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thyme Oct 10th, 2004 09:56 PM

Maui honeymoon trip report
I want to thank everyone for all their trip reports, which were invaluable in planning our honeymoon. This is very detailed because the reports with the most details helped me the most. Just because I liked something doesn?t mean someone else will.

We spent a week on Maui from Sept. 22-29. I?m 29, DH is 30. We live in Denver and so loved the thought of going somewhere with an ocean. I?m a vegetarian, no meat or fish, and found most places offered at least one vegetarian entrée. Very few vegetarian appetizers, though. The weather was great, although it did get hot mid-morning and in the afternoon. The ocean water was so warm, even early in the morning and at night. The sun was a ball of pure evil. I?m pretty pale and constantly reapplied sunscreen, but I still burned.

Though it was our honeymoon, we waited a few months after the wedding. We were more active than we might have been right after getting married. Our priorities were the ocean, the natural beauty of the island and relaxing. We never made it to Haleakala and had no interest in a luau. We thought about Warren and Annabelle?s, but in the end didn?t think a magic show could compete with a beach sunset.

We splurged on the hotels, staying at the Kea Lani in Wailea for six nights and the Hotel Hana Maui on the last night.

We loved the trip. It flew by and seemed like we were only there for a few days. I was already planning a return trip on the long, sad plane ride home. Most of what we saw was surreal; it sometimes seemed like a dream. The myriad shades of blue of the ocean, the softness of the morning air, the vividness of the colors, the friendliness of the people - pictures don?t come close to capturing it. I can?t imagine a more perfect place for a honeymoon.

Day 1, Wednesday:
Our plane arrived in Maui at about 11:30 a.m. It took a very long time for our luggage to show up. The airport seemed very unorganized and, because it?s open air, it was really muggy.

Two very sticky people picked up the rental car, a Ford Mustang convertible. We loved driving with the top down, especially on the Road to Hana, but did wish we had more clearance on the bumpier roads and more trunk space. By the end of the trip, the shocks were shot and made a very disturbing noise every time we hit a decent size bump.

We stopped in Kihei at Longs Drug to pick up water, beer and a cooler. We brought our own snorkel gear and rented fins from Snorkel Bob?s.

Check in at the all-suite Kea Lani in Wailea was fast and included a beautiful flower lei for me and a green leaf lei for DH. The free valet parking also was a nice touch. Even though we were about an hour and a half early, our room was ready. We had a garden view room and were on the first floor, looking out at the adult pool and a gazebo. You could see little slivers of the ocean through the trees. The room was beautiful and very big. Everything was in cream, with a king sized bed, a huge bathroom, a living area and a little bar area with a microwave and mini-fridge. And of course a large lanai. It was bigger than our first apartment and very nice to spread out. We never felt cramped.

We grabbed our swimsuits and went straight to the beach, just a short walk from our room. The beach was on the small side, but we liked it. It was a very relaxing place, with nice soft sand and fun waves to play in. We had drinks at the Café Ciao bar and sandwiches from the deli on our Lanai. It was great to have a gourmet deli right there at the hotel. Then we went back to the beach and watched a lovely sunset. I loved the Kea Lani?s Tiki torch lighting ceremony and the way the resort looked all lit up at night. It felt a little like walking into a fairytale.

thyme Oct 10th, 2004 09:57 PM

Day 2, Thursday:
We got up early and had time for a quick breakfast at the buffet before our boat trip. The buffet was included with our room, otherwise it would have been $50 a day for both of us. There was a nice variety of fresh fruit, pastries, hash browns, sausage, bagels with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs with a surprisingly good salsa, etc. Some of the items changed each day.

We left at 7 a.m. for Lahaina Harbor, where we paid an exorbitant amount to park because DH hates driving around looking for parking. We went to Lanai with Paragon Charters. Including us, there were only nine people on the boat plus the captain and another crew member, which was nice. The views were very pretty, but it was a long ride. DH got seasick and couldn?t snorkel once we got to Lanai. The water was very clear and calm. It was a good first time snorkeling experience for me. I was definitely nervous about snorkeling, but relieved to find out how easy it was. Using a noodle helped me feel safer. The boat dropped us off at the dock at Lanai and we took a short walk to Hulopo?e Beach, where we ate our picnic lunch. It was a beautiful beach. One of my favorite memories was just floating in the impossibly blue, warm water. I also took a short walk along the coast and saw some very nice views, including a lava arch. DH laid on the beach, took a Dramamine and tried to recover from the sea sickness. He felt a little better on the ride back, which included very sweet Mai Tais, champagne and tasty brownies. We stopped on the way back for a quick dip in the ocean. The captain told us to open our eyes under water because it was so clean the saltwater wouldn?t sting. Afterwards, we all tried to describe the color and just couldn?t. The best we could do was ultra blue. It was just the purest, brightest blue I?ve ever seen. Very cool. Because there was so little wind, we only got to sail a little on the way back. But the sailing we did do was very peaceful. Unfortunately, no dolphins and I got burned. But we did see a rainbow. After the boat trip we checked out the huge Banyan tree and picked up some souvenir macadamia nuts, beach mats and drinks at the ABC store, which had very good prices.

The drive, about 45 minutes, had some beautiful views and we didn?t mind it at all. Back in Wailea, we hung out at the hotel and caught the sunset from the beach before our dinner reservations at Roy?s. This was one of the best meals of the trip. I had a poached pear salad and a delicious vegetable risotto. DH had a combination plate with macadamia crusted Opah and swordfish with lobster sauce. And the chocolate soufflé ? of course ? for dessert. I have the recipe for the chocolate soufflé and had made it before, but it tasted even better in Hawaii.

thyme Oct 11th, 2004 07:38 PM

Day 3, Friday:

We planned to get up early and snorkel, but ended up sleeping in. We really needed the sleep and felt much better for it. We finally made it to Ahihi Cove by about 10 a.m. and snorkeled there. It was shallow and very easy, although a little slippery getting in on the rocky side with fins. Water was a little cloudy, but overall a great time. It was a really pretty area. There were quite a few people there at 10, but I felt more comfortable snorkeling with other people around. Next, we checked out Big Beach, which had beautiful golden sand and stunning blue water, plus a really long beach. We didn?t go to far into the ocean. The waves were pretty big. We also took the trail over to Little Beach. But there were just too many naked people crammed together on too small a beach for me, so we went back.

We went to Kihei to replace the mouthpiece DH lost on his snorkel and get me a T-shirt to cover my burned back. We stopped at the Renaissance to get onion rings and drinks at Maui Onion. The rings were very good.

We sat out by the pool the rest of the afternoon, getting drinks, cold towels and very refreshing lemon cucumber water. I felt very pampered.

We had dinner at Sansei. I had decent vegetable tempura and veggie rolls. DH tried sushi for the first, and last, time. He got a California roll with eel on top. It was like watching an episode of Fear Factor, where the guy is struggling to swallow the bugs or whatever and someone is encouraging him to just keep chewing. He only made it through three pieces and started picking apart a fourth one to figure out what tasted so bad. Decided it wasn?t one element, but the combination. At first, he didn?t really like his shrimp appetizer, either. But he decided it tasted pretty good after the raw fish. Sansei had a fun bar atmosphere, but I don?t know if I?d go back. After dinner at the hotel, we took a quick night dip in the ocean and then the pools. I thought the ocean was a little disconcerting in the dark, but DH liked seeing the stars.

Day 4, Saturday:

We got up very early and had to miss breakfast to get to west Maui in time for our kayak trip with Maui Eco-tours. There were only five of us altogether, plus a very nice guide. Kayaked along some small cliffs to the first spot, snorkeled and saw some fish. About halfway back, snorkeled at one of the ?coral gardens.? The coral was pretty and, even better, we saw turtles. The water was very clear. A tour boat arrived a little later and didn?t do much for the peaceful atmosphere. We hung out on the kayaks while the guide went out a ways and pulled some fishing line off the bottom of the ocean. I managed not to tip over the kayak getting in and out, but we did tip over in a wave trying to get back to shore. I lost a shoe and was very glad I had some that floated. I forgot to order a vegetarian lunch, so I had to make do with chips on the beach afterward. DH said his sandwich was decent. I had leftover risotto from Roy?s back at the hotel - it was very nice to have a fridge and microwave. The kayaking was pretty easy, although my arms were a little sore afterward. We originally wanted to do the La Perouse Bay kayak trip, which wasn?t available because of overuse of that area. I liked the kayak trip, but I think the La Perouse trip would have been much better. I didn?t feel like the snorkeling was any better than what we could have dome from shore, while the La Perouse trip would have taken us somewhere hard to reach. DH was hoping the kayaking would be harder and a bit more of an adventure.

We had dinner at Maalaea Waterfront. DH had a really good lobster chowder, but was lukewarm about his Ono wrapped in potato strands. I had baked brie with macadamia nuts and fruit and a taro patty stacked with eggplant and tomatoes. Both were good, but not memorable. Neither of us liked the atmosphere much. It was sort of stuffy and we got stuck in a booth inside instead of outside near the water. We also had the children from Hell in the booth behind us. They pulled my hair, sneezed on me, wailed at the top of their lungs, etc. We wished we had watched sunset from the beach first and gone to dinner after. Unlike Roy?s, I didn?t feel like it was worth the money. I wouldn?t go back.

thyme Oct 13th, 2004 12:25 PM

Day 5, Sunday:

We woke up feeling very lazy and ditched our plans to the get up early and spend the whole day on the west side, starting with snorkeling at Honolua Bay. As bad as it sounds, we were also a little burned out on saltwater and snorkeling.

Instead, ate a leisurely breakfast and took the beach path that connects the hotels while it was still relatively cool. The Four Seasons looked lovely, like you would be very pampered, and had nicer, padded beach chairs. But I could see how the pool could feel very crowded. There wasn?t much room to spread out. The Grand Wailea?s pool looked like a lot of fun, but the place was teeming with kids. We stopped at their spa and I bought some lotion. They have vanilla-papaya, coconut-mango and other very tasty scents. They make great souvenirs. Wailea Beach looked very nice, but busy. Then we headed to a spot by the lovely, quiet adult pool with an umbrella for shade. Ordered Lava Flows, tried out the water slide and just relaxed.
As to the debate about which hotel in Wailea, we were very happy with the Kea Lani, but I?m sure we would have loved the Four Seasons, too. The grounds were lovely and felt very airy and open. The grounds at the Four Seasons were more lush, but didn?t feel as open. If you want to feel ultra-pampered and want a bigger beach or plan to spend a lot of time at the pool and really want a free cabana ($50 a day at the Kea Lani), then the Four Season might be the best choice. We?re pretty laid back, so I?m not sure the trade-off of a smaller room and pool area would have been worth the ?Four Seasons? service.

We left around noon for the west side, stopping at Maui Tacos for lunch. The place was packed and the burritos were decent, but nothing worth a special trip. The best thing about lunch was it was cheap. We stopped first in Lahaina and walked down Front Street. One tacky T-shirt shop after the next, very hot and a bunch of people from a cruise ship made it the least favorite thing I did on the trip. I did buy a pretty watercolor print at the market set up around the Banyan Tree and enjoyed seeing all the local artists. DH was very cranky by the time we left.

Driving up the coast on the west side restored our tropical spirits.
We went as far as the blowhole, but couldn?t climb down because we weren?t thinking and only wore flip flops. It was still very cool to see it, even from a distance. The shooting water made mini rainbows. The scenery on that side was beautiful and very green. I took some of the best pictures there and admired Honolua Bay. It looked like a wonderful place to snorkel. We drove down to Kanapalli for dinner at Hula Grill, where we got a great table at the Barefoot bar and watched the sunset and some massive waves. The food was OK, but we loved the atmosphere. The best thing we had was the fruit plate with all local fruit ? guava, bright red dragon fruit, apple banana, pineapple, etc. DH had fish and chips, I had a goat cheese pizza. We walked a little way down Kaanapalli Beach and then looked into some of the shops in Whaler?s Village. For shopping, I liked the atmosphere there much better than Lahaina. But it was hard to concentrate on shopping anywhere when there was so much beautiful scenery.
Along with missing Honolua Bay snorkeling, we also missed lunch at Pacific?O. Next time ...

Day 6, Monday:
We got up really early and made it to La Perouse Bay at the end of the road in south Maui a little before 7 a.m. hoping to see dolphins. The convertible didn?t much like the bumpy road. We didn?t see dolphins and the water seemed kind of rough for snorkeling. We only saw one other couple snorkel, but decided against it. The area was very pretty in a wild way and we walked a short way along the shoreline. After that, stopped at Secret Cove. It was very picturesque and we were the only ones there. Then we drove to the Maui Prince and snorkeled from shore. It was the best snorkeling of the trip. We saw tons of colorful fish, an octopus and snorkeled with turtles. DH, who had a talent for spotting turtles, first saw a massive turtle under a rock. Then he spotted a smaller one swimming, and followed it. It ended up swimming straight toward us, looked at us and then went up for air. While we were watching it, a much bigger turtle swam right under us. They were just so cool. We were much closer to them than the ones on the snorkeling trip. Of course, I ran out of film in my underwater camera right when we saw the turtles. Oh well. We also stopped at Po?olenalena. We took some pictures but didn?t snorkel. It was empty except for some people camping there.

We went back to the hotel and devoured breakfast, which included some really good blueberry pancakes with a blueberry/strawberry compote. We hung out at the pool for a bit, but it was windy so spent some time in our room before dinner at Nick?s Fishmarket. It was the best dinner of the trip ? and probably our best dinner ever. We had a beautiful view and front row seats to the Tiki torch lighting ceremony. To start, I had the Maui Wowie salad, and DH had lobster bisque. I also had an amazing dish of earthy, purple sweet potato gnocchi with asparagus and morel mushrooms in a chardonnay butter sauce. DH had the Opakapaka. We tooped it all off with flaming strawberries. It was all so delicious. It makes me hungry just thinking about it. The service was very, very good, although it was so attentive it was a little funny. The waiters and hostess would run to make sure we didn?t have to pull out our own chairs after we got up and sat back down. I thought about trying to race them back to my seat after going down to the beach to get a quick sunset picture, but I restrained myself. DH wanted to take another night swim, I but was so tired after all the food and wine, I fell asleep instead.

thyme Oct 18th, 2004 05:05 PM

Day 7, Tuesday:
We ate one last breakfast and checked out a little after 7 a.m. to drive to Hana, where we spent the night at the beautiful and serene Hotel Hana Maui. We stopped in Paia to get a picnic and smoothie from the Hana Bay Juice Company. Service was very, very slow with only one person working. But the sandwiches were pretty good.

There weren?t too many people that early, but we definitely weren?t alone on the drive. I loved it, especially all the lush green scenery. DH liked it, but not nearly as much as I did. We used Maui Revealed, but we missed some of the spots while trying to read the book. Finding the mile markers wasn?t easy, either. It?s pretty much impossible to turn around on the narrow little road with cars behind you.

We stopped first at Lower Puohokamoa Falls. A very short hike and you get a great view of a big waterfall. We also stopped at an overlook for a picture of the coast and at the Halfway to Hana stand ? where the port-a-potties weren?t in good shape. The Three Bears Falls looked pretty, but the turnoff was blocked by a tour bus. Made a couple more stops and then went to Blue Pool.

Getting to Blue Pool was a bit of an adventure. We ended up parking at the first $4 lot instead of the closer $2 one because DH was nervous that our low-riding car wouldn?t make it on the bumpy, pot hole filled dirt road. But I didn?t mind because I really liked the walk to Blue Pool. It was very lush with lots of fragrant flowers. The waterfall itself was down to a trickle, so it didn?t look that much like the picture in the Blue Book. But the setting was absolutely beautiful and a quick dip in the cold water felt wonderful. There were only a few other people there.

We ate lunch at a picnic table at Wai?anapanapa Park and checked out the Black Sand Beach. There were more rocks and less sand than we expected, but it was still very cool and lots of pretty scenery. I could have spent more time there, but DH was getting anxious.

We checked into Hotel Hana Maui early, around 1:30 p.m., dropped off our luggage and went to check out places after Hana because our cottage wasn?t ready yet. The lemon scented towel, cold juice and leis at check-in were a very nice touch.

I wanted to do hike the Pipiwai Trail across from the ?Seven Scared Pools,? but DH wasn?t up for it. So we went to the Venus Pool. The setting was gorgeous, but there were a bunch of friends there drinking and we felt like we were crashing a party. We didn?t stay long. Walking through the grass to get there, we both got dozens of mosquito bites and wished we had remembered bug spray. We spent the rest of the time at Hamoa Beach, where Hotel Hana Maui guests can get towels and lounge chairs and such. It?s a beautiful beach, with the softest salt and pepper sand and gorgeous turquoise water. The sand was so thick, my feet sank in to my ankles.

Back at the hotel, a very nice valet took us on a tour of the grounds before taking us to our beautiful cottage. All I can say is wow. We had this amazing view of Hana Bay, the Big Island and the horses in the pasture. The cottage was beautiful with vaulted ceilings and very spacious. There were complimentary snacks, drinks in the mini-fridge and a bottle of champagne for our honeymoon, plus coffee beans and tea and locally made bath products.
We didn?t want to leave our beautiful cottage and ordered room service ? hamburger for DH and a grilled goat cheese sandwich and tomato soup for me - and a bottle of wine. It was good, although a bit overpriced.
We sat out in our Jacuzzi on the deck, drinking wine. Bliss. It rained a little, but the Jacuzzi was partly protected by the deck. That night, it poured. It was so loud, it woke DH up.

Day 8, Wednesday:

I woke up early and watched an amazing sunrise from the deck. After granola bars and mimosas for breakfast, we spent the morning at Ohe'o Gulch, aka the Seven Sacred Pools. There was only one other couple there and we had a great time swimming around. The scenery past Hana is just gorgeous and we stopped at two beautiful waterfalls on the way to the pools. We had the waterfalls all to ourselves in the morning, but they were mobbed when we went back that way to go to the airport.
Went back and checked out of the hotel. We really wished we had stayed for two nights. The hotel was just the most peaceful place, but it?s hard to really relax when you have to check out the next day.
We stopped at Tutus Snack shop for lunch, which was busy with all the people driving to Hana. Then we spent maybe 15 minutes at Hamoa Beach before we had to leave for the airport. We drove all the way around and really regretted it. Maybe it was because our shocks were shot, but we thought the road was really bad ? and DH is not bothered much by windy roads. We were so happy when the unpaved gravel part finally ended. The windswept scenery is pretty, but it reminded me a little of Colorado. I liked the lush greenery of the drive to Hana much better.

We got to the airport early and ended up trying to go to Hookipa to see the windsurfers. But the traffic through Paia was so bad, we ended up stopping at a beach right after Paia and only getting to see them from a long distance. We got to the airport two hours ahead, which was a huge mistake. It took us no time at all to get through security and we were kicking ourselves knowing we could have spent more time at the beach. Then we had a 3-hour layover in Honolulu, spent at a theme restaurant where we watched a very depressed fish try to find its way of a tank. I downed way too many tropical drinks, we had some OK nachos that came with barbecue pork and tried to come to terms with leaving such a beautiful place. Naturally, when we got back to Colorado, it was freezing and raining. I?m still having Hawaii withdrawal and can?t wait to go back.

Kaymit Oct 19th, 2004 10:55 AM

Hi Thyme

My husband and I were in Maui Sept. 25-Oct.1 and we spent the night of Sept. 28th Tues at the Hotel Hana Maui in a seaview cottage no. 508 that was right next to the pature where the horses were. The cottage in front of us was oceanfront and had a hot tub. I am wondering if it was you who was in that cottage?

It really was wonderful staying there and we too wished we had stayed two nights in stead of one.


thyme Oct 19th, 2004 11:27 AM

Kay -
I read your trip report and it made me miss Maui so much. I loved the
Hotel Hana Maui.
We weren't oceanfront, but were in a cottage behind the oceanfront ones on the right side facing the ocean. We had a clear view of the ocean, so I'm not sure oceanfront would have been worth the extra money. I can't remember now which one we stayed in, but the hot tub was great.

Melissajoy Oct 23rd, 2004 08:02 PM

Thyme, thanks for sharing your trip report. I especially enjoyed reading about the Hotel Hana Maui and what there was to do nearby. We're staying there in January for our wedding anniversary. I have been trying to decide whether to stay for 2 or 3 nights. After reading your trip report and reading what others have shared, I think I'll make it 3 nights. We'll also have 4 or 5 nights at the Maui Prince Hotel on Maluaka Beach.

Now you can dream about planning an anniversary trip!

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