Trailing Cyclone Ana to Maui (trip report)

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Nov 2nd, 2014, 06:41 PM
  #1
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Trailing Cyclone Ana to Maui (trip report)

AIRLINE
We flew Hawaiian airlines, they didn’t change our 2-seats arrangement, the planes were 2-3-2. First time for a long time I saw some empty space in the overhead though the plane was sold out. In addition, the suitcases had to be put in sideways as the compartments were smaller than on other planes.

Going to Maui we were scheduled to leave early and get a breakfast snack. The plane was 2 hours late on take-off, still only snack and drinks. On the way back we had lunch with wine included. We are not used to this kind of service any more. This is now our most favorite airline.

RENTAL CONDO
We rented Elikapeka 3-bedroom suite for three couples. Don’t worry about remembering the name; you will get a suite number for check-in after the final payment. The photos show what is in the suite, with some slight exceptions. The master bedroom is not opened into the living room; there is a sliding panel wall that provides complete privacy. The balcony (lanai?) off the master bedroom has a door from the living room too, so everyone can enjoy the large table with 4 chairs and 2 rocking loungers.

The smaller balcony off the bedroom with 2 beds has a small table with 2 chairs, and it would be enjoyable too if the air conditioner was off, otherwise it blows hot air, doesn’t matter how you try, you can’t to get away. The AC is locked at 76 degrees, you can’t make it lower. The 3rd bedroom has only windows. Each bedroom has a TV, and a large screen in the living room. A small library is under the TV in the master bedroom.

Washer, dryer, dishwasher, coffee maker, refrigerator, freezer, water filter/cooler, icemaker, stove and oven – all work, all electronic. I didn’t see a tea kettle, but we didn’t ask, so not sure if there is one. Lots of dishes, glasses, pots and pans, towels, beach towels. There is spare toilet paper, but bring soap and shampoo. May take a while for hot water to start running in the shower, but the temperature is easy to regulate, and the pressure is good, and easily regulated.

Before making reservations I searched for reviews and couldn’t find any, this is why I am describing all I can in details. I was getting replies in emails from owner and manager the same day, all questions were answered. We didn’t call, didn’t have a reason for that. A nice touch was a box of macadamia nuts waiting for us on the kitchen counter. The suite is on the 5th floor, so you can’t avoid the elevator. Yes, there is one, and maids serving all other floors use the same elevator taking supplies on large carts, so try to leave before 9 or after 10 in the morning. Parking is included for 2 cars, spots are not assigned, and parking is inside or outside, whatever is left in the evening.

On arrival we were checking in at 2.30, and I asked to confirm if the suite is ready as we were told somebody was leaving that morning, so the suite may not be ready till 3 pm. There was some confusion at the front desk as to who to call to confirm, so we walked over to the restaurant on the property. The food was edible, the service was not much better, we all agreed not to go there again. By the time we were back all was settled, we got our keys, as many as needed.

The territory is squeaky clean, lots of greens, a koi pond, tennis courts, barbeques, pools and lots of loungers. The ocean is there, and if you are taking photos, they are better from the ocean – off the balcony they get somewhat obstructed. There are a couple of shops across the street, a small convenience store half of which is alcohol, pizza place, and a couple of souvenir shops. I saw a bus stop from the window.

There is a door bell that “talks” – a male voice announces something. One day it started talking, our son answered the door, the neighbor from upstairs came to apologize, he was pealing a banana on his balcony, and a piece of the peal fell on our balcony. I was shocked somebody would even bother for such a trifle.

RESTAURANTS
At the Star Noodle we were seated at a long communal table. I thought, what a fun experience! They serve food family style, for all to share. Even better? Not exactly. I wanted to try fiddle head fern, and some ingredients were listed by Hawaiian names, so when they brought the salad to the table, there was shrimp. When I asked for a salad without shrimp, the waiter said “we get this salad kinda pre-mixed, so can’t make it without shrimp”. Weird, but I didn’t say anything, ate only chicken skewers and garlic noodles – which were good, by the way!

When we were at the Ocean Center and got hungry, the kids didn’t want to eat inside; we walked out to the cars, but decided to try the Seascape next door. Really, really loved it – after the luau our most favorite restaurant. Usually restaurants close to tourist attractions are not so good, but this one was an exception. Great views, friendly service, great food – would go back any time!

Pineapple Grill is a little on the formal side, probably as far as a Hawaiian restaurant goes toward formal. The food was good, and of course the kids always pick up places with nice views.

When our son asked if we will go to “Ole” I thought why a Mexican restaurant? We have plenty in California. Turned out, it’s Irish: O’lei. Kidding of course, a Hawaiian restaurant named “O’lei”. It was on the way to the Iao Needle, on a golf course, the view was great, the food was good, and the service was friendly.

Seahouse – I ordered stir fry, and got the worst dish ever. They were out of noodles, they said, replaced them with rice. Fine. The stir fry was dry, vegetable edges burned, and I couldn’t find even one piece of mushroom (listed on the menu as an ingredient). They clearly knew the tourists won’t complain. Oh, well, at least we enjoyed the view!

As for breakfasts and dinners, all but one were in the condo, we got food from Safeway and Napili Market, cooked a little.

ACTIVITIES
We arrived right after the cyclone Ana, and the sky opened to pour a wall of water, all day long. It was OK for the day of arrival to make dinner, relax, look around. Sunny weather for the rest of our week-long visit.

Our adult children love snorkeling; they went every morning to different beaches without us, coming back before lunch. We enjoyed the pool and the ocean beach, especially at sunset. Didn’t do much sightseeing, but got to a few interesting places.

Feast at Lele is an experience. We picked this one as the only one with table service in Lahaina area, and really appreciated not having to get up for a buffet after a day of activities. All tables under the sky, makes you wonder what they do in the rain. The setting is sort of terraced, so the performers are in full view from any seat. Be careful with Mai Tais, they are strong!

You are greeted with a lei and a Mai Tai, and escorted to your table. The snacks are on the table already; a short greeting, and the first course is served. No need to check the menu, they just bring everything, so pace yourself, as you are getting a lot of food. The dishes were not exactly that are listed on the website, and the drinks are brought to the table per request. The food is served with breaks for performances, so you are not distracted. Before every course the plates are changed, and all dishes are explained.

The Ocean Center was a pleasant surprise. Looking at the map I thought it’s a large place, no, it is compact and so interesting, really worth going out of the way to get there. Saw a lot, learned a lot, took many photos. Also got some souvenirs, they didn’t seem much overpriced there. Just don’t buy Tuna Jerky if you don’t like sweet food, we got a bag just to try it.

Iao Needle is not a monument; it’s a beautiful drive in the mountains on a flat road, not scary at all, and over a 100 steps up to see the “Needle” up close. Even if somebody in your group cannot walk up the steps, there is a bridge over the stream, and great views of the mountains. The museum sign on the way to the Needle is for Bailey House.

We went to MauiGrown coffee store where the kids had tasting (my husband is not into coffee, and I don’t drink it, we went along for the drive). The next day went to the coffee plantation; it’s a drive around using the map that the kids picked up in the store. If you never saw how coffee grows, this may be interesting. Or just go for the views.

Without us the kids went to sugar… plantation? factory? not sure. They also went to the lavender farm, and brought lavender tea that I haven’t tried yet. They said they liked both, but didn’t talk much about either place.

It was cooler than we remember last year in May, still sleeveless top weather. A shirt or a wrap is useful for evenings and AC in the cars. After 2 trips to Maui we want to go back to another island… some day!
Dayenu is online now  
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Nov 2nd, 2014, 08:46 PM
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Loved your report. I want to go back soon!!!
nelsonian is online now  
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Nov 3rd, 2014, 12:39 AM
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I've never been to Hawaii.. I hope to go someday! Nice report.
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Nov 3rd, 2014, 07:38 AM
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Please repeat the name of the condo complex and its' location. It seems to be somewhere in West Maui. People are often stymied trying to find a 3-BR condo. (Was this Honua Kai?)

Did you visit South Maui beyond Maaalaea and the Maui Oceanarium?
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Nov 3rd, 2014, 10:12 AM
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Dayenu:

Well done report. Please share a link to the condo you rented and thank you for the great detail.

Sandy
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Nov 3rd, 2014, 12:59 PM
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Thank you, all!
We stayed at VRBO # 592013, here is the link http://www.vrbo.com/592013

It's part of Sand of Kahana, a bit north of Kaanapali. The condo is on the 5th floor, and listed as "Elikapeka" but when you check in, you get the apartment number. I don't want to post this number - probably person info.

In South Maui we only went to the Ocean Center, don't know where the kids went without us.
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Nov 3rd, 2014, 02:33 PM
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Looks like the condo is in Napili. Nice to know about a 3 bedroom apartment for future reference. Ive driven by the Ocean Center a few times, didn't really know what it was. Glad you enjoyed it.

The Lavender Farms are in Kulu in upcountry Maui. Beautiful area with gorgeous views and a nice drive to get there. I've been to Kulu a few times as a friend lives there but never made it to the Lavender Farms. Need to do that sometime.

Sounds like a wonderful trip but how could a trip to Hawaii be anything less than wonderful.
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Nov 4th, 2014, 07:25 AM
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Thanks for the link. Kahana is usually less pricey than Kaanapali, Napili and Kapalua. I was happy to see that you were in a very nicely refurbished unit. In general, the complex hasn't gotten great reviews. Did you find the overall conditions OK? The comments here weren't encouraging: www.hawaiirevealed.com

Glad you enjoyed your stay on Maui *despite* the concerns over Ana, and the ensuing rains. Maui must be pretty green now!
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Nov 4th, 2014, 06:17 PM
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The condo we rented was bought in May of this year, new owner fixed it. The reviews you read are for timeshare units, this condo is privately owned. The complex seemed nice, the only negative thing is that elevator is used by maids around 9-10 am, so it's slow at that time. And we didn't like the restaurant in the complex, but at breakfast we saw it packed, so not sure, maybe our waitress just had a bad day.

The price of the condo is seasonal, so if the price is right, I would stay there again. Just bring your own shampoo and food, most of everything is there to use.
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Nov 5th, 2014, 11:26 AM
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Thanks for the report back. Yes, the slow elevator was a complaint, but you evidently didn't find unkempt hallways or broken fixtures cited in the review. (Reviewers can't get to every property before each year's publication; sometimes things get *better* -- as well as worse!)
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Nov 5th, 2014, 01:32 PM
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There are 4 buildings - ours was clean, but I saw only the ground floor with garage, and our floor, both were clean.

In our condo all fixtures were working, all lights, all TVs (small TV in each bedroom, large in the living room), all ceiling fans, AC (didn't go below 76 as it was blocked by the owner, but it worked), washing machine, the fridge, stove, oven, coffee maker - all looked new, all worked.

Again, my report is about the condo itself and the territory. Maybe other units had issues.
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Nov 5th, 2014, 02:56 PM
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I'm glad to have a nice 3BR to recommend!
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Nov 17th, 2014, 08:17 AM
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Thanks for the report. It sounds like you had a nice vacation.
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Dec 29th, 2014, 02:22 AM
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Aloha All,

I'm one of the co-owners of the Elikapeka (E-lee-ka-pee-ka) suite at the Sands of Kahana. We're so happy to read the comments here and would be happy to answer any questions! You can visit our personal website at www.hawaiianhaven.com for more info, FAQ's, etc.

As we are able, we are continuing to make updates to the unit and pride ourselves on ensuring our guests have a wonderful stay, at a reasonable price.

My dad grew up on Oahu and we've been vacationing as a family in Hawaii since I was a little one, and it is truly a home-away-from-home for us. It was a dream come true to be able to purchase something together this year and share it with others.

Thanks, again, for your interest and positive feedback!

Mahalo,
Brooke
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