Umalu at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

The last time I was there, it was known as the poolside Pavillion and they served casual food poolside. Since then, a lot has changed. After a renovation that costs somewhere north of eight million dollars, the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa has launched a new concept in dining. They call it Umalu and the only thing it has in common with the Pavillion is the location.

As luck would have it, I was invited to attend the “First Party” on October 10th to welcome Umalu to Ka’anapali Beach. It may not have been the first party I have ever been to, but it was definitely one of the best. The atmosphere was what one has come to expect from the Hyatt. It seemed like everybody knew everybody. There were games and contests, and a whole lot of fun.

Our first stop was the bar — newly renovated and very well stocked. The bartenders name was Glenn and by the end of the evening, we were best friends. My daughter always tells me, “Always get to know the bartender, that way you’ll get free drinks.” I don’t know if that’s true, but it sure makes for a heck of a good time. And after one of Glenn’s Lahaina Lemonades (the first of two) everything seemed a little brighter.

Even without a Lahaina Lemonade, the pool of the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa is one of the best pool on Ka’anapali Beach. I love the waterfalls and the rock formations. The sunset is beautiful from anywhere you sit or stand. The location of the Umalu Restaurant is truly spectacular. The pool site seating and the cool breezes made for an incredibly romantic atmosphere. Coupled with the service you expect from a restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa, I fully expect full table service to be spectacular.

For this party, the guests of the Umalu restaurant were not provided with table service. Instead, there were multiple buffet style stations set up throughout the area. The oyster bar and the fresh shrimp cocktail were my favorites. Of course, there were other delicacies as well. Everything from a whole pig and prime rib to ahi poke was available throughout the party. There was a dessert bar with cheesecake, ice cream, and other tasty treats.

Early in the evening I had the opportunity to hang out with a group of concierges from Expedia concierge desk at the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa. Led by their manager Cara Crimmins, this group was made up of some of the nicest people around. They’re the ones who make sure your trip to the crater turns out just right, that your snorkel trip includes the best dive spots, and that your helicopter trip takes you over the waterfalls. These are the service oriented guest relations experts who make your dinner reservations and make sure you have VIP seating at the luau. I could not have asked for a better group of people to surround myself with for the evening. Not only did they know how to have  good time, they welcomed me into their close knit group with genuine Aloha and Island Hospitality. If not for my new Expedia friends (not to mention the shots of tequila we enjoyed together) I would not have had the time that I had.

All of the party guests were able to participate in the largest rock paper scissors game on Maui. Everyone received cool prizes from the sponsors of the event. We went home with hats, t-shirts, slippers, and  all sorts of cool stuff. The grand prize winner received a cooler for the beach and some beach chairs.

Later in the evening, I had the chance to meet James Teo, the general manager of Umalu. Understated and with the type of quiet confidence that befits a manager, James was rightfully proud of the event. He made sure we were having a great time and patiently listened to our comments. As much as I wanted to talk with him about Umalu and some of the wonderful changes that went into developing the new venue, I could tell that James had more things on his mind and was obviously in the middle of a major event. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to speak with James at greater length next time I dine at Umalu.

After such a good time, I can’t wait to go back for dinner.

Umalu Restaurant
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
200 Nohea Kai Drive
Lahaina, HI 96761
808.667.4727
www.hyattregencymaui.org/Umalu

Tiny Bubbles Scuba
About Maury Hoffman |Things to Do on Maui | Restaurant and Activity Reviews

Senior Editor of 808 Reviews and freelance travel writer, Maury Hoffman lives on Maui with his familiy, iPad, iPhone, and other gadgets. His writing proficiency is directly related to the quality of his morning coffee. He prefers Peet's Coffee, but also enjoys Living Java.

Tiny Bubbles Scuba