Winter in New York: Men covered head to toe in layers of wool, traversing icy streets under gloomy gray skies.
Winter on Maui: Men splashing around the Pacific in skimpy swimsuits as dolphins leap from the surf in perfect choreography.
Winter in Chicago: Men’s handsome faces obscured by ski hats and scarves, hiding chapped lips and wind-burned cheeks.
Winter on Maui: Men smiling as they gaze into the colorful kaleidoscope of oranges, reds and purples in the west as the sun dips beneath the horizon while the final moments of light dance across their sun-kissed skin.
Winter in Alaska: Men in flannel. So much flannel. So many ear muffs. Not to mention the ever-present risk of running into Sarah Palin.
Winter on Maui: Men gathered at the nude beach with a soundtrack of bongo drums and crashing waves. Not a stitch of flannel anywhere. Not a stitch of anything anywhere.
So, where would you rather be after the winter solstice commences on December 21?
If you answered Maui, then we’re going to get along splendidly. We spent several days this summer at Grand Wailea, a Waldorf-Astoria Resort, on the southwest coast of the island. We fell in love (which isn’t hard to do) with its majestic presence among 40 acres of lush gardens, pools and diversions. And we’re already jonesing to get back before next summer rolls around.
You don’t even need a plan when you’re here, but we had some favorites we’d like to share.
Spend at least a few hours each day in the adults-only pool (pictured) drinking piña coladas and making new friends. And definitely set aside time to grab an Uber for about 10 bucks to Little Beach, a secluded nude beach with a lively gay section a mere four miles from the resort. On Sundays, there’s a drum circle and fire dancing.
Make sure to schedule a treatment at Spa Grande, an opulent 50,000-square-foot escape that’s worth visiting for the water therapies in the men’s locker room alone. The attendant will give you a full-body scrub on arrival then you’re free to indulge in the Healing Waters of Maui, as well as a large Roman-style tub (pictured), saunas, waterfalls and different types of showers. A massage is simply a bonus at this point.
Of course, a big part of any resort is the culinary program and The Grand Wailea’s is among the best, especially for a resort this size. From a swim-up grotto bar to a romantic dinner in a cabana at sunset, there are several options for getting your F&B on. Our favorite is Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, which we’ve visited even when we weren’t staying on-property. Partly because the name’s fun to say (once you learn how to pronounce it, at least). But mostly because it’s surrounded by water, has great ocean views and features some of the freshest, most flavorful seafood dishes you’re likely to ever eat.
As for the rooms, they’re tastefully designed to let what’s outside the window be the real focal point, whether it’s the vibrant green gardens or the turquoise sea. But if you’re vacationing the way we do, you won’t be spending too much time in here anyway.
Except maybe to FaceTime friends back in the ice and snow to make them jealous. And use the word Aloha at least twice.
3850 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea, Maui