History

A vision of beauty, passion and love

Along Maui’s northeastern coast, caressed by the trade winds, two acres of historic ruins and lush tropical gardens rise dramatically against a Hawaiian sky. The Haiku Sugar Mill, also known as Pua Le‘a (“blossoming passion” in Hawaiian), blends the stunning beauty of Hawaii with the Old World elegance of Europe.

Over the years, we have gathered inspiration, wonder and an impassioned spirit from the Mill’s rich past. Through age-old stories and land records, we have delighted in unearthing the history of this sacred ‘aina (“land” in Hawaiian), which has seen it all, from the working hands of the descendants of the missionaries in the 1700s, to King Kamehameha III’s entrepreneurial spirit, which paved the way for sugar cane production.

It is this past – together with the natural splendor of Maui and rustic beauty of Europe – which we endeavor to bring to life through our beautiful property. 

But to understand where we are today, we must first revisit Haiku Mill’s history – one that begins over 150 years ago…

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Establishing roots, sowing the seeds of innovation

In 1858, when the Haiku Sugar Company was chartered, construction began on the Mill as we know it. Three years later, upon its completion in 1861, the Mill processed its very first crop using the leading edge technology of the time: a steam engine. This marked the beginning of nearly 20 years of successful sugar cane production in Haiku.  

As Hawaiian monarchs in the past have shown us, the age of Kamehameha III was one of progress and innovation. The Mill was the first of its kind in Hawaii to use a steam engine to grind cane, thus modernizing the trade that prospered for two decades on Haiku’s soil. To recognize this important milestone, in 1986 the Haiku Sugar Mill was added to the distinguished National Register of Historic Places listings in Hawaii.

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Reviving the old property

In 1879, after years as a hub of sugar production, the Mill was abandoned, left for over a century to gently decay into ruin. Vines and lush vegetation grew and covered the thick stone walls. Together, this provided a framework for the beautiful structure we see today.  

Strolling beneath the archway of the Mill is like stepping back into a simpler time— one of breathtaking beauty, splendor and pure romance. The open-sky cathedral and vine-draped ruins are rich in Hawaiian history and cultural preservation. 

From this beautiful shell we felt Maui’s rich past, it’s natural aura, and a powerful spirituality emanating, all of which we were inspired to share with the world. And so, more 20 years ago, with a fine attention to detail and respect for the historical land, we began an immense restoration effort to revive the true spirit of the Mill. We transformed the abandoned ruins from a decrepit, crumbling sugar factory into the blossoming hidden treasure it is today and renamed it the simpler, more poetic “Haiku Mill”. 

In designing the space, we embraced the lush botanical surroundings. Nestled within the thick walls, dreams become reality amidst the quiet grace and elegance of Maui’s natural wonder. A cascading waterfall entices guests to the upper level of the Mill, revealing a panoramic view of the stone floor below. As night falls, the magic begins. A glass ceiling rests atop antique French cast iron columns in the center of the building, opening up into the Hawaiian sky. A majestic French chandelier beautifully enhances the ambiance.

We are continually influenced by the unpretentious lifestyle of the south of France, where relaxed dinner parties centered on food, wine and dear friends in a grand setting are the priority. Old World European elegance prevails within the quaint wooden sugar plantation worker’s quarters, known as the Cane House (a tribute to the Mill’s origins). The interiors are dressed in magnificent, one-of-a-kind treasures plucked straight from the flea markets of Paris. Over the years we have amassed a fantastic pastiche of French antique furnishings, weathered objects, lighting and architectural elements from our travels.

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Haiku Mill today

At Haiku Mill, what you see before you is the product of years of hard work, passion and dedication – a true labor of love. We hope you experience the essence of Old Hawaii, and appreciate the dreamy, opulent touches that we have lovingly added to bring the Mill to life. Our enduring commitment to love and beauty is ever evolving to create a priceless jewel on Maui. Experience the sacred beauty and timelessness of our Pua Le‘a, a well-kept secret for most of its years of existence. 

We welcome you to Haiku Mill with Aloha and ho`okipa (hospitality).

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