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Hawaii Honeymoon TR - Pt. I, Maui

Old Jun 8th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Hawaii Honeymoon TR - Pt. I, Maui

We went to Maui and the Big Island for a 12-night honeymoon May 23 Ė June 5. I scoured these boards while planning my trip and the posts were an immense help, so I feel I must give back to the board with a trip report. The report is long-winded, but I like to give lots of detail (and hope you like to read lots of detail). A little context. About us Ė weíre from D.C., ages 28 and 31 and well-traveled both domestically and internationally (between the two of us, weíve hit every continent except Antarctica). Although we both like learning about new places and new cultures, we chose Hawaii for our honeymoon because we didnít want to deal with any language, cultural, or monetary barriers. We wanted somewhere we could be as active or as lazy as we wanted, and that would wow us with gorgeous scenery. We were not disappointed. Besides this board and tripadvisor.com, I used the Maui and Big Island Revealed books to plan. Those were the only guidebooks (and maps) we took with us (I felt their maps left a little to be desired). We did not leave for the honeymoon the day after the wedding --- we left ourselves a day to pack and collect ourselves after the wedding. I highly recommend this to anyone planning a honeymoon.

Day 1

Arrival in Maui --- flying from D.C., with a three-hour layover in L.A., we werenít up for much once we finally made it to Maui. We did stop at K-mart for some reef shoes (which we ended up never using). We rented a mid-size from Thrifty. Thriftyís lot is the furthest away from the airport. I donít think the rate was that much cheaper, and for a few dollars more, I would have paid for the convenience. That said, on the drive from the airport to Wailea, we were both surprised at how dry and desert-like the island seemed. My husband was stationed on Oahu when he was in the army, and he said Oahu was much more green and tropical (at least the part outside of Honolulu/Waikiki). When we got to the Grand Wailea, we were given a lei greeting and offered some fruit juice. We were immediately shown to our room, along with our bags. We got a drink at the bar, walked around the grounds and on the beach path for a bit, and then went back to our room and ordered room service for dinner.

Review of the Grand Wailea: We both loved the Grand Wailea. It was elegant and luxurious without being stuffy. The grounds were absolutely beautiful Ė such attention to detail. We probably spend half a roll of film just on pictures of the hotel and grounds. We had the lowest room category, on the 8th floor in the back of the hotel. It had a view of the parking lot and Haleakala. Really, you wouldnít notice the parking lot unless you were looking down. You could also see the ocean from our balcony, with Molokini and that other island in our view. We paid $291 a night, which I considered a bargain given the prices of the other Wailea luxury resorts (4 Seasons and Kea Lani). People complain about there being a ďresort feeĒ at the Grand Wailea (covers use of fitness center, self parking, local phone calls, etc.), but I donít see what the big deal is. Just figure it into the cost of the room, and when your rate is as low as $291, itís still a good deal. Of course, the main attraction at the Grand Wailea is the pool complex, and it did not disappoint. DH learned to swim for the honeymoon and he could not get enough of the pools and slides. We both played in the pool like little kids, and we were not alone as far as the adults enjoying the slides (with and without kids). I had heard on various boards that the GW would not be a good place for a honeymoon because of all the families attracted by the pool, and that it was overrun with kids. Not once were we bothered or felt overrun by the families with kids. If anything, it was fun to see them enjoy the slides and all. I think the GW is a great place to honeymoon Ė especially for a younger couple that likes to have fun. When we walked through the Four Seasons to look at the restaurant menus, we just didnít dig the vibe. It was definitely an older, more refined crowd than at the GW. I think it would be a great place to go if youíre over 40 (no offense) and the lure of a water slide means absolutely nothing to you. I have no idea how full the GW was while we were there, but it did not feel crowded at all, even in the pool area. The GW also has a separate adult pool where no children are allowed. Itís very quiet and mellow, and also very beautiful. The lounge chairs around the adult pool are a lot nicer than the ones by the other pool. Our favorite place to hang out while not in the pool was the lawn between the adult pool and the ocean. Very peaceful, and you could find some shade from the coconut trees. We ordered room service several times, had the breakfast buffet (once) and ate at the Humu restaurant. All of the food was excellent, and of course very expensive. But at least the quality was good. The beach area is also very nice. Absolutely no complaints about the service. Based on my experience there, I would wholeheartedly recommend the Grand Wailea. Especially if you can get a great rate Ė try their website and calling them directly.

Day 2

This was supposed to be a relax at the pool and beach and spa day. We had both scheduled treatments for the morning at the spa, and I had made reservations at Nickís Fish Market for that nightís dinner. Hereís what really happened: We woke up very early, had room service for breakfast, and went out to the pool. I must say something about the French toast in Hawaii: try it! They make it out of this Portuguese sweet bread that is out of this world. Try the coconut syrup, too. I am a convert. I brought three bottles of the stuff home with me just in case itís not available on the mainland. Anyway, we were at the pool so early, the waterslides were not on yet. So we swam around and hung out till they came on and the went down them several times before it was time for our spa treatments. Note: you go much faster than you think you will down the large slide. You will get water up your nose!

The spa at the Grand Wailea was truly something else. I had used my upcoming wedding as an excuse to get monthly massages for the past several months, and had found an excellent masseuse. And I have never had a truly great massage at a resort spa before (three resorts and counting). Well, I had the hot lava stone massage, and it blissed me out completely. I mean I fell asleep and began to drool on the face pillow! And I never fall asleep during massages. It was the best massage in my life. But even before you get to the massage, you have the Terme treatment, which is this large facility in which there is a hot tub, a Japanese hot/cold plunge bath, a eucalyptus steam room, a sauna, various soaking treatment baths, and the piece de resistance, the water fall massage. The soaking baths are a series of baths with different treatment properties --- one is mud for cleansing, one is seaweed for cellulite control, one is mineral for revitalization, etc. You can soak in whichever baths you like, although you have to shower if you want to soak in a different bath so they donít get contaminated. The wonderful waterfall massage is like a small hot tub that you sit in with jets pointed at your lower back and legs. Then a heavy stream of water drops from the ceiling and you let it pound on your back giving you a massage. Heaven! I guess I should note that DH also enjoyed his treatments. Well, after showering and getting all clean and dry and wonderful smelling (I love using the spa product amenities), I did not want to go back to the pool and beach and get wet and dirty again. I convinced DH (who was fine going back to the pool) that we should go to Lahaina.

So I made reservations at Iío and we headed out to Lahaina. DH loves driving around places he doesnít know, so instead of getting into Lahaina early and shopping, etc. (not his favorite activity), he suggested we keep driving past Lahaina, and I was very glad he did. We drove past the Kaanapli resorts, although we couldnít really see them. We decided that they seemed to be a little too close to each other. We drove on into Kapalua, and the vegetation was completely different. Much more green and lush, and just all around more beautiful. This part of the island has a lot of sheer cliffs, and as we drove further into West Maui, we were treated to some awesome ocean vistas. Very windy road, by the way, but not as windy as the Road to Hana. We went as far as the blowhole, then decided we better head back. I was glad we took that little detour --- that side of the island is really beautiful.

Dinner at Iío was one of the less remarkable ones we had while on Maui. Not that it was bad or anything, just we probably would have done better at Nickís. We never did make it there Ö oh well.

More to come Ö
mar_76 is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2005, 04:10 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Congratulations on your recent nuptuals. Great report so far. I'm looking forward to the rest.
annahead is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2005, 04:21 PM
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mar 76,

The terme treatment at the spa sounds fabulous! Great report so far.

-Bill
iamq is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2005, 05:20 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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mar 76,

More please! looking forward. Thank you.
clear is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2005, 05:30 PM
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The rest of our days on Maui ...

Day 3

DH wanted to spend all day in the pools and at the beach today. I insisted that we go to Haleakala (not at sunrise) for the morning. He was so glad I did, because Haleakala is an amazing site/place/thing to do, no matter what time of day. We left around 8:30 am, and stopped in Kahului at McDonalds for breakfast. The drive up Haleakala was fascinating Ė it was interesting to watch the environment change. Before we had come to Maui, someone had told him about biking down the mountain, and he had been interested in doing that, but I knew it would scare the beejesus out of me (Iím a big fat chicken), and I refused to do so. So the whole ride up the mountain, I had to hear about how cool biking down looked, as there was a group of bikers going down in approximately 15 minute intervals. Who knew there were that many people that want to careen down the side of a mountain on a bike. Anyway, Iíve never been on a very high mountain before, so getting to the point that we were above the clouds was unreal. Be sure to stop at the lookout over the crater but before reaching the summit Ė itís mentioned in Maui Revealed. Even though we were there at 10-11 am, it was darn cold. We both had on shorts and Tís and were cold. I had thought we might hike into the crater on the sliding sands trail, but it was cold, and we were tired, so we headed back. On the way back, we stopped at Maui Tacos in Kihei. It was good, but unremarkable. Cheaper than having lunch at the resort. We got back and hung out at the pool for a while. After cleaning up, I suggested we go to Cheeseburgers, Mai Tais, and Rock and Roll in the Wailea Shops for dinner. I thought it would be cool to walk along the beach path to get there. While we were walking, the Grand Wailea set off fireworks over the beach. We think it was for the large group of Verizon sales people that were on an incentive vacation at the resort. What a treat! We were on the beach path, but I wasnít exactly sure where the Wailea Shops are located Ė turns out they are adjacent to the Grand Wailea. Of course, we walked right on by it (Iím not even sure thereís access to it from the beach path) and got all the way to the Renaissance before I was sure that we had missed it. So we backtracked by way of the main street and finally reached our destination. Lots of bug bites there. We like cheeseburgers. The mai tai was the best I had on the trip, and the burgers really were good. More expensive than your average hamburger joint, but really not that bad.

Day 4

Finally a bonafide lay around at the pool day. My original plan was to go snorkeling in the morning, but we scrapped that so we could take the whole day and relax. We started with the breakfast buffet, which was excellent. We rented a hobie cat (we have taken sailing lessons in DC), but the water was too choppy for me (again, Iím a chicken so it doesnít take much) so we took it back in before the hour was up. Despite carefully applying and reapplying sunscreen and seeking shade when we were out of the water, we both got too much sun. Instead of burning, we both break out into an itchy rash when we get too much sun. The rashes stayed with us the rest of the vacation, and are still with us, although diminished now. We had to cut back on our exposure for the rest of the trip. If I could change one thing about this trip, it would have been getting less sun this day. That night, we ate at Humu (itís actually a longer unpronounceable name), the GWís fancy restaurant that sits floating in the middle of a saltwater lagoon filled with tropical fish. Pretty place, good food, big bill.

Day 5

The Road to Hana. I had mixed feelings about doing the Road to Hana, because windy, narrow roads scare me. (Are you noticing a theme here?) Luckily, DH insisted on driving, as he does not think I drive that well in the first place. However, even as a passenger with confidence in the driverís skills, it was still a little scary. A little scary Ė but totally worth it; I would do it again. Weíre not big waterfall people, so we didnít stop for any of them, and they didnít seem to be flowing particularly strong. This side of the island is what you have in your minds eye when you think of Maui, so I would have been disappointed if a missed it. My husband absolutely loved the red sand beach. He thought it was the coolest thing we saw on the island. We also stopped at a black sand beach, Oheo Gulch (which we both thought was completely overrated), and probably some other stuff Iím forgetting. We also did the drive ďall the way around.Ē I was afraid to do this too, but it really wasnít that bad, and it was the most incredible thing to see how the landscape changes from this verdant green jungle atmosphere to a windswept mountainside that is desolate and bare. There was nothing in particular to see around the other side, but the general scenery was so mind-bogglingly different from what we saw the rest of the day, I would definitely recommend it.
mar_76 is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2005, 05:47 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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mar 76,

How do you get to Wailea shop from the Grand Wailea resort? Is there a walking trail next to GW beach facing the ocean? Did you see the workout room/equipment at the GW? Thank you for the wonderful detailed report.
clear is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2005, 06:27 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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Two things to say. I'm 46 and LOVED the water slides at Grand Wailea and whats up with "not waterfall people"? How could someone not be a waterfall person? Outside of those two comments, I loved your trip report.
dantheman is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2005, 06:05 AM
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Great T.R.!!!
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
JohnD is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2005, 06:37 AM
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2 things that make my marraige strong...we compromise and we travel well together.....you're off to a great start! Thanks for the report.
gyppielou is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 284
mar 76,

How do you get to Wailea shop from the Grand Wailea resort? Is there a walking trail next to GW beach facing the ocean? Did you see the workout room/equipment at the GW? Thank you for the wonderful detailed report.


clear is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2005, 07:24 PM
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Join Date: May 2005
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i would like more info on the spa adventure. We are staying in Kaanapali,and i am not sure how much of a drive that would be. Wondering how it works if you don't stay at GW.
bebalm is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2005, 07:40 PM
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Join Date: May 2005
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Sounds like you have Polymorphous light sensitivity.
See a dermatologist.
Congratulations.
JoeSlammovitch is offline  
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