Maui: Trip Recap

At long last, here is my recap of our Maui trip! We’ve only been back about a week and a half, but it feels like our vacation was forever ago already. Sad. It’s nice to relive it through this recap. I also plan to do a few more posts about our trip. Look for those later!

The Details

Location: Ka’anapali Beach, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

Hotel: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, Deluxe Ocean Room (more on this in a later post)

Flight information: Left Minneapolis on 11/29 at 7:30am on US Airways – layover in Phoenix – arrived about 3pm at Kahului Airport – used Executive Transportation shuttle from the airport to arrive at hotel around 4:45pm

The Recap

I meant for this to just be a quick overview, but I started typing so many details and couldn’t stop. Sorry!

Friday, November 29th

As noted above, Friday was a huge travel day. We left our house at 4am Central time to get to the airport around 5:30am. We wanted to leave plenty of time in case the airport was still busy with Thanksgiving travel. It was absolutely dead at the airport! We didn’t have to wait in line for security at all (literally, there was nobody in front or behind us). I have never seen the airport that dead! Anyway, after two long flights (3 hours + 6 hours), we arrived in Maui. (I think it’s actually proper to say on Maui, but we know I’m not proper so I’m saying in Maui.) I had booked us a shuttle to our hotel through Executive Transportation since our hotel didn’t offer a shuttle service (more on this in a later post). I don’t think many do since they are a ways from the hotel. Also, we later learned that most people get a rental car right away. With the shuttle service, I also got us leis so my husband could experience getting lei’ed as soon as he arrived in Hawaii for the first time.

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After the 45 minute and very informative drive to our hotel, all the husband and I had on the brain was FOOD and drinks! We only had time for a quick burger in Phoenix, so we hadn’t eaten an actual meal since 6am Central time. It would now have been almost 9pm Central time. Since we are who we are, we actually went for drinks first at our hotel before venturing out for food. We had arrived and gotten drinks just in time for the hotel’s nightly sunset cliff diving ceremony, so we watched that.

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The Sheraton Maui is on the Ka’anapali Beach and includes Black Rock. Nightly they celebrate an old king or chief who practiced the sport of cliff diving as well as the history of Black Rock. During the day people are constantly jumping off of the rock.

After watching the ceremony and enjoying our drinks, we walked about 10 minutes away to Whalers Village, which is a shopping area on Ka’anapali Beach. The first night we actually had one of our best meals (maybe the best) at Hula Grill. All we had on the brain was fish, so I got mahi mahi and the hubs got the catch of the day. I’ll have more info on restaurants we visited and food we ate later, so stay tuned for that.

Once dinner was over the husband and I thought we could be troopers and stay up even later. We bought some wine and beer at the ABC Store (more on these later) in Whalers Village and headed back to our room to enjoy them before bed. Yep, the hubs drank maybe half of his beer and me only a few sips of my wine before we passed out cold. A long day of travel will do that to you!

Saturday, November 30th

After being so busy on Friday, we were ready for a lazy vacation day. We hit up the hotel’s breakfast buffet since we had a buy one, get one coupon and it was freaking early in the morning (we woke up at 4:30am due to the time change!), went for a walk, and then just lazed by the ocean and pool all day. A few pool drinks may have been consumed. Winking smile

Since we ate such a big breakfast we were able to make it until dinner time before eating again. For dinner we decided to take the hotel’s shuttle into Lahaina and explore. First we stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe for beers and appetizers. Then we walked around a little bit and went to Moose McGillycuddy’s for drinks. We had a great time talking to the bartender and some other guests so we ended up staying longer than we had originally planned. Let’s just say by the time we left, I probably had one too many mai tais. First day of vacation-itis? (That’s what my husband and I call it since we typically end up getting a little too crazy on the first night of vacation… granted this one was a little late.)

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After getting liquored up, we stumbled ourselves to Kimo’s which was one of the top-rated yet not-super-expensive places listed on Yelp for seafood in Lahaina. I had the mahi mahi again, but since I was a bit tipsy, I don’t remember it being all that great. Definitely not as good as Hula Grill. Again, more on restaurants and food to come. That’s all she wrote for Saturday. After drinking all day, we were definitely ready for bed (some more than others… okay, me).

Sunday, December 1st

Another pretty lazy day! Thank God we didn’t wake up as early on Sunday! Instead, for the rest of our vacation, at least one of us woke up in the 6 o’clock hour. That’s fine with me since it allowed us to experience every minute of sunshine. Or intermittent clouds and rain, as were the first couple of days in Maui. No biggie.

On Sunday I forced the hubs into a walk before breakfast, and then he forced me to watch part of the Vikings game. Just kidding. We walked to Whalers Village to figure out breakfast and got caught in some rain. We decided to eat breakfast at a bar and grill (Paradise Grill) another 10 minute walk from Whalers Village and got majorly caught in the rain. When we had decided to go to Paradise the rain had quit so we thought we would be fine to walk there. Nope. We ended up hugging a tree trying to stay dry then making a dash for it when the rain let up a bit. We arrived a little hot and wet, so sitting in front of a fan to watch the Vikings play didn’t sound bad. We watched the game only until halftime before the sun came back out and we hit up the pool. The rest of the day was spent there.

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Pre-dinner appetizers and drinks were had at Leilani’s. We shared crab cake and fish sliders that were really whole sandwiches. Some of this I’m just telling you now so I can remember it when I write about food later. :)

For dinner we decided to head to Lahaina again (it’s an easy shuttle ride and has so many options). It was still early so we had drinks at Fleetwood’s on Front St., which is owned by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. I had the Lime in the Coconut, which was super sweet and super tasty. I switched to beer after that since I didn’t want a repeat of Saturday night. Dinner was at Lahaina Fish Co. where I had the opah. Again, it still wasn’t as good as Hula Grill.

Here is where I tell you how old we acted on this vacation. Every single night we were in bed and sleeping before midnight (okay, I was usually asleep before 11… the hubs made it to almost midnight one night)! I did not mind the extra rest at all!

Monday, December 2nd

Monday started off with a 5k! Not a 5k run, but a 5k walk. I had picked out a restaurant for breakfast that was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel (.6 miles) on the other side of Black Rock (mostly everything was on our side of Black Rock, but there is more of Ka’anapali Beach and resorts on the other side). When we got to the restaurant, we found out it was closed for renovations. Argh! From there, we found another place (Duke’s) an additional mile down the way. I had amazing banana and mac-nut pancakes, which allowed me to really enjoy the 1.6 mile walk back since I was so full.

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After that long walk, I promised the hubs that we would be lazy the rest of the day. We totally were. We hung out by the pool and beach all day, then hit up our hotel’s bar for drinks and appetizers. We had ahi tuna and tiny shrimp cocktail for appetizers (the ahi was good, the shrimp cocktail was just shrimp cocktail). We also had dinner at our hotel’s restaurant. I was sort of over seafood, so I had filet minon with mushroom rissotto. I think I made a million yummy noises while eating it. This was another one of my favorites.

Tuesday, December 3rd

Tuesday finally started a bit differently with an activity. We went whale watching! We had to be at the harbor at 7am, so we decided to do breakfast after whale watching. The whale watching was downright amazing! It’s pretty early in the season for whale watching since the whales don’t typically get to Maui and become active until mid-December. The whale watching company we used, Hawaii Ocean Project, told us that they started their whale watches early this year since they had started seeing whales in October. I was glad they were doing tours! We were completely spoiled by one whale – he did every single trick in the book. It was amazing! We were told he was a younger whale who must have been curious about the boat. He literally came so close to our boat and jumped out of the water a lot. I have so many pictures of the water just after he had come out, or of a flipper, but I did get a couple of really good ones.

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Freaking amazing, right? We had been iffy about signing up for this since we knew it was early in whale season, but I am so darn glad we went for it!

After that spectacular show we had breakfast at the Pioneer Inn by the harbor in Lahaina, walked around there for a bit, then headed back to our hotel on the shuttle.

The rest of the day we, you guessed it, hung out by the pool and ocean. I mean, that is what we came on vacation to do right?! I should stop here and talk about all of the amazing people we met and talked to on our vacation. Everyone is just so darn nice! People are usually somewhat nice on vacation since they are also on vacation, but I did not talk to a single person who was rude or didn’t seem to be having a good day. Even the people who were working! That definitely says something. I didn’t mention it on the Saturday recap, but we met one of the activities people that day who had lived in MN for a time. For the rest of our visit we looked forward to a chat with Chase every morning. He was just one of the many very nice people we met!

Tuesday’s dinner was also something special – we went to a luau! The one at our hotel was closed for renovations, so we went to the luau at the Hyatt. We had originally planned on taking the Ka’anapali Beach trolley to the Hyatt but ended up missing it, so we walked there. That was a long walk! Totally worth it though. I have been to Hawaii 3 other times before, but I have never been to a luau. My parents used to be not that interested in culture (my mom is now, but not so much my dad), so that plus the expense is probably what kept them from bringing me to one. Let me tell you, it was freaking amazing. I don’t have any pictures of it since it was dark, but if you Google “luau” you’ll pretty much see what we saw. The food was a big buffet, there were unlimited drinks, and the entertainment was top notch. We had a blast! In my opinion, it ended too soon!

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We tried to be a little more adventurous on Tuesday night and actually did something after dinner. We sat in the hotel’s hot tub. There we talked to other people before calling it another early night. We probably weren’t even there for half an hour since it was hot, we were full and tired, and it got crowded as a big (but very nice!) group showed up.

Wednesday, December 4th

Wednesday morning was another fun activity – we went on a snorkel cruise! This one didn’t start until 9am right near our hotel in Whalers Village, so we had time to kill beforehand. We ended up getting coffees and pastries from the Starbucks cart at our hotel and lounged on our balcony. Did I tell you our balcony had an amazing view?

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The snorkel cruise include a fruit and pastry breakfast, but we were too hungry when we woke up to wait. No biggie – when we got on the boat the breakfast didn’t look that great. I tasted a small piece of pastry but passed on everything else.

The snorkeling itself was amazing! We bought underwater cameras, so I have to wait for those to get developed before I can show off pics. Look for those soon if they are good! We cruised to Honolua Bay on the west side of the island and snorkeled there until lunch time. A neat part of the bay is where turtles come in to have their shells cleaned by these small fish. It’s a turtle cleaning station! Isn’t that hilarious?! It’s always in the same spot and turtles seem to know to go there. Too funny.

Once done snorkeling in the bay, we had a BBQ lunch while cruising to the next snorkel spot. I didn’t catch the name of this one, but it was a smaller area than the bay we were previously in. There were a lot of the same fish, with just a couple of new additions to look at. It didn’t matter though – the hubs and I had an absolute blast.

After the final snorkel spot we had adult beverages and sailed back to Whalers Village. We talked a lot with the crew and the other snorkelers, so it was a blast sailing and drinking beverages. I’m glad we went! I’ve done a number of snorkel cruises before, and they have all been fun, but this one had extra nice people and crew members to make it even more memorable.

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Can you guess what we did the rest of the day? If you guessed layed by the pool and ocean, you are right! ;)

Dinner on Wednesday was at Fleetwood’s where we had drinks earlier in the week. While we were there earlier one of the hosts told us that there could be a Mick Fleetwood sighting on Wednesday, and he may play with the band. So we made reservations for 8pm. We should have made them for earlier! Apparently everyone else also knew about Mick being in attendance because the place was packed! We finally got a table (way in the back without a view of the stage… womp) probably around 8:30-9pm. By that time Mick had pretty much already played with the band, and we had gotten pictures while standing by the bar. I was tired from so much sun and so many drinks during the daytime that I just had a burger and beer and darn near fell asleep. I am old.

Thursday, December 5th

Thursday is when it started to set in for me that our trip was almost over. NO! I definitely wanted to make the most of it since the next day was B’s birthday, and I had given him free reign to pick what we would do. So we started off with a nice walk to Whalers Village for breakfast at Maui Fish & Pasta where I got the most amazing crab cakes benedict. Another of my top meals in Maui! The hubs had a bit of orderer’s remorse when he saw my food. Too bad! I shared some asparagus and potatoes with him, but ate all of the benedict by myself.

Beach and pool for the rest of the day! I should mention here that the ocean is so darn calm where we were staying. The wind is blocked by Black Rock, so when the conditions are nice (i.e. it’s not super windy and raining), the ocean is like a lake with hardly any waves. It was amazing!

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Dinner that night was at Koa’s, which had also gotten good reviews on Yelp. We started with the calamari, which was amazing. No fried calamari circles here!

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You know I was sort of amazed by the non-circles, that I had to take a picture! After that I had a seafood pesto pasta that was also very good. I had been craving pasta all week, but nobody really served it. I had picked out Koa’s earlier in the day specifically because I had seen pasta on the menu.

After dinner we did some mad dash souvenir and gift shopping before running for the shuttle. We didn’t make it! That meant we had to wait an hour for the next shuttle. In that hour, we stopped inside Hilo Hattie where the shuttle stops to check out stuff there. Earlier in the week we had been inside Hilo Hattie and seen people opening oysters for pearls. It seemed fun and was relatively cheap, so I wanted to do it too. Wouldn’t you know my first oyster had two black pearls in it?! I of course wanted them set into earrings. Yep, the inexpensive pearls turned into $400 earrings just like that. ;) For spending that much, they let us open another oyster. That one had two black pearls as well! Those I just brought home since I didn’t want to spend more money. Yay, a gift for me!

Friday, December 6th

It was B’s birthday! I let him pick out what he wanted to do for the day. He picked that he wanted to golf. Since I didn’t want to golf, I decided to lay by the pool and wait for him. First we had a Starbucks cart breakfast, and I walked with him to the golf course (a 20 min. walk). Then I just read a book by the pool until the early afternoon when he was done golfing. A perfect day!

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This was also the day we had set aside to jump off of Black Rock. After waiting 2 hours for pool nachos (our order got misplaced, and we were going to cancel it but they ended up coming), we decided it was time. We swam out there, started climbing up the rock, and I panicked. I had set it up in my mind as this big and scary thing, so I just started freaking out. I never made it up the darn rock. I jumped off right where I had started climbing… backwards of course since I had to let go and jump back. B, however, made it all the way to the top and jumped off. I didn’t get a good picture of him, but he didn’t want to do it again since he said the rocks hurt your feet at the top. Maybe I’m glad I didn’t make it up there!

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We already had made plans earlier in the week for B’s birthday dinner. A friend had visited Maui earlier in the year and recommended Sensei Seafood and Steakhouse to us if we liked sushi. We obviously do! B decided we should go there on his birthday, so we got all dolled up and took a cab ride over there. Best.decision.ever. We had the best sushi we’ve ever had! We ordered 4 rolls and shared them. One ahi tuna, one local fish, one crab, and one unagi. I also enjoyed a few glasses of wine while we were there. Oh and maybe some cheesecake. It was B’s birthday after all!

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Actually that was the first evening where we left dinner not feeling completely full. We thought maybe we should have eaten sushi every night. Afterwards we even had some energy for wine in bed!

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Saturday, December 7th

All good things must come to an end, unfortunately. Our flight leaving Maui was at 11:30pm on Saturday. That left us time to rent a car and drive the road to Hana, a super winding and scenic road to the northeastern part of Maui. We had made a reservation with Budget earlier in the week for a Mustang convertible to take the drive in and then drop off at the airport. Normally I wouldn’t rent a car nicer than the midsize cars, but this was special. It actually turned out to be the perfect thing for the road to Hana. We were able to enjoy the scenery and also feel part of it.

I must stop here and talk about the road to Hana. We had heard mixed reviews on the drive. It’s a long drive (it took us about 4 hours to get to Hana, then you have to drive back), so a lot of people said it was not worth sitting in the car on a super windy road for. Others had told us it was worth it and to definitely go. I’m so glad we did! We stopped a number of times along the way, so the trip was broken up by picture taking and some walking. On the way back we stopped at a tiny “marketplace” for fish and chips since we were hungry. The “marketplace” was a few shacks and buses in a spot that sold food for tourists. It was good food, but the location and set-up was sort of weird. Also on the way back we also stopped in one of the waterfall pools to swim! I freaked out by the cold water, the thoughts of something biting my toes, and the thoughts of getting sucked under (I’m such a spazz with an overactive imagination), so it was a quick dip for me. Now I wish I had stayed in longer and not freaked out since it was so cool.

Here are just some of our gorgeous pictures from the road to Hana:

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It was definitely worth the long drive!

We got back to Kahului with tons of time to spare before our flight. We were pretty hungry so we decided to go for beers and food before heading to the airport to hang out. We stopped at Kahului Ale House and had burgers and beers. The food was good, but it was so weird that the place was absolutely dead after 6pm on a Saturday night. Maybe because they had live music? It was weird.

Once getting to the airport and through security (and after transferring our wet clothes from B’s bag to mine since they made his overweight), we stopped at Sammy’s Beach Bar and Grill for more beers before our flight. We had a lot of time to kill and thought the beers would help us sleep on our red eye. Sammy’s is owned by Sammy Hagar, but they were oddly playing country music while we were there. Whatever. We talked to a few people who were on our same flight, had a couple of beers, and wilted. We were so darn tired from the exciting day! I was pumped to get on the plane and sleep.

Sleep on the plane did not come easily, however. We were in a row right in front of the bathroom, so our seats didn’t recline. They were smaller seats than our next flight as well. Why have such small and uncomfortable seats on a long flight?!

We got into Phoenix around 8am Mountain time (5am in Maui) and went straight for breakfast. We both got an egg sandwich and then chilled before our flight. I took a nap on the airport floor… I have no shame. Our flight was delayed about 40 minutes due to the plane not arriving in Phoenix on time. That extra 40 minutes was rough since we just wanted to get on the plane and sleep some more. Finally it was time, and we boarded. Guess where our seats were? The very last row! They BARELY reclined, but they were much better than the previous flight. Thank God! That short flight just whizzed by, and we landed in Minneapolis around 2pm Central time (10am in Maui).

After that we waited for our bags forever, waited to warm up our car, and then made the slow drive home. While we were gone MN got pounded with snow and cold, so the roads were really icy. We didn’t get home until almost 5:30pm (1:30pm in Maui). That means we had been traveling for well over 12 hours. So worth it! I tried to read my book that evening, but I kept falling asleep. B laughed at me because I’d wake up and go right back to reading, only to fall asleep a couple of minutes later. I finally crawled into bed and passed out at 10pm (6pm in Maui).

So that was our trip! I was really dragging on Monday when I was back at work from a bit of jet lag and lack of sleep. I can’t believe how fast our trip went and really wish we were still in Maui. Maybe I should start planning our next Hawaiian visit?! Winking smile

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2 Responses to Maui: Trip Recap

  1. Katie says:

    Yay! Thinking of you my dear, glad you have these good memories to look back on. My family and I have gone to maui a few times, and I thought I would have shared my fav spots ahead of time!
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