[HANA, MAUI] — I was scoping out a project in Hawaii and stayed at Travaasa, a new experiential hotel brand with an amazing location in Austin and a second here, in Hana. I’m not a big fan of all the high-rise hotels in the crowded parts of Maui, but this place is much, much different.

Travaasa is an “experiential resort” so they do cool stuff beyond having the best spa in Hawaii. Besides free yoga and a killer workout space overlooking the sea, there are lessons on Hawaiian throw net fishing, outrigger canoeing, culinary classes, horseback riding and a dozen other cool experiences.

In addition to geeking out over pools and nice hotels, I’m completely OBSESSED with flying, so what got me was the glider experience, long on my list of experiencing every method of flying. When I heard they had a glider, I knew I had to go. Right. Now.

I’ve jumped out of planes (ummmmm, stopped after the third jump and a too-long chute tangle), paraglided over Rio, choppered over the Utah desert, but THIS is what I’ve longed to do — flying with just the wind (well, other factors are involved, too, including gravity). You fly in this cool and lithe motorized glider, which means they don’t have to tow it from another plane. You climb to 11,000ft and then you shut off the engine. Yes, shut off the engine. And then just go.

While that may sound crazy to some, it makes a ton of sense, especially since without an engine, Hans is the only pilot allowed to fly, silently, over the Haleakala National Park and its volcano crater. No other plane, no other helicopter is allowed. Only Hans and Skyview Soaring. As you flout on the winds above the volcano, you can look straight down its many throats. And then just soooaarrrr.

Travaasa did a great a recap on their website here.  Here’s a good article in the NYTimes about getting away from the crowds in Maui, including the drive to Hana. And another from the New York Times about when to go see the volcano.



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