A Maui bed-and-break­fast pays homage to the legacy of sugar pro­duc­tion >>

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - TRAVEL - CHERYL CHEE TSUTSUMI ——— Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi is a Honolulu-based free­lance writer whose travel fea­tures for the Star-Ad­ver­tiser have won sev­eral So­ci­ety of Amer­i­can Travel Writ­ers awards.

As soon as Sandy Beck Camou and her late hus­band, John, saw the 2-acre Haiku, Maui, prop­erty in 2004, they knew they had found some­thing spe­cial. No mat­ter that the five-bed­room, five-bath plan­ta­tion house on the par­cel was more than 130 years old and needed ten­der lov­ing care.

“There were holes in the floors,” Camou re­called. “We had to re­pair that and (also the) rot in the bath­rooms. We painted, ren­o­vated the kitchen and beau­ti­fied the land­scap­ing. Ex­cept for the roof, pretty much ev­ery­thing was in bad shape, but we saw the house’s po­ten­tial.” Their plan was to up­grade the bed-and-break­fast that was al­ready op­er­at­ing there. Al­though they had never run an inn be­fore, Camou had worked in the travel in­dus­try for more than 30 years, in­clud­ing own­ing a des­ti­na­tion man­age­ment com­pany, and John was an elec­tri­cian, skilled handy­man and af­fa­ble peo­ple per­son with a green thumb. They re­named the hostelry the Haiku Plan­ta­tion Inn, which in 2009 be­came the first B&B to be per­mit­ted un­der Maui County’s new or­di­nance for such ac­com­mo­da­tions.

One of the prop­erty’s draws is its his­tory. Delv­ing into re­search, Camou learned that King Kame­hameha III granted the Rev. Richard Arm­strong, a mis­sion­ary who had ar­rived on Maui in 1835, the first deed to it dur­ing the Great Ma­hele land di­vi­sion of 1848 (en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Ma­hele). Arm­strong was one of the men who founded Haiku Sugar Co. a decade later, and the house, which was built in about 1870, was the of­fice and res­i­dence for a suc­ces­sion of plan­ta­tion doc­tors and their fam­i­lies.

In 1905 Haiku Sugar Co. merged with Paia Plan­ta­tion to form Maui Agri­cul­tural Co., which, in turn, merged with Pu­unene-based Hawai­ian Com­mer­cial & Sugar Co. in 1948. HC&S, Hawaii’s last sugar plan­ta­tion, just closed, mark­ing the demise of an in­dus­try that had en­dured for more than 180 years. “There’s so much his­tory here,” Camou said. “John passed away in 2010, and I know he would’ve wanted me to con­tinue to help pre­serve it.”

In­deed, al­though the house has been ren­o­vated over the years, it ex­udes the look and feel of old Hawaii. Camou has col­lected Hawai­iana for years; among the items on dis­play are cane knives, old milk and soda bot­tles, a poi pounder and a plan­ta­tion worker’s lunch tin. She found them, as well as dishes, fur­ni­ture, art, pho­tos and more, at auc­tions, garage sales, an­tique and thrift stores, and even on the prop­erty. Sev­eral of the pieces date from the 1800s.

“A lot of thought went into the decor, but I didn’t want the house to look as though it had been de­signed,” Camou said. “I wanted it to be com­fort­able and re­al­is­tic — what you would find if you walked into a plan­ta­tion home on Maui from the mid1800s to the mid-1900s.” The inn’s four guest rooms re­flect a nos­tal­gic theme, with vin­tage fur­ni­ture, ceil­ing fans, Hawai­ian quilt bed­spreads and an eclec­tic as­sort­ment of an­tiques, in­clud­ing vases, lamps and mir­rors. When the doc­tors lived in the house, the Haiku Suite was their of­fice, and the Aloha Suite was the mas­ter bed­room and study. Part of the orig­i­nal 1870 house, those two rooms have 12foot ceil­ings and dou­ble-hung win­dows made of hand-blown glass.

The Maui Suite was the laun­dry; its big, deep porce­lain sink is from the late 1800s and has never been re­fin­ished. The Plume­ria Suite’s bed­room was once part of a wrap­around lanai. Its bath­room, for­merly the chil­dren’s bed­room, fea­tures a turn-of-the-last-cen­tury pedestal sink and a cast-iron claw-foot tub.

All of the rooms have the orig­i­nal pinewood floors and open to pretty gar­den views. Many of the trees, in­clud­ing mango and Nor­folk pine, are more than a cen­tury old. Also among the abun­dant green­ery are ti, ba­nana, co­conut, av­o­cado, bread­fruit, plume­ria, hi­bis­cus and he­li­co­nia. Guests are wel­come to pick what­ever is ripe.

Leisure time can be spent in the ohana (fam­ily) room, which is stocked with games, books (from nov­els to guide­books

to Hawaii his­to­ries) and mu­sic (LPs fea­tur­ing Al­fred Apaka, Don Ho and other renowned is­land vo­cal­ists from by­gone days can be played on a replica of a 1950s record player). Camou is the con­sum­mate host­ess, han­dling check-ins, join­ing break­fast con­ver­sa­tions and shar­ing tips on things to see and do. Guests are im­mersed in aloha from the mo­ment they ar­rive.

“When they’re here I don’t want them to feel like they’re at a ho­tel,” Camou said. “I want them to feel like they’re at home.”


An abun­dance of trees, plants and flow­ers sur­rounds the Haiku Plan­ta­tion Inn, in­clud­ing ti, ba­nana, co­conut, av­o­cado, bread­fruit, hi­bis­cus, he­li­co­nia, palms and ferns, at left. The en­trance and din­ing room of the inn, which ex­udes the charm of old Hawaii. Break­fast is served here every morn­ing, cen­ter. The Maui Suite’s color scheme is burnt or­ange, cream and white, which com­ple­ments the nat­u­ral wood walls, bot­tom photo. It was orig­i­nally a laun­dry/ wash­room, and its bath­room fea­tures the orig­i­nal large, deep sink.

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