May 22nd, 2012 / posted by paularath

There’s something about Memorial Day weekend that always makes me want to plan a trip. As it approaches, I find myself with incurable wanderlust. Perhaps it’s the remembrance of our family’s summer trips: a month in the manager’s home on Lanai, stays in the Wilcox house in Hanalei and those endless summer days at my parents’ beach house on the North Shore. Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer were always kicked off with Memorial Day.

This year the wanderlust is almost overpowering. We had to cancel our May trip to China when I broke my neck so my feet are itchier than ever. Then Sheila Donnelly sent me a packet about Lumeria Maui, a luxury retreat in the old Baldwin Estate in Paia. I’ve been lusting after it ever since.

I also learned more about the restoration of the historic Baldwin home when its architect and interior designer won an award from the Hawaii Historic Preservation Foundation. (I was at the awards presentation for Palama Settlement.) It sounds like a must-see and must-do on Maui.

Paia is such a fun little town. I love the shopping, with Tamara Catz, Nuage Bleu and Le Tarte, to name a few boutiques. And Mana Foods! Love it, love it, love it! (Did you know it’s owned by designer Sierra Dew‘s father? She practically grew up there, especially in the skin care area, she tells me. Her perfect skin is a testament to Dr. Hauschka and eating well her entire life.)

So there sits Lumeria, an experiential retreat set on six acres in Paia. The restored home was originally built in 1909 by the Baldwin family of sugar cane fame. The current owner and operator is Xorin Balbes, an award winning architectural conservator and designer famous for high profile restorations such as a 1926 Frank Lloyd Wright house in L.A. called Sowden House.

Balbes’ intent with Lumeria is to create a retreat for those seeking adventure and enrichment in an intimate, authentic island setting. The inn offers classes, programs and retreats for yoga, meditation, Hawaiian culture and even water sports.  There are 24 guest rooms in five lodge buildings.


Lumeria’s lodges are surrounded by beautifully landscaped and edible gardens. It’s located just steps from Paia’s shops and Maui’s famous north shore surfing, kite surfing and wind surfing spots. Water sports teachers include world-renowned professional surfers Suzie Cooney and Buzzy Kerbox. They focus on both technical skills and the importance of the ocean in Hawaiian culture.

With an emphasis on Hawaiian cultural practices, Lumeria also offers classes. programs, tours and volunteer opportunities for its guests. A few of the things kama’aina might enjoy doing:

  • Tour the on-site medicinal gardens with Puanani Lindsey and learn how to use Hawaiian medicinal herbs
  • Talk story around the fire pit with Maui kupuna
  • Cleanse and purify with a traditional “Calabash” Bowl of Light”
  • Enjoy a Hawaiian astrology lesson on the lawn
  • Volunteer in Honokowai to help restore ancient villages
  • Learn about Hawaiian farming practices
  • Ride on horseback through Haleakala crater

Lumeria does a good job of taking advantage of its locale. Free daily yoga classes are offered in the studio or in the gardens. A light organic breakfast also comes complimentary with the room.

Morning yoga classes are free at Lumeria.

Lumeria is offering an introductorydaily kama’aina rate of $239 (yoga and breakfast included). BTW, no prior yoga experience is required.

There are also packages – such as the three-day “Experience Old Hawaii” complete with a lesson in throw net fishing, a lomi lomi massage, canoe session and trip to Honokowai Valley – and the intensive week-long Lumeria Glow-Cleanse Yoga Fusion Experience. It sounds ideal for a girlfriend retreat or just a chance to get away from it all and focus privately on the spiritual side of life. For more information, go to

Sigh. A serene, meditative retreat sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

– Paula Rath

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