When you think of heading to South Maui it’s not usually to shop. Go to a club, pick up a great Philly cheesesteak sandwich, sun on the beach—but not shopping. Well, don’t sell South Maui short just yet. We spent an afternoon or two perusing the Kihei and Wailea shopping districts and there were plenty of secret gems in the rough.
When we stopped at Aloha Marketplace, we were expecting a bit of a tourist trap, with stands offering Indonesian and China-made goods and souvenirs. What we found was that it was all just a front for a great little store called Maui Mana that has original art, unique jewelry, a tremendous variety of tobacco pipes, papers, water pipes and other unique gifts. We promptly picked up a few hemp tobacco papers—they make great stocking stuffers.
As we headed North on South Kihei Road, we pulled into the Foodland Shopping Center and found a shop called Rainbow Attic. This consignment store is full of potential gifts, from a solid housewares area to a great fashion section. The ceramic planters we bought would’ve run twice as much elsewhere, and will be well appreciated by the plant lover we bought them for.
We can’t be shopping in Kihei without stopping at The Love Shack. Lila’s collection of tantalizing adult gifts and fun can be found at the Kihei Kalama Village. Of course the Striptease Kit caught our eye, it had everything but the pole in a cute reusable box chock full of tips to make you the naked dancer you always were inside. Other favorite items were the “After Sex Towel” and the peacock feathers—free with every purchase.
Also in the open-air Kihei Kalama Village is the largest and most eclectic array of individual merchant-manned kiosks, all collected under one roof on the block between the Love Shack and Bada Bing. It’s here you’ll find an unexpected gem or two amidst the predictable sarongs, wooden fish mobiles and surfboard towels. For instance, a chrome lighter engraved with your photo is a charming gift for the stinky smoker in your family. Accompany it with a ceramic ashtray adorned with a three-dimensional sunbathing man in a g-string, and let the butt jokes fly!
If you wanna get a little more hardcore for the holidays, check out the 20156 store under Lulu’s for their line of HardCore Watches. Handcrafted and water resistant, these timepieces feature thick chains or black leather studded swatches and faces with such bad boy emblems as skulls, flames, jokers, reapers and gatekeepers. Grrr!
Just a little bit down the road is the Rainbow Mall, home to Okole Candy, Discount Liquor and Beach Road Records. Not only does Beach Road have a great selection of new CDs in all genres—as well as music from Maui musicians—but they also have used CDs, listening stations, DVDs and rentals, and they seem to be the only place on island that has Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby, Half-Baked, and Marsha, Marsha, Marshmellow flavors in their ice cream case. Sweet!
The end of our South Maui excursion brings to us to The Shops at Wailea. Ah, The Shops—the island’s oceanside mall notable for its unusual pairing of ritzy, high-end designer boutiques with board-less surf shops and mass-marketed souvenir T-shirts. But at the femme-tastic and magical place known appropriately as The Enchantress, we delighted over the fabulous princess gowns and opulent costume jewelry—everything seems to be sprinkled with fairy dust.
We also got giddy over the crystal-embedded iPod covers, the elaborate feathered masks, and the tranquil goddess fountains. We felt like we’d stepped into the ultimate fantasy world, which was great ‘cause our shopping world left us utterly exhausted and thankful for the feminine graces of the luxurious Swarovsky crystal encrusted wedge heel slipper. Ah…