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tera_denten Jul 31st, 2020 10:38 AM

Maui Plan
 
Hello all,

My husband and I are starting to plan a March 2021 trip to Maui. I'm wondering if any of you experts could give me some feedback on this plan:

- West Maui / 5 nights
- Pa'ia / 2 nights
- Hana / 2 nights
- Wailea / 5 nights

I know a lot of people would probably skip the 2 nights in Pa'ia and Hana. Pa'ia got our attention both as a jumping-off point for the RTH, but also as a chance to explore North Shore a bit. The Inn at Mama's Fish house looks amazing - has anyone stayed there? As for Hana, we want to be able to take our time doing the RTH and I hate the idea of a 14-hour long day and driving back in the dark. Stretching it out just sounds like fun and a chance to slow down and explore. Has anyone done this? Recommend? Strong opinions against?

NOTE: Obviously we don't know how things will play out over the next 7 months or so, but we are trying to be optimistic (and realistic) about travel for next year. We are booking everything with complete flexibility and the ability to cancel and will only travel if it's safe and responsible.

Thanks fodorites!

AustinTraveler Jul 31st, 2020 12:35 PM

Everyone told us not to bother with Pa'ia and it was one of our favorite places. We took a driving/helicopter tour of the Road to Hana. I would definitely go back and stay like you are planning. We stayed in Kapalua and it was really beautiful, but sometimes a bit wet and windy. We walked to Napili Bay and that was amazing. I would stay there next time. My least favorite part was busy Kaanapali. I hope everything works out for your trip.

tera_denten Jul 31st, 2020 01:07 PM

AustinTraveler - excellent, thank you! I think the Pa'ia and Hana portion sounds like so much fun so thanks for the reassurance. Can you elaborate a little on what you didn't like about Kaanapali? We have Hyatt points and were planning on staying at the Hyatt Regency there so just curious. We will have a car though and plan to explore West Maui and do some hiking so we wouldn't be in Kaanapali the whole time. Thanks again!

AustinTraveler Jul 31st, 2020 01:51 PM

We didn't stay there but did visit one day. Very touristy in my opinion. But, Maui is very touristy so not unexpected. I just prefer more laid back and more nature.

sf7307 Jul 31st, 2020 04:52 PM

Other than all the moving around, I like your plan. As far as Kaanapali (and specifically the Hyatt Regency goes), it depends on your style. Kaanapali is the most touristy hotel area on Maui (Lahaina the town would be more touristy but doesn't have many places to stay). It's a planned development - you enter Kaanapali Resort and there are a number of hotels and condos along the beach and a little away from the beach. There are two parts of Kaanapali, one part is south of Black Rock (where the Sheraton is) and the other part is north of Black Rock. They are not exactly connected - you can walk around, but we always go through the Sheraton to do so. Wailea is also a planned development of hotels and condos, but the hotels are more upscale and more spread apart than those at Kaanapali. Kaanapali's hotels range from fairly simple (the low-key Kaanapali Hotel) to fairly high-end (Hyatt Regency). There really aren't any lower-end hotels on the beach in Wailea.

I am not a fan of the Hyatt Regency Kaanapali, for the simple reason that last time we were there it was well-nigh impossible to find a chaise lounge at the pool at all, let alone one in the shade. You'd have to stand there with your eagle eye scouting and hoping to spot a prime spot someone was leaving before someone else pounced on it. Much too stressful for me. If you can swing it, use the Hyatt points at the Andaz in Wailea instead.

tera_denten Aug 1st, 2020 07:43 AM

Thanks, everyone. Not liking the sound of Hyatt Regency Kaanapali. Really appreciate the feedback.

Has anyone here split up their time between West Maui and South Shore like we are planning to do? Our thought behind it is getting to know the island better and the two areas seem to have very different vibes. As someone who has never been to Hawaii before...am I crazy? Do most people pick one base even for a longer 2-week trip?

For South Shore, we are planning on staying at Andaz. Does anyone have a cool place in West Maui that would be a good compliment to this? We are totally open to lots of different types of accommodations and styles. Not looking for a cookie-cutter resort feel. Also, it's just me and my husband so don't need for "family-friendly."

Thanks again for all the help everyone!

sf7307 Aug 1st, 2020 08:42 AM

With two weeks, I'd personally go to two islands. Maybe Maui and Kauai or Maui and Oahu.

Do your accommodations have to be a hotel or is a condo okay? If the latter, the Kaanapali Alii condos (next to the Hyatt Regency) are really nice (we haven't stayed there in awhile, but they're upscale and individually owned and decorated -- I imagine they're kept up very nicely. Another very nice upscale condo option would be Honua Kai (north of Black Rock). And if you want something in West Maui that is NOT in the Kaanapali resort, look at Kapalua and Napili (Napili Kai, Napili Shores, many others). Napili in general is very beautiful and very laid back. Not all of the resorts are on a sandy beach, so pay attention if that matters to you.

suze Aug 1st, 2020 09:11 AM

I like the idea of two weeks on Maui. I wouldn't be in the add-another-island camp myself. While Lahaina is certainly "touristy" I thought it was a very fun town to spend some time in. I would not want to stay in 4 different places myself, but seems you have your reasons. Hope things are opened up by then (for everyone's sake!!) and you can make this trip. Wishing you well.

edited to add: You asked about West Maui. My family stayed at Lahaina Shores, it's a condo/hotel, walking distance into town. It was perfect for us. Very low-key (not a resort).

tera_denten Aug 1st, 2020 09:53 AM

@sf7307 - Napili looks like a wonderful area! Will definitely be spending some time there.

@Suze - I really like the Lahaina Shores condos AND I can use my Hyatt points there! Cautiously optimistic about the trip but also VERY impressed with all the flexibility and cancellation policies. I haven't run across any place (yet) where I wouldn't get a full refund up to 1 day before arrival. Definitely adds some peace of mind.

Really appreciate the advice and suggestions, so thank you!

jamie99 Aug 1st, 2020 11:53 AM

I would also split between two islands if I had two weeks or more.
One thing with splitting your stay is, normally you have to check out of your hotel room by 11am or noon and usually cannot check in to the next one until 3-4pm (the maids have to clean sometime) leaving you "homeless" for at least 3-4 hours. If you do decide to split, call and make sure your second hotel will store your luggage until check in time to prevent possible theft from your car trunk (yes it happens).
Don't count on being able to get a late checkout, not sure how things are with Covid, but in the past, the best you can do is maybe get an extra couple of hours. For this reason, if you have a late flight like many people, book and pay for an extra night so you have a place to shower and change clothes before heading to the airport. Or if staying in a major hotel, as if they have a "courtesy changing room".

tera_denten Aug 1st, 2020 01:06 PM

So I'm actually thinking of revising the plan --

- Pa'ia / 2 nights
- Hana / 2 nights
- Lahaina / 10 nights

The
Lahaina Shores Beach Resort that suze recommended seems like a really good fit for us (and we can use hyatt points) and it seems like a good base to explore both West Maui and South Shore. I also LOVE that they have a kitchen so we can eat in some nights.

We are actually heading to the Big Island after this and then wrapping up the trip with a few nights in Oahu (just for a quick taste and so we can fly home out of HNL) so we will definitely get a taste of some other islands.

Really, really appreciate all the great advice... let me know what you think about this new plan!

Tera

AustinTraveler Aug 2nd, 2020 09:31 AM

I like that plan a lot and am jealous that you also get to see the Big Island and Oahu. Maui is easy to explore and you'll literally be right in the middle staying at Lahaina. Don't miss going to Napili Bay. It's just spectacular. Also do some exploring north of Kapalua and hit up all the beaches south of Kihei.

suze Aug 4th, 2020 03:51 PM

That hotel/condo was perfect for us. We were a family group of 9 - 4 couples and me single. The units were quite different from each other, but all were OK to very nice. The beach out back is nothing much but it's there. I really liked the pool in the middle of the lawn. What we all enjoyed was it being walking distance into town. So people could go out on their own or in smaller groups without using the rental car. Also there was parking right there so no hassles with that part. This trip was quite awhile ago, but I'm thinking the things we liked would not have changed much.

And yes I like your new itinerary much better. Do include Haleakala. We went up mid-morning as no one wanted to get up in the dark to do the drive for sunrise. It was still completely amazing, literally "out of this world"! I'm just not a multi-islands person, even with two week's time. Certainly not like you'd exhaust Maui in 14 days.

If you need help with Oahu, just ask, I have been there more times than Maui, and was there just Nov last year.

ldatt22 Aug 25th, 2020 09:15 AM

Maui
 

Originally Posted by tera_denten (Post 17137990)
Hello all,

My husband and I are starting to plan a March 2021 trip to Maui. I'm wondering if any of you experts could give me some feedback on this plan:

- West Maui / 5 nights
- Pa'ia / 2 nights
- Hana / 2 nights
- Wailea / 5 nights

I know a lot of people would probably skip the 2 nights in Pa'ia and Hana. Pa'ia got our attention both as a jumping-off point for the RTH, but also as a chance to explore North Shore a bit. The Inn at Mama's Fish house looks amazing - has anyone stayed there? As for Hana, we want to be able to take our time doing the RTH and I hate the idea of a 14-hour long day and driving back in the dark. Stretching it out just sounds like fun and a chance to slow down and explore. Has anyone done this? Recommend? Strong opinions against?

NOTE: Obviously we don't know how things will play out over the next 7 months or so, but we are trying to be optimistic (and realistic) about travel for next year. We are booking everything with complete flexibility and the ability to cancel and will only travel if it's safe and responsible.

Thanks fodorites!

There are hana tours by van & pick u up at your hotel and take you to the points of interest. It's just for the day. The hotels in Kanapaali beach are really nice, the Sheraton, The Hyatt. Theres a long walkway that connects to all hotels and restaurants. Really nice. plus Whaler's Village. Mamas fish house is good but far from everything.

KonaJoe Aug 25th, 2020 04:06 PM

2 weeks is alot on Maui unless you are looking to do a lot of vegging on your back, hitting the various water sports like whale watching, diving or sailing to Molokini, maybe some hiking. Splitting islands will give you a better feel for the real Hawaii or at least the differences between islands. Pa'ia and Hana are different but neat. Pa'ia can be done in a day as there is not much of a town but there are places to hang out, the beach, some upcountry to explore in Makawao area. Mamas is a good place to eat. Never stayed there. Hana is alot of driving but is cool in terms of both the road, sites along the road, the town itself is kinda nothing...the store, the ritzy hotel, the beach is cool to walk and explore. It is a hell of a drive and best done with a four wheel than a car because then you can go past Hana on the coastal road all the way around which is definitely an experience. You see the back side of Haleakala, lovely coastal views sort of like Big Sur, some old settlements, the back side of the ranch, a couple of neat old towns. But you need a 4 wheel just in case as the road can be highly variable due to weather, wear and tear, cows, mud, wholes in the gravel. Havent done it in about 10 years but used to camp back there all the time. It is isolated but thats part of the cool factor. You will see stuff there that is real Hawaii but it does make for long day. Haleakala is pretty cool to do to if you have never been up on a volcano. Sort of otherworldly experience, geography, plants but to do it right you need to go up before the sunrise, see that, maybe eat along the road or head to Makawao and eat there then wander the town some. Touristy but more in terms of individual art, funky stuff rather than lots of made in China faux Hawaii crap like you might see in Lahaina. You can check out Haliimaile which is interesting leftover town undergoing change. You can then take one of the country roads down into Pa'ia town.

Kaanapali is a total resort so its a matter of taste. You could almost be in Santa Barbara or Naples for the homogenized feel. Numerous hotels from ritzy, expensive to more local style depends on your taste. Touristy yes, so thats decent for food purposes.Used to be you could catch some real Hawaiian music at some hotels there....not sure anymore due to Covid. Some protected beach front at Black Rock and great water around the corner on the bay. Depends on your taste. Road up the coast to Napili is fun and you can see some great scenery some beaches, then head up past the hotels to some great surf spots, drive some of the ranch roads and see some fabulous scenery.

Kihei/Makena has a different feel but is also touristy and maybe a little more downscale. Has its own strip of night life. Lahaina is just interesting to wander for a night. Some of its most interesting stuff is on back roads or away from Front Street where you can find some history, old buildings, depends again on what you like. Beware at the time you are looking to go that if tourism has come back and the "pent up demand" is there the roads can be a PIA to travel due to congestion. BUT, who knows. Things are pretty dead right now and many of us want it that way as long as the virus is raging. Its hell on the industry and most peoples businesses, jobs but we also like living. Many of us are enjoying the lack of tourists....no more traffic, no stupid people stopping cars suddenly to take a picture of whales, or some statue or whatever. Trails are much less crowded and beaches too. BUT, we are a tourist destination and as long as people are smart and respect things then come on down...once things settle.

As far as other islands, depends what you want. Big Island is volcanos, coffee orchards, ranch, beaches, resorts, some more small plantation towns trying to hang on. Kauai is more diverse in terms of lots of micro climates from desert to rainforest, less populated, lots of driving needed and probably more friendly people unless you are Marc Zuckerberg. Some nice areas to explore there as well as the standard resorts at Princevill and Poipu. Waimea Canyon is pretty cool as is the drive out that way thru some old small towns. Kauai and Big Island both mean driving.

Oahu is populated and really know for Waikiki and Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and the North Shore surfing and small towns, It has its charms especially in terms of food variety and shopping though that is more an attraction for the locals. It still has country but you have to look for it. Otherwise, it is much like San Diego in terms of military bases, suburbs built up into valleys, a small downtown, mostly friendly people but if tourism is back LOTS of tourist many Asian which can be interesting or bug some Americans and some locals. Depends again on what you want from your trip to Hawaii.

I have lived here for most of my life other than 12 years "experiencing the Mainland", so over 50 years going back to when it was less crowded, slower, cheaper and did not feel like it had sold out the local people in the quest for tourist dollars. So, I can answer your questions and will be honest. I also have traveled alot around the world and worked as an executive in the visitor industry in operations, finance and marketing so I have insights into what makes it work, what it is delivering as a consumer experience, etc.

suze Aug 26th, 2020 08:54 AM

GREAT post above. Loved reading your ideas. Very helpful with the detailed descriptions!!

The only small disagreement is I don't think two weeks is too long on any one island myself. And no not only because of sand gravity! :-) For changing islands it's the packing, changing hotels, transportation, airports, etc. that I'd rather do less not more of. Plus I luckily live on the west coast USA so know I can be back another time, for another island.

cruzrmomma Sep 2nd, 2020 09:59 AM

Maui Plans
 
Been to Hawaii more times than I can count and I work in Travel
so here is my 2 cents-
the airport is closer to Pia-why drive back and forth? Spend your first night there since you seem to really have some reason, it's a day at the most. You could also get in a hike up to Haleakala from that side, and it's much shorter drive.
Next a.m. drive to Hana, and spend a night or two -continue on around the Island, or return back.
3 nights Wailea (best bargain there is the new Residence Inn) -if you can afford it, Or you can stay in Kihei which is much cheaper and tons of condos
then drive over to Kaanapali. You won't be as happy in Lahaina. very touristy and not a lot of beach.
Stay in Napili or Kaanapali. You can stay at the Royal Lahaina or the Maui Kaanapali Villas very reasonable. Or head up to Kahana and get a condo up there, not much beach but cheap.
Napili shores is also a bargain-again no bach. If youi want a beach, do the Royal Lahaina or Maui Kaanapali Villas-best bang for your buck


suze Sep 7th, 2020 01:47 PM

I loved Lahaina :-)


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