Maui 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 www.mauiinn.com.