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Lumeria Maui, the reincarnation of an Upcountry Maui memorial home built in 1909

Point Break

by Kai Andersen | Hawai'i magazine | September 6, 2012

Even at the poshest getaway, stress can still be hard to escape. But there’s no need to renounce your iPad and flee to some remote ashram just yet. Instead, keep it simple and check into Lumeria Maui (1813 Baldwin Ave., Makawao, 579.8877, lumeriamaui.‌com), a luxury retreat center nestled in the verdant, rolling landscape of Maui’s North Shore, on the road from Pā‘ia to Makawao. A few days in this haven are sure to kickstart even the most worldweary.

During a stay at Lumeria, it becomes quickly obvious that the property has achieved a truly unique balance. Its blend of meditative serenity and sumptuous comfort can’t be found elsewhere in Hawai‘i. Created by Xorin Balbes—a talented and wonderfully gregarious L.A. designer and author who now calls Maui, and Lumeria, home—the resort is perfect for those who seek more than the usual four-star frills. Surrounded by lush native plants, the gorgeously renovated historic building was originally constructed in 1909 for retiring plantation workers by the renowned Baldwin family. Comprising guest rooms, a dining room and a yoga studio, the main structure—decked in what Balbes calls peacock blue—encloses a spacious inner courtyard, which opens to a spectacular vista of Western Maui and the surrounding ocean. (Here, sunsets take on a whole new meaning.)

As the gently smiling, exquisite Buddhist statues that inhabit the grounds seem to suggest, Lumeria is a place where you can let go of the outside world. Hence, rooms have neither phones nor flat-screen TVs. (There is, however, Wi-Fi for those who still need to connect, making it an ideal place to work undisturbed and finish that long-term project.) The restrained décor soothes the eyes—the plush, comfortable beds are a wonder—along with a bathroom equipped with a Japanese tansu cabinet and a shower tiled with river stones. While the private rooms instill relaxation, Lumeria’s main space is an aesthetic delight that brings people together. Showcasing the likes of Tibetan thangkas, dazzling Moroccan lamps and superb crystals, the room reflects Hawai‘i’s embrace of people from all over the world. “The truest essence of what is here is the welcoming of all cultures,” explains Balbes. “That’s the experience of aloha.”

Central to this nurturing ethos is Lumeria’s focus on wellness, which includes massages and yoga classes. (Be sure to try a class with the marathon runner-turned-yogini who motivates her students with fiery positivity.) In addition, Lumeria offers programs in well-being, horticulture and ocean sports. Add to this special workshops covering everything from ayurveda to creative writing. But just be forewarned: The more you experience, the more you’ll want to book your next stay.