With a simple flick of a switch, 250,000 lights will illuminate The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Friday. Its 16th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony kicks off numerous festive experiences planned throughout the holidays at the resort.
The pool courtyard and official holiday tree will be lit as a beacon, so Santa may "touch down" at Kapalua and greet keiki and adults alike.
The fun starts at 5:30 p.m. outdoors on the Makai Lawn, where the resort staff will hand out complimentary cookies, hot chocolate, punch and other specialty holiday treats to event goers. Attendees are encouraged to bring low-back beach chairs and/or picnic blankets and stay a while. As usual, it's free and open to the public.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua’s Aloha Bear hugs children, including Mauians Ella Dagan (from left), sisters Makoa and Mahina Ah Sam and Newport Beach, Calif., sister and brother, Kelly and John Paul Mohr.
Henry Kapono will headline the event and a children's hula halau will perform. This year's theme is "At Home in the Islands," based on one of Kapono's award-winning compositions.
"It's a feel-good event for everybody," says the Ritz's Cultural Adviser Clifford Nae'ole. "The common denominator is the smile."
In addition, the Tree Lighting Ceremony will benefit the children of Ka Hale A Ke Ola, Maui's homeless resource center with the sale of tree ornaments and other arts and crafts items - perfect for gift giving.
"Working on this annual project with the Ritz-Carlton is always the highlight of the year. It is a time when the children work hard to perfect their hula and show their talents," says Rebecca Woods, the chief executive of Ka Hale A Ke Ola.
"Now more than ever, this partnership is important to help our community endure these tough times," adds the Ritz's General Manager Tom Donovan.
The resort's Banyan Tree restaurant and its cafe will offer food for purchase. In the restaurant, choose from entrees such as crisp Hawaiian snapper, fresh Kona lobster and grilled lamb loin.
"You can also come to the cafe for pupu, and have a simple glass of wine and enjoy the festivities," says Nae'ole.
Mark your calendars for the annual Teddy Bear Tea from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20 in The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom. This special event for the children among us will include tea presentations, cookie decorating and lots of storytelling.
The special guests will be Chris the Aloha Bear, Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus. Cost of $25 children, and $40 adults includes tax and gratuity.
The Terrace Restaurant will also offer a buffet on Christmas Day from 3 to 8 p.m. at the cost of $85 per adult, which includes a glass of champagne. Children 5 to 12 are $42.50.
Chef de Cuisine Ryan Urig will offer a four-course meal at the Banyan Tree on Christmas Day from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. The cost is $115 per adult and is exclusive of tax and gratuity.
Ranga Pae will perform in the Banyan Tree over the holidays. Restaurant Manager Moe Thajib has added some fun new decor in the restaurant's foyer.
For more details, call 669-6200.