Pearl of the Pacific, Sashimi in ice globe, stunning starter at the Dinner under the Stars.

SHERATON MAUI: I want to TALK about Hawaii and Tradition. Like a Fiddler on the Roof, there is the Cliff Dive at Black Rock … only the music is a chant that tells a tale. David and I ended our Maui trip with a few days at the enchanting Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa, just to soak up the culture, the peace, and enjoy our favorite beach. And to relax in our beautiful room overlooking the serene grounds and the gorgeous sunsets. With a comfy bed, a fridge loaded with local goodies, it was good to it call home, even for our little while….

We shared the romantic/dramatic Cliff Dive experience with the excellent Bianca Rodas, Public Relations Manager, who is young and lovely and so full of enthusiasm for their traditions.

In honor of Hawaiian royalty that once called Ka`anapali home, the nightly tradition of torch lighting and cliff diving began in the ‘60s. Shortly before sunset each evening, a young warrior dressed in the traditional “malo” (loincloth) sets torches aflame shedding light upon the lush lawns. (It’s very cute when the courteous warrior pauses for requested photos.) The story of King Kahekili and Pu`u Keka`a is told as we watched from Cliff Dive Bar (where we enjoyed perfect pupus), as the torches finally flame on the crest of Black Rock where he offers his torch and flower lei and dives off Black Rock.

History and Culture at the Sheraton, Maui: Cliff Dive at Black Rock.

I’m such a tourist. But ever since I read James Michener’s great novel Hawaii, I’m hooked in the best of ways.

Our new buddy, Bianca, is very excited about the Sheraton Maui’s new partnership with the innovative Maui Brewing Company, for the creation of the Black Rock Lager served exclusively at the resort’s pool bars and lounges. The lager is named after the legendary lava rock formation which Hawaiians believe is one of three `uhane lele, a place where souls of the dead leap from earth into their ancestral spirit land and where only a person with great spiritual strength can enter that world and return. What a brew-tiful inspiration!

Sunset at Black Rock, Sheraton, Maui.

DINNER UNDER THE STARS: An elite oceanfront dining experience can be yours in a romantic setting of choice. From a poolside gazebo with a waterfall background, or on the spacious lawn (12,000 square feet!) surrounded by tiki torches. Or, our choice, a secluded oceanfront open air dining house that looked like the Teahouse of the August Moon, just footsteps from Ka`anapali Beach. A forever to remember evening. Our on-hand personal butler, Al Idnay, practicing perfect Aloha, made the evening complete. I never take for granted a perfectly sumptuous steak or a salad of fresh Kula greens, but the starter was sheer drama. In an icy globe, the size of a bowling ball, the front was chiseled out for a presentation of fresh sashimi and other ocean delectables. It tasted as dynamic as it looked and it’s not called “Pearl of the Pacific” for nothing. Special!

Most special, the practice of Aloha is personified by the Sheraton’s “Starwish,” a non-profit fundraising project motivated by the Starwood associates, the employees, who create events to help those in need. We were lucky to arrive just in time for the Easter Ducky Race. Residents signed up and were assigned a rubber ducky (in hula attire). This flotilla of duckys gathered at a far end of the great pool (with two strong fellows making waves behind them to keep it moving). Screams of delight as they reached the finish line and the winners collect their prizes. Good fun, good cause, good people.

My favorite thing is walking by the ocean (or in the ocean) and this arching sandy beach goes on and on … past the Whalers Village, nearly to Lahaina Town. Get a sense of all this pleasantness on the Internet and see for yourself the beach, the resort, the food, and the cliff dive. This is definitely a come back to place.

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