Our trip to Hawaii in February without our kids was amazing. I think I’ve mentioned that. 🙂 Maui was where it all began!
The first night we arrived at the Maui airport it was about 11pm local time. This was 3am for us Midwesterners. Needless to say we were very happy to have booked a room at the Courtyard by Marriott right near the airport in Kahului. We decided to skip the rental car desk and instead take the shuttle right to our beds. It was clean, nice and apparently, quite new.
At 3:30am, we were rethinking our decision. See, for us it was now 7:30am (CT). Our bodies figured we’d already slept past our normal wake up time of 5am central and it was time to get up and start relaxing! As hard as we tried to go back to sleep, it just wasn’t happening. We thought about heading up to Haleakala to see the sun rise, it was on our list of things to do, but then remembered we hadn’t picked up our car yet. The hotel breakfast wouldn’t open until 6. So we waited and watched the Surfing Channel on TV.
At 6:15 we couldn’t stand it any more – Bret went down to catch the shuttle back to the airport – but the shuttle was running a 60-minute errand somewhere else. So he walked! It was a 15-minute walk, accentuated by sunrise over the volcano and about 350 wandering chickens.
By 7:15 we were walking into the Maui Swap Meet. I wanted to go to a Farmer’s Market so we could stock up on fruits for the remainder of our stay. What I didn’t realize is that it was also a great place to buy souvenirs. I actually wished I’d bought more that day. We left with some decent swag, and enough pineapples, bananas, and mangos to satisfy us for at least a few days. Now that we’re back in Minnesota, I find myself every Saturday morning remembering that morning at the Swap Meet and wishing we were there. It was definitely a highlight of the trip just because it was casual and unexpectedly fun.
It was now about ten in the morning, and we felt like it was time for a nap. We hopped into the car and drove the perimeter of the western end of Maui –the whole thing. We stopped and enjoyed local foods and sites along the way, but basically just took it all in. I think we were experiencing a little bit of overwhelm of how spectacularly beautiful, warm, and clean everything was. We had fantastic poke nachos on Taro chips while at ‘Umalu, in the Hyatt Regency Maui – Ka’anapali. I’d make another trip back to the ‘Umalu just for those nachos.
Later in the day we checked into the Fairmont Kea Lani resort in Wailea. Normally this would be a hotel far out of our price range, but because of Bret’s amazing travel hacking skills, we were able to experience two nights at this beautiful resort free of charge. Oh, and the $38 breakfast buffet was complimentary too due to our free vouchers. It was easily the best breakfast buffet I’d ever had.
Although the Fairmont was luxury to the extreme, it had one really good thing and one really bad thing that will always stick out in my memory. The really, really, wonderfully terrific thing is that it had an adults only pool and spa area – with a swim up bar. Although we like kids, heck we’ve got three of them, I firmly believe that they do not need to be everywhere all of the time. Being able to have a spot to relax without them was fantastic.
The really bad thing was that our drop dead gorgeous room smelled so bad we could hardly stay in it. It was a very musty, air conditioner related smell. Bret thought that it smelled like something had died in the air vent – and he’s got experience with such smells, apparently. We did ask them to look at it the second day we were there, but when we returned to the room it seemed they had just sprayed a ton of air freshener around. Luckily we had a wrap around lanai so we kept the patio doors open a lot; as long as we kept the air off, it smelled wonderful. The room was otherwise amazing. We had dual pedestal sinks in a bathroom the size of most hotel rooms. It had a walk in, door-free shower, separate soaking tub and marble everywhere. The future was beautiful and we had a separate living area and small kitchen area.
Sunday we decided to brave the Road to Hana. We’d heard mixed reviews about taking an entire day to do this trip, but we were so glad we did. Although I was glad we didn’t have kids in the backseat (I’d imagine car sickness could be a problem), we thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns. We do have some very specific tips on the best way to experience this legendary road, so you’ll want to check out our Road to Hana post.
By the time we got back to our room, we were exhausted and our day was over. Bret was also not feeling so great. We thought at the time it was from the ½ raw coconut he’d eaten while we were driving that day, but we were to find out it was more sinister than that…
Love your description of the Maui Swap Meet. It’s on my list.
And I think I need to expand my skill base into “travel hacking” – I’d never heard that process called that before.
By all means, check out Chris Guillebeau, travelhacking.org and flyer talk for a LOT more about travel hacking. It’s addictive!