Sunday, June 12, 2011

Authentic island charm at Old Wailuku Inn - Travel Weekly

Authentic island charm at Old Wailuku Inn - Travel Weekly
By Shane Nelson
Old Wailuku InnMaui visitors looking to soak in some legitimate, old Hawaii charm should consider a night or two at the Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono.

"Visitors usually come to us because we are in the historical part of town, and they're looking for something that's more real," said Shelly Fairbanks Harris, administrative assistant at the bed and breakfast and a daughter of the property's owners. "They want to be able to walk down the street in the morning and meet some of the neighbors. ... And our family is very much focused on perpetuating the old Hawaii and having guests who come visit us feel like they've gone back in time for just a little bit."

Built in 1924, the home was constructed as a wedding gift from Charles Lufkin, a prominent Maui banker, to his daughter-in-law Lenore. Tom and Janet Fairbanks purchased the home in 1995 and spent nearly two years refurbishing the place before welcoming their first guests.

"The house needed a lot of work when they first moved in," Fairbanks said of her parents. "In fact, it was pretty much gutted. ...And they really tried to keep as much of the original architecture as possible and save a lot of the flooring."

A brief stroll from Wailuku's collection of charming old churches and distinctive shops, the seven-room bed and breakfast is full of period furnishings dating back at least 80 years, along with a large garden loaded with heirloom hibiscus and an infectious brand of Maui tranquility.

"Guests often talk about how sitting down at the table, or on the lanai or maybe even the front step, just triggers all sorts of happy memories," Fairbanks said.

Each room offers a distinct feel and decor, with vibrant Hawaiian quilts brightening every bed. Other features include private bathrooms, TVs and complimentary WiFi.

According to Fairbanks, travelers from the U.S. mainland as well as Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand return frequently not only for the Old Wailuku Inn's relaxed charm but also its location.

"A lot of them will stay here because it's very central to all of the tourist spots," she said. "You can go up to Haleakala and not have to drive the extra hour to the west side, and the same thing with Hana, so it's a good kind of landing spot for everybody."

Commissionable at 10% to agents, rooms at the Old Wailuku Inn run between $165 and $195 but should be booked at least six months in advance. Visit

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Maui’s most award-winning, historic landmark bed & breakfast property, The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono, has been awarded a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence for 2011. The award goes to properties who consistently received excellent ratings from the travel site’s members. The Inn is rated at 4.5 out of a possible 5.
“We’re very excited to receive this prestigious honor. We’re proud of the great satisfaction our guests have shared on TripAdvisor® over the past 15 years, ” says Innkeeper Janice Fairbanks. 
The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono – the beautifully restored 1924 “Queen of Wailuku homes” – was opened as a bed & breakfast inn in 1997 with seven distinctive guest rooms; in 2002, three additional guest rooms were opened in Vagabond’s House, next door to the Inn’s main building. Since its opening, the Inn has been listed on the Hawai‘i State Register of Historic Places, has won a  “Keep It Hawai‘i” award for accommodations – the Hawai‘i Visitors & Convention Bureau’s top state honor for efforts to preserve Hawaiian culture –, was rated #5 on Travel + Leisure magazine’s Top Ten U.S. Bed & Breakfasts list, received a Historic Hawai‘i Foundation Historic Preservation Honor Award, and was the only property in the state of Hawai‘i to be included on the Fodor’s Choice Hotels “Top 20 Hotels of the World” 2005 list.
The Inn is located at 2199 Kaho‘okele Street, Wailuku in Maui’s Central Valley. Please visit

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Maui Dodges the Worst of Fukushima Earthquake Tsunami

A Giant Tsunami luckily missed our beautiful Island March 11, 2011.  Maui experienced surges that caused damage; but primarily in our Harbors where deep channels effect intensity and height of water events.  A few miles from the Inn, the Kahului Harbor saw a 6 foot surge at 3:40 am which pushed water about 1/3 mile inland to wet the toes of Walgreen's on Puunene Avenue.  (Google Map Walgreen's Store, Kahului to see the harbor and extent of surge.)
The Old Wailuku Inn is not in the Tsunami Inundation Zone.  We are sufficiently inland and higher elevation to avoid ever being affected by a Tsunami of any magnitude.  Once we were informed about 8:15 pm we started our disaster Preparation plan.  Mainly stocking water for drinking and managing toilets in case of shortage, preparing flashlights, radios etc. All ten of our rooms were occupied that night with 20 people total under our care.  At about 9:15 pm when the Alert changed to a Warning (that a wave is coming) we began our procedure to find and alert our guests.  We were successful in reaching each of them by 10:00 pm.  Upon reaching them we advised them to return to the Inn and stay on property where they would be safe.  We would advise them when the all clear was sounded to insure their safety.  By 10:30 pm all guests were secure in their rooms, in plenty of time for the 2:59 am anticipated Wave arrival.  Tsunami Wave Alert sirens were sounded every half and hour from 10:00 pm by Maui Civil defense.
We had many comments about how efficiently Maui County and the Visitor Industry managed the safety and evacuation of our visitors in preparation of this potential disaster.  Everyone in Tsunami inundation areas was evacuated by 1:00 am a full one and a half hours prior to anticipated landfall of the wave.
Today waters around our shores continue to recede exposing the ocean floor and then refill without coming onto shore. This will continue for a week or so, as the natural ebb and flows have been disrupted by the seismic event in Japan, making the ordeal more real.  Our visitors are in awe as they get to observe how a real tsunami acts.  And grateful that we were all spared a disaster, that so many in Japan continue to suffer from.
For more information visit for images and details around the Island of Maui.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

A few months ago my family and I decided to make Keālia pond and boardwalk our Maui outting-- we so rarely take advantage of free time to enjoy sightseeing our own island that thousands come to visit annually.

Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, growing up I knew it as Mud is one of the most beautiful places to visit.  It is steps away from a major roadway, highway 310, but is teeming with wildlife.  The 700 acres was designated as a wildlife refuge in 1992 and is one of the few remaining wetlands in the Hawaiian islands.

The refuge is host to more than 30 species of birds and is home to the endangered ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt), ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot), and the koloa (Hawaiian duck).  In spring and early summer the water level recedes and Keālia may have more than half the statewide population of ae‘o. Migratory birds come from their winter time habitats to fill the pond from late summer to early spring.  It is an important area in the state for wintering migratory waterfowl.  The shallow mudflat areas provide a suitable nesting, feeding, and resting habitat for endangered waterbirds.

Other Hawaiian wildlife can be found there as well.  The endangered Hawaiian hawksbill turtles nest on the adjacent beach during the summer months.  The Blackburn's Sphinx moth, Hawaii's largest insect with a wingspan up to 5 inches makes its home there as well! YIKES!  But don't worry they are harmless and look like night time humming birds.

We hope during your visit to the Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono and Maui you will take the opportunity to visit the natural wonder of Keālia Pond to learn more about the Hawaiian wetlands and the plants, animals and insects that call it home.

If you would like to find out more about Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge please visit

Friday, December 31, 2010

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

It has been another glorious year at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono.  Mahalo to all those who have made unforgettable impressions upon our lives here on each  staff member at our B&B.  We hope that the new year brings you and your loved ones new opportunities to make wonderful memories.

As you sing "Auld Lang Syne" tonight at the stroke of midnight keep us in mind and hope to see you all in the new year!!  Here's to 2011!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Island Folklore

With Halloween just around the corner it conjurs up age old SPOOKY stories!  Growing up in my younger years in Hawaii holds some great memories having had the unique opportunity to hear legends and tales from our multi-ethnic community.  We have many stories from all over Maui to share but these are some close to home, all within a stones throw from The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono.

The White Lady
This story is widely known to almost every child and adult who grew up here in Hawaii.  The white lady can be in the form Madame Pele or an unknown woman looking for a long lost love or her child.  She can be young or old, and can be seen on a full moon night or on a moonless night.  No one ever knows when they might encounter the White Lady.
There have been sightings on Highway 30, Honoapiilani, of the White Lady wandering along the stretch of road somewhere between the Tropical Plantation and the Kahili Golf course entrance.  It has been said that when you drive that stretch of road you may encounter a woman dressed in white.  Many have passed her and looked back only to find that the woman in white is nowhere to found.  Others have stopped to offer a ride to the kindly, old woman.  The white lady accepts the ride and sits in the back seat.  The driver asks the woman where she is going to as he looks at her through his rear view mirror, noting her ghostly glow and chalks up to either the full moon or shadows from the trees that line the highway.  Silence is the only thing the driver hears as he continues his drive toward Wailuku town or Ma'alaea, he asks the question again and again no answer.  He notices somehow she looks almost transparent as he views her in the rearview mirror again.  He turns to ask the elderly woman where he needs to take her and finds that the White Lady has vanished into thin air.
Either way—you can’t help but think of what you would do if you ever find yourself driving on that lonely stretch of road on Highway 30, will you pick up the mysterious lady in white or will you pass her by?

The Warrior in the Mist
The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono is located in a strategic position for golfers---we are surrounded by four challenging golf courses, all of which are within a 10 minute drive from the inn.  Over the years there have been several stories shared amongst friends and co-workers about one of the local golf courses in the area.  This will make you think the next time you tee off...
Departing guests from evening events at the clubhouse have encountered a misty fog as they drive away.  In the fog many have witnessed a lone figure resembling an ancient Hawaiian warrior watching.  The sound of the pu(conch shell) can be heard in the distance.  No one has ever dared to stop to investigate and have left many wondering if the warrior sighting was just a trick of the eye in the mist.
An old Hawaiian legend may help to explain the sound of the conch.  Legend has it that deep in the Valleys above Wailuku there exists a lava tube that extends all the way to the other side of the island.  Hidden in it is said to be a magical pu.  Perhaps the blowing conch is the sound of the magical pu and the warrior spirit is in search of the hidden conch.  OR perhaps the blowing conch is a call to arms of the ancient Hawaiian warrior spirits that continue to guard this land.

Da Slippah Spirit
Slip-slap, slip-slap, slip-slap...slip-slap, slip-slap.  Four A.M?
We moved into our home on Kiele Street about 10 years ago, just around the corner from The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono.  It's a great street for kids to grow up on, friendly neighbors and of course "da Slippah Spirit".
My daughter at the time was about 6 years old.  Each night she would fall asleep only to be woken up by the sound of slip-slap, slip-slap at about 4am each morning.  She explained that she heard someone running with rubber slippers(a.k.a flip-flops, thongs, zoris) down our street, up and down our front stairs then up the street towards Kahookele Street.  My husband and I had a chuckle thinking she must be dreaming of course.  As this continued each night, she became more concerned about the slipper wearer jumping in through her bedroom window somehow.  To calm her fears I volunteered to sleep in her room for a few nights with her.  To my surprise at four am I heard the sound of slippers running down our street!  My daughter looked at me with that "see I told you" look.  We both quickly snuck up to the window but could not find the culprit.  Our street is well lit by a street lamp outside her window, we saw no movement or shadows of a person.  We could hear the slippers as it continued up our stairs and then down, up and down, up and down, then back to the street to the next set of stairs.
We were very hush hush about this since we were the only crazy people to be awake at 4am and no one else we knew of had witnessed this.  One day my mother spoke with one of our neighbors, he happens to live near the intersection of Kiele and Kahookele Street and she mentioned the slipper sound at four in the morning!  Our neighbor smiled and confirmed that he also has HEARD the same sound as he gets ready for work early each morning.  Still to this day we have never SEEN the person wearing those slippahs.  So if you ever find yourself up at four am keep an ear out for “da Slippah Spirit” from Kiele Street.