MAUI ECO RETREAT : OJz Founders Review

Jane Baumgartner HAWAII, OJZ NEWZ, PARTNERS, REVIEWS 0 Comments

Ready to take a trip to Maui? OJz founders Jane and Drew Farwell did some research for you. Tough work we know…testing out all the beautiful places to travel, stay, eat, and hike in Hawaii, but it’s all part of the job! For this trip we partnered up with Glamping Hub to experience the cosmic Maui Eco Retreat.

Let’s take a walk, where you “feel your feet”, pick fresh eggs in the morning, and hear the bamboo creek in the wind at night. There’s a place to stay in Maui, where if you want to truly disconnect yet reconnect, you can. Not to mention it’s only twenty minutes from the nearest grocery store, bars, and thai food trucks. We had the honor of staying at Maui Eco Retreat, a sanctuary of sorts, designed and developed over the past 20+ years by husband and wife duo, Raphael & Kutira.

Our Glamping Hub mission began early on a Monday morning late February, taking our time driving from the West Side of Maui. From Kapalua, past Waihee-Waiehu, Pai’a, and Haiku, along the scenic drive to our Glamping Hub stay at this 100% off the grid eco resort. Drew and I have always dreamed of creating a space such as Kutira and Raphael have done; utilizing not only environmentally but economically conscious resources, bamboo in their case, and creating a space where guests can relax, unwind, and “download” outside of technology. Maui is packed with secret waterfalls and valleys to traverse in, but many may wonder where to start? How to find a waterfall worthy of a “birthday suit” dip? A stay at Maui Eco Retreat can remedy all of that and then some.

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Check in time at the Maui Eco Retreat is 3pm, and being antsy to explore, we arrived right on the dot to soak up as much hiking, relaxing, and wandering around the property as we could. We were greeted by Raphael, barefoot, wearing a weathered half buttoned aloha shirt, waving hello and ushering us into The Opua House, the main house of the property. Here we received the official run-down of the lands and shown to our prepared room. We studied the well curated map of the eco resort’s grounds and best places to eat at the nearby town of Haiku. We were then sent on our way to unpack and explore. The property is a scavenger hunt of Indian and Southeast Asian cultural artifacts, crystals, prayer flags, and hidden moss figures. Interns pass by, carrying large palms freshly cut, and I can neither confirm, nor deny, that we stumbled upon some nude yoga stretching.

Maui Eco Retreat is a place that reminds you to slow down, breathe, and enjoy the experience. On our stroll through the bamboo cabins (some of the first in the country) and houses, we spent time with the chickens, burned sage in the music and meditation room, and practiced our balance on the exercise rings placed ominously in the middle of the jungle.

We were chasing the sunlight at this point, and knew a waterfall dip would spark our appetite for dinner. The trail to the pools is not a walk in the park, but it is short, well marked, with ropes on each side and can be done in slippers. Yes, mud will get in between your toes, and you’ll begin to sweat, but the trickle of water draws you down to the rocks, revealing the cascading pools to slip into. The mud and sweat suddenly become obsolete. We were the only ones basking above the five story waterfall which overlooks the valley toward the ocean. We basked properly, sans bathing suit…as would anyone when they have a Maui waterfall all to themselves.

Feeling properly consecrated, it was time to check out one of the many places recommended to eat in Haiku Town. We opted for Thai food, being an affordable and favorite cuisine for both Drew and I. We were the early birds at Sala Dang (formerly known as Tuk Tuk Thai) and devoured our spicy green curry and drunken noodles as we watched the quaint restaurant fill up with locals, tourists, hippies, and surfers. With bellies full, and almost tempted for another bowl of green curry, we made our way back to our little sanctuary for a long, peaceful night’s sleep. The bamboo creaked back and forth during the night, a rhythmic calming sound that remained consistent with the Maui winds.

The next morning we were greeted by the owner’s tibetan spaniels, Dawa and Mochi as we walked through the gardens to meet with Kutira for a deeper understanding of Maui Eco Retreat. While sipping tea and trying Kutira’s freshly baked chicory-coffee muffins, we learned about their land, the process to create the bamboo cottages, and the never ending job of educating and curating one of Maui’s best eco retreats. We truly cannot thank Kutira and Raphael for all their hard work to create a space for guests to enjoy, and to Glamping Hub for giving us the sneak peek at what Maui Eco Retreat can offer as a place to check out and enjoy Maui in it’s rawest form.

Maui Eco Retreat Tips from OJz

  • Be sure this is a place for you, it is not a luxury resort, it is the definition of an elegant eco retreat. They strive to keep the impact as low as possible, recycling, compost, and having the bed changed only once in a week’s stay are a few of the efforts made to help the land
  • Check in time is 3pm, check out is 11am
  • There is a minimum 5 night stay. This gives guests the opportunity to relax at the resort, take the road to Hana, explore untouched beaches, and enjoy the delicious food in Haiku or Paia.
  • This place gets booked fast! Be sure to check availability 1-3 months prior to your trip and make sure to book the room / cottage accommodating for the party size
  • Pack a few layers, our stay was in February and we were happy we had our Patagonia layers, fleeces, and socks
  • The two hikes, to the waterfall and to the ocean are not groomed, but rather au natural to maintain the resort’s low impact philosophy. Be a smart hiker, know what you need for a hike regarding shoes, bug spray, bathing-suit, water, and snacks…and you will be just fine.
  • This is a spiritual place, where guests come to meditate, practice yoga, music, and unwind. You can participate in as much or as little as you’d like.
  • The Opua House, is the main house where you can find wifi, information on local events, fresh eggs (when available), rooms to book, and a large communal kitchen.
  • In the words of Bruce the shark, (just slightly altered) critters are friends, not food. Geckos, tropical insects, little lizards, and mosquitoes are a Hawaiian staple to the warm climate. All rooms have screens to keep the mosquitoes out plus most cottages will also have netting around the bed.
  • The road is not all paved to get to Maui Eco Retreat, but it’s a fun drive! The directions sent once booking your stay here are ridiculously detailed. Follow the directions and you’ll be there with no trouble at all.  This is an off-the-grid property, so accept the bumpy road it takes to get there…it would be weird to have a paved concrete road to this property now that I think of it..
  • Driving times:
    • To Airport: 45 minutes, but this means you aren’t stopping for a bite to eat, groceries, checking out the towns…take your time! 
    • To Pai’a: 30 minutes
    • To Haiku: 15 minutes

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