For the life of me, I was absolutely sure the travel page of this blog included an overview of the Hawaiian Island. I mean, how could it not when we’ve been there over ten times? Alas … I just checked this morning and no. So here I am to rectify that.
(Note: In 2012 I did write a comprehensive post titled Some Thoughts on Hawaii that might be an interesting read, albeit a pretty outdated one at this point.)
I feel like putting together a page that goes over each of our trips wouldn’t be very useful to people who are looking for information or help in planning their own getaways. Given the overwhelming amount of information I’ve posted over the years highlighting our trips to Oahu, Kauai, the Big Island, and Maui, I think I’ll break it down by island. And of course, if any of you are reading this and you don’t see the information you’re looking for, by all means drop me a line.
So without further ado, here are my (updated) thoughts on Maui.
We were married at the Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui and have spent both our fifth and tenth wedding anniversaries on the island. For our fifth anniversary we rented a beautiful one bedroom condo at the Kapalua Bay Villas that had an ocean view and one of the most amazing bathrooms we’ve ever seen. The problem with Kapalua in February, however, is the weather and we spent a lot of time running down to the south end of the island to get away from the wind and rain. Also, while we loved the condo (which is no longer available for rent), we didn’t really love the pool or bbq facilities, which are important to us when renting condos on vacation. The other thing to note about renting condos in Kapalua is that there are a few different floor plans and most condos are owned privately so there is a vast different in the quality and price of units available. I’ve heard if you rent at Kapalua you can buy a day pass to use the pool at the Ritz Carlton up the road, but I don’t know how true that is if you go through a private owner. Buyer beware and all that, I guess.
For our tenth anniversary we went back to the Kea Lani and while it is an amazingly beautiful hotel, we were less than impressed with some areas of service (something I’m finding common with Fairmont properties as the years go on). We had paid for an upgraded room on Expedia and when we checked in we were given a room overlooking a golf cart path and a view of a rock wall. Basically, the only way we could have gotten a worse room is if we had been overlooking a garbage can. When we complained we were moved to a room overlooking the construction zone. At one point the woman working the front desk got a little snippy with me about the fact that we booked through Expedia and not through the hotel directly, saying that had I booked through Fairmont.com I would have gotten a better room. When I complained to Expedia about this, someone there must have called the hotel because the next day the manager sought me out and we were moved to the room category we paid for. Even so, it left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth that as return guests and Fairmont President’s Club members we spent the first day of our anniversary trip getting the run around from their employees. The manager apologized profusely but I’m not sure I would stay there again on a return trip to Maui. In fact, I’m not sure I’d stay in Wailea again because it’s pretty much just a huge resort area with one very high-end shopping plaza. We ended up leaving the area every day.
Which brings me to my next point. Maui really feels like a bunch of different places, while all being the same land mass. From upcountry and Haleakala, to the undeveloped Hana, to the ritzy Waimea, low key Kihei, and kitschy Lahaina, there’s really an experience for every type of budget and interest. Here are some things we recommend:
- Surf lessons with Maui Beach Boys
- Drive the Road to Hana (but do not try to go to Blue Pool, no matter what you hear)
- Visit Haleakala Crater
- Walk along Lahaina’s Front Street
- Book tatami seating at the Old Lahaina Luau
- Take a trip to Lanai for the day
- Go snorkeling at Molokini Crater
- Order a loco moco at Kihei Caffe
- Hike Iao Valley