Maui Wowee – a trip report PART I
Hi everyone, just thought I’d share my trip report from our trip to Maui November 7-14 2009. I had created a bunch of reviews on Yelp but of course that wasn’t quite enough to commemorate our experience, and since I had a lot of fun reading everyone else’s trip report I thought I’d write one here too. It’s gonna be a pretty detailed trip report but that’s how I like to remember everything! Sorry if it’s too wordy, but I will try not to repeat specific reviews of places I have already written about on Yelp. You can look up those reviews of places on our trip here: http://www.yelp.com/list/maui-wowee---a-list-of-places-we-visited-kihei
Anyways, the cast is: myself and my husband, 30-something year olds, newlyweds hailing from New York City. We had gotten married in Nov. 2008 and we were looking for a location to spend our 1st anniversary. Since I had started a new job just 2 months prior to our trip, we could only spend a maximum of a week away. I wanted a place that we were both somewhat familiar with, but also “new” for us. We also wanted it to be somewhat of a “destination.” We had been to Mexico and the Caribbean a few times and wanted something still tropical and beachy, but altogether different. We decided on Maui because a) it’s far enough but not tooo far from NYC, b) we had both been as children with our families, but never together as a couple hence the familiar but new feeling c) we thought it was the perfect location since we both love Hawaii. We had gone to Oahu about 4 years before getting married and we had a blast.
In terms of planning, I booked our flights on United airlines via the united website. The flight was ok priced but I attribute that to booking rather late on our part. Because of the economy most of the flights were better priced than I had seen in previous years regardless. The first 4 days in Maui, we would be staying in Kihei, at the Maui Coast Hotel. Expedia was offering some great deals and since the hotel recently underwent a renovation, we were getting some good post-renovation deals. The latter 3 nights of our trip, we would move on to Kapalua to the Ritz-Carlton. I had gotten a package from http://www.askabouthawaii.com which included breakfast buffet and a resort credit for our 3 night stay. (BTW, when we were planning this trip, we had no intention of returning to Hawaii for at least another year or two, so we thought we’d splurge a bit. In any case, we ended up going on a last minute family trip to Kauai in January 2010, but that is another trip report…)
We arrived Nov 7th in Kahului airport at around 3pm. We were greeted with warm breezes and bright sun, yay! We usually never check our bags when we travel, so getting out of the terminal was a breeze. I quickly changed into a sundress and flip flops while in the ladies room. I usually keep a change of clothes in the outside pocket of my carry-on suitcase because I want to feel like I am on a tropical vacation as soon as I arrive! We made our way to the Alamo counter where we had gotten a convertible for the week. The rack rate of the convertible was actually rather high, imo. I had tried to use priceline to get a better rate, but for some reason during the week we stayed there, the car rental prices just weren’t in our favor. In the end I managed to use corporate discounts to book directly through Alamo. We left the airport in our bright electric blue Chrysler Sebring convertible, top down of course!
The first stop before going to our hotel was Zippy’s. It’s located not too far south from the airport and we wanted a quick bite before heading further south to Kihei. When we were on Oahu together years before, we discovered Zippy’s and thought it was a great combination of tasty local comfort food, fast service, and great prices. The Kahului Zippy’s was relatively new-ish, and had a nice, pleasant, bright atmosphere. We sat at a booth and I ordered the small fried saimin, and hubs ordered the chili with beef, over white rice. One thing I must must always get in Hawaii wherever I go is lillikoi drink (passionfruit), so I was very happy when our waitress brought over my tall refreshing glass of lillikoi, whoopee! A great start to vacay!
Now I am one of those insane people who takes pictures of my food before eating it. I usually take pictures of interesting things I eat with my blackberry and post them on Facebook. However, when I am on vacation, I travel with my Canon Xsi and multiple lenses and take pictures of EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING. So of course I whipped out my camera and took pictures of our food before devouring it. Everything was yummy and it was a nice “light” snack. LOL.
We headed on down to Kihei, but not without me picking up a few pastries to go at Napoleon’s Bakery, which is part of Zippy’s. They had seasonal treats and the pumpkin coffee cake looked too good to pass up! I got myself 2 of those!
The drive to Maui Coast was about 30 minutes, give or take. We brought along a Garmin GPS unit so driving around was very easy! Definitely highly recommended. BTW, don’t get a fancy one, get a cheap one for traveling in case you lose it or it gets stolen!
We entered the Maui Coast lobby, which was quite airy and spacious, and checked in. The process was quite smooth and we brought our own luggage to our rooms which were on the first floor. They didn’t’ have anything else available with a king bed, but we didn’t really mind. Our mindset was more or less that this hotel was just our “base” since we’d spend most of the next few days outside of the hotel anyways, so we didn’t really need anything too fancy. The room was very clean, with new furniture, flat screen tvs, mini fridge, and microwave. We manage to find parking outside the corridor to our rooms as well so it’s never a far walk to our car. We didn’t really have much of a lanai since we were next to the parking lot on the first floor but we never used it either. Bathrooms are small, but everything was new and clean.
We unpacked a bit and settled in for a nap. Well, hubs napped since it was pretty much like 2am NY time by that point. I watched TV: I was mesmerized by the Hawaii Channel, that channel that caters to tourists which has information about restaurants, tours, and sights about the island you are staying on. I recognized a few places that we were definitely going to, like Haleakala and Hana, as well as a few restaurants we were planning on trying. Great channel!!! I watched it all the time to see if there was anything I missed (the channel repeats the information over)
At around 8pm local time, we got up and got dressed to get some dinner. I wanted to check out Café O’Lei, so we drove about a 1.4 mile to the restaurant. It was packed! Tons and tons of people. We asked about a table for 2 and were told we could sit at the sushi bar with no wait so that’s what we did since we were rather tired and didn’t feel like waiting long. We started with fresh dinner rolls (nice and warm), and I ordered the soy-butter ahi with white rice, and hubs got the asian style short ribs. To start, we got the Café O’Lei tower, which was 3 tiers of deep fried tuna roll, fried calamari and fried coconut shrimp. The food was tasty and the portions huge! We had to take leftovers back to our room. Overall a good dinner, albeit a bit noisy.
Check out our review of Cafe O'Lei on our Maui List:
Here's pictures of part I:
We went back to the room and slept…and slept! We woke up at around 5am for our next adventure…the Road to Hana…stay tuned!
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Maui Wowee – a trip report PART I