Maui’s Plantation Guest House in Hana Is Full of History

Once host to Hawaii’s kings and queens, Travaasa Hana’s elegant “house on the hill” is one of Maui's most unique event venues.

Perched on a hill overlooking lush Hana, Maui, Travaasa Hana’s historic Plantation Guest House, available for weddings, exclusive entertaining or group retreats, looks like something out of a fantasy. With its elegant architecture, spacious lanai and wide manicured lawn, it stands out in stark contrast to the surrounding jungle, and the airy interior is quintessentially modern Hawaiian style.

A palm-lined drive leads up to the house.
Photo: Al Argueta/Courtesy Travaasa Hana

Original artwork by renowned Hawaii artists of the last several decades, as well as John Webber woodblock prints from Captain Cook’s voyage journals circa 1780s, adorn the walls of the three-bedroom house, most of them collected over the years by the hotel’s different owners and tastefully styled by the resort’s current management team.

One of three bedrooms in the Plantation Guest House.
Photo: Al Argueta/Courtesy Travaasa Hana

Much of the furniture is vintage, like the beautiful carved four-poster wooden bed frames and brown gourd lampstands. Other pieces are contemporary organic, like the woven chairs and polished wood slab table in the formal dining room. 

Over the years, the location went through several changes as Hawaiian plantation style evolved. It was owned the longest by two Danish brothers—August and Oscar Unna—who started the first Hana Plantation & Mill in 1864. The Unnas were very social and hosted many prominent guests, including Queen Liliuokalani, her husband John Dominis, and her brother King David Kalakaua.

This lanai was made for entertaining. 
Photo: Al Argueta/Courtesy Travaasa Hana

“August Unna loved Hana, and fell in love with the lifestyle,” says Marni Aina, resident manager at Travaasa Hana. “He ended up never rejoining his family and lived the rest of his life in Hana.” To this day, he is buried on the Plantation House property.

Oscar later took up leadership of the plantation and invited his wife, Menna, to help host King Kalakaua and the Hawaiian royal entourage. Documentation from the time says that Menna was the first white woman the people of Hana had ever seen.

The formal dining room. 
Photo: Al Argueta/Courtesy Travaasa Hana

Artist Georgia O’Keeffe found new inspiration for her art in Hana when she visited in 1939. She stayed in one of the now torn-down guest cottages behind the Plantation House and had as her tour guide 12-year-old Patricia Jennings, the daughter of Hana Sugar Plantation owner Willis Jennings. 

“I love the things that grow—the big dark trees—the big leaves—the black stream beds with the rushing white water. I love the wind and the salt air … we have walked and climbed—and sat in the sun—and always the places were so good,” O’Keeffe wrote in a March 1939 letter from Hana.

The current Plantation House was constructed in the 1940s. Through the years, it would be used as a home for the property managers and owners. Under Hotel Hana-Maui, it was first used as a guest accommodation and event space, and Travaasa Hana continued the tradition. In 2018, the historic guest house was given an extensive renovation. Now, whether it’s a wedding, other special event or celebrity getaway, this very special venue in “Heavenly Hana” is often in demand.

Travaasa Hana’s Plantation Guest House
1 Mill Place, Hana, Maui
For rental or booking information, call (877) 713-1903

Categories: Maui, Travel Tips