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Honeymoon to Kauai and Maui from the East Coast

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May 15th, 2013, 10:35 AM
  #1
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Honeymoon to Kauai and Maui from the East Coast

My fiance and I are currently planning our honeymoon to Kauai and Maui in late October. We are planning to stay at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai and the Sheraton Kaanapali in Maui. We are pretty adventurous and like to explore but would also like to spend some time relaxing. Some things we'd like to do on each island include: Kauai (see the Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon) and Maui (Road to Hana, Old Lahaina Luau, Bike down Haleakala at sunrise) and of course explore and snorkel on both islands. We still aren't sure about a helicopter ride in Kauai (versus a boat tour of the Napali Coast) and a trip to Molokini for snorkeling.

Our current dilema has to do with traveling. We are coming from the east coast, so we know we will lose a significant amount of time in transit. We know that we want to have at least 5 full days and full nights on each island to make the trip relaxing and our time worthwhile. Initially, we were thinking about stopping in San Francisco/Napa Valley on our way home. So it would have been: fly directly into Kauai, fly from Maui to San Francisco, fly from San Francisco home. This would allow us two full days in San Francisco/Napa Valley to break up our trip home. Our travel agent suggested stopping on the way to Hawaii, or not at all as it changes our flights from round-trip to multi-destination ($$) and because she felt we wouldn't want to go there after leaving Hawaii. Another option is to spend an extra day in Maui and then come back a day early to recover from all the jet lag.

I'd love to know if anyone has done Hawaii from the east coast with a stopover (in either direction) in San Francisco and if anyone had any particular recommendations on what to do. Also, I'd love to know if anyone has had experience with the hotels and activities we are considering. Thank you!
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May 15th, 2013, 10:58 AM
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I don't have that experience because I live in San Francisco, so Hawaii is an easy jaunt, and Napa is a day trip. I was just curious how you selected your hotels, as they are very different in style from each other. The Grand Hyatt Kauai is all "glitz and glamour" -- huge lobby with fabulous ocean views, fantastic pool area and the like) while the Sheraton Maui, which is in a great location, is much more low-key. I think you'll love both, just wondering.
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May 15th, 2013, 11:07 AM
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That's what I'd do. I'm only in Seattle so getting to Hawaii is no big deal for me. But when I fly to Europe (for example) I fly directly there, I would never stop on the east coast to 'break things up'.
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May 15th, 2013, 11:40 AM
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I stopped in SF on the way home to east coast. Never again. Spend the time on the islands. Consider doing and overnight in Hana.
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May 15th, 2013, 11:50 AM
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I agree with the pp, spend an extra day and make an extra day at home. I don't think one or two days mid-way will really help with jet lag anyway. In my opinion you are better off returning home and leisurely getting back to normal there. (That said, I've been home from Kauai for almost 2 weeks now and I have not yet returned to normal! LOL.)

Side notes on your trip:
We stayed at the Grand Hyatt and you'll love it! That will definitely fit your bill for the relaxation portion of your trip. Something you might find useful: they allow you to check out beach chairs for the day, which is great since the beach at the Grand Hyatt isn't for swimming. Plus, you'll want see all the gorgeous beaches around the island anyway. Another great thing about the GH: their pools and hot tubs are 24 hrs! Perfect for the jet lag :--) There were many mornings were were swimming at 3am!
We loved our boat trip of the Na Pali coast. I'm sure it is fantastic from a helicopter as well, plus you'd see other parts of the island, but there is something to be said for being on the water looking up at that amazing landscape.
If you are into hiking, I'd also recommend the Kalalau Trail. It's pretty strenuous, but the views are amazing. You can go in 1/4 mile to see the first overlook, which is beautiful enough, or continue 4 miles to a waterfall. Be sure to check the weather though and research the conditions before you head out.

As for Maui, I loved watching the sunrise from the top of Haleakala! We didn't stay at the Sheraton, so no comments there, but Kaanapali is very nice. I was not a fan of the Road to Hana. It seemed like one big traffic jam to me.

Personally, I enjoyed Kauai a lot more than Maui. However, both islands are superb and you will have an amazing honeymoon. Congratulations!
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May 15th, 2013, 12:59 PM
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sf7307 - We originally thought we wanted to stay in the Wailea area in Maui, but ended up deciding we wanted to be in Kaanapali where there seemed to be more activity. We had friends who had stayed at the Sheraton there and had a great experience. Our travel agent also recommended it for the nice beach and snorkeling. In Kauai, no matter how much research we did, we kept hearing how amazing the Hyatt was. I think in the end, we just felt that we wanted a good mix of everything on our honeymoon - by choosing two different hotels, we could end up with the best of both worlds. We haven't booked either hotel yet, so if anyone has any other hotel recommendations, please share them.

Also, for general note, I did not mean for it to come accross that we wanted to stop in SFO/Napa in order to help with jet lag. We have never been to the area, and felt it may be nice to spend a few days there before heading back to reality.
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May 15th, 2013, 01:04 PM
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I'd vote for getting home and having a day of rest (and laundry) there. You can come back to SF/Napa another time.
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May 15th, 2013, 01:13 PM
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and remember that one of your flights returning to the east coast will be overnight in a darkened cabin to encourage sleep.
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May 15th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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pijeta - Thanks for all the tips!
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May 15th, 2013, 01:19 PM
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The reason we never did a layover again after our first trip was that we really didn't like to put a mainland city between paradise and home. It was a bit of a buzzkill, even though we enjoyed ourselves. There is so much to see on both islands. Why cut it short. You can always plan an anniversary trip in the next couple of years to take the time to see SF/Napa and give it the time it deserves.
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May 15th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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I don't recommend the stop over in SF, I would stay an extra night in Hawaii and fly back a day early. Most likely your flight to the east coast would be part of a red eye anyways, so you'll have most of the day in Hawaii, and then you'll arrive back early morning the next day on the east coast and you can take the rest of the day off.

We fly from NYC to Hawaii all the time. To me it doesn't really make sense to stop anywhere (and I wouldn't want to!) Even with a layover, we just wait at the airport and catch the flight back to NY. Just recently we took advantage of the non stop flights fron NY and it's great.

We go to Napa/SF a lot as well, and I'd highly recommend a separate trip just for that area. Napa/Sonoma requires some planning as well and you'd probably don't want to be bogged down with more planning. Spend the extra night in paradise and relax!

We did the helicopter tour of the Napali coast and it was amazing. I get seasick so I did not want to see it by boat but I hear its equally as amazing.

PS, both your hotel recs are great! The Grand Hyatt in Kauai is luxurious and beautiful. The Sheraton fronts our favorite snorkeling beach, Blackrock at Kaanapali, and the service there is wonderful. Oct/Nov is our favorite time to go to Hawaii too!
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May 15th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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I've been to Hawaii 3 times from Europe & have done it in various ways. Have done it all in one go, change flights in LAX, always find the last flight a bit of a killer. Have also done it in stages with an overnight in LAX both ways, it does help but I agree with yr travel agent that stopping on the way there is better than the way back. Once you leave Hawaii we just wanted to get home. The only advantage of stopping was for shopping but that would not apply for you.
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May 15th, 2013, 02:10 PM
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Agree. Skip stopping to see Napa. You can visit the winery at the Ulapalakua Ranch on Maui:

http://www.mauiwine.com/

I would also skip the bike ride down Haleakala. Dangerous.
Many people like Molikini, but you can get get snorkeling off shore.

Kauai we did the helicopter on our honeymoon and it was great. Another trip, we tried the boat tour of the Napali Coast, but it was too windy and rough and we had to turn back. Either would be great though.
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May 16th, 2013, 12:58 PM
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So..you'll have ten nights IN Hawaii? I'd be more OK with two islands if you were not coming so far, or if you were staying longer, or if this was not a honeymoon.

Get a nonstop on a widebody from the East to Honolulu and hop to your island(s). Avoid 757's and west coast connections. Got miles? Upgrade to first on that long leg.

I agree with everyone else about skipping San Francisco. There will be other 'trips', but not another honeymoon. Enjoy Hawaii. Enjoy one another in Hawaii. Don't rush around 'sightseeing' every minute. People keep coming back to Hawaii for the aloha. Get on Island Time and soak it up!

In October, with only ten nights, *I* would stay Wailea with a night or two in Hana -- or split between Wailea and Kapalua. It's not the best season for Kauai's most gorgeous north OR for Poipu. You will be spending your first day in Hawaii in a blur as you adjust to the time change. Departure day is a bit of a loss too.
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May 16th, 2013, 01:57 PM
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So..you'll have ten nights IN Hawaii? I'd be more OK with two islands if you were not coming so far, or if you were staying longer, or if this was not a honeymoon. The first day after a long flight will be a blur as your body adjusts to the time change. Departure day feels short as you pack and have to be at the airport early.

Get a nonstop on a widebody from the East to Honolulu and hop to your island. Avoid 757's and west coast connections. Got miles? Upgrade to first on those long legs.

I agree with everyone else about skipping San Francisco -- don't even do it outbound. There will be other 'trips', but not another honeymoon. Enjoy Hawaii. Enjoy one another in Hawaii. Don't rush around. People keep coming back to Hawaii for the aloha. Get on Island Time and soak it up! No need for a checklist of 'sights'.

In October, with just ten nights, *I* would stay Wailea with a night or two in Hana -- or split between Wailea and Kapalua. It's not the best season for Kauai's most gorgeous north OR for Poipu.
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May 16th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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Sorry. Don't know how I got two posts!
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May 20th, 2013, 09:19 AM
  #17
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Thanks everyone! I think we are sold on spending the extra time in Hawaii. One more question - would it be better to start our trip in Kauai and end in Maui or start in Maui and end in Kauai? I was initially thinking starting in Kauai made more sense as we would be exhausted from the wedding and looking to have a more private and relaxing time, then move on to more planned activity in Maui. I've read a lot of people say Kauai is their absolute favorite island and now I'm wondering if it would be better to end there. Any thoughts?
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May 20th, 2013, 09:33 AM
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Kauai is lusher and less developed. Maui is drier and more developed. Neither is developed like Honolulu. In other words, I don't really think it matters!
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May 20th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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A toss up.
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May 20th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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This is what I personally would do.

Find the most direct route to Maui. Kaanapali would be a great start. You can chill at the Sheraton and walk to dinner and acclimate.

Next I would spend the last night or two in Hana in a private rental and soak up what is heavenly about Hana. There's nothing like lazy mornings and late afternoons when the day trippers are gone. You just can't get that in a day trip. After breakfast head back to the airport and catch a direct flight to Kauai if you can. You are going against the daytripper traffic so it is a pretty easy drive.

At this point you will be completely acclimated and will really be able to relax. You'll be sipping a maitai by mid afternoon at the Grand Hyatt, having some chill time before you head out to explore.

Also, I think the Grand Hyatt is a superior property. I have learned over the years that you want to finish with the best property when possible rather then down grade. Not that the Sheraton Maui isn't a lovely spot.

Happy planning!
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