Maliko Retreat

If you're looking for a unique and authentic Maui vacation, Maliko Retreat should be among your top contenders.

Should I Stay on Maui’s North Shore?

The North Shore isn’t a developed resort destination. If that’s music to your ears, our “Should I Stay on Maui’s North Shore?” article will tell you a lot more of what you can expect by choosing to stay on our North Shore.

North Shore

| Quiet Private Home | 33 Acres | Wrap-Around Lanais | Ocean & Mountain Views | BBQ | Fireplace | Fully Equipped Kitchen | Dishwasher | Cable TV | DVD | Internet | Book, DVD & CD Libraries | Telephone | Ceiling Fans | Washer/Dryer | Parking | Towels & Linens | Beach Accessories | Fruit Trees | Coffee & Tropical Gardens | Waterfalls & Pools | Jungle Trails |

Maliko Retreat

Maliko Retreat

This eclectic antique Hawaiian cottage is perched atop a scenic jungle gorge with breathtaking views in every direction. Open and breezy; attention to detail shines from every facet. If you’re looking for a unique and authentic Maui vacation, Maliko Retreat should be among your top contenders. (Tip: If you only need one bed, the owners have a brand new studio cottage on the other side of this same property: check it out.)

Attention to detail permeates every aspect of Maliko Retreat. From the remarkable personal attention the owners give each and every guest, to the structural craftsmanship, restoration touches, furnishings and guest amenities, Maliko Retreat is clearly a labor of love for owners Sydney and Maurice Smith.

One of many panoramic jungle-mountain-ocean views

This uniquely Maui home was originally hand-built in the time of Old Hawaii from old-growth redwood and cedar. Recently lovingly restored by the owners, all of the original details and ornamental woodwork have been retained.

Living room

Added touches follow the theme of incorporating natural and re-purposed materials. A few examples include hardwood railings milled from a fallen Pu’unene monkeypod, tile and stone work incorporate river rock from the stream below, antique leaded glass doors and windows were reclaimed from plantation era estates, and the original cast-iron claw-foot soaking tub (with a killer view!) These are only a few of many; the Maliko Retreat cottage has a top-to-bottom list of unique touches, detail craftsmanship and interesting points of character.

Downstairs bedroom

Designed in harmony with the 'aina
Original builders in this time understood the land intimately; they had to be connected to the environment in everything they did (out of necessity.) The house was originally constructed without access to modern conveniences that we now take for granted – including electricity. The result is a design that masterfully harnesses the natural light and our dependable tradewinds to the home’s full advantage.

Strategically placed ornate woodwork air vents are more than fine finish details – when coupled with the open and airy floorplan, the home breathes with the valley, cooling the home comfortably as it delivers an added bonus: a symphony of intoxicating scents from the flowering Maui rainforest below.

The living room has a cathedral ceiling with floor to ceiling windows. The effect is powerful: Natural light streams into the home all day long, and you’re presented with a deep verdant scene of rainforest canopy unfolding into the background of blue ocean, West Maui Mountains and Molokai island. Views from the home also include Haleakala mountain and a seasonal waterfall.


Waterfall and pool

Being located on acres of undeveloped land, and adjacent to an even larger parcel of undeveloped forest, the home and property are incredibly peaceful and quiet. The only sounds you’re likely to hear from your private retreat are the songbirds, wind, and passing showers as they patter on the rainforest canopy below.

House as seen from jungle below

The lanais have multiple tables and comfortable chairs, and the quantity and brightness of the stars and Milky Way are spectacular at night. When evening rains come in, the lanai is such a spectacular spot to watch the raindrops stream though the sunlight, quenching the jungle’s insatiable thirst to grow. And since most of the rain on the North Shore comes from our daily tradewind cycle, it typically (and conveniently!) blows in late afternoon and overnight, delivering the vibrant afternoon rainbows that the windward side of Hawaiian islands are famous for.

Upper lanai

Birders will especially appreciate the perspective, and the variety and quantity of birds that can be seen from the canopy vantage point. Pueo (native owls), nene (Hawaiian geese), plovers, stilts, majiros, hwamei, egrets, Java sparrow, Japanese white eye, doves and mynah are just a few of the many species of birds that call this area home. A large flock of egrets migrates twice daily past the cottage, while the feeder attracts smaller birds to the home all day long. (Binoculars are included.)

Hammock view

The Owners
Sydney and Maurice are exceptional hosts. They treat every guest as if they were family, welcoming all personally and freely offering unbridled hospitality and Aloha alongside their extensive knowledge of the area. Most requests that you might have they will graciously accommodate – they even offer to stock the kitchen before your arrival with your list of groceries for just the cost of the grocery store receipt! (I suggest letting them pick some unique local fruits, veggies and fish that you might not otherwise encounter.)

The significant value added from owners this passionate about the paradise they lovingly steward can’t be overstated. Sydney and Maurice deliver a depth of genuine Maui experience that you’re guaranteed to count high among your cherished Maui vacation memories.

Haleakala View

The Grounds
Being in a steep river-cut valley has protected the land immediately boarding Maliko stream from becoming plantation monoculture for pineapple, sugar cane or grazing cattle. Instead you will be treated to an enchantingly diverse jungle forest. Wild blooming tropical flowers, vines, palms, gingers, jungle plants and fruits. Guests are encouraged to pick fruit and flowers (and you will be welcomed with a basket of freshly picked fruit at checkin as well!)

There are also small picnic areas, a stream with waterfalls and private natural pools so enticing, that even the most bashful will comfortably let go of their worldly cares to indulge in a skinny dip. Ancient Hawaiians used this valley, too – and there are even ancient lo'i and pictographs that the owners can bring you to view. The grounds are truly an untouched slice of natural Maui rainforest.

Coffee grove

Coffee grove

The property is also home to the Maliko Estate Coffee farm – but you won’t find any clear-cut fields or mechanized rows of coffee farming – the hand-picked coffee grows in harmony with the jungle surroundings. Maliko Estate Coffee is shade-grown below the undisturbed lush jungle canopy. You can take a tour of the farm – or simply enjoy the half pound of natural farm-fresh coffee included with your stay!

The owners offer guests many informative activities and tours. Impromptu shorter tours are often freely given, while more comprehensive tours and activities are charged for. Fees are modest considering they are private and high quality – they also get rave reviews from past visitors. Tours offered include a Maliko Estate Coffee tour (you’ll take home a pound of fresh coffee), a basket weaving excursion, wild tea gathering and brewing, and “salad dressings from the jungle” tour where you gather edible leaves fruits and flowers to top your salads with.

More Pictures Below The Map

View Maliko Retreat in a larger map


First bedroom


First bedroom


Loft bedroom


Loft bedroom






One of the lanai tables








Living room


Living room


Claw foot tub with a view!




Loft bedroom lanai


Loft bedroom lanai

  1. Linda & Bharati says:

    Beautiful, breathtaking, serene, comfortable are adjectives that describe this amazing home that my boyfriend and I were blessed to experience last June. While planning our 2 week stay on Maui we had looked at many places to stay online and when we saw Sydney’s place we wanted to look no further. We booked her home for 5 days, but would have loved to stay longer if it were available. When we arrived we found so much more than what we saw online. Sydney welcomed us and gave us a tour of her home showing us that everything that we could possibly need was here. When we entered her home a beautiful Hawaiian CD was playing and a welcoming message to us was written on a chalk board in the living room along with an exquisite flower arrangement she had created for us with flowers from her land. We woke up in the morning and looked out the master bedroom’s picture window to the most beautiful view of Mount Haleakala at sunrise. What could be better? When we cooked our meals the windowed kitchen looked out to the sea and the tropical valley below. Sydney gave us her tour of the land the next day in her off road utility vehicle. The history that Sydney shared with us was very interesting adding to our perfect Island vacation.

    Anyone who has ever traveled knows how important it is to have something you really need when you’re away from home. We were so, so pleased to find a coffee maker with timer, filtered water pitcher, sewing kit, washer/dryer, laundry detergent, bath soap and shampoo, aluminum foil, saran wrap, ink-pens, paper, books, music, DVD’s and more! The home was spotless with plenty of clean towels and linens. Waking up in the middle of the night, was made easier with many dimmer switches to light our way. We can’t thank you enough, Sydney, and hope to return to your remarkable, heavenly place in Paradise another day.

  2. Carl Peterson says:

    After spending a week in a condo on the touristy west side, it was time for some peace and quiet in the mountains. I had expectations of a hopefully remote area with some trees and streams to take in the wonders of the rainforest. When we pulled up to the house we were blown away. I thought I was stepping into Shangri-la. This place stands atop a mountain overlooking a lush tropical rainforest valley that offers a view of the ocean that should have a sign out front, ‘Scenic View,’ for tourists to stop and take pictures. The house is really cool from the outside, decked out like an ideal getaway, but when you step inside it really takes your breath away. It is a multi-level house designed for maximum viewing, naturally lit and ventilated, totally belonging to the surrounding environment. We had Makawao, Paia and Haiku to tour, but never wanted to venture away from the house, so beautiful and relaxing was the scene. When we did, however, the locals were clearly cut from a different cloth and we got to know the real Maui. The morning greets you with a flock of exotic finches dining from the feeder on the back porch. You step out the front door to a couple of native quails, deer up the driveway moving along their morning graze and the diversity of the natural flora and fauna just goes from there. I’ve always been an avid naturalist and as soon as Sydney found out I like critters she hooked me up with an impromptu venture to identify amphibious species of the jungle nightlife. The next day she took me on a tour of the coffee plantation, just showing me around their property. It was more impressive than the high dollar tours you buy from the keosks in Lahaina. I really don’t know why haven’t seen these scenes on National Geographic, but let’s just keep this a sleeper as long as we can. Both Sydney and Maurice were so friendly and accommodating that we invited them over from their busy schedule for a barbeque the last night of our stay. I’d rather do that again than venture out to the expensive restaurants on the coast any day. With fresh cut Hawaiian mesquite to fire the grill or the living room wood stove, who needs another fish burger? This was our first trip to Maui, but certainly not the last. Our new mission is to save our pennies for the next 300 days so that we can go back there to spend just one more week. Oh, and for the record, the coffee is sublime

  3. Lyndsy Manceaux says:

    We couldn’t have asked for a more delightful stay. Sydney’s Oceanview Retreat was exactly that, a retreat from the outside world with incredible views of the ocean, and Heaven if you looked closely enough. I could have easily abandoned my life back home and escaped to this serene place forever. Sydney was a very gracious host, who offered her calming energy, as well as, a wealth of knowledge of her land and of the state of Hawaii free of charge. The Jungle tour opened our eyes, and helped us wrap our brains around the rich history and fauna of this lush tropical paradise. Inside, everything was in its right place, with an artists attention to detail around ever corner.This home’s design allows you to feel like you are one with nature whether you are inside or out. Vented Glass walls allowed for beams of tropical sunlight and fresh fruit scented air to slip in from every direction of any room. The entire property is awe inspiring. Everyone should have the opportunity to experience this Gem at least once in a life time. Our only regrets were that we couldn’t stay longer, and that we didn’t have more time to visit with Sydney and her husband. We will be back. P.S. Their coffee is absolutely fabulous!

  4. It was an absolutely magical experience staying at Sydney’s place. The place itself was incredibly comfortable with beautiful views of the property it resides on. We enjoyed fresh fruit and coffee that she had provided upon our arrival along with a hand written welcome on the chalkboard in the entryway. She goes out of her way to provide anything you could possibly need during your stay. Sydney also took the time to give us a tour of the property and provide a wonderful history of how it has come to be today. The tour, the home and surround property was truly amazing and shows what a labor of love it has been for Sydney and her husband. My girlfriend and I felt honored to experience this wonderful place. If you ever have the opportunity to stay here, please don’t hesitate to book. You will experience a beautiful side Hawaii that I personally will never forget.

  5. Chris & Josh says:

    We enjoyed a truly magical stay in this secluded Maui hideaway. We had high expectations based on the pictures and others’ air bnb reviews, but we were really wholly unprepared for the beauty and the serenity of the place. Sydney was an amazing host, going above and beyond and even loaning us a guitar for our trip! Thank you so much Sydney for making our honeymoon such a special and unique experience!!!!

  6. Teslin says:

    Sydney and Maurice were great! Such warm and welcoming people, they made our stay at Maliko retreat a very memorable one! Sydney’s jungle tour was fantastic, and a must. Staying here is like having a backstage pass to Hawaii, you get to experience so much more than you would at a resort. Breakfast on the Lanai was one of our favorite things. Enjoying a cup of coffee and some fruit grown right in your own backyard was quite the novelty. There really is everything you need here, just come with a change of clothes and your bathing suit and you’re set! 🙂

  7. We loved this place so much! It was a bit different experience from all our friends’ trips. We actually learned about Maui history and culture! Sydney is a wonderful host and she gives a very interesting tour on her coffee farm with pictograms and fresh water Maliko creek. The cottage has a definite vibe to it: so many little things and details that add charm to a house. You don’t need to bring any shampoo, soaps, towels or insect repellents. Sydney has it all in the house. Around the house there are avocado tree, guava trees, passion fruit, lemon trees, orange trees. We cookied fish in ti leaves and we tried kukui nuts. The only problem was it is really hard to take pictures of all the views that open from the cottage 🙂 I took so many pictures but none of them really shows how magnificent that place is! The sky is gorgeous there: with white clouds during day, with beautiful colors during sunset and starry at night. Thank you, Sydney, for sharing this place with us!

  8. Lindsay says:

    My boyfriend and I had a fantastic 10-day stay at Sydney’s cottage over the Thanksgiving week. Having read all the gushing reviews beforehand we definitely had big expectations, and it turns out we loved it even more than we’d imagined! The cottage is on a large property, and feels very private (even though you’re less than 10 minutes’ drive from three great towns — Paia, Haiku and Makawao). The house looks out over beautiful rainforest / jungle and also the ocean, and you hear the calm sounds of the breeze and the birds. We loved relaxing and eating out on the deck, and watching the birds come and eat from the feeder off of the kitchen. There are avocado, lilikoi, and christmas berry (pepper) trees all around the property and you can pick and eat these during your stay — we made many great salads, sauces and desserts with our harvest, delicious 🙂 The cottage itself is incredibly comfortable (nice towels and sheets, soft bed, cozy couch, shower and clawfoot tub if you want a relaxing soak) and spacious (2 levels, tons of windows and natural light), and has pretty much everything a person on vacation in Maui might need or want (beach chairs and umbrella, a cooler, shampoo and body wash, basic cooking supplies like olive oil and spices, a guitar, a yoga mat, current guide books, coffee table books with beautiful pictures of Maui and its history … the list is endless). Sydney has literally thought of everything in furnishing and equipping the cottage. In fact when we left she asked us if there’d been anything we missed while there and after a long pause we came up with nothing! A final but important thing to mention are all Sydney’s beautiful and practical finishing touches that are pervasive throughout the cottage — a large vase of fresh bird of paradise flowers on our arrival, a basket of clean extra towels and face cloths in the bathroom, tiki torches out on the porch, a sound system with iPod dock and many CDs with local music … and the list goes on. Best of all, however, is what a gracious hostess Sydney was to us. Although our flight arrived very late (we didn’t make it to the cottage until almost minight), she was there to meet us and gave us a quick practical tour of the cottage. She even offered to stock the kitchen with a few snack and breakfast items so we wouldn’t need to grocery shop first thing the next morning. Later in the week she gave us an amazing tour of the large property, where she and her husband also grow and pick coffee (which is delicious, we left with 3 bags!). The story of how they transformed the property is awe-inspiring, We loved all the time we spent with Sydney, and felt she found the perfect balance between being incredibly helpful and giving us privacy. We hope to be back at Maliko estate soon — thanks…

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