Last November I was lucky enough to take my annual girl trip with a great friend of mine. I take at least one travel annually with my girlfriends to a tropical location. Last year was Miami, Florida and this year we visited Maui, Hawaii. We got home the night before Thanksgiving and with the craze of the Holidays I am just now getting a chance to report back on our fabulous trip and share some great tips from our journey.
FITNESS – Reformer Pilates must not be a huge activity on the island. There was a few studios but most did not offer group reformer sessions, I obviously wanted to take a class while on the Island however due to lack of classes I was not able to work it in. It lead me to thinking it would be a great place for me to move and start my own studio, I have always wanted to move to Maui, I always claim I will be living there permanently one day. That being said even though I did not have my Pilates I did not miss a beat on my fitness regime.
- Run the Coast – A MUST- The first day I woke up at the crack of dawn in fact it was still dark, we got in on a red eye therefore we stayed at a boutique hotel in Kihei at the (Maui Coast Hotel) before heading to the Grand Wailea. My girlfriend likes her sleep and since I am a early riser I figured what a better way to greet Maui and start my trip then breathing in the warm sweet Hawaiian air. I quietly put my self together, laced up my Nikes and hit the pavement, the street lights were still on and the sky was slowly starting to light up, silence pure silence out – my feet were hitting the pavement, the wind humming through my hair, and I was being lulled by crashing waves eventually the wild roosters woke unleashing the stock cock-a-doodle-doo and a harmony of birds started chirping. I ran approx 4 miles from Kihea to Wailea Beach, popped a squat on a sideways tree and took in the beauty of the gorgeous sunrise. On my run back to the hotel I chased some roosters on the side of he road trying to catch a photo but they totally were not having it 🙂 .
- Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)- If you can get a chance get a SUP session in, although the water is not as calm as our So Cal seas once you get out past the waves and get used to the constant roll of the water it is a relaxing time, I even did a little yoga seesion on my board while I was out. We rented our boards from the Water activities deck at the Grand Wailea.
- SPIN – Try a Spin class… The Grand has a outdoor class (as well as a outdoor Yoga class) and at the Westin the indoor class came with a great ocean view. Both are a great cardio workout
- HIKE- Maui is full of gorgeous areas great places for walks and hikes all over the island. If you make it to Hana you can Hike the Bamboo trail or even to some of the falls, do some research online to make sure you find the mile markers to insure you can find he trails as once you pas mile marker four there is no more cell service.
- HOTEL FITNESS- If all else fails all the resorts have great fitness centers and most even offer classes (Yoga, Spin etc) the gyms at all the hotels are fully equipped and you can get in a personal session early to start your day rejuvenated.
- GRAND WAILEA– Ohhh the Grand Wailea how I missed you…. This has to be the most gorgeous property it appears as if they collected all the magical parts of Hana and transported to the grounds, being here made the fact that the weather was sub par much better.. Upon our early arrival our room was ready and with a Ocean Front Upgrade .. SCORE… In fact usually all times I have visited this property I have received a proper upgrade. Even though the weather was not great we headed to the pool/beach all the days at least for a short while, we rented a Cosabella the first day that faced the ocean which came with our own cabana boy – YES PLEASE. The lobby bar is partial outdoors and amazing with live music every night. The property has a Grotto bar which is always a fun place to head for a afternoon cocktail. and the pool is filled with wild slides, a tarzan swing a lazy river and even an underwater elevator. The Valet was awesome always providing car service when needed. The Grand recently did renos to the property and although the rooms are clean and nicely redone I do miss the old Hawaii vibe the prior decor in the rooms provided.
- Westin Kaanapali– To switch up the scenery and get to a more lively area of the island we moved to Kaanapali to the Westin Maui, once again we were greeted with a room upgrade .. SCORED again .. This room was not as upscale as the Grand Wailea, but it is still an amazing place. Kaanapali hotels are all lined up on a boardwalk on the beach therefore it is much busier and not as laid back and mellow as Wailea, but trust me it is still island time.
- Andaz Wailea– We never stayed here or saw the rooms but checked out the property when we went to dinner. We arrived during a downpour of rain the Andaz does not have a covered valet/arrival area which I am sure is rarely needed but on this particular evening it would have been a bonus – I should have never even did my hair that evening. The property is super contemporary yet lacks the luxurious vibe I prefer, The property is clean, with cool textures and has a LA / Miami vibe. The lounge area had some great libations and some good live music.
- Ritz Kapalua– Another superior property, but you would not expect anything less of a Ritz. This place feels like Hawaii met Humbolt County. Pine trees every where, tree frogs, private white sand beaches.. Truly a pristine place. Luxury Luxury Luxury
- MORIMOTO– Located at the Andaz on the lower pool level, worth a visit if you enjoy Japanese Cuisine after all the Chef Morimoto is a Iron Chef.. The Mushroom Pork Gyoza Appitizer was off the chain, Bacon Foam Cream, I just cant even explain how good that is…. The Blistered Shishito Peppers and Chinese Broccoli were amazing and the Chef Combo Sashimi was taste, chilled well and had an assortment of fish some of which I have never had before and I love trying new things. We had Sake flight trying some great sakes. Suprised me when i got a birthday dessert (a little belated- but it was our birthday trip) and they brought out some doughnuts (Malasada) and yes I totally ate them all.. In addition they ask about food allergies upon your reservation and the waiter was top knotch on being on his A Game on my shellfish allergy.
- South Shore Tiki lounge (Kihei), Small little spot with great drinks, good tunes and a total island vibe- Thatch, dogs in the resturant- super cute.
- Want the most amazing Poke- stop by Eskimo Candy in Kihei and go for the mixed plate to try all the flavors- gotta go around the world
- Coffee / Shaved Ice and a Muffin ?? S and Q’s Coffee and Shaved Ice Shack in Kihei – amazing Coconut Lattes Freshly baked warm muffins- The Orange Coconut muffin was to die and I should not have shared it 😛 ..
- MonkeyPod (Wailea) – Best looking and tasting Mai Tai, Great pizza wood fired cute place with a distant ocean view. downfall- in a commercial area not close enough to the coast for me and felt like a place I would go to on the mainland.
- Hula Grill– Good for a quick bite and a drink and live music on the Kaanapali boardwalk- the outdoor area is in sand so don’t get fancy..
- Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (At the Grand) – Looking for the ambiance ? This is your place, with several private tables, this restaurant is over water and all thatch- you can even catch your own lobster for dinner. Food is excellent and super romantic. Fun Fact the name of the restaurant is the Hawaiian State fish..
- Star Noodle– Lahaina– Like Thai Food ?? This is your place and it is popping. They even had Kimchi which packs a punch full of antioxidants and great for digestive health. I did get basic and had the Pad Thai which was excellent. Make sure you make a reservation.
- MAMMAS FISH HOUSE– Located in Paia, MAKE a reservation, With the freshest fish caught daily this place has been around for years and there is a reason why and it is not just the stunning views.
- Lahaina Fish Co – Great spot on front street with a great view and fresh caught fish
- Beach House – Located on the beach in Kapalua at the Ritz, this is a magical little spot to grab some lunch at beachside in a private paradise- after go lay at the beach under a swaying palm and take a nap, or read a book.. Perfect relax session.. Or you can go take a nap in the hammock on the lawn.
- The Gazebo Restaurant– Breakfast on the mind and dreaming of Mac Pancakes.. word is they have the best on the island and an amazing view of the Napili Bay but you have to get there super early if you have no patience and hate waits .. insider secret – if you cant get up early they recently opened a sister restaurant on Front Street on the water in Lahaina called Koa Seaside Grill – rumor is they serve those same amazing Mac Pancakes without the crazy wait.
- On the way to Hana? Stop on the way in Makawao in upcountry – at T Komoda Store and Bakery (the place to come for Malasadas- I mean they have only been baking for 93 years).. You will be greeted by wild roosters, and the building looks like a country store but when you walk in you hit a line and a donut case with tons of baked goodies.. I of coarse had to grab a coconut everything – I never eat this stuff , but I was on vacation and about to head up the road of death so why not.. Sometimes you realize you only live once and you gotta go for it
- Kihei Kalama Village, this is such a great market, filled with numerous shops you can find anything and everything Hawaii here and tons of unique items.. I cant go shopping without a purchase and found a super cool hat made by Paradise Now Hawaii which was hand painted and grabbed some Island style treats to bring home to Kona. – I have been to Hawaii many times so I do not need the trinkets
- Front Street Lahiana is full of tons of stores, boutique, art galleries anything and everything tourist
- Paia– This town was my vibe, a old hippy surfers village full of tons unique boutiques where you can find everything mermaid and anything a boho girl could possibly desire… Bring a credit card 🙂
- Wailers Village in Kaanapali and The Shops at Wailea is where you will find all your more mainstream shops that you could find on the mainland
- Reggae Cruise – departing out of Ma’alea harbor this sunset cruise helps support the Pacific Whale Foundation and comes with three mai tais, an amazing sunset, The best reggae on the island, and dancing.. you might even get to see some breaching whales like we did.. Even though it is super rocky seas it is worth it … After all Marty Dread is the reggae ambassador of Hawaii and also a super cool dude, has been years since I seen him and he still turns it up … HE actually is going to be performing at the Olympics in Brazil 2016 .. High five Marty!
- LUAU- The best in town is the Old Lahaina Luau – With a true Island feast, drinks and entertainment this was a great time . Opt for the upfront floor seating, get here early walk around and partake in some of the fun activities.
- Maui Wine– If you can make it here on the road to Hana, it is with the trek to go the the Maui Winery. Although I did not make it this time as the mustang was not able to take the back road (I suggest a jeep) it is a cool spot to check out
- Night life- In Maui there is not much of it however the best spots for any night life would be to drop by the Kihei Triangle – or Lahiana Front Street, both have several bars where you can find some live music and maybe some dancing. In Wailea you could always drop in to Mulligans on the Blue, somewhat of a secret spot with some live entertainment
HANA -Well I always say I am never going back to Hana .. but if you are with someone who has never been then you gotta go. ITs one of those things I say you only do once and lucky for me this is the fourth time. Its gorgeous trust me and worth seeing, but they do not sell I survived the road to Hana t-shirts for no reason…. Rent a convertable and take the top down or if you want to take the backside rent a jeep (the road is deadly back there and not a place you want to get stranded). Be sure to download music to your phone as at about mile marker four you lose service and then you might get stuck listening to the same tunes over and over ..
- Bamboo Forest – At mile Marker 6 where you can take a gorgeous hike among towering bamboo stalks.
- Koki Beach – WOW take a stop grab a fresh baked pineapple upside down cake (its still warm) and hydrate. I dont know if it was about the location or that delicious cake. If you keep driving past Koki Beack you will approach Hamoa Beach which is mentioned as one of Mauis best beaches , I hear there can be a strong current and decent for surfing
- Find your waterfall- Don’t stop at the first ones you see, there are amazing ones way worth the continued drive, it might even start raining on you at some point.. do some research before so you have an idea where you might want to go- My Fav Wailua Falls cascading over 80 feet with a deep pool it truly is one of the most beautiful waterfalls and doesnt require a hike, ITs past Hana at mile Marker 45
- Hana Bay- IS a easy quick stop in the town of Hana where you can check out a black sand beach
Hope some of these tips from my travels help you plan your best trip yet ….