Just Back; Maui Part 3.

Old Aug 8th, 2004, 11:50 AM
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Just Back; Maui Part 3.

Finally, we got the rental car right. We got the Ford Explorer from Budget which afforded enough room with the luggage and plenty of room with the third back seat for driving around. We loaded up the luggage and it was with some concern that we headed off to the Marriott Ocean Resort in Ka'anapali. I have been reading lots of negative reviews concerning minimal improvement despite a huge expenditure with all of the money going into the pool. We loved it! The first improvement since our stay in 1998 was immediately apparent. IT WASN'T PINK ANYMORE! The new colors are shades of desert sand that blend in more with the environment and the appearance is quite nice. The pool is gorgeous but quite crowded and finding a chaise can be a challenge on a nice day. Too many guests cover their chosen chair with a towel and disappear. If they don't reappear in a reasonable amount of time, I have no problem removing the towel and so we did. Check in was smooth and quick. We had a 1 bedroom "villa" that I had reserved months ago for $349. Although I promised my DH that we wouldn't go to "another time share presentation", (he hates them), when they offered me one free night including taxes, I signed up. Fortunately we had a very experienced salesman who had heard all of the financial reasons NOT to buy a time share before, so I saved my canned speech, told him that we loved the property, which we did but came strictly for the "free night" and wouldn't be buying. We enjoyed our complimentary continental breakfast and left with our free night gift certificate after 45 minutes. The downside of the property is the crowded pool and the lack of a regular oven with a cook top in a room. When we stay in condos, we want a full kitchen. During this vacation, we planned on a hotel atmosphere so the mini kitchen was a nice bonus, however it would have been a disappointment if we had a condo in mind. The hotel, I can't say enough about. The staff was warm, gracious, friendly and exuded ALOHA. Check out was 10 am but we used the hospitality guest room from 4:30 pm until 6pm to get ready for our long flight back to Ct. I planned our Maui luau for the day we arrived on Maui. No, we didn't go to the most "authentic" luau we went to the most convenient, which was at the Marriott. It was excellent. The food was good, the entertainment just long enough, drinks were reasonable with a refillable pineapple for $8 and we didn't have to drive back to the hotel. We also booked a snorkeling trip. No, we didn't pick Trilogy or Paragon but I had reserved the Scotch Mist which is a mono hull sail 50 ft Santa Cruz sail boat. I love sailing and snorkeling is really second to me. The five of us sailed with Captain Mike, his first mate, Nicki, Nicki's friend and her parents. First of all, what wonderful people. We felt that we went sailing with old friends. Secondly, what a great break from the crowded snorkeling tours that we watched sail in and out of Lahaina Harbor. We loved it and would do it again. Another great excursion that DH and I did by ourselves was our flight from Kapalua Airport with Paragon Air to Molokai and the mule ride down to Kaulapapa. I will be happy to elaborate on this in the future for anyone interested; Let it surfice to say that it was a moving experience and the mule ride kept my attention. We also finally made it to Hana, on this our third trip to Maui. We usually end up turning back after Waianapapa State Park but we persevered and continued the full circle. It was also our first ever sunny day on the road to Hana, which was different. We drove down and then hiked into Blue Pool, stopped at O'heo Gulch, Hana Bay, etc. It was a great day as well. Best meal of the entire trip was at Roy's in Kapalua. We enjoyed Saigon Cafe, Cheeseburger in Paradise and the best buffalo wings were at Moose McGillicuddy's. We ate at Lelani's on the Beach for two lunches and one dinner. It was a convenient,easy walk for excellent food at good prices. Also, with two entre's we got a free Hula pie, (like I needed that)with our Marriott discount card. Thanks for reading these rambling reviews. Dawn
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 01:10 PM
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Thanks Dawn, great report! I would like to hear more about your Molokai adventure. We will be in Maui in Septemeber and I have been looking at information on Molokai. I am interested in the mule trip but I am a little paranoid after seeing a picture of the trail cut into the cliff!
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 04:27 PM
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Dawn,

I enjoyed reading your reports. We took our kids to Oahu and Maui last month. We stayed at the Queen Kapolani (sp?) on Waikiki despite the negative reviews. At least we were prepared for our room to be "well used", which it was. But for the price, you couldn't beat the location and the view of Diamondhead! We payed a lot less for the same or better view than most of the Waikiki hotels offered.

I wish I had known about the Santa Cruz. We also hate the large snorkel crowds and your trip sounded perfect. Our kids really enjoyed Maui ATV tours. The guides let us drive fast on the flatter terrain which the kids loved.

We stayed at the Grand Wailea for the pools. Going in we wondered if it was worth the $$$$. I have to say that it was because the kids had a blast, but I wouldn't stay there if the kids weren't with us.

Lucky you to make it to Hana--son #1 got carsick at about marker #12 so we turned back. We did borrow a dog (acutally two) at the market on the way up!

Thanks for your report.
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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Hi Mary, We flew to Molokai with Paragon Air,landing at the airport. A van picked us up and took us to the Mule ranch where we met the other riders and our trail guides.It was raining and so I was given a Molokai poncho, custom designed (black Hefty bag) for the ride down.
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 05:01 PM
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Molokai continued. (for some reason the previous message posted) The mules seemed very calm and deliberate in each step they took. There are 26 switch backs, muddy steps and puddles and we were very close to the edge at times. In this case however, I was glad to be riding rather than walking. If you don't want to take the mules, you can hike down and fly out. If you chose to hike down, go down before the mules. The trail is less messy. Also, there were two hikers on the way up and my mule didn't seem to care. He just brushed by the hiker pushing her to the side,who in turn gave me a dirty look. I wasn't going to argue with a mule on the side of a cliff. If I had it to do over again, I would have read more about Kaulapapa and Kalawao. I had read Hawaii by James Mitchner but there are other books on Kalawao that would have been more enlightening. We were taken around in an old bus by Sheriff Richard Marks. You can google Richard Marks Molokai and pull up several very interesting articles.We visited the churches, heard about Father Damien, the history of some of the buildings that are no longer there and went to Kalawao where the first patients waded ashore. The area is beautiful in itself and probably more beautiful on a sunny day, however the grayness of the day that we were there actually made the visit more meaningful. There are 7000 men and women buried there, with only small parts of cemataries being visable. There are only 35 residents living there in their homes, the youngest 65 and the oldest 92. I have heard comments that they had the best land and the most productive area of Hawaii but a guilded cage is still a prison. One guest commented to another that the sheriff sounded "very bitter". Well duh! Who wouldn't be. Men, women, children were tested, some as late as 1952, torn from their families and "relocated". In the 1860's, life resembled Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness; survival of the fittest. Fa. Damien changed much of that. After a cure was found for leprosy (Sheriff Marks uses that term, not once did I hear him say Hansen's disease)the patients, who are now outpatients weren't discharged as one would expect, they were "paroled". I wouldn't miss this chapter in history. There will be few first hand survivors to tell the story. A good book that I bought there, is Holy Man, Father Damien of Molokai. by Gavan Daws. It doesn't go into detail about the horrible life that many of the residents had because it is a detailed account of Damiens life, but its a good start and I would read it first.
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 05:53 PM
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Thank you Dawn. Your description really painted a picture for me. Your opinion that you would rather be riding than walking sounds about right to me. I know I trust the mules footing more than my own! We have been looking at a day trip to either Lanai or Molakai, and I think Molakai sounds very interesting.
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 06:33 PM
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Wow Dawn

That's it. Your words have taken something that is on my list of hawaiian adventures, and put it up to number one. Loved Lanai and visiting and talking story with the old pineapple plantation workers. I always figured I'd get to Molokai on one of these trips. You have me convinced that it is now a priority. I've done mules at the Grand Canyon, and concur, I prefer trusting the mules feet to mine on those extreme switchbacks!!!!!!! Mahalo!
 
Old Aug 10th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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Thanks, Dawn!

It was refreshing to hear something good about Marriott Ocean Club for a change. We are going in October on an exchange and have been really looking forward to the trip except for the so-so reviews I've read about Ocean Club. Thanks also for the tip on the Scotch Mist. We really love to sail and aren't as interested in snorkling or the all-day trip to Lanai. This may be just what we are looking for. You make me wish we were there!
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