Maui is known as a perfect meetings and incentive destination for many reasons, beginning with the natural beauty of the island, the diversity of experiences available, the food and the culture, the plethora of great resorts, and especially for its white sand beaches and deep blue waters.
Those last two won notice again this summer when Dr. Beach -- aka Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University -- named Maui's Kapalua Bay Beach the Best Beach in America for 2018.
The Hawaiian beach is perfect "for swimming and snorkeling in the clear, azure waters that are protected by two headlands formed long ago by lava flows into the sea," says Dr. Beach. "This beautiful crescent-shaped, white sand beach is bounded by these rocky anchors where good restaurants can be found. The fine coral sand beach slopes gradually into the deeper water where the rocky bottom is punctuated with corals that attract vividly colored tropical fish."
It's not alone in its perfection. In 2017, Maui's Ka'anapali Beach in Lahaina, known for its famous and culturally significant, daily cliff-diving ceremony, took second place on Dr. Beach's list, which uses 50 criteria to rate 650 major American public recreational beaches.
"Maui continues to flourish in the meeting, incentive and convention markets," says Randy Parker, director of sales, international, for the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau. "We hear from many meeting planners that it's a great destination because of all it offers. We have world-class resorts focused on making every event or meeting a unique and memorable experience. And our well-developed infrastructure -- and excellent air service, transportatio dining options, shopping and other activities -- make it easy for planners to focus on the content of their meetings versus the logistics."
Along with being exciting and exotic, Maui is a very safe and friendly destination, he adds, noting that "our Hawaiian values are infused into every event, from our initial aloha and welcome greetings to our end-of-event mahalo, or 'thank you.'"
Parker says that many planners return again and again to Maui, because of "all that it offers and all there is to do and experience. And just when you feel you've discovered all of Maui, the islands of Lanai and Molokai are ready for your exploration."
On the news front, the 508-room Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa completed a $26.5 million renovation in July. Located on 23 beachfront acres on Ka'anapali Beach by the iconic Pu'u Keka'a (Black Rock) known for that sunset cliff-diving ceremony, the décor of the newly renovated rooms' bathrooms and living spaces honor the historic significance of its location, while bringing modern touches such as additional USB ports and power outlets to ample closet space and pull-out sleeper chairs.
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This article appears in the August 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.