All the cameras will be on Kapalua this week for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but there's a lot to do within this northwest Maui village beyond just the resort's Plantation course.
Just down the road from the Plantation clubhouse, Kapalua's main village is anchored by the Ritz-Carlton hotel, which received a big facelift in 2008, including the addition of a brand new spa. The 400-plus rooms wrap around an enormous, tri-level pool with hot tubs tucked away to the side. Of all the fabulous seafood meals we had on Maui, the nod for best probably goes to the Banyan Tree, located in open air at the pool area here. It offers either a set menu with wine pairings, or an ala carte option with a selection of Hawaiian-inspired appetizers and seafood dishes.
From the hotel, you're within walking distance of all the village attractions, like the Sansei sushi restaurant. Everyone on Maui knows Sansei, which has two locations on the island (the other is in Kihei) and has a wildly creative menu, half-off happy hours and late-night karaoke. We stopped in one night for karaoke and it was pretty lively. I'd imagine the place is especially bonkers late-night during tournament week.
Next to Sansei is a Kapalua landmark, the Honolua Store. It brings a Hawaiian spin on a general store with both grocery items and souvenirs. There is also a deli in back that serves everything from pizza to traditional Maui plate lunches and Spam musabi rolls on the go. In line here, you'll find both resort employees and guests.
Most visitors to Kapalua also stop by the Mountain Outpost, where you sign up for many non-golf activities such as kayaking or mountain hikes. We opted for the zipline course that takes you high above the Plantation course into the mountains for a series of zips up to half a mile long; and some of the runs over mountain gorges feel at least that high. If the ground is more your speed, there are more than three miles of walking trails as well.
You can also go surfing down at Honolua Bay, but you better be good. The day we were there waves appeared to be about 10 feet high, and surfers were wiping out in spectacular fashion.
Of course, the Plantation at Kapalua isn't the only golf course at the resort. Tee times are accepted at Kapalua's Bay Course during Tournament of Champions week, or grab a putter and play the putting course at the Mountain Outpost.
For more on golf on Maui, see HawaiiGolf.com.