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Kula Lodge (Frank James House)

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Frank James House
Late 1940s, early 1950s. 15200 Haleakala Hwy., Kula
  • (Photograph by David Leicken, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  • (Photograph by David Leicken, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Kula Lodge (Frank James House)", [Kula, Hawaii], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Hawaii

Buildings of Hawaii, Don J. Hibbard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011, 220-220.

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