic and repetitive chant “e ala e” takes place until the sky basks in the colors of a new day. “Once the sun has blinked its eye…you are free to begin life anew,” says Nae’ole.

E ala e
Ka la i kahikina
I ka moana
Ka moana hohonu
Pi’i ka lewa
Ka lewa nu’u
I kahikina
Aia ka la.
E ala e!

  The sun in the east
  From the ocean
  The ocean deep
  Climbing (to) the heaven
  The heaven highest
  In the east
  There is the sun

The Art

Self-Guided QR Code Cultural Art Tour

Guests can take a self-guided tour to learn about the cultural significance of artwork throughout the hotel. QR Code plaques are placed next to art pieces that are significant to the Hawaiian Culture. By scanning the code, you will receive an image of that piece of artwork along with an explanation from the Hawaiian Cultural Advisor, Clifford Nae’ole, detailing out how that item relates to the local culture and traditions of the Hawaiian people.

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Kapalua Experiences

Experience Hawaii beyond the surf, sand and sun with a variety of cultural programs.

Hiking Tour Activity Mountain view

Coastal Hike & Tide Pool Exploration

Join the resort’s naturalists for a hike along the Kapalua Coastal Trail with stops at some of Maui’s best beaches and bays and lessons on Kapalua’s history.

Cities Under the Sea Snorkel Experience

Cities Under the Sea

This underwater photography and snorkeling expedition travels amid the living communities of fish, coral and algae. Naturalists guide you on an interpretive and exciting snorkel with underwater digital cameras. An exclusive Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment experience.

Kapalua Bay Snorkeling

I.D. Me Snorkel

Join our Cousteau-trained naturalists on this reef survey snorkel where you’ll assist in identifying fish, green sea turtles and monitoring the adopted coral head. An exclusive Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment experience.

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Sound Healing Meditation

Using gongs, crystal singing bowls, Tibetan bowls, chimes, bells, and many other instruments to send a wide range of frequency through the body, matching the frequencies within the body removing negative and stuck frequency which causes the body dis-ease or disease. Other benefits include: deep state of relaxation; stress relief; emotional healing; physical healing; and pain relief. To reserve, call 808-665-7079

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Clifford Nae'ole
Hawaiian Cultural Advisor

With more than 35 years of hospitality industry experience in Hawaii and a native of Maui, HI, Clifford Nae’ole is the Hawaiian cultural advisor for The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua. In this unique position for over 20 years, Mr. Nae’ole advises and educates employees and guests on proper Hawaiian protocol and customs, shares fascinating accounts of his homeland and ancestors, maintains a presence of the Hawaiian culture in the hotel and encourages a cohesive relationship with the community.

“We are fortunate to be an AAA Five Diamond hotel immersed in a culture that, like a diamond, has many facets. Our programs are designed to connect the ‘hosted’ to the ‘host,’ thus enhancing the overall experience of all involved,” said Mr. Nae’ole.

As cultural advisor, Mr. Nae’ole conducts weekly historical "Sense of Place" discussions and tours to the border of the Honokahua Preservation Site. He also hosts the monthly “talk story” series Mai Ka Pu’uwai (Storytelling from the Heart). He is chairman of Celebration of the Arts, the annual three-day festival tribute to the people, art and culture of Hawaii, which he created 24 years ago, and serves as advisor to the hotel's Hawaii Council. A Hawaiian chanter and hula dancer, he has performed official ceremonies and traditional blessings throughout Hawai`i, French Polynesia and the mainland U.S.

In this prominent role, Mr. Nae’ole has been featured in a national print and television advertising campaign for the Hawaii Convention & Visitors Bureau as well as on networks such as ESPN, E!, the Travel Channel, The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, Hawaiian Airlines Inflight video, “E” on Travel – Above and Below Maui – the recipient of two Emmy Awards in 2004, and more.

Former president of the statewide Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Naeole’s knowledge of ceremony and protocol prompted the Governor or the State of Hawaii to approve his terms as a Burial Commissioner for the Hawaii Burial Council for Maui and Lana’i. He is an active supporter of Maui's Hawaiian Language Immersion Schools — Punana Leo O Maui and Kulakaiapuni. Mr. Nae’ole received the distinguished Hawaii Hotel Association's Na Po’e Pa’ahana Honorable Mention Award for the 1997-98 Outstanding Employee of the Year. He is also the founder of Ho’ohali’a Hawaiian Consulting and is a current partner of E Ola Pono Consulting, dedicated to creating bridges between the Hawaiian culture and the contemporary business world.

Recently Mr. Nae’ole was honored with two coveted cultural awards. In October 2016 he was awarded the 2016 Meeting Professionals International Culture Award as an industry leader in perpetuating the Hawaiian culture. Also in October, Mr. Nae’ole was presented with the Legacy Award from Hui O Waʻa Kaulua, Maui’s Voyaging Society. Each year Hui O Wa’a Kaulua recognizes an outstanding person in the community. “This person would be the embodiment of what our canoes stand for,” event organizers said. “Our awardee has dedicated his life to engage in, promote, encourage participation in and provide educational and instruction in Hawaiian Culture. He inspires all generations to care for our land, care for our ocean, and care for our people.”

Born and raised on Maui, Mr. Nae’ole attended St. Anthony High School in Wailuku. He studied business at Seattle University and received his travel agent certification from the San Francisco School of Travel.