Maui boasts its sun, sand and surf during the holidays, but now there's ice skating, too.
Well, sort of.
The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas unveiled Wednesday its "hybrid ice rink," which acts like a real ice-skating rink, but doesn't have any ice and doesn't use any refrigeration or electricity.
Westin Ka‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas guest George Sikora (with hat) and the hotel’s director of Food and Beverage, Robert Megargle, test out their skates on the approximately 1,000-square-foot hybrid ice rink that opened Wednesday.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"I think it's an island first," said Robert Megargle, the hotel's director of food and beverage who came up with the idea to have the plastic hybrid rink on the resort's lawn.
The resort is calling it "Skating by the Sea, a Kaanapali Holiday."
Megargle, who moved to Maui nine months ago from New York, joked that "I had to bring Rockefeller Center here to the island."
Skating By the Sea
Through Jan. 1, The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas, 6 Kai Ala Drive.
Monday through Friday: 4 to 9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 1 to 9 p.m.
* $15 for 20 minutes; includes ice skate rental
* All-day passes available for $75
Children 6 years old and under not permitted.
Open to the public.
And, now there's a 1,000-square-foot, cozy skating rink decked out with tinsel on its vinyl fence enclosures and three Christmas trees standing as sentries near its entrance.
But instead of skaters keeping the cold winter chill away with warm beanies and mittens, they enjoyed Maui's warm weather, wearing shorts and T-shirts.
"It was fun," said Chicago visitor George Sikora, who was the first hotel guest to try out the rink. "It was really an incredible experience to be ice skating in 85-degree weather on the island of Maui."
The software company owner who grew up playing hockey said it was almost like the real thing.
"It's probably as close to a real experience as you can imagine," Sikora said.
Megargle, who also grew up skating in Michigan, glided through the rink and fanned out his arms as he wore his aloha shirt and slacks.
Megargle was employed at one of the Westin's sister hotels, the W New York Downtown, where he had worked with the company BH Skating International, which patented the hybrid rink. He then lured the company to Maui.
The rink is made out of polymer, a plasticlike substance, with a sugar-based lubricant which gets absorbed into the polymer so its not sticky, he said.
"It acts and feels like real ice," under one's skates, he said.
The products along with blades moving across the surface work together to let the skater glide, he added.
To the touch, the rink was not cold, but damp, with some water visible. The top of the rink felt like soft plastic flooring and wasn't slippery. The rink is slower than riding roller skates or inline skates.
"What we are proud of, it requires no electricity, or any power whatsoever, it's environmentally sound," Megargle said.
He added that the hotel built the rink with local contractors and workers. It took about a couple of days to build. Then the rink was outfitted in holiday decor, with more to come, hotel officials said.
He said that the rink comfortably holds 15 people, who will be allowed to skate for 20 minutes for $15. The price includes skate rentals, but people should bring socks. (See box.)
Megargle said that the hotel is combining the skating experience with other holiday events, including events for children as well as a "Skate into the New Year" party on New Year's Eve.
Events are open to the public.
During the rink's evening and night hours, the monkeypod trees above it will be lit up with Christmas lights.
"The big thing for us is we wanted to provide something unique and memorable," said the hotel's General Manager Angela Nolan as she watched the skaters as the sun began to set.
"It's nice to bring the winter feel to the island."
*Melissa Tanji can be reached at email@example.com.