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Trip Report Hawaii Trip. Paradise Lost (Or At Least Misplaced)

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Part 1

My wife and I arrived at our hotel, the Westin Maui, just before sunset. After dropping our bags in our room, we went out to their bar by the beach and had a few tropical drinks, some of which might actually have contained some alcohol, and watched the sunset. We walked along the beach and looked at the stars. Now this was the Hawaii of your imagination! Your basic tropical paradise!

We did the same on the second night. Gee it was nice.

Same on the third night. OK, the sun's setting.

Same on the fourth ninth. What's on TV.

We flew to Waikiki. On the fifth night, we did the same beachwalk but returned along Kalakaua past the tourist and overprice glitz shops. Ditto nights six-nine. It began to get tedious, but there's nothing else to do. Even drinking began to get boring.

In Maui, we stayed at the Westin Maui proved to be a poor hotel choice. First, the location is not good. You are isolated in West Maui, and it is a 45 minute or more drive to get almost anywhere on the island you might want to go, Lahaina excepted. Knowing what I know now, I'd say more centrally in Kihei or someplace like that. You are also stuck in a row of "luxury" hotels with few stores and crappy hotel and chain restaurants. There is more choice 10 minutes away in Lahaina, but then you can't drink with dinner, unless you are willing to drink and drive, which is a bad idea. As for the hotel itself, it was only so-so. The room was smallish and several notches below your standard Courtyard and the rugs were a bit dirty. Not exactly what you expect from a "luxury resort." On the other hand, everyone was extremely friendly and helpful both there and everywhere else in Hawaii. They make a big effort to treat visitors well in Hawaii.

In Oahu, we had originally booked our hotel at the Outrigger Reef, but were unable to add a needed extra day, so we spent the first night at the Sheraton Waikiki. The lobby was large, chaotic and noisy and our room was small and several levels below your average Holiday Inn. It's redeeming value was a great view directly across to Diamond Head. Amazingly, the Sheraton is on the water but has no beach! There are stretches of sand at the neighboring hotels, but the front of the Sheraton ends at a concrete walkway where the waves break. Since there is no beach, they just have a large swimming pool. I hadn't seen serious sun bathers on Maui, but here on Waikiki there were hordes of brown, glistening bodies alternately baking and strutting their stuff. Maui is mainly populated by Orlando types, families and young marrieds. In contrast, Waikiki and especially the Sheraton is more like Fort Lauderdale with some kind of overage Spring Break leavened by hordes of Japanese tourists.

We checked out of the Sheraton and into the Outrigger Reef which proved to be a very nice hotel. The overall decor was a pleasant, understated tropical theme, which had local ambience but which wasn't tacky or in your face. It was much quieter and more subdued than the Sheraton and the contrast was a real relief. We liked our room a lot. We may have lucked out because we got a very large, nicely appointed corner room. I had booked a partial ocean view room and that's what we got. There was no view from the windows, but there was decent view from the balcony. The forced valet parking at $30 a night (plus tax) was a bit of bummer, though.

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