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5 Nights in West Maui -- Trip Report (May 22 - May 27 2009)

5 Nights in West Maui -- Trip Report (May 22 - May 27 2009)

Old May 29th, 2009, 07:35 AM
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5 Nights in West Maui -- Trip Report (May 22 - May 27 2009)

I just returned from a 5 night stay at the Hyatt in Kaanapali. This was my third visit to Maui, but my first time staying in West Maui (I am usually in Kihei or Wailea), and I loved it! I traveled alone but had a friend join me for the last two nights.

Am posting highlights of the various parts of my trip below. Feel free to ask any questions!

**Car Rental**

Using an Entertainment Book coupon code I found here on the TripAdvisor forums, I rented a Sebring convertible from Alamo for $222. I probably would not rent a convertible again...I rarely drove with the top down, and it also seemed like a really large vehicle (especially in the *tiny* parking spots at the hotel).

**Hotel**

I stayed at the Hyatt and absolutely loved it. The pool is large (but not huge) and there is a separate pool for kids as well. There were still kids in the non-kiddie pool, but I found them to be amazingly well behaved with not a lot of screaming, thrashing about, etc. Mostly the pool was full of people relaxing under the waterfalls, reading a book along the edge, or floating on a mat.

I also thought the pool service was fantastic. They offer free water, otter pops, and frozen towels, and you never have to wait too long to be asked if you want a refill on your cocktail. If you do go to the Hyatt, note that there is a different drink on special every day, and it pays to ask what it is. Drinks are normally $11-$12, but the "specials" were only $8 a piece.

I used the gym on a daily basis and was very pleased. There was a good number of treadmills, bikes, and elliptical machines, in addition to a fitness studio and lots of weight machines. I also took a few of the fitness courses at a cost of $10/each and really enjoyed them.

I also indulged in a 90 minute hot stone massage with Helena my first morning there...fantastic spa experience. The ladies locker room is on the small side, but extremely nice with wet and dry saunas, a jacuzzi, and showers. The relaxation room post-massage was located oceanfront and I could have easily stayed in there for half the day.

Parking (self parking) was free but the parking spots were ridiculously small.

I loved that I could walk to Whalers Village in about 13 minutes. There is also a free trolley that runs between Whalers Village and the Hyatt - you can pick up a schedule at the concierge desk.

The grounds of the Hyatt were really lovely - just a gorgeous property. The rooms themselves were ho hum. I had an ocean view with a great view, and I was impressed by all of the storage space (drawers, small walk in closet, etc) as well as the extra empty minifridge so I could stock with my own stuff. But the carpet did probably need replacing and the quality of the furnishings was just slightly above average. However, I would definitely stay at the Hyatt again - just a wonderful, relaxing experience overall.

**Activities**

On my last trip to Maui in Nov 2008, I had lots of paid activities to do nearly every day. This time I didn't do a single "tour" style activity...still had a fabulous time.

* Hiked Waihe'e Valley Trail: about 2 mi each direction. Very easy trail in a rainforest-y like environment. Ended at a waterfall where lots of folks were having picnics and jumping into the water from the ledge above.

* Hiked Sliding Sands at Haleakala: I am in very good shape (soccer 3x a week, bootcamp 1 x a week) and thought this was a strenuous hike due to the altitude and the elevation gain on the way up. We only hiked one hour down into the crater, and I was glad we hadn't gone farther. The scenery is spectacular and well worth the effort, but I also passed several out of shape folks who looked miserable and on the brink of heart attacks (one lady was actually lying face first on a boulder for a long time). PLEASE hike this trail with caution...it seems really easy going down, but the hike back up is a tough one.

* Surfing Goat dairy farm: stopped by after Sliding Sands. It was just an "eh" experience. I found the woman a little gruff. The cheeses we sampled were really tasty, and I will probably order one of them online, but I won't go back to the farm.

* Snorkeled Black Rock: I rented gear from the dive stand to the right of Leilani's and it was half the price of other stands along the boardwalk. The snorkeling at Black Rock was good, not great, but we did see a large turtle that made it worth it.

**Dining**

I broke my cardinal rule of not repeating places and repeated several places a few times. My meals in the past have been higher end (Spagos, General Store, Mamas), but I didn't do that this time.

* Son'z: at the Hyatt. This was my most expensive and least delicious meal. The blackened tofu caesar salad was wonderful, but I thought the most recommended dish, the opakapaka picatta, was just fair. Fantastic service though - totally top notch. Maui Revealed says the best item on the menu is kobe beef meatloaf.

* Cascades: at the Hyatt. Fair mixed greens salad followed by a really delicious spicy tuna roll. Would definitely come back for sushi.

* Leilani's: my favorite lunch (3 days) was the ono fish tacos (blackened with cajun rub and a cabbage slaw) with a lava red ale. YUM. Hula pie is also excellent here.

* Hula Grill Barefoot Bar: really delicious ceviche. Fried mahi taco was also very tasty.

* Hula Grill Restaurant: Ono salad. This was also just an "eh" meal. I wish I had ordered the tandoori fish. The vegetarian curry was also tasty (sampled a bite of my friend's).

* Kimo's: My second favorite ono dish...coconut crusted ono with a thai peanut sauce. Totally wonderful! Get to Kimo's when they open at 5 and get a table on the rail. Gorgeous view.

* Maalea Grill: used to be called The Place. Located in same complex as Pacific Whale Foundation and Aquarium. I really like this restaurant - very affordable and delicious. Had a great blackened mahi salad with goat cheese. My friends really enjoyed their burger and chicken curry salad.

* Kula Lodge: It was a cloudy day, so the view was obstructed a bit, but still gorgeous. Two of us shared the spinach salad and a wild mushroom pizza. The spinach salad was really fantastic - with macadamian nuts, strawberries, and a strawberry vinaigrette - and I would order it again in a heartbeat. The wild mushroom pizza was good, but not fabulous...the wild mushrooms weren't so wild (just button mushrooms sliced), but the crust (thin, baked in wood oven) was great and it did hit the spot after a tough hike.
beanweb24 is offline  
Old May 29th, 2009, 09:08 AM
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Thank you for your trip report. My husband and I are comtemplating Maui for our 25th wedding anniversary in Feb,2010. I have always been especially fascinated by whales and am looking forward to seeing the humpbacks.

I am just beginning research and really know very little about Hawaii. Thanks especially for the hotel and restaurant information.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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We'll be spending a week in Honokowai in October. Some of your dining experiences sound interesting.
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 04:00 PM
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Thank you for your report. My last visits to Maui I took several tours and ate at high end restaurants (for which I made reservations way in advance). These things often fell way short of activities I went on myself and the impromptu meals we had at little local dives... This time I'm going to do a little more "playing it by ear".
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 04:06 PM
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Great trip report!
We always have enjoyed the Hyatt and the grounds, rooms and the pools are great..beach is ok but better beaches up by Black Rock..
Agree that Hula Grill bar is better than the restaurant but just depends to what you have..craving that hula pie at Kimo's!
Glad you had a great time!
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 03:33 PM
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elkhound
In case you've missed it; checkout Okazuwa(sp) Deli and the Fish shop, in same building on Lower Honopiilani Rd; also CJ's Diner - great for breakfast.
http://www.fishmarketmaui.com/
http://www.cjsmaui.com/
http://www.mauihawaii.org/restaurants/okazuya.htm
pspercy is offline  
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