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Kula Lodge (Frank James House)
Funky may not be the right word, but it is the first one to come to mind when encountering Kula Lodge, a rustic five-unit inn and restaurant. A cacophony of board-and-batten and cedar-shingled forms, the building jarringly contrasts flat and gable roofs, a bay window, and a timber-columned entrance. The additive exterior conceals a graceful interior where a clerestory-illuminated bar, gift shop, and lounge area flow into a semicircular dining room whose expansive windows offer panoramic views of west Maui and the ocean. The lounge's scissors-trussed open-beam ceiling and comforting lava-rock fireplace echo the rusticity of the facade, as does a stone-walled stairway leading to a lower-level art gallery. The terraced and undulating outdoor seating pavilions at the rear were added in 1992, the work of John August.
Originally constructed as a residence for Frank James, the building was converted into a lodge in the early 1950s with the addition of the two guest cottages. It garnered a reputation as a celebrity retreat, with Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn, and other Hollywood stars staying there. The current owner, Fred Ramanchek, purchased the property in 1984 from Mr. James's daughters.
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