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saxbe Mar 5th, 2007 05:14 AM

Maui Trip Report 2/16 - 2/23/07
DH and I traveled to Maui Feb 16-Feb 23rd for a week. We were unsure if we would depart for Maui at all because we received 36 inches of snow 2 days before we left. We prayed for the best! Although the flights had been canceled for two days prior, our flight left on Feb. 16th on time and we arrived in Dallas for our 4 hour layover. Time passed quickly, and we boarded for our 8.5 hour flight to Honolulu. Everyone had said switching to an inter-island airline was no big deal, but we found it incredibly confusing and time-consuming. We had 1 hour and 45 minutes in between, and we had to RUN through security to board our flight to Kahlului. Our luggage took almost 45 minutes to arrive. If I had to do it over, we would have flown directly to Maui, but the tickets were purchased for a work conference, so I could not switch the cities. We arrived at our hotel after 9 pm, which meant we had been up for over 24 hours. We were not prepared for the exhaustion of the travel, but Maui rewarded us the next morning with sunny skies! After literally laying down on top of the bed with our clothes on, we awoke to the sun streaming in the window. Many say they wake up early the first day, but this did not happen for us! Maui proved to be paradise, and we enjoyed each day to the fullest. We are already planning a return trip, and I thank everyone for their suggestions and tips. We were pretty lazy soaking up the sun each day, but I provided details below. Also, the weather was perfect - low eighties and sunny each day, although quite windy the first two days.

We stayed at the Sheraton Maui Hotel for 6 nights and received $250 credit to stay at the Westin Maui on our last night. While we enjoyed each property, we definitely give the Westin the edge. The Sheraton grounds are beautiful, and the snorkeling was terrific, but we enjoyed the Westin better and found its lobby stunning. We loved the pool at the Westin, and the spa is hands down better than the Sheraton. Yes, the beach at the Sheraton is better, but we could have easily walked down to Black Rock. We would stay at either property again, but we would prefer the Westin.

I feel like all we did in Maui was eat! I have not jumped on a scale since we returned for fear of shock, but let's just say I'll be exercising for a while. For our favorite restaurant, it's a tie between Sansei and Pacific O's. We did not have a reservation at Sansei (they were booked all week), but we arrived at their 5:30 opening time to take our chances. We waited 45 minutes at the bar and then were seated. The sushi combinations (lobster and eel) were terrific, and my non-sushi eating husband was able to enjoy the filet. The sushi here was yummy! We booked Pacific O's for our last night, and we were not disappointed. We sat at a table on the patio and watched the sunset over a delicious meal. I had fresh catch of the day, while DH again had the filet. We ate and drank for almost two hours, and we did not feel rushed at all. I cannot say enough about this restaurant - it's fabulous!

We also had dinner at Hula Grill. Others gave it high marks, but we thought it was so-so. The ambiance was fantastic, but I'm not keen on eating bar-fare for dinner. I wish they had their dinner menu outside. Oh well. We liked Leilani's on the Beach, and the Hula Pie lived up to its reputation! It's huge, so make sure you share. We also had dinner at Campadre's - a nice change from eating seafood. For lunch, we generally at at the Sheraton restaurants which was very convenient. We liked their salads, and the sandwiches were great. We walked to Whaler's Village a few times for lunch, and our favorite there was the Harpoon, which I had not read anything about. It's right next to Hula Grill and Leilani's - probably the easiest to get into as well. Although our food took FOREVER to arrive, so much so that one of our meals was free, we liked the atmosphere in here. There are TV's all along the walls, and we happened to catch a sporting event on back home.

The main activity we did was relax, if that counts. We went on a snorkeling excursion through Maui Dive Shop, and the water was very choppy. However, we were able to see some sea turtles and various fish. Also, we spotted many whales from the boat, so we did not need a separate whale watching excursion. We got some terrific photos the whales, and our boat-mates were very jealous! I would recommend Maui Dive Shop; they were professional, knowledgeable, and fun!

We attended the Old Lahaina Luau, and it was terrific. The emu ceremony where the roasted pig is unearthed was fascinating, and the hula dancing was great. The buffet was very good, and there was plenty to eat if you wanted seconds. We booked a few months ahead, and our seats were fantastic, so make sure to book ahead. Even the drinks we sampled were delicious! I highly recommend this luau.

Finally, we spent a day at the Sheraton spa (if you can call it that) and one at the Westin spa as well. Having never been to a spa before, I did not know what to expect, but DH and I both got a massage from the Sheraton one day. The massage was good, but the spa was barely the size of a cubby hole - so tiny! When we arrived at the Westin for our final day, DH wanted ANOTHER massage, so we signed up for him, and I got a facial. The Westin Spa was as they say - heavenly! Arrive early for your appointment to enjoy the facilities! I could have died and gone to heaven in my white bathrobe waiting for my facial in the "quiet room". The facilities were excellent!

We rented a Red mustang convertible and had great fun exploring. We're not big shoppers, but we hit Front Street for some t-shirts, but we also liked Whaler's Village for the more upscale stores. The open-air shopping was quite a treat because we do not have those in Ohio. We purchased essentials from the ABC store (additional sunscreen, postcards, etc), and we browsed at all of the incredible art galleries. There is a plethora of great art in Maui, and we amused ourselves for hours looking at prints.

We LOVED Maui! We want to go back as early as the fall. We're nervous to try another island because we loved it so much, but we're open to new ideas (I think!). It was a perfect trip - thanks for all of your suggestions! Also, I spent a week in Waikiki following the week on Maui for a conference, and I cannot believe how different it was! Waikiki was so busy, so crowded, so MUCH - and Kaanapali was nothing like that. That was our first impression, for those who may be considering a stay on Waikiki...

April Mar 5th, 2007 09:20 AM

Thanks for the report. I'm a little concerned now about catching a flight (Island Air) from Honolulu to Kapalua. Since we will be arriving to the airport in Honolulu by taxi, do you think we will find it as confusing? We plan to take only carry on luggage.

Would you mind telling me who you rented the car from. And did you reserve that from home, before you left? I have never reserved a car from afar and am unsure of how to proceed.

saxbe Mar 5th, 2007 12:06 PM

First, your taxi will drop you off right in front of your terminal @ HNL, so don't worry. Also, since you're not checking luggage, you don't have to wait for it to arrive. Your plan will work fine.

Second, we rented from Hertz, and it was booked directly with our package. You can book your car rental from orbitz or expedia. You could also book directly from the car rental site (hertz or avis, for example), but using orbitz allows you to comparison shop. You do not have to pay up front or even provide a credit card number, but you will provide a credit card to the car rental desk when you arrive along with your driver's license. Most car rental agencies do not accept debit cards, but you could contact the agency directly with questions. Also, if you're under 25, you may not be able to rent or it costs more. Hope this answers all of your questions!

sistahlou Mar 5th, 2007 12:14 PM

Great report!

iamq Mar 5th, 2007 01:50 PM

Relax in Hawaii? ((Y))

Did you go down the waterslide at the Westin? Very fun!

Thanks for the report.


olesouthernbelle Mar 5th, 2007 02:35 PM

I enjoyed your report!

beachgirl86 Mar 5th, 2007 02:43 PM

Thanks for the report! We stayed at the Sheraton Maui last August and loved it. We will probably return this August :)

bashfulLV Mar 5th, 2007 02:48 PM

Saxbe - great report - thanks for taking the time and the way you separated everything.

April - I rented a car online through this last November when I went to Honolulu and was thrilled. I did the "name your own price" and was surprised it took my measley $40 bid for a convertible! I ended up with a Hertz Mustang convertible (red one) for $40 plus tax! Try your luck - I thought it was great.

April Mar 5th, 2007 08:22 PM

Thanks, saxbe, I'm definitely over 25.

bashfulLV, I'm not sure if we can use Priceline in Canada.

I don't meant to turn this into a car rental thread but I'm wondering if all the companies rent Mustangs.

colombiana Apr 3rd, 2007 12:19 PM

Thank you for your trip report and for sharing your Westin experience I will be there for 5 days starting May 31 and wondered if I had done the right thing (I originally booked with the Sheraton) you definitely made my day :))thanks again

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