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beachgirl86 Aug 24th, 2004 05:40 PM

Hawaii Honeymoon Trip Report: Part 3: Maui
 
Hi!
I previously posted my trip reports for Waikiki and the Big Island, where we spent our first 6 nights. We spent our last 7 nights at the Hyatt Regency in Maui.

DAY 7: We woke up early so that we could enjoy our last 1/2 day at the Big Island. By now, the Marriott and especially its grounds had grown on us, and we spent our last few hours down by the pool, soaking up the sun and the atmosphere. It was great.

We got very sad to leave the Big Island, the thing we talked about the most was we knew we would miss the sight of all the black lava once we got to Maui. We left around noon, and headed to Kailua-Kona to return our Snorkel Bob gear. Hubby did this while I grabbed us a quick 4 slices of pizza at Basil's. Very good, and the price was right, too: $11 for 2 sodas and $4 slices.

It was a bit of an annoyance making our flight to Maui: we got randomly selected by the computer for secondary screening, so they had to pull us out of line and take apart our bags, screen us with the metal detector, etc..We almost missed our flight! This flight was not as good as the HNL-KOA once, a much smaller plane and a much bumpier landing.

When we first arrived in Maui, we were like "Oh no, traffic lights, traffic, strip malls, etc..." What a difference from the Big Island. Fortunately, that was only the area around the airport, and once we got on Highway 30 on the way to Kaanapali, the scenery was great! A little crowded by Lahaina everyday, but that was it -- nothing like the Oahu/Waikiki traffic!

We got to the Hyatt and loved it immediately. Beautiful open air lobby with all sorts of exotic animals. Check-in was smooth, no upgrade here :( I knew we wouldn't get upgraded here as I had prepaid through Hotwire (got $200/night), but I must admit, I had gotten used to all the upgrades to Ocean View that we had enjoyed as honeymooners at the other 3 hotels! Oh well, they did give us leis and champagne.

The Hyatt room was great -- the best one we'd had so far. The beds are out of this world, VERY comfy, with white goose down comforter and pillows. The room was also decorated in an elegant, Hawaiian manner, and had a great sitting area.

It was my birthday that night, and although we had intentions of a nicer dinner, we ended up at Cheeseburger in Paradise on Front St. in Lahaina, which was fun. Good burgers, great appetizers and drinks. We met an older couple, too, who we talked to a lot. It was a great night.

DAY 2: Headed to Snorkel Bob's to rent our gear again. This time, they undercharged us, and we got 2 sets of snorkel gear and 2 beach chairs for $28 for the week! We laid by the pool for the remainder of the day, and had lunch at the Pavillion right by the pool at the Hyatt. GREAT sandwiches, I had a spicy firecracker chicken wrap, and DH had a pulled pork sandwich. (These quickly became his fav. food in Hawaii.) For dinner, we headed back to Front St. and tried Lahaina Fish Co. It was ok, nothing bad and nothing spectacular. Our pork pot-stickers were good, as were my scallops. But DH's scallops, shrimp, and pasta was only ok.

DAY 3: Today we decided to snorkel Black Rock, and check out the rest of Kaanapali Beach. It is true the beach in front of the Hyatt is not great. It's small during the day, and disappears at high tide. We are big beach people, and this is no reason not to stay here. All you do is walk 10 minutes to the right, and the beach opens right up. The part in front of the Sheraton is great. The snorkeling at Black Rock was very good, clear, and a great variety of fish.

I forget where we had lunch that day, but dinner was in the main dining room at the Hula Grill, which was one of our best meals and started our love affair with sunset outside Whaler's Village. Sunsets on Maui (at least on Kaanapali) are an event, people line the beachwalk with their cameras and take pictures, it was just beautiful. Everything was great at Hula Grill, the food (macadamia-crusted opah, scallop and lobster pot-stickers, and steak), the drinks, and especially the service.

More to come.....

gyppielou Aug 24th, 2004 07:28 PM

I never saw a Hula Grill sunset, I didn't love!!!!!!!!!! Continue!!!

beachgirl86 Aug 26th, 2004 01:49 PM

OK, a quick note: The reason I couldn't remember where we ate breakfast on Day 9 was because we ate a big breakfast at the Swan Court at the Hyatt and skipped lunch. The breakfast buffet there was very good, about $21 per person, and had tons of different food (omelet station, fresh fruits and cheeses, eggs, pancakes, etc...). Plus it was a great setting overlooking the swan pond.

DAY 10: On Monday morning, we laid by the pool for several hours. I think this was the one day we slept in till about 9:30 or 10. Every other day in Hawaii we were up early, by 7 or 8, which is unusual for us. We had another great lunch of sandwiches at the Pavillion poolside, and in the afternoon, we decided to try Honolua Bay for snorkeling.

This was a great spot for snorkeling. There was a good amount of people there, but there was plenty of space for everyone. There was a large group of peacock groupers (which were each rather large) that kind of freaked me out because they kept following us. I assume it's because they get fed a lot by people, but neverless, they unnerved me a bit and I stuck close to my husband for this snorkeling adventure!

Monday night, it was back to Hula Grill for dinner, this time to the barefoot bar section of the restaurant, which is more casual and serves sandwiches, pizzas, salads. We had a pulled pork sandwich and a shrimp and mac. nut pizza. Both excellent. Sunset was beautiful again, I got so many great shots from the couple of nights we spent down there for dinner.

DAY 11: We were supposed to go on a snorkel cruise to Molokini and Lanai the day before on Pacific Whale Foundation, but were moved to this day because they had a problem with one of their boats. I had booked this snorkel trip in April for my husband's birthday.

I have to say, I had read so many negative posts on Molokini that I wasn't expecting much. Many people have said that it is no better than offshoer snorkeling, and since we had done that a few times at this point in our trip, I was worried we wouldn't be impressed. We were also used to snorkeling on our own, so I wasn't sure how it would be with 100 other people in the water.

That being said, we LOVED Molokini. We thought it was absoloutely incredible. The second the boat put its anchor down, you could already see how clear and light blue the water was, and the fish were everywhere. My first glimpse underwater there is something I will never forget. It was so clear, the visibility was incredible. We saw a ton of fish that day including moorish idols, yellow tangs, achilles tangs, pufferfish, butterfly fish, needlefish, and trumpetfish, etc....We were in awe. The one negative was that the hour we spent there went by much too fast, and we were bummed when it was time to get back on board.

From there, we cruised to Lanai, where we snorkeled at Sweetheart's Cove. The water was more rough here, and not as clear, but the snorkeling was still very clear. A lot of the same variety of fish, although I also saw my first spotted pufferfish whipped around corners which was great.

Lunch served on the boat was ok, chicken and veggie burgers, and a few hot dogs for the kids. We liked the crew very much, and would use PWF again, although next time I would pick a cruise that spent more time snorkeling at Molokini.

Dinner that night was (once again and for the last time, I swear) at Hula Grill. We got so used to walking down the beach path to Whaler's Village, sitting outside, and watching the sunset. It was great every night. Tonight we got another pulled pork sandwich and a burger with bacon and blue cheese. Only 2 1/2 days left by this point and we were bumming about having to leave on Friday!

More to come....

beachgirl86 Aug 26th, 2004 05:19 PM

DAY 12: On this day, we made the one big mistake of our trip: We did the Road to Hana. I know most people do it and love it, and we were also very excited about it, but we definitely wish we had just stuck to the beach and snorkeling that day!

We took off later than most people do, and got to Paia around 10:00. We had a fabulous breakfast at Charley's there (sweet bread French toast with coconut syrup and a bacon, cheese, mushroom omelet). This was definitely the best breakfast we had while in Hawaii, and oddly enough, the only place my orange juice was ever really cold! We also hit Picnics on Baldwin Cafe and got a picnic lunch for Hana in a cooler. The sandwiches were ok, unfortunately they gave us one of the wrong ones!

For the first part of the trip, everything was fine. Then, the curves and narrow, twisty roads started. Now, having done a million hours of research, I was prepared for this, but I had no idea how winding the roads truly are. We stopped at a few places along the way to check out waterfalls, black sand beach (not as good as the one on the BI), pools, scenic views, etc...By the time we got to Hana, I was miserable -- sooooo car sick.

So, we abandoned our plan of visiting the most spectacular sights, Blue Pools, Oheo Gulch, etc...I know, I know, I'm sure these places are magical, but I was so sick by then I just wanted to get back to the hotel. And there lay the problem for me -- now we had to go back on those roads!

Well, I don't want to get too graphic, but on the way home, my husband had to stop the car and I threw up 3 times. I could not believe I was throwing up on the Road to Hana! That could only happen to me. So, our Road to Hana experience was not the best. The views and waterfalls we saw were certainly pretty, but I think we had already seen so much of Hawaii's lushness and beauty that perhaps we would have been more impressed closer to the beginning of our trip?? Anyways, I tried to sleep on the way home, but we were very happy to get back to Kaanapali!

We showered and headed down to Whaler's Village for dinner, this time to try Leilani's on the Beach. It was good, but not as good as Hula Grill. Great app (checken quesadilla) and dessert (hula pie), but the meals themselves were only ok (burger and fish and chips). We had reservations for Nick's Fishmarket the next night (our last night), so we just enjoyed being on the beach for sunset one last night, and enjoying our walk back under the palm trees and stars.

DAY 13: This was our last full day, and depression was setting in! Today, we headed down to Kapalua Bay for some sunbathing and snorkeling. We both agreed we were sorry we had not discovered this beach earlier in our trip. It was gorgeous, Kapalua and Hapuna on the BI were definitely the 2 best beaches we went to in Hawaii. I would highly recommend Kapalua BBeach for snorkeling, or just enjoying the beach. The snorkeling here was very good, although a bit cloudy in certain places. We stayed in for a long time.

In the afternoon, we headed back to the Hyatt to lay by the pool and enjoy our last lunch at Pavillion. That night, we drove to South Maui for the first time for our dinner reservations at Nick's Fishmarket.

I know it has been said before, but this restaurant is fabulous. It was our one splurge meal and worth every penny. The setting is beautiful at sunset. The service is some of the best I've seen in restaurants, with the possible exception of "Aujourd'hui" in the Boston Four Seasons. I worked at a fine dining restaurant for a few years in college, and they know what they are doing service-wise here. Everything was phenomenal. For an app, we had pork potstickers, I had the scallop entreee, and DH had the mahi-mahi. I love seafood (scallops, shrimp, lobster, clams, etc...) but I've never liked fish that much. The mahi-mahi was delicious, even I loved it! For dessert, we tried something they call chocolate decadence, and it was probably the best dessert I've ever had. I had one frozen drink (Nick's Sunset) and DH had one beer (a $10 bottle of Chimay from Belgium). Dinner was about $135 with tip.

We walked around the Fairmont and thought it was very lovely, and that we might like to stay there sometime, although we loved being in West Maui. We went home very sad that our last day was tomorrow!!

DAY 14: Time to leave Hawaii :( We snorkeled once more at Black Rock, got beat up a little by the waves, and had some great last laughs. We sat by the pool for a short time, and checked out at 12. The Hyatt would not give us at 1:00 checkout. We stopped in Lahaina on Front St., grabbed a last lunch at Cheeseburgers in Paradise, and stocked up at ABC on souvenirs for ourselves and our familes (spent about $200 and anyone who knows ABC stores knows you get A LOT for $200!) Now, I am not normally a souvenir person, but I adored Hawaii, and knew I needed to be surrounded by reminders at home! Drove to the airport and got on our 4:45 flight back to Boston, vowing to return.

beachgirl86 Aug 26th, 2004 05:28 PM

LAST COMMENTS:

*If I haven't said it already, we LOVED Hawaii! I am always someone who wants to try new places, but this is a place I could see us returning to again and again.

*The native Hawaiians are so friendly! I don't think we encountered one rude person in our 2 weeks there. Everyone from chambermaids, to waiters, to busdrivers was just so pleasant. It was one of the reasons we loved it so.

*We loved all the islands we visited -- Oahu (although we only saw the Waikiki area, we loved the energy there), Big Island (it is just so diverse and unique) and Maui (we felt the most "at home" here because we stayed the longest, it was also a good mix of Oahu and the Big Island.) My husband and I have been going back and forth on what our favorite islands/hotels/experiences were and when we do get a chance to return, it's going to be tough to make a decision on which island(s). Guess we'll just have to do more than 1 return trip :)

*We really had great experiences with all 4 hotels we stayed in -- Outrigger Waikiki, Hapuna Beach Prince, Waikoloa Marriott, and Hyatt Maui. I would recommend any of them without a doubt.

*Food was excellent in Hawaii! We became addicted to Lava Flows, Bule Hawaiis, pot stickers, and pulled pork sandwiches!

*All in all, it really wasn't as expensive as what I had expected. There are definitely things that are pricey, especially at the big resorts, but some prices are reasonable, too. The ABC stores saved us!

*Snorkeling is our new favorite thing! We saw so many couples and young families doing this, and the best thing is that's it's free!! (After you rent the gear of course) We were total beginners, and we had a great time with it.

*Part of the reason we allowed ourselves 2 weeks is because we are from the Boston area, and felt we needed that much time because of the fligh time involved. I am so glad we had 2 weeks, BUT, we agreed it is definitely worth it even if you only have 1 week. The flights weren't that bad, and in the future, we won't have the luxury or $$ for 2 weeks, and I can definitely see us returning for only 1 week. Although with only 1 week, I would limit it to one island.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Aloha and mahalo!

bonniebroad Aug 26th, 2004 05:40 PM

Beachgirl, I think you'd be surprised at how many people agree with you about the Road to Hana. (You often mainly hear from the ones who loved something!) Because I had been to Kauai on my first visit to Hawaii, I don't think I was as blown away as some who've never seen that kind of lush greenery when I did it. And if you are prone to motion sickness, no matter how pretty scenery is, you're not so impressed when you feel like DEATH! So sorry you had to spend a whole day dealing with that....... Also, if you're not used to winding roads, that one can be a real surprise. We didn't find it that bad because we drive the Blue Ridge Parkway here in N.C., but I know some people hate that kind of driving. I am thrilled for you that YOU were thrilled with your trip. We've been to Hawaii several times, and of all the money I've ever spent, I consider those trips to be the experiences MOST worth my time and money! ALoha and mahalo for a great trip report! :-)

makai1 Aug 26th, 2004 05:55 PM

Aloha Beachgirl!

What a lovely report!! I loved all of it... again many congrats on your marriage, and thanks for sharing.

((R))

beachgirl86 Aug 26th, 2004 05:56 PM

Bonnie: Your responses are always so polite and kind, thank you! I read many of your Hawaii posts before our trip, and they were very helpful.

So many people seem to love the Road to Hana, I was worried I was going to get flamed! I am definitely prone to car sickness, and although I knew the roads were twisty and winding, nothing prepares you for those harepin turns! We are going to California in Feb. with another couple, and I am rethinking the Pacific Coast Highway!

I think you are right -- although Kauai was the one main island we didn't visit on this trip, we had seen so much beauty in the previous 10 or 11 days that we felt surpassed the Road to Hana that we weren't that impressed, which sounds awful to say. Our landlord was the one person who told us NOT to do it, and I saw him today, and he was laughing with me when I told him that we did not heed his advice!

I can't wait to return to Hawaii -- how many times have you been? How often do you get to go and which islands do you usually head to?

beachgirl86 Aug 26th, 2004 05:57 PM

Makai1: Thank you for reading it! How do you get that rainbow icon? I love it!

Mary2Go Aug 26th, 2004 06:24 PM

Thank you for the report! Also congratulations on your marriage! I was interested in hearing your take on the road to Hana, I have been wondering if I really want to use one of my Maui days for this drive. I sometimes get a bit queasy on never ending windy roads and that combined with my tendency to tell my husband how to drive has me thinking I may skip the drive!

beachgirl86 Aug 26th, 2004 06:35 PM

Mary: Thank you!

I don't want to tell you what to do at all on your vacation, maybe you will love the Road to Hana, but for someone who is prone to car sickness it's possible it will be a miserable day!

I really wish we had skipped it, both because I got so sick and also because we had seen scenery just as beautiful and striking already. I should have thought more about spending another whole day in the car. My gut told me to skip it and just enjoy relaxing on Maui, but I didn't want to miss anything! (We spent a whole day in the car on the way to and from Volcano National Park on the Big Island, and thought that was completely worth it.)

I also had to tell my husband to "slow down", "watch that car", "be careful over this 10 mph one lane bridge" and we were both a little shocked at how twisty everything was.

Let us know what you decide to do -- when are you going?

bonniebroad Aug 26th, 2004 06:52 PM

Beachgirl, I have been to Hawaii, I believe, five times now, usually for about 16 or so days each visit. I love them all, I truly do! Have visited the big four at least two-three times each, in varying combinations. If I left for a trip tonight, I'm pining for the Big Island and Oahu right now. My DH would say we MUST do Maui, too. The only reason we haven't been the last couple of years is an elderly pet that keeps us from traveling where he can't go..........

Regarding beautiful scenery, I think the northern part of the Big Island has vistas every bit as lovely as the road to Hana. I find each of the islands has it's own charm and beauty, and I can never pick a favorite!!! :-) Aloha....

Mary2Go Aug 26th, 2004 07:11 PM

My husband and I are going in about 3 weeks, 4 days in Oahu (he is mixing in a bit of business, me a bit of shopping & sun)then on to Maui for a week to celebrate 25 years of marriage, so we are at the other end of the line from you! We both love Hawaii and have been 5 or 6 times, mostly to Oahu because DH has business there. We keep saying we will try another tropical paradise but we wind up back in Hawaii. I added you favorite Maui restaurant and beach to my list...I love getting tips here!

iamq Aug 26th, 2004 07:14 PM

beachgirl86,
Thanks for the report. I enjoyed reading it. Your comments about returning again and again are so true! I've been returning since 1975!!! ((R))
Congratulations on your marriage too!
-Bill

pdxgirl Aug 27th, 2004 06:41 AM

Thanks for the great trip report, beachgirl. I too am one who never thought I would want to return again and again to one vacation spot and was completely seduced by Hawaii. In fact, I never really had much interest in going to Hawaii - I thought it would be too "touristy!" We're on the west coast, though, and one winter there was a great fare sale and we decided "what the heck, let's get out of the rain for a week." We've now been to Hawaii four times (Big Island twice and Kauai 3 times). We're going to Maui for the first time this December. Hawaii rocks!


Kaymit Aug 27th, 2004 10:06 AM

Hi Thanks for the great trip report on Maui. My husband and I leave in 29 days :-) WE are planning to do the raod to Hana and spend the night up there so we don't have to do it all in one day. Neither of us is prone to motion sickness but after reading about your experinece I am thinking we may take bonine before we leave just to be on the safe side.

we plan to leave later in teh morning so can you tell me how the traffic was on the road at that time of day.

Thanks

Kay

We have not planned a snorkle tri but may add one after reading your trip report.

makai1 Aug 27th, 2004 10:29 AM

Aloha beachgirl,

Go to www.fodors.com/forums/smileys
for the ((R)) icon.

friendlyfrank Aug 27th, 2004 10:52 AM

Bonine worked great for me on our trip to Hana. And I am prone to motion sickness. I made sure to sit up front also. It was a great adventure.

beachgirl86 Aug 27th, 2004 04:10 PM

Thanks for reading my trip report, I'm glad you all enjoyed it!

Kaymit: The traffic on the Road to Hana was no problem for us, even leaving late in the morning like we did. As I said I think we got to Paia around 10:00, so it was easily 10:30-11:00 by the time we left there, after breakfast and getting a lunch packed. There were people on the road but I wouldn't say it was crowded. And I would absolutely say do a snorkel trip!

lasjas Aug 27th, 2004 07:12 PM

what an awesome trip report, thank you for sharing!
my dh and I will be going to Hawaii on Wednesday, only 4 days away! for 16 nights, we are soooo excited, and your report made me evenmore excited.

we are also staying at 4 resorts,
and doing the road to Hana, I get car sick, but we rented a convertible, and I'll probably do the driving, in which case I dont think I'll get car sick. we are spending 3 nights at the Hotel Hana Maui to totally relax, unwind and enjoy utter seclusion and serenity..something I never get!
I hope we enjoy the road to Hana, I know my dh will be freaking out about the road, hairpin turns and one lane bridges, he's a little nervous in teh car, much more so than I, so I am pretty sure I'll do the driving.....lol

I hope you get to start planning your next Hawaii vacation soon! sounds like you really have the Best time!
and congratulations on your marriage :)



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