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!
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.
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.
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.
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.