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Aloha from Maui

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Some destinations never get old.  I try to get to Hawaii once every year using either cheap west coast fares, free one ways from AA awards, or avios short haul awards from LAX. There are so many beautiful, diverse islands in the Hawaiian archipelago so it doesn’t make sense to keep returning to the same island.

This year the island rotation landed on Maui, the Magic Isle.  Maui is and will probably always remain my favorite Hawaiian island because of the vast array of activities available mixed with strong childhood memories coupled with the way your skin feels just being there. Off the top of my head, a couple of the can’t miss activities include seeing the sunrise from Haleakala, taking the Road to Hana, SCUBA/Snorkel the Molokini crater, sipping Mai Tai’s on the world’s finest beaches and of course whale watching!

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First impression: Maui food is getting better

I’ve always enjoyed food on Maui but it has never been a memory high on my list.  I’ve noticed a big change so far this trip.  In previous trips, finding a good value restaurant was a bit of a challenge and most times we ended up finding decent “island cuisine”.  After polling a few of our friends and my good friend Yelp, we entered this trip with a list of highly recommended food places far exceeding our number of available meals.  We are doing our best to make a dent in the list but it is clear to me that the food options are getting better a whole lot better on Maui.  I will cover our favorites in the trip report.

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Second Impression: The Maui chain hotels still don’t impress

When planning a trip, I generally look first at top chain hotels where I can use points for lodging and Maui certainly has many of them in the Grand Wailea (Hilton), two Westins, one Sheraton, a Hyatt Regency, a Fairmont, a few Marriotts, an Andaz on the way, and many more.  For this trip I had the points and status to redeem at some of these hotels where I could confirm into a Suite and have free breakfast but when I reflected back on my previous experiences at these hotels,  I decided to pass.  Frankly, I don’t care much for any of the big chain hotels on Maui. They have very nice accommodations and a boatload of amenities but the size, silly resort fees and location of the chain hotels is a deal breaker for me. Nearly every chain hotel is HUGE and located along the planned (and a bit generic) resort areas of Ka’anapali or Wailea on Maui.  It just doesn’t do much for me.

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Andaz on the way

This year we stumbled across a cheap oceanfront condo rental and could not be happier.  For 175 USD per night, we have free parking, internet, NO resort fees, a fully loaded kitchen, and are fronting a large park.  We aren’t sleeping on a Heavenly Bed but I’ll take easily trade that for an outdoor patio where we can’t see any other buildings.

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The bottom line

I’ve sampled a decent amount of the world’s finest beach destinations, but in my opinion, there is no beach trip more complete than a trip to the beautiful island of Maui.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

About the Author

About the author: Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at pmmalex@gmail.com

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Dustin February 6, 2013, 12:28 pm

    Which condo did you use? I’m heading there in May.

  • Scottrick February 6, 2013, 12:53 pm

    My sister agreed that for the price, the condos are perfect since the hotels are often not that essential. Hopefully you’re out at the beach or doing something else off property. I still do like the Westin and Hyatt Regency, though.

  • Dave February 6, 2013, 1:44 pm

    I went last Sept. and stayed at Hale Pau Hana Resort-condos on! the beach, full, well-equiped kitchen, wired internet (never used), immaculate grounds (grills, pool), reasonable rates. Dined last night there at Capische, it was delightful.

  • Sean February 6, 2013, 2:32 pm

    Splurge- eat at Mama’s Fish House, amazing restaurant!

  • Ms. M February 6, 2013, 4:04 pm

    Which condo did you use? I am also heading there in May and I totally agree with your assessment about the hotels.

  • ShawnH February 6, 2013, 7:50 pm

    For inexpensive but good food, we like the Aloha Mix Plate in Lahaina. We also stayed in a condo and loved it for the price.

  • hulagrrl210 February 6, 2013, 9:24 pm

    If you’re looking for a good local place to eat Lahaina Coolers on Dickenson St. is pretty good. They have awesome breakfasts and some killer house-made hot sauce that should go on everything!

  • alex February 8, 2013, 2:10 am

    @Dustin/Ms. M – This trip we used Hale Kai North of Ka’anapali. Simple and exactly what we wanted. In previous years I have used the nearby Kulakane. Both far exceed any of my resort stays.

    @ShawnH – Yes, I love that place! Same food as the Old Lahaina Luau next door at 1/15 the price!

  • Valerie Clark February 11, 2013, 2:28 am

    Maui is really interesting destination and I think this will be my next trip for my vacation. Can you tell what is the average sum that I’ll have to preapre for 7 days staying there?

  • Josh F March 20, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Any chance of getting your restaurant recommendations? We’re going there in a month.

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