Historic Cliff House at Namalu Bay

Dive right in to launch of new Champagne Hale in famous beach building perched on ocean bluff

Launching today, the Champagne Hale at the Cliff House will serve Veuve Clicquot champagne, oysters on the half shell, caviar and more gourmet accoutrements from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays through Sept. 3. For more details, call 662-6600 or visit www.montagehotels.com/kapaluabay. Montage Kapalua Bay photo

I’ve said it before — it’s a cliff hanger. An oceanfront party pad. A room with a view. It’s the legendary Cliff House, which for more than 75 years, has served as a coveted private retreat on an island already embraced as a paradise.

In 2006, the Cliff House was shuttered around the same time Kapalua Bay Hotel was demolished. In 2009 it was renovated and in the last year or so, Montage Kapalua Bay has opened the illustrious ocean shack set atop Namalu Bay fronting its property for gourmet catered parties.

Today, Montage will launch a concept for lovers of oysters and bubbly. Yes, the Cliff House will transform into the “Champagne Hale” from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays through Sept. 3.

The Champagne Hale, with “hale” being the Hawaiian word for “house” or “home,” was created to capture the natural beauty of the surrounding area and the spirit of Maui, according to a press release.

“The historic Cliff House is beloved on the island, and creating the Champagne Hale allows us to offer new programs and amenities, and another location to see the beauty of Maui while enjoying a refreshing cocktail,” explains Richard Holtzman, resort managing director and vice president, about this truly one-of-a-kind experience.

Veuve Clicquot champagne; Montage Kapalua Bay photo

This historic building dates back to circa 1940, when D.T. Fleming and managers of the old Honolua Plantation built it as their private recreation facility.

“The Cliff House was our playground,” said Martha Vockrodt-Moran, Fleming’s granddaughter, in a previous interview in Maui Scene.

“We would go there for events and jump off the cliff into the blue water. The beauty of it impacted us all.”

As the story goes, D.T.’s father had met Henry Perrine Baldwin at a bar in his native Scotland and was offered a career running Grove Ranch here, now part of Haleakala Ranch. Baldwin masterminded construction of the East Maui Irrigation System and also was a co-founder of Alexander & Baldwin, one of the “Big Five” corporations, which dominated the old Territory of Hawaii’s economy.

A sneak peek of the legendary Cliff House and the bubbly concept was presented to some attendees of the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival earlier this month.

Oysters on the half shell; Montage Kapalua Bay photo

All agreed it’s a perfect spot to unwind after a day at the beach, pool or exploring the island. The lounge is filled with greenery and celebrates Maui’s gracious island living with a Veuve Clicquot twist.

Since Montage Kapalua Bay’s Executive Chef David Viviano previously cooked at ski resorts such as Park City, Utah and at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, he created an “apres” menu. But instead of savoring it on the slopes, you may dive into it after a day out on the water. It’s a perfectly paired menu of bubbly and light bites.

Champagnes featured are Veuve Clicquot Rich, a new offering from the house in the islands, inspired by mixology and so best enjoyed over ice with fresh ingredients like pineapple and citrus. Additionally, Veuve Clicquot’s signature Yellow Label, Rose and La Grande Dame will also be available by the glass and in a special “sunset tasting flight.”

The inspiring food pairing menu consists of Osetra caviar atop waffle-shaped wafers, or gaufrettes, of Molokai sweet and Yukon gold potatoes, with creme fraiche and chives; ahi tuna poke with limu (seaweed), shoyu, ginger, avocado, ocean salad and taro chips; Surfing Goat cheese and Kula strawberries with local honey and grilled baguettes; fresh oysters on the half shell with champagne mignonette and calamansi limes; and fresh tropical fruits such as Maui pineapple and mango and Molokai papaya with flavorings of li hing mui.