The warm summer-like breeze tangled my hair and weaved itself through the knitted holes of my bright pink sweater. Our topless Jeep hugged the final hairpins along the Road to Hana and finally turned down the lawn to our little home for the weekend: the Hale Ulu Lulu cottage.
“Hale Ulu Lulu,” in the lovely Hawaiian language, means “house sheltered by the breadfruit trees. The exotic fronds of the namesake trees surround the little blue cottage.
It was a lovely site after a long, sunny day filled with rock-hopping to hidden waterfalls, slurping fresh pineapple, and hugging rainbow eucalyptus trees. Coconut sunscreen on our shoulders and black beach sand between our toes, we unlocked the door to our island getaway: the loveliest little Hawaiian cottage we could have imagined.
The little blue cottage bore a striking resemblance to the summer cottage in northern Wisconsin where my family spent the June, July and August weekends of my childhood. It was the perfect setting for a Hawaiian vacation with my sister.
Soft Hawaiian music drifted through the windows, and I collapsed on the chaise to sip my pineapple Maui Wine to relax and wonder about the history of this pretty little place.
The first sugarcane plantation in Hawaii was established in 1835, and by the 1840s, the sugarcane export business was booming. Hale Ulu Lulu was built around 1900. By then, the town of Hana was abuzz with movie theaters, shops and restaurants, despite its remote location. The town had a population of 3,500 and could be reached by the gravel Hana Highway (completed in 1926).
The land surrounding Hale Ulu Lulu was once covered in sugarcane — part of the Hana Sugar Plantation. The cottage was built to house the plantation manager and is one of the few surviving authentic plantation houses in Hana. It was also once home to the legendary Eddie Pu, subject of the book “Voices of Wisdom-Hawaiian Elders Speak.”
By the turn of the 21st century, the population of Hana would dwindle to around 700 and the little blue plantation house fell into ruin. The current owners purchased the cottage, along with a few others nearby, and began a year-long restoration.
They paid great attention to detail when preserving the historical integrity of the house while adding all of the modern amenities you might need. The bead board, crown molding and claw-foot tub add charm and authenticity to the beautiful plantation home.
They restored as many original windows as they could while adding new and beautiful Brazilian Mahogany floors, a Koa wood bar counter and granite kitchen countertops. The 900-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage is the perfect, charming getaway for a couple or pair to rest after the long journey along the winding Road to Hana. Local artwork, Hawaiian antiques, and views of the ocean are the sugarcane on top.
We spent each morning enjoying stunning sunrises from the front porch, and just a short drive away, Hamoa Beach provided the ideal setting to watch surfers at sunset. Our stay at Hale Ulu Lulu in Hana was a dream come true, from sunrise to sunset. I can’t wait to go back.
Suggestions for more hipstorical places on Maui? Email me and help me build my archives!