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Trip Report Maui Revamped - Trip Report Oct/Nov 2013: Andaz Maui and Honua Kai

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We just got back from our 12-day vacation on Maui to celebrate our 5th anniversary. We are so sad it’s over! It was a great trip with a lot of relaxing and eating, which is a recipe for a fantastic vacation in my book!

I thought I’d get started on the trip report…I eventually would like to post it on my blog complete with pictures, but downloading pictures and blogging is tough to keep up with! It’ll be good to get the words down as soon as possible though, so that’s why I love Fodor’s. I have a quick highlight post with some iphone pics here: http://www.asplashofaloha.com

Here’s the first half of our trip at the Andaz Wailea. It’s a bit long but mostly describes the resort as we experienced it for the first 4 days. Since it’s so new there is little information about it out there so maybe someone planning a honeymoon or vacation can find this useful:

Days 1 - 4 @ The Andaz Maui at Wailea

We departed on a chilly NYC morning on Hawaiian air’s direct flight to HNL. The flight was long at 10 hours and 45 mins but pleasant. Our in-flight meal was a lunch of pasta in a mushroom/spinach sauce that was actually pretty good. Before we landed we were served a light snack of fruit, cheese, and crackers. We sat on the left side of the plane and got to see Koko head and most of windward Oahu as we approached, and then Pearl Harbor as we landed.

When we got out of the plane we were hit with a blast of humidity and heat – we knew we were in Hawaii! We had to walk over to the inter-island terminal to catch our flight to Maui, but since our plane from NY landed a bit early, we had a full 2 hours to kill. We settled at our gate and we had just enough time to switch into flip flops and grab iced coffees at Starbucks when the gate attendant announced if anyone wants to get to Maui earlier there were some seats available on the earlier flight - leaving in 10 minutes! So we picked up our carry-ons and rushed over to the gate. It was open seating and of course we end up at the very back of the plane with a wonderful view of…the fuselage. When I booked our flights, I ensured we had a great seat up at the front of the plane, but oh well, at least we were getting to Maui ahead of time.

When we landed, we realized our checked bag did not make it on this flight, and it was still scheduled on our original flight, so we would end up waiting for it anyways. We saved a little bit of time because my husband was able to pick up the rental car in the time it took for our bag to arrive from HNL but looking back I would probably just have stuck to our original flight and enjoyed the view.

Our first stop was to grab a meal at Zippy’s – we were originally supposed to go to Da Kitchen but decided we didn’t want anything that was too heavy and Da Kitchen is known for their huge island-style portions so we were going to save that for another day.
At Zippys we were greeted with friendly service and a quick meal – I got the oxtail soup, which I liked, and my husband got the Garlic Chicken plate, which I thought was very tasty. It was served with white rice and mac salad (typical Hawaiian plate lunch). A note about Zippy’s – I like them but think they could cut down on the MSG in their food.

We drove down towards Wailea from Kahului…the sun was setting at this point and when we rolled into the driveway of the Andaz, we were greeted with the most amazing red-hued sunset which was a stunning sight from their west-facing lobby. The Andaz service is known to be first class…and it is. The minute we rolled in, we were both given leis by the valet service (valet is mandatory and at 15 dollars a day. I guess this counts as their “resort fee” since they don’t have one). We were greeted by a “concierge” and were seated on a bench overlooking the sunset and checked in via ipad. All our luggage was taken care of from our car…we did not have to take anything out at all. We were given a choice of champagne or lavender lemonade (which we both chose and was delicious). We were also given ice-cold scented towels to freshen up. We were personally escorted by the concierge to our room on the 6th floor which overlooked the adult pool – and it had an ocean view off to the side. I think that this may have been considered a partial ocean view but even so, the view was amazing. We used Hyatt free night certificates which is only guaranteed for a standard room so this was a nice upgrade.

The room was wonderful – it wasn’t a suite and wasn’t huge but it was so comfortable yet modern. The bed was so comfy, and the shower – the shower was its own room and even had a rain showerhead. I loved the bathroom so much. There was a separate hidden stall for the toilet and another for the large closet. The bath products are by Maile and smell great – very tropical and nutty, and not too floral.

The great thing about the Andaz is that they are a very eco-friendly resort. So instead of buying and disposing of expensive bottles of water, they supply all guests with reusable and refillable sport bottles which you can fill up at the purified water dispensers which are located next to the elevators on each floor. We never had to worry about water, it was always available! Oh and most of the stuff in the mini-bar is included in your stay (non- alcoholic drinks) which is very convenient.

The next few days are a big blur because we pretty much spent most of our time at the Andaz – and it’s one of those resorts that you’d never want to leave. The crowds were light at each level of their amazing infinity pools (there are 4 levels and 1 adult pool), the beach is gorgeous with decent snorkeling, and the only restaurant that was open, Ka’ana Kitchen, was yummy. Morimoto Maui was set to open a few days after we left. We saw Chef Morimoto himself all around the resort in those few days. The service is fantastic at the resort. They remembered us by name, and we were treated like family; there was no 5-star resort snootiness or attitude. EVERYONE was amazing. They would run to set up beach chairs for us even before we got to the beach. The food by the pools were great, and the drinks were yummy (the Coconut Wireless reminds me of that song…”you put the lime in the co-co-nut…” haha, it was great).

We did leave for a few meals just because if you know me, you know I love to eat and try new things and we usually don’t eat at the same place twice (unless we love it):

Kihei Caffe for breakfast which was our favorite on previous trips (read my previous trip report here http://sulynnchen.com/travelblog/?page_id=38)

Maui Thai Bistro for some really authentic Thai food in Kihei

Monkeypod Kitchen for a fun and really great dinner

Maui Swap Meet for some local breakfast and cheap goods

Mama's Fish House for our actual anniversary dinner (on Nov 1st) - outstanding

Sam Satos for the yummiest "dry mein" noodles

Ululani’s in Kihei for some shave ice…of course

We did have the breakfast buffet at the Ka’ana Kitchen twice. At 45 pp, it is not cheap, but I thought it was in line with most resort breakfasts in terms of price but far exceeds them in terms of offerings. The juice “mixologist” will make you any kind of juice blend or smoothie you want. Every day there is a different signature juice which was always good. They have your traditional omelette/egg station, they also have different stations of hot and cold foods, both locally-inspired and mainstream. They had a goat cheese panna cotta…they make their own granola, they even had a dedicated person cutting up any sort of fruit you want. I asked for some papaya with lime and he said he would bring it back to me on our table, but what I was presented with was outrageous: the papaya was accompanied by a mound of other tropical fruits…longans, pitaya (dragonfruit), pineapple….just SO YUM and he totally read my mind! In addition, you are allowed to order a small portion of any breakfast entrée from their a la carte menu. Seriously? Can anyone eat that much? Um yeah…we sure did. We got an order of their kimchi fried rice with local pork sausage. It was presented in a cute bento box with seaweed salad and fruit. It was too pretty to eat!

We also took advantage of the Awili Spa’s omakase menu where we got to blend our own concoctions for our treatments. I will go into detail about that in a subsequent post because it was just such an amazing experience.

We were really sad to leave the resort. We’ve never experienced such great service and we were truly spoiled. I love the Andaz and it’s my new favorite resort in Hawaii. We were so spoiled! It is definitely pricey but I think it one that is truly worth it. Time to save up to return in the future.

If I had to write some cons about the resort (and I really had to rack my brain to come up with these) they are: The pools were just a little cold, and they didn't restock the pop chips as part of the free mini-bar each day. I know, sucks right? :)

Coming up I will detail our spa day and our partially-complimentary photo-shoot on the beach at the Andaz! Then it was our week-long stay at the Honua Kai in Kaanapali.

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    Sounds like fun.

    Always interested to hear where you ate. Do you remember what you had at Monkeypod? I'd love to hear more about it. It is on our list for February. Thanks.

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    Kona - Thanks! They are fun to write as I love to remember the details of my trips. Keeps vacation going for a little longer in my mind...

    Wekewoody - sure thing. We had an arugula salad to star which was good, served with asian pear and blue cheese. They kindly split it for us into two portions. I had the lobster pizza which was pretty good. It's thin crust, nice seasoning (had a white sauce) and a good size. If you go for happy hour I think most of the pizzas are 50% off but not the lobster pizza. My husband had a ribeye special for that day which was served with breadfruit mashed potatoes and some upcountry greens. Very nicely done. It's fun place, kind of like a microbrewery sort of feel but more gourmet. There are some TVs playing sports and a nice long bar. I also really enjoyed the Merriman's Mai Tai. But I also found out I love mai tais! I used to be a lava flow person but now the mai tai is my drink of choice.

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    Continuing with the first part of the TR, here’s some information on the activities at The Andaz Maui we participated in:

    Photo shoot with Pacific Dreams Photography

    About a week before our trip, I was contacted via phone by the concierge at the Andaz resort, basically letting us know what was available to us and the activities she could help us book. I thought it was a really nice gesture. She sent me information via my email on the activities they could help up book and any restaurant reservations she could make for us. Basically anything you wanted to do, they could help you with.

    She did mention to me that the Andaz offers a complimentary beach photo shoot with Pacific Dreams Photography and you are able to take home one picture for free. As a former freelance photographer, I knew that this could be a huge expense, taking into consideration the sitting fee (regularly is 300 dollars, which was free), and each image (which can range from 20-40 dollars each) can take effort to process.

    Since I don’t have any good pictures of myself and my husband in Hawaii, other than our silly selfies, I took advantage of this service and booked the photo shoot during their prime sunset timeslot (5:30pm). I scheduled this shoot on the 3rd day of our stay. I wanted to look relaxed in the pictures (and have a bit of color too, hehe). Don’t worry if you are leaving the next day (as we were) they process the pictures pretty quickly and you have to schedule a viewing meeting with the office manager to preview and purchase your images. I suggest scheduling the viewing the same time as your shoot, just so you can get the times you want.

    We were lucky that during our shoot, it was really lovely weather – not too windy, and the sky turned into marvelous shades of pink and orange. Our photographer, Mike, said the weather gods must have been shining down on us. Mike was great and really put us at ease. For someone who used to be a photographer, I am a bit awkward when posing IN FRONT of the camera, but he was very helpful. He also asked me what types of shots I’d like, and helped us relax and have fun. I haven’t had a formal photos hoot with my husband since our wedding so it was a blast. I wore a long white strapless jersey dress, sandals, and a statement necklace. My husband wore shorts and a button down.

    The shoot lasted about 30 minutes. They do take a few shots of you in front of the Andaz Property…one of them you select is considered your “free” photo, just an FYI. All other images you have to purchase.

    During our viewing, we went through over a hundred images and cut out all the ones we didn’t want. There are packages that start out at 400 dollars and include a number of photos. I believe if you purchase individual images they are 40 dollars each. We narrowed it down to 3 shots that we liked the most and purchased those so we got 4 shots total including the free Andaz photo. They send you the digital images instantly via email which you download. If I had known earlier about the photo shoot – I would have lost 20 lbs, got my hair cut, and would probably have purchased more pictures. LOL. But now we have a few nice pictures of us to frame and put up in our new house.

    Awili Spa

    As a gift to my husband I had booked us Omakase Spa treatments at the Awili Spa…let me tell you, it is probably the most expensive spa treatment I have ever done. Yes the spa is mega $$$...but it is sooo luxurious and relaxing, and everyone working there is so friendly. I booked the spa appointments before we arrived with the spa manager, Charity, and she helped us with everything. For Omakase, it is basically an added ritual where you get to choose 2 spa treatments per person, and you spend time with a spa mixologist to create the concoctions for your treatments. We booked massages as well as scalp treatments for our Omakase experience.

    We arrived at the spa an hour earlier and we sat with a really nice lady (forgot her name, darn) who acted as our “alchemist” – basically explaining all the different essential oils, fruit juices, nectars, and pulps that we could mix up. For example, for our massages, we decided on a base of coconut oil, pineapple and lillikoi juice (yes, they were fresh juices!), lavender essential oil and some awapuhi which we squeezed ourselves into a bowl! Who knew the awapuhi bulb could hold so much juice! It was insane.

    We also got to concoct special treatment pastes which were applied to sore spots, like shoulders and neck. We choose a mint and lavender blend for this, and for our scalp treatments, it was coconut milk, avocado oil, lillikoi, lavender, and lots of awapuhi juice! It was so much fun doing this and she let us smell each scent thoroughly and let us take our time in making our selections while being helpful in offering insight to what was good for skin, hair etc. Definitely the coolest spa experience we’ve had.

    We were then taken to our separate locker rooms which housed a huge, and I mean huge Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. I loved it!

    Our massages and scalp treatments were amazing. They were some of the best I’ve ever had (and I love spas). I was lulled into that most awesome feeling between being asleep yet being consciously awake to enjoy every moment. Yes I was covered in fruit juice and loved every minute of it! Our skin was so soft and glowy for days!

    After our treatments, we each enjoyed the amenities in the locker rooms a little while longer. You can return throughout the day of your treatment to enjoy them again if you’d like!

    The adult pool is located right downstairs from the spa, so it is a short walk. Note that the adult pool has a “spa” inspired food menu which is the same as the menu at the other infinity pools just minus the bad-for-you stuff, such as onion rings, burgers, etc. LOL.

    I highly recommend the Awili Spa for a once in a lifetime treatment. It is really expensive but for a special occasion, it is definitely an interactive and memorable experience.

    Outrigger Canoeing and Snorkeling

    Unfortunately we didn’t get to participate in the free morning outrigger canoeing activity as it was fully booked! I suggest you book it immediately upon arriving or even before. They do one or two sails every morning and it is apparently really popular! My husband wanted to do this, so it’s too bad he didn’t get to. We’ve learned our lesson for next time!

    Snorkel gear was free to all guests so we borrowed a set (my husband has his own) and snorkeled around the rocky area next to the Andaz. It separates the Marriott from the Andaz beaches. The snorkeling was good there! No turtles though!

    Random Other Things

    Every day starting at late afternoon until evening they will have snacks and drinks in the lobby. The snacks I saw were little "an-pans" (japanese red bean cakes), coconut macaroons, and other sweets. There was also coffee from a nespresso pod machine available at any time.

    The 24-hour gift and snack shop was really cute. We didn’t eat anything but they had gelato that looked fantastic and a menu that looked tasty, lots of paninis and salads as well as breakfast. They also sold water, soda, juice, wine and liquor, snacks, and gift items…all very high-end and thoughtfully curated if you’re into stuff like that. There were many locally-made and sourced items as well which was nice.

    Coming up soon…we leave for our stay at the Honua Kai...

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    Before I go on to Day 5, I just want to mention a restaurant I forgot to write about that is worth mentioning…Paradise Sushi in Kihei. We had been to the much talked about Koiso Sushi on a previous trip and really enjoyed it, so we made reservations at Paradise as it got great reviews too.

    The thing to note about most great sushi restaurants on Maui…they do not look like it! Paradise looks like a shabby little take-out sushi joint in a strip mall but that is misleading, they serve excellent, super fresh sushi at a great price. We had the sushi/sashimi combo, and the seafood dynamite.

    The sushi was divine. The spicy tuna roll actually had huge chunks of tuna, and not the mush you find at most other places. The technique and cut of the fish mimic the finest sushi places in NYC, yet we paid only 60 bucks for the combo which included soup, a seafood appetizer of octopus and squid in a cold vinaigrette, chawanmushi (silky cooked egg custard), and a tray of sashimi and a tray of sushi. I also ordered extra uni and ikura as they are my favorites. The seafood dynamite is an array of seafood over rice, topped with a béchamel and baked till golden. Imagine it as a sort of creamy seafood gratin. Mighty tasty! You can get it spicy or not spicy and of course we got spicy. It was plenty of food for the both of us and I think we paid under 100 dollars for the 2 of us including one beer.

    Reservations are a must. There is only one chef and his wife was the only waitress, so they only do limited seatings a night. You have no idea how many people walked in asking if they could get a table or asking if they do take out and were told no. The waitress/proprietress had a somewhat brisk attitude but I think it’s because she was so busy. She was really sweet to us and gave us some edamame free because they were so busy and we had to wait for our sushi a bit longer. I liked both Koiso and Paradise, but if I can remember my omakase at Koiso was more expensive and so Paradise seemed like a huge bargain for equally as good fish. Go here for the food, not for the ambiance, and you won't be disappointed.

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    Day 5: Moving to West Maui

    We got late checkout at the Andaz so we got to have our 2nd buffet breakfast and enjoy the amazing pools and beach for a little while longer. We felt so pampered and relaxed when we left. Too bad Morimoto Maui was not yet open but I guess that means it’s only another reason to return. Everyone wished us farewell …I must say, I love everyone who works here.

    We drove south in search of Da Local Banana stand which I thought was in front of Big Beach in Makena, but it turns out their stand is not running for a few months, instead they have a brick and mortar store in Kihei so we turned around and drove to Kihei. I am a big fan of frozen bananas especially when dipped in chocolate and other good things. They were delicious! I got one with coconut and almonds and the hubs got one with other nuts including mac nuts. Note, it is not easy to drive and eat frozen bananas at the same time! http://www.dalocalbanana.com/

    The drive from Central to West Maui is one of my favorites. It’s just so pretty. We luckily didn’t encounter any traffic so we made it to Lahaina in good time. We rented our one-bedroom unit via Chase’n Rainbows so we had to pick up the keys from their office in Lahaina. It was an easy transaction - signed a few papers, got keys, and off we went! The Honua Kai was about 10 minutes away from Front St. Lahaina. We checked in with the resort and paid the mandatory parking fee (12 per day) for the week. We had to leave a little sticker thing on our car to park in the garage. I didn’t realize the garage was underneath the buildings so we were looking for it thinking it was outside – but realized they were underground. I think the outside lots are for visitors looking to dine at Dukes.

    We stayed in Hokulani #214. It was a 1-br unit with south-facing views. We didn’t have a fancy ocean view or anything but that is fine with us because we got the unit at a great rate. The unit itself is beautiful. The bathrooms are huge with double sinks, a tub and separate shower area. Modern kitchen, huge lanai, and washer dryer. The complexes themselves are large and sprawling – there are many units on each floor and there were at least 2 elevator banks that I noticed. I would often get lost getting from the garage to the unit (my husbands laughs everytime).

    One thing I noticed was that it was really windy but just today – my hair and dress were blowing everywhere! I think this is a concern for a lot of people who are thinking about staying at the HK – but honestly, this was the worst it got, and it was most windy in the driveways in front of the lobby. It wasn’t a big issue at the pool area.

    As for the sewage smell some were worried about – we didn’t smell anything at all and didn’t even notice the plant across the street. The buildings are set back from the road a bit so that could be why, but the only time we noticed any smells were when driving on the highway down to Lahaina, and it was only once and very faint.

    We started a load of laundry (hooray for the washer/dryer!) and went out to get something to snack on. Realized it was Sunday and many places were closed, including my favorite, Honokowai Okazuya for a gourmet plate lunch. We decided to go to Fish Market Maui located next door and get some fish tacos. We really love poke, but they were sold out for the day, bummer. The fish tacos were great! We got the ones which were deep fried, and my husband also tried the one with the grilled fish, obviously liking the deep fried fish better. http://www.fishmarketmaui.com/

    We picked up some groceries at Times Supermarket next door – the prices are pretty good here. I decided we would eat in that evening and would make some saimin from the packages they had in the freezer section. Saimin is just a version of ramen noodles, but local style – less pork-y and with a clear seafood-based broth (usually). I bought the usual accompaniments – spam, green onion, kamaboko (fish cake – the swirly pink and white things).

    We went back to the condo and put everything away, threw the laundry in the dryer and went to the pool area for a bit…this is where I noticed that we were not at the Andaz anymore…there were A LOT of people, both adults and kids. It’s not really an issue for us, but definitely noticeable when you go from sharing a pool with 4 people to 40. Getting chairs wasn’t an issue though, there are plenty.

    Each complex, Hokulani and Konea, has a pool in front of it and there is a pool in-between them. This one was the most popular because it had waterfalls and a waterslide. It was also the warmest pool. Both other pools I thought were freezing, especially the lazy river pool in front of the Konea. But the pools are very nice however, and families were having a great time. I noticed that there was barely any pool service though. Servers from Dukes were supposed to come around but I think we only saw one person come to us for our entire stay! Maybe it’s best to just bring your own drinks (which we did).

    Later that evening after catching a wonderful sunset, I made the saimin dinner which got 2 thumbs up from the hubs. He said it was a very “cute” looking meal as well. LOL. The condo was very comfortable and we felt at home here. We faced away from the courtyard so even though we were on the 2nd floor, it was extremely quiet. It was a nice day to get settled into our new digs for the week. Looking forward to our week ahead of us!

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    Mahalo for your fascinating report on the new Andaz. You have a delightful style. This hotel took a while to be completed (even for Hawaii), but it sounds like it was worth the wait. Very nice to read that the STAFF is good. I think anyone wanting to recreate your stay on Maui should stay *elsewhere* first.

    HK is not my style, tall elevator building 'on sand' with see-and-be-seen courtyard construction and 600 condos (not 'rooms', but big condos -- lotsa peeps). Good decision to not face into the center. I'll be reading the rest of your trip with great interest.

    BTW, it would probably help readers to have some idea of the costs of staying at Andaz and HK.

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    louistraveler - Thanks! I saw you will be going to Kauai again next year! I'm planning to go in the fall - fingers crossed!

    chisue - thanks! The Andaz was amazing, and while I think most everyone in Hawaii is super friendly with lots of Aloha, I think the staff at the Andaz went out of their way to make you feel extra special. When the Andaz first had rooms on sale, it was around 450 a night for the cheapest room - they have since offered discounts to around 350 for low season for standard rooms. Food and drink were your typical resort prices...8 dollars for a beer, 14+ dollars for a cocktail. Breakfast buffet at Ka'ana Kitchen was 45 dollars. Didn't have dinner or lunch there so can't really comment but I'm sure it's tasty and expensive too.
    I know were were spoiled at the Andaz but yes going to the HK was a bit jarring because of all the "people" and the size of the resort. I'm sure if it was the other way around I probably wouldn't have been so aware of my surroundings, after all we were on Maui! Not that the HK is a zoo really, it is quite lovely, but next time we will stay in a smaller resort...and I do prefer South Maui overall.
    The HK unit we rented was here: http://www.westmauicondos.com/property/honua-kai-hokulani-214
    The rate of 205 a night was too good to resist! The condo was the bigger of the 1-br layouts and cheaper than most studios. We paid a cleaning fee and a 39 dollar security deposit insurance fee as well.

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    I finally have time to read your report and what a treat it is! Andaz looks amazing - it doesn't look far from WBV ? Loved the photos on your blog...hanging out to hear about O’o Farms in Kula -looks like a fun thing to do.

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    I've posted a pictorial on the Andaz Maui. Please visit http://sulynnchen.com/travelblog/?p=523 if you'd like to see it.

    loumike - Your trip is coming up soon! So excited for you! Is the WBV the Westin Beach Villas? The Andaz is in South Maui and the Westin is on West Maui, so it's like a 45 min drive from each other. The distance isn't that far, it's just that there really is only one road to get there so you may deal with some traffic. The Honua Kai though was right next to the Westin Villas and the beach in front of the Westin was gorgeous! The O'O farm tour was something I was excited about. You can go here to read more about it http://www.oofarm.com/tour-luncheon/ and you can reserve a spot too. It is 50 dollars per person and it's a great way to spend a morning in Upcountry Maui.

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    Thanks for the photos.

    I remember that piece of land when it was the old Stouffer resort. It is a prime location.

    Rain showers in the bathroom and it's on Mokapu Beach! How can you go wrong?

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    Aloha Tifa,

    Wow, I'm glad that you enjoyed your visit to Maui so much. The concept behind Andaz Maui is a very unique resort experience and since opening, they have done a phenomenal job in their execution.

    I can't wait to read more about your stay at Honua Kai. I live in Kihei but had a recent 'staycation' at Honua Kai - which has made it one of my favorite properties on Maui. I wrote a brief report of my visit: http://www.mauirealestatesearch.com/blog/honua-kai-visit.html

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    Wekewoody - exactly, they already have the perfect location so it's hard to go wrong. My guess is that those who may not like modern decor will not be attracted to the Andaz, but the warmth of the staff really made it feel like a family affair.

    Alex Cortez - Mahalo! Thanks for reading. You are lucky you live in Kihei. I really like the laid back vibe of Kihei. Overall I think the HK is a great resort for families. I will return if it was my extended family vacationing with me as I have a large family and 2 neices. Generally though, I do prefer smaller condos. Thanks again! I read your blog and I like your review of the HK. Very cool!

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    Hi tifa,
    Your Photo pictorial of the ANDAZ looks amazing - what a great place but we may have to dream of going there at a time when we don't bring the offspring! :-)
    Yes our holiday time is finally getting close...12 days and counting! When we get to Maui we will be staying at Wailea Beach Villas (WBV)which is nestled between the Grand Wailea and The Marriott. It looks relatively close /next beach along from Mokapu so we may even be able to go on a walk up that way. I hear there is a lovely walking path.
    We haven't pre booked anything other than a car so hopefully with 8 nights we should be able to work it out when we get there. I do like the idea of the farm tour in the upcountry area though. Thanks for your Trip report as always full of wonderful tips and info - I look forward to the next entry!

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    Hi loumike - ah I see, Wailea Beach Villas. Sounds lovely! There are some activities which you will need to book in advance though and the O'o farm tour is one of them. We also did a tour of the Ocean Vodka facilities in Kula which is a nice adult activity (tasting included!). Mama's fish house during prime sunset hours would be wise to book ahead...or basically any "good" seat with a view in most waterfront restaurants will require some advance booking. Do you use Opentable.com? I make most of my restaurant reservations there. It's free and easy and they have most of Hawaii's top restaurants.

    Definitely take a walk through the Andaz if you're going to Mokapu beach. It's actually kid-friendly. I did see a few families there and they were having a wonderful time.

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    Day 6: Slappy Happy

    We still hadn’t fully adjusted to Hawaii time so we were still getting up pretty early. I didn’t have anything planned for today since I thought we’d just enjoy the surroundings of the Honua Kai. We did however, want to have breakfast at the new Slappy Cakes eatery next door. Slappy Cakes specializes in D-I-Y concept of pancakes, where they supply you with the batter, ingredients, and you can make your pancakes on the built-in-griddle they have on all tables. Interactive dining meets breakfast!

    The space is really big and industrial looking. High ceilings, lots of large tables and booths, perfect for groups. At 7am, we were one of the only ones there. We looked at the menu and I decided to make my own pancakes. You can choose between different batters including whole grain, buttermilk, sweet potato, and gluten free. Your toppings and ingredients can be traditional stuff like bananas, berries, mac nuts, almonds, chocolate chips etc, to more savory offerings like cheese and scallions. I chose a combo of whole grain batter, berries, pineapple, mac nuts, with a side of crème fraiche to top it all off. There are different syrups already on the table including coconut and traditional maple syrup.

    It was fun to make your own pancakes. My order made about 4.5 medium sized pancakes, which was enough for my husband to have some too. They give you the batter in a squeeze bottle which made it easy. I topped my fruity pancake with coconut syrup and crème fraiche. I liked the tangy with the sweet. It was quite a yummy pancake if I do say so myself. I would probably get the buttermilk batter next time, but I was trying to be healthy!

    My husband got a version of eggs benedict with prime rib, crab and asparagus. It sounds better than it was in execution. It was tasty but I felt there was something lacking. The crab was just flaked and I think it would have been better made into a crisp crab cake for texture. They had other items on the menu that looked intruiguing as well, like deep fried battered bacon with maple syrup…wow, carbs, sugar and fat all rolled into one!

    Overall I liked Slappy Cakes. The service was pretty good, our coffee cup was refilled constantly.

    After breakfast went to the Honokowai Farmer’s market next door where we bought a few fresh fruits and their freshly made salsa and guacamole to snack on. I went across the street to take a few pictures of the Hobokowai Beach Park. It was a bit rocky. Anyone ever snorkel here?

    We returned to the condo and spent all morning/early afternoon at the pools. I found a good way to warm up to the freezing cold pools was to swim in the warmer pool (the one with the slide) first as it’s less of a shock to your system! I did like the winding river pool as was fun and less crowded (probably because it’s freezing!).

    When it was time for lunch we hopped into the car back to Honokowai Okazuya so I could get my gourmet plate lunch. I couldn’t decide between the teriyaki steak and the mahi mahi with lemon caper butter sauce so I got both. There were a lot of takeout orders so I had to wait a bit for ours. Next time I will know to phone my order in ahead of time. My husband also went into The Fish Market Maui to get another fish taco to snack on as well as a tub of poke. We returned to the condo to dine on our lanai. It was nice but of course our view is not as fabulous as the one we had at the Andaz. We pretty much faced an empty plot of land, but we had a small peek-a-boo glimpse of the ocean. The lanai was nice and spacious though with a table and chairs for dining.

    The teriyaki steak was pretty good as I remembered it but the mahi really blew me away. The sauce is delicious – so rich, buttery, lemony, and just YUM. The poke from Fish Market was ok. I really love the freshly made poke at Ono Seafoods on Oahu so I tend to judge all poke by that standard and very few compare. We definitely had leftovers for dinner later.

    Our rich lunch made me want to take a nap so that’s what we did – I love vacation! We took a nap and watched TV and did other lazy things.  I can’t remember exactly what we did later, but we did eventually get a work out in at the gym in the Konea building. It’s a well-stocked gym, not huge, but has everything you’d need.

    Dinner was leftovers plus some Roselani Kona Mud Pie ice cream (delicious) and we watched DVDs (which I brought from home).

    That’s the end of our lazy Day 6, I think we only ventured less than a half mile radius from the condo today but that’s ok…Day 7 we were going Up Country!

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    Thanks tifa - yes discovered open table by accident when booking a meal around Xmas in Kauai- at least you can work out which restaurants are open! A great system.
    It is so ok to take it easy on vacation...it looks like you guys have worked out that perfect balance!
    Ocean Vodka looks good as well...so many choices!

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    Day 7: Adventures Upcountry

    Today we were headed Upcounty – specifically Kula because I had booked the Farm Tour and Luncheon at O’o Farm. We stopped in Wailuku to eat at Tasty Crust for breakfast. I’ve always wanted to eat there but never really found ourseves in Wailuku during breakfast so we took advantage that it was one the way. Overall I just thought it was ok. The much talked-about fried rice with egg wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. I liked The Gazebo’s version better, but at least there was no line when we went and the prices are extremely wallet-friendly. The pancakes are tasty though! I wonder if it’s the huge pat of margarine on top…

    Driving to Kula took another 25 minutes but it’s an absolutely beautiful drive which takes you past suagarcane fields and up the side of Haleakala. It’s a bit cooler up here so we packed light jackets and wore sneakers because we were trekking around a farm all day.

    We pulled into O’o Farm and there were a handful of cars already there. There is ample parking space but the late stragglers had to park at weird angles on a hill which I’m sure was not fun to back out of. The bathroom s are just port-a-potties so just something to remember if you’re queasy about that.

    I wrote an entire post about our Farm Tour and lunch complete with pictures on my blog so I will let you read about it there: http://sulynnchen.com/travelblog/?p=531

    In a nutshell, we had such a great time. It was a unique experience and I love to eat so any culinary tour involving food (or drink) is right up my alley!

    After lunch we decided to stay Upcountry and so we visited one of my favorite places: Ali’I Kula Lavender. The views here are gorgeous. There is an enchanted garden feel and I love to just sip the delicious lavender lemonade on their porch. The weather was clearer here and the sun was shining brightly! You can take a paid tour or you can do a self-guided walking tour which we did on a previous visit. Their lavender scones are so yummy too! I bought a bunch of products as gifts and for myself. The lavender lillikoi jelly is scrumptious (especially with their scones). Their waterless hand cleanser is also one of my favorite products. It smells divine! Did you know you can get points on Hawaiian airlines if you make purchases here? Well I know now! Yay! (I must not be the only one who knows her Hawaiian Air miles number by heart?) LOL

    We also stopped at Kula Country Farms stand to pick up some strawberries. It’s a cute little stand and it was decorated for Halloween with a bunch of pumpkins. Adorable!

    A few pictures later, we made our way to Makawao – Maui’s Cowboy town – to walk around. I like the cute boutiques here, they can be pricey but very chic to window shop. Many artists showrooms and galleries here too, which was wonderful. It gave us an idea of pieces we would like for our new house, but too bad we couldn't afford anything.

    On the drive back, we wanted to stop in Paia but we hit the most horrendous traffic. We were stuck for a while in so we didn’t end up parking and walking around since we had seen most of the town already at this point – from our car. We didn’t really know what to do, and we weren't hungry so we just decided to watch a movie in Kahului. We went to the Maui Mall cinemas and watched Ender’s Game. We both read the books when young but thought the movie was alright – yet entertaining.

    After the movie, we decided to just eat at Zippy’s again since it was late and not many places were open. I got their signature chili over rice, and the hubs got the Korean chicken salad. The food was good while I was eating it but I am now convinced that Zippy’s uses way too much MSG so we won’t be eating there anymore. Migraine sufferers beware!

    Despite the pounding headache that was forming in my head, I thought it was a wonderful day.

    Day 8 up next!

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    loumike - That's the beauty of Hawaii, the number of choices, yet not so overwhelming. The ocean vodka tour is fun. If you like vodka, they make an ultra premium spirit and the tour was informative. The vodka is strong! whew!

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    Day 8: Turtles-spotting and acai-loving

    Today was another relaxing lazy day – we slept in, and made breakfast in the condo: eggs and portugese sausage with taro bread toast which we had picked up at Times Supermarket. After putzing around in the condo, we decided to go to Blackrock at Kaanapali Beach over by the Sheraton because I was on the hunt to snokel with turtles and I knew our chances of seeing them there were high.

    We drove there and since we couldn’t find parking in the free stalls, we parked in Whaler’s village’s lot. I figure we’d probably buy something and get it validated so parking would be cheap. We wandered around Whaler’s village a bit and of course I get distracted by my favorite store, Cinnamon girl, which I call the Anthropologie of Hawaii. I love their clothes! An hour and two shopping bags later, we finally made it to the beach! There were quite a lot of people at Blackrock, but it’s a large beach so there was not problem finding a nice spot.

    Talk about finding turtles….at first I snorkeled out towards the tip of Blackrock thinking they would be there, but didn’t see any. I snorkeled around for a while but eventually as I was swimming back, I heard some voices and realized that people were excitedly pointing and telling others to come see the turtle which was swimming close to the beach. There one some guy, not sure if he was a local or just a really environmentally-conscious dude, who was literally YELLING at people to stop touching the turtle. It was quite annoying because

    a) no one was touching the turtle. They were merely pointing at it, but no one was touching. I think most people understand not to touch the wildlife already, even young kids.

    b) he was doing it in an aggressive way. I think he even mentioned that he was going to “get” someone if they touched the turtle. Geez.

    So to get away from the hoopla I swam a bit further north and lo and behold there was another large turtle also swimming close to shore! He/she probably wanted to get away from aggressive PETA dude too. So we kind of swam together for bit before he/she was “discovered” and more people ventured over. It’s ok, we had our moment. I swam back to shore and then my husband donned the snorkel gear and swam out to turtle watch too. I guess I should also think about getting my own snorkel gear so we can go together.

    After spending some time at the beach, it got really hot, so we went back to the condo to get some shade. We decided to get a snack and of course my husband wants more fish tacos. Not really in the mood for something too heavy, I told him to get me an acai bowl from the Honokowai Market. He calls me up at the market and says there are 4 different Acai bowls and which one I want…and he sends me over a picture of the menu. I selected the Green one with the blended kale topped with kiwi, pineapple, strawberry, banana, granola, and bee pollen. I knew it’s either a love or hate when it comes to healthy things but can I say this is THE. BEST. ACAI. BOWL. EVER.

    I’ve had acai bowls before and they were good (I’ve actually only had them in Hawaii) – but this one just blew everyone I’ve had away…the acai is super concentrated, and they blend it with coconut water, banana and kale…you couldn’t really taste the kale but it added a nice dimension to the acai. It was super smooth (not icy!) and super delicious. OMG imagine how healthy I’d be if I lived on Maui, dining on acai bowls every day…I am so sad thinking about that acai bowl now. When we returned from Maui I went to the nearest juice/smoothie place and got an acai bowl…and it was gray. Gross!

    After an afternoon/evening just napping and being lazy, we figured we would go get dinner. I didn’t know what I was in the mood for, so we just got in the car and drove…and drove, pretty soon we’re south of Lahaina and I knew where we must go…Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop!

    Never having been to Leoda’s before, I’ve heard great things about their pies (sweet and savory), sandwiches and burgers so it was on my list of must-tries. The space is really cute, kind of like a modern farmhouse feel. I didn’t know what I wanted to eat yet so I stared at the menu for a while. Then I saw the word BACON and all notions of being a healthy-acai-bowl-eating girl were out the door as I placed my order for a BLT. At least I got it on the hapa bread, which is their version of a white-whole wheat blend. My husband got a burger, and we both stared at the pie section and one of the people behind the counter mentions that all pies were 50% off (it was pretty late and the space was empty). I immediately saw the last mini coconut cream pie and knew it was mine. My husband selects a regular key lime pie.

    Our food comes pretty quickly, but I realized I forgot to order avocado on my BLT so I went up to add it to my order. They gave it to me for free! They are so nice there. The hapa bread is divine, it’s so soft and thickly cut, it really made the sandwich. My BLT was awesome, especially for those of you who like thick cut bacon. My hubby’s burger was good too. Our pies were delicious. The mini is a good way to go if you want to try more than one pie. I really liked the coconut cream pie. It was on a delicious buttery graham cracker crust with coconut custard, whipped buttercream and shredded coconut.

    After dinner, it was back to the condo where we watched another movie and called it a night…the next day we were doing something really exciting…zip lining!

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    Day 9: Ziplining above Ka’anapali

    We woke up early for our 9am ziplining with Skyline Eco Adventures. After a quick breakfast in the condo (more taro bread toast and eggs), we drove the few miles over to their storefront where we checked in and waited to board the van. This was our 2nd time zip lining. We did the Haleakala zipline with Skyline before and we had a great time so we decided to do the longer West Maui zip line. If you book a week in advance you get a 10% discount online.

    At check-in they gave us complimentary water bottles which can be filled up throughout the course. You just hook it to your harness. Just a quick note, I was wearing a pair of closed toe walking shoes which I thought would be ok for ziplining but they had me change into a pair of sneakers which they had in the store. I’m glad I did in the end because you and your clothes will be so dusty and dirty that it was nice to actually have a pair of clean shoes to wear after!

    We left with about 8 other people in a large van and 2 guides, who were charismatic and funny. We drove up the mountain, almost as high as where the L is on the West Maui Mountains. The L stands for the high school in Lahaina we were told. Our first stop was the hut where we all got our harnesses and a (brief) tutorial. They pretty much just throw you in headfirst, well, not really but I think they do it just so people won’t back out last minute! We went back in the van and drove to our first zipline. Let me tell you that the Haleakala zipline is like the bunny slopes compared to this course. It consisted of 8 long, and very high ziplines, each one slightly different from each other. Some were steeper, so you went faster, and some were longer. Regardless, every zipline had amazing views of the ocean. Even if you were a little scared of heights I think you’d enjoy this. I am by no means a thrill-seeker but I had a fun time. After the 4th zipline, we took a little break and they served a small snack of pineapple, cookies, and we all refilled our water bottles with ice cold water from a cooler.

    Then it was the last 4 ziplines, which of course were higher and scarier than the first 4. There was some hiking involved, nothing too crazy but you do walk up and down a bit to get to the variou;s zip lines. We had a great time and I highly recommend Skyline! All the instructors are fun and cute to boot. :)

    After we returned to their store, I changed into my own shoes, and we went to the restrooms to get cleaned up a bit. We were literally covered in a layer of red dust! It was now lunchtime and we were hungry. I thought of going back to the condo to shower and change first but we were so close to Star Noodle that we just decided to drive there. We drove and parked and checked into Star Noodle. There was a short 10 minute wait then we were seated.

    I got the yuzu ice tea as a beverage and here’s what we ordered: giant tempura prawns, the Vietnamese crepe, the Lahaina fried soup and the ramen. The Vietnamese crepe was our favorite on our last visit and it didn’t disappoint. A crisp egg omelette is filled with a coconut-y concoction with pork, shrimp, and beansprouts. You cut pieces and wrap it in lettuce and dip it in a tangy nuoc cham dipping sauce…mmmmm. The giant tempura shrimp were huge!! They were like mini lobsters. They were fried nicely and drizzled with various sauces. The Lanaina fried soup were little blocks of chunky noodles stir fried with vegetables. We both thought it was unique and delicious. The ramen on the other hand was forgettable. The broth was just not that tasty and I thought it was lackluster. I would not get the ramen here but we really liked everything else we ordered. This is a fun, modern space that is best for groups so you can share everything. Luckily me and the hubs have big appetites.:) We had no room for dessert though although if you did I highly recommend the malasadas with the dipping sauces. Yum!

    After our filling lunch we went back to the condo to get cleaned up and rest…we had big plans ahead…massages at the Westin’s Heavenly Spa and then dinner at Roy’s!

    I had purchased Travelzoo vouchers for the Westin’s spa – a massage or facial with some upgrades were only 99 dollars, compared to the ~150 it usually is. We checked into the spa just as the sun was setting. There is a nice view from the spa waiting area. Overall, the spa is nice but I guess it’s because we had such an amazing time at the Andaz Spa that all other spas were just…ok. I guess we have been spoiled! Honestly if it weren't for the voucher I wouldn't return for full price. I would definitely save it for the Andaz’s Awili’s Spa. Even if you didn’t do the Omakase treatment like I described on Day 3, it is still a far superior spa in terms of facilities. Still, the massages we had were a nice way to balance a very active morning ziplining. You don’t realize it but your arms are pretty sore from gripping the harness and the line! The Westin is a very lovely hotel, but I didn’t love the way the lobby smelled. It smelled like flamingo and I just don’t love that scent.

    After our massages it was just enough time to get across the green to Roy’s for our dinner reservation. We’ve always enjoyed Roy’s on the islands – even though we have been to a few on the mainland, the one in NYC closed several years ago, and they were never as good. The ones on the Island are managed separately so I think they were able to maintain a distinct level of quality.

    I started with a mai tai which was delicious. I realize I am a huge fan of mai tais now! Out with the lava flows and in with the mai tais! My husband ordered the Roy’s tasting menu which included 4 courses. I ordered the Jade steamed onaga as my entrée and we were going to split the rest. Our first 2 courses were a deep fried sushi roll which was yummy, and then a shrimp and short rib dish (like a surf and turf!) which was good too. Then our main courses came, my jade steamed fish was outstanding – so delicious, steamed white fish fillets are doused with a sesame oil, soy, ginger and scallion sauce. It’s very Chinese-style but oh so delicious when combined with fresh island fish! My husband’s fish was I think a monchong…also good but I enjoyed mine a lot more. Dessert was the famed Roy’s chocolate lava soufflé, which although is an overrated and common dessert nowadays, is just so much more special because we were at Roy’s on Maui! They also gifted us with another mini dessert, a peanut butter chocolate cake that said Happy Anniversary! So thoughtful of them. Overall, a great dinner to end an active day! We had some gift cards to Roy’s as well which made it even better! I couldn’t believe we have been on Maui for close to 10 days now, even though it seems like such a long time, it really isn’t! This vacation was moving way too quickly…. Sigh…

    Next up…Shopping and R & R on Day 10!

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    I’m sorry for the lack of updates on this TR but the holidays and moving to a new house just 5 days before Christmas really took its toll. I’m hoping to go back to Maui one day but I don’t have anything planned right now. In the meantime, I’m keeping my Aloha dreams alive with my blog (asplashofaloha.com) and this TR!

    Day 10: Shopping day! (and eating too)

    This morning we woke up without much of a plan, but those are the best kind of days, right? We decided to do some shopping for our friends and family so we’d be spending time at Lahaina Front Street. Our breakfast stop was Aloha Mixed Plate. It was our first time here even though we've been to Maui twice before but we've heard so much about this place that it's been on our to-do list for a while.

    It wasn't that crowded when we went, and we decided to share a loco moco and a half papaya with lime. I was actually surprised it was a strawberry papaya instead of the golden flesh kind which I was so used to in Hawaii (and which I much prefer) but still it was a nice breakfast and the prices were great. If you like eating outdoors in a casual, paper-plate style environment then this is for you. Service was also friendly too. If we were in Lahaina for dinner, we may give this place a try one day.

    The next hour and a half was spent strolling down Front street. It was still a bit early when we started so not every store was opened but it was still nice to walk around and take in the views of the water and the majestic banyan tree. We spent a bit of time at the Honolulu Cookie company which are some of the most requested items I MUST bring home! I personally love their traditional mac nut shortbread with dark chocolate - so ono! I bought a few sampler packs for coworkers and friends, and I managed to fill up my frequent buyers card and got even more free gifts yay!

    We stopped at a few galleries, but our favorite was Peter Lik. ince I used to be a photographer myself, I really appreciated his artistry and images which I know must not have been easy to get. Great gallery!

    We walked around the Baldwin house but didn’t do a tour - we just kept on shopping. Got some stuff for my nieces and friend’s kids. At this point it was getting kind of hot so we decided to get some Shave Ice from Ululanis! It was delicious as usual, Me and the hubs made little shave ice tunnels so we could get to the good stuff the bottom (mac nut ice cream) without having to chow down on the ice first. It was some silly fun.

    We also stopped by the Lahaina Cannery Mall for a quick look around and I got some nice jewelry for my friends. We were getting hungry at this point so we thought we’d grab something quick and head back to the condo to eat. I had wanted to try the Local Food stand so we found their place a short drive away and stopped to order a lau lau platter and a kalua pork platter. Remember to ask them for the chili pepper water to go! It makes everything brighter and adds a kick.

    The food took 15 minutes to prepare by a nice Asian couple, then with food in tow, we drove back to the Honua Kai to eat our local loot! BUT before that I had to make a detour to get an acai bowl at the Farmers Market in Honokowai. They are amazing and I know I’m not going to find anything like it back home. So after we picked up the acai bowl, we head back to the condo to eat.

    The food was really good. It didn’t feel as greasy or as salty as a lot of local dishes which was nice. They also serve a nice side salad instead of the usual fatty mac salad. We both really enjoyed this local-style local-priced meal. With a nice cold drink from the fridge, and sitting on our large lanai, there was nothing better than enjoying our afternoon in Kaanapali. Oh wait, ending it with an acai bowl…yummm. Local food and acai bowl!! That meant we had a lot of leftovers so we didn’t want to do anything too crazy for dinner.

    After our delicious relaxing lunch we walked over to airport beach to go snorkeling. It is about a 5 minute walk south from the Honua Kai on their beach walk. Well, DH went to snorkel while spent a lot of time with my camera trying to get the perfect shot of a wave. Must be since I saw the Peter Lik Gallery that morning I have suddenly been inspired to get get a perfect shot of the ocean in action (I didn’t). It was overcast that day so there wasn’t much contrast in my pics. It’s ok, DH looked like he was having so much fun. Pretty soon it started to rain so we went back to the pool area of the Honua Kai and hung around the warm bubbly jacuzzis. I checked out the 'Aina market in the lobby and purchased some locally prepared hot sauces. The Adoboloco sauces are really good!

    I don’t know how doing nothing makes you hungry again, but we decided we were hungery and all we wanted to eat was pizza. Pizza Paradiso came with good review’s and it was close by so we went there to get a pie to go. It’s located in a strip mall next to the Times Supermarket but the space inside is nice and inviting so eating in would have been an option too. We order a margherita pie to go and they said it would take 15-20 minutes. So we walked to Times supermarket to buy even more random gifts and snacks for friends! Pretty soon our 15 minutes us up and we picked up our pizza and were on our way home.

    Let me just say I have very low expectations of pizza outside of New York – I know I know, there is a whole can of worms that I don’t want to open, but I was extremely surprised by this pizza. It was delicious. I am not sure if I just missed pizza because I'd been eating everything else for 10 days now - but the pizza we got was yummy. I loved how it’s drizzled just slightly with balsamic vinegar which gave it an interesting flavor. The crust was also quite tasty (and I am so picky about my crust). It didn't taste like NY pizza (but then nothing really does) – but this was pretty awesome nonetheless. I give Pizza Paradiso 2 thumbs up!!

    My husband liked it too, but not as much as me…(that pizza snob!) LOL

    We spent a quiet night in watching TV, and packing up all our gifts. Tomorrow was our last full day on Maui! Boo….

    Stay tuned for Day 11

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    Day 11 – Last full day in Maui! Bakeries and Booze.

    This morning we woke up early because we wanted to go to the swap meet again before our Ocean Vodka Tour at 9. We drove over to Kahului, and had breakfast at this little place called Oyako-Tei. It’s definitely a local joint and the food is home-style Japanese. The portions were huge and the prices were great!! I was surprised to see a whole hot steam tray food setup that you can choose at 6am in the morning, I sampled some stuff because everything looked so good – and my total of 3 choices plus noodles were a mere 7 bucks. Can’t beat that. I actually enjoy eating noodles at 6am in the morning! The husband got a regular loco moco.

    After breakfast we drove over to Patticakes Bakery to get some cookies to bring home. When you drive up to the storefront it doesn’t look like its open but it was. We got to sample a bunch of cookies, with our favorite being the mac nut snowballs. They are delicious! Apparently everyone at home thought so too because my family polished off all the cookies in a few days (and we bought a lot!).

    We also stopped by my favorite Homemaid Bakery to get some of their Special crisp Manju to take home as well. Gosh if I lived here I would not be able to resist all these delicious baked goods! Bakeries are my weakness so I try not to go to them back home but on vacation, it’s such a treat.

    At the swap meet we walked around and did a little bit of shopping. I got more sugar cane juice with a squeeze of lemon. So good! The weather was not cooperating that much…it was a little rainy on and off.I bought a lot of spices, jams and dry rubs from a vendor. Can’t wait to use them!

    At 9:30 we drove up to Kula to the Ocean Vodka Distillery where I had made 10am reservations for their vodka tour and tasting. We were fortunate that they had just started offering tastings of their product right before our trip. Before, you would only get a tour of the facility but now you actually get to taste their premium vodka as well as take home a souvenir shot glass. Yay! Tours were 15 dollars per person, but here’s what we learned: At check-in mention you saw their ad in Hana Hou magazine, and you get a discount and a free tasting of locally made truffles made with their vodka and Surfing Goat Dairy Cheese; also pick up a flier when you visit Ali’I Kula Lavender farm for another discount…mention Twitter, Facebook , etc...I think we ended up paying 10 bucks for the both of us! Love the power of social media for saving money and getting extra goodies! The truffles we sampled were good. I think I got the lillikoi one. The chocolate was rich and the filling creamy with a hint of goat cheese and lillikoi (passionfruit).

    We started our tour inside the gift shop (where you check-in) with a sampling of two types of fresh sugar cane. You chew the bark of the cane and suck out the juices. You then can throw away the fibrous pulp. Mmmm. We then headed outside for our tour. The weather was really crazy today, but you could still see the views were amazing at the factory. Our super tour guide took us around the different sugar cane trees and explained the history of the company and the types of cane they are growing. Then we went into the distillery itself to view how they produce and bottle the vodka. It’s interesting to see that the water they use is Hawaiian Deep Sea water which is supposed to have a lot of minerals. Our tour guide was fantastic, she was really informative and super friendly too.

    Then came the part everyone was waiting for…the Tasting!

    There was a cute little tasting stand set up and they poured vodka into tall shot glasses, They had us taste together different ways one just to get used to the spirit (which was strong), then we added some water, and it tasted more appealing. Overall despite the weather we had a super fun tour made only better by the tasting! I highly recommend this if you like your vodka… On the way out you can leave gratuity as well as pick up your shot glass at the gift shop. I love tours with food or drink. Right up my alley!

    Now it was lunch time and what better place to go to than Da Kitchen! They had recently remodeled it seems, as its a bit more spacious. Their menu is huge and it takes me a while to figure out what I want…and that is…a cheeseburger. Sigh out of all the interesting local style food I could have eaten I chose a cheeseburger…but at least it was a Teriyaki style cheeseburger! With fries, of course. My husband gets one of their daily special bentos which looked like fried mahi, and tempura shrimp with rice and mac salad. I really liked my burger though! It hit the spot.

    We drove back to Kanaapali after our day and just kind of hung around the condo packing. It was raining off and on, and we decided it wasn’t worth it to try and go to the beach. But that was fine with us, a little lazing around was perfect for us as we were headed back to work in a few days. We need to soak up as much “do nothing” time as possible!!

    For dinner, well, there was only one thing I was craving…and it’s not a loco moco, or spam musubi, or shave ice. It’s PIZZA!! So back to Pizza Paradiso to get another one of those delicious pies to go.

    Another quiet night in for our last day. I had thought of going to a fancy restaurant like Merrimans or Amasia but thought that staying in and enjoying our time together just the two of us would be just as nice.. We've already done so much driving this week so I’ll let my husband chill too.

    Tomorrow we leave, sniff sniff.

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    Day 12: Our final day in Paradise

    This is a short post on our last day. The weather on the last 2 days of our trip was rather iffy, and it was cloudy and windy the morning of our last day so we chose to skip the beach and just spend the morning in the condo eating breakfast and doing last minute packing. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 1pm so it gave us just enough time to return our keys at Chase'n Rainbow's office in Lahaina and grab a sandwich and scone from Leoda's to eat on the flight home. On the route to Lahaina it turned sunny and hot. We didn't know how bad traffic would be so we headed to the airport early. On the way, we stopped by the Maui Tropical Plantation for a quick look around as we had never visited before. The grounds looked very pretty and the gift store was well stocked. It's a nice all-in-one place if you're only visiting Maui for a short time and want to shop and do activities at the same time. I guess this is like the Maui version of the Dole Plantation.

    We actually got to Kahului a bit earlier than expected so we thought to grab a bite to eat. However it was Sunday, and a lot of restaurants weren't open or they opened later in the day. Since we didn't have much choice we just went to Queen K mall to eat in their food court. You can get Hawaiian food there at the L & L drive-in. We shared a plate lunch of garlic ahi, mac salad, and rice. It was actually quite good; if I were to ever eat my ahi tuna well done, I would choose to have it this way! (I usually like my tuna raw, or barely seared).

    After our bite, we went to Costco to refill on gas, and then to the airport! We unloaded the bags and I waited while my husband returned the car. It started to pour during that time! It was windy too. I guess it was a good day to leave Maui. We checked in for our flight and then pretty soon we boarded the plane to HNL. This time, we got a nice window seat view and I managed to get some pictures from the plane.

    At HNL, it was hot and sunny. It was a nice treat that on our flight from HNL to the mainland we saw a beautiful rainbow over Diamond Head. You can see it here:

    The flight back was really quick, about 9 hours. The tailwinds were in our favor. We landed in 40 degree weather in NYC and knew our vacation was over. Sniff. Time to plan the next one! Thanks for reading my TR!

    BTW, I have also updated my blog with some pictures of the Ka'ana Kitchen breakfast buffet at the Andaz Maui here:

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    I have really enjoyed your report! We were on Maui for 6 days over Christmas holidays and your report was fun for me to read - I have gotten some ideas for our next visit too! We also ate at Mama's and had a fabulous meal there - I now know to get the ahi sashimi next time from reading your blog!

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    I've updated my blog with a picture review of the Awili Spa at the Andaz Maui. Enjoy! http://sulynnchen.com/travelblog/?p=571

    Florida1 - I really miss Mama's! Thanks for reading my blog!

    wekewoody - Lucky you! Have a few (or a box) of those mac nut sno balls for me. yum!

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    I just looked at your photos of the dinner at Mama's. Everything looks delicious. We will be there for lunch to celebrate my husband's birthday.

    I also made reservations for dinner at Ka'ana Kitchen on our first night! We'll be able to walk along the beach from our condo.
    Can't wait.

    When's the next trip?

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    wekewoody - not sure when the next trip to the islands will be! I was planning on a short trip this september - but we shall see. How was your dinner at Ka'ana Kitchen?

    elburr - Thank you! It was a great trip! Always wonderful to be in Hawaii even when the weather is acting up (which it did a little when we were there on this past trip).

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    H tifa,
    We skipped Ka'ana Kitchen. Instead we went to Migrant that night and were glad we did. Very good noodle dishes, and a wonderful opakpaka served whole on bok choy. We are still here and may eat there yet again...

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    Hi tifa,
    I don't think Migrant is particularly like Star Noodle. I like Star Noodle, but I think all that Migrant and Star Noodle really have in common is the chef. They are different animals.

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