Friday, August 7, 2015

The Mokihana Room

Don Blanding’s Mokihana Lei, is brought to life at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono in our Mokihana Room.  This fragrant lei is created from Kauai’s treasured Mokihana berries found in the deep forests of Koke‘e.  The room’s traditional Hawaiian quilt is fashioned after the anise-scented green berry, inspiring both the color and pattern.  The moonlit gray color of the room symbolizes the mist of Koke’e as it emcompasses the Mokihana.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Ulupono's Hawaiian Garden


     Don Blanding’s "My Hawaiian Garden" was where it all began for Tom and Janice, owners and innkeepers of The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono. For those that are in the know, Don Blanding played a hand in Hawaii's local cultural history from his first coining of Lei Day to the Aji-no-moto jingle many of us grew up with. He was known as the "Father of Lei Day", a poet, cartoonist and commercial artist are just a few hats he wore through his lifetime. Don Blanding was even an E.M.T. back in 1912, saving a little girl named Billie Cassin who would later be known as one of America's greatest Hollywood icons, Joan Crawford. Don Blanding first came to Hawaii in 1915 until enlisting in the U.S. Army. He would later return to Honolulu in 1921.

     The poetry of Don Blanding and "My Hawaiian Garden" would be the bases for The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono. The theme of the Inn is reminiscent of a by-gone era of the 1920's, where Hawaii was just a quiet string of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean waiting to be discovered by the malihini, otherwise known as a foreigner or newcomer. Tom and Janice envisioned creating "My Hawaiian Garden" for their guests. Coming to fruition in 1997, The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono opened its doors to its first guests, sharing the sweet fragrance of jasmine, colorful croton hedges and ginger plants of their Hawaiian Garden.

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

Sunday, March 13, 2011

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