Written by two cruisers on 16 Aug, 2013
Moose McGillycuddy’s is at 844 Front Street in Lahaina.We wanted lunch and decided to go with a recommendation of a former co-worker. One problem. The restaurant is on the second floor and we had a steep stairway to negotiate. One good thing. Being on the…Read More
Moose McGillycuddy’s is at 844 Front Street in Lahaina.We wanted lunch and decided to go with a recommendation of a former co-worker. One problem. The restaurant is on the second floor and we had a steep stairway to negotiate. One good thing. Being on the second floor we had a fun new perspective on Front Street Lahaina. Marilyn and I each had sliders with a side of onion rings. For sliders they were quite generous and I had left-overs for my next two suppers. Other than the view, I don’t think there was anything special about the place that you can’t get somewhere else on street level. Blue Lagoon Tropical Bar and Grill is in the Wharf Shopping Center just opposite the Banyan Tree Park at 658 Front Street in Lahaina. What is has going for it is location. It is located on the lower level of the center but can be reached by ramps or elevator. Like many Hawiian restaurants it is indoor/outdoor depending on at what table you are seated. We asked for shade. They provided good music and good service. I had a Teriyaki chicken plate lunch and I’m sure Bill went for the Kalua pork. They aren’t memorable good or bad. Lunch for two with beverages and tip was $31. We could have saved $4 by going to Aloha Mixed Plate, but that is a long walk from here. When in Maui and you have secured a parking spot, make do with what is close by. If it is a great meal, you have found a new treasure. If it was only so-so….so what…you are on Maui look at the beauty around you. Close
On one of our leisure days we took a drive from Lahaina to the paniolo (cowboy) town of Paia. This started out as an agriculture center, but now has a mix of art colony, tourist shops, and is known as the world capitol of windsurfing.…Read More
On one of our leisure days we took a drive from Lahaina to the paniolo (cowboy) town of Paia. This started out as an agriculture center, but now has a mix of art colony, tourist shops, and is known as the world capitol of windsurfing. It is also the last town before entering the long and twisting road to Hana. Parking can be a challenge but we found a lot just as you come into town. Even early in the morning the lot was pretty full. We shopped and had coffee and shopped some more before driving down to Ho’okipa to watch the windsurfers. Both Bill and I scored treasures in the shops. I found some beautiful placemats at Maui Hands. Be bought a wood walking stick with a carved dolphin for the handle. He found that at Mandala Ethnic Arts at 29 Baldwin Ave. There was another antique store to check out. Paia Trading Company is located on 106 Hana Hwy. I had hoped to find something uniquely Hawaiian but it all looked like our grandmas’ cupboards. Over the years I have always made a point of shopping at the Maui Crafts Guild where I have found several treasures. Being a cooperative that means the artists exhibited take turns runnig the store. It is always fun to talk to them about their work. The guild is located on the ocean side of the highway as you approach from Kahului.Our coffee stop was Anthony’s Coffee Co. also located on the Hana Hwy. We managed to get the window seats overlooking the street. We had a pleasant view of the small town with lots of surfboards and windboards being transported to the beaches. Traffic was heavy and unrelenting. Also available are breakfasts including lox and bagels, croissants, wraps, omelets and waffles. They also serve lunch and ice cream. We should have skipped breakfast at home because this menu looked pretty good. Moving down the road we stopped at Ho’okipa Beach Park located at Mile 9. We started to pick up the twists and turns of the road to Hana. At the top of one rise we turned into the upper section of the park. Lots of parking here and even a lunch wagon and craft tables, Unfortunately due to unusual surf and wind conditions there was only one windsurfer out there for us to watch. Marilyn and I decided to go for a hike and we followed the cliff edge fence trail down to a point where we could look down on some tidepools. On the way back we stopped to admire the flowering and fruiting trees along the path. Leaving the park we drove down to the lower level where the windsurfers launch. All the picnic tables were full of family gatherings. This certainly is a popular place for local families. One good thing about Maui…if the thing you came to see isn’t there, there will be something else to look at. One day we took a whale watch. Didn’t see any whales but we saw lots of dolphins and flying fish and the beautiful coast of Maui.On the way home we stopped at Zippy’s for a late lunch….but that is another story. Close
Forty-nine years ago when my husband and I started traveling together our souvenirs were post cards and found treasures like pine cones and rocks. Things have escalated since then. We both love to shop. He doesn’t buy as much as I, however he enjoys the…Read More
Forty-nine years ago when my husband and I started traveling together our souvenirs were post cards and found treasures like pine cones and rocks. Things have escalated since then. We both love to shop. He doesn’t buy as much as I, however he enjoys the hunt. On our six trips to Maui we have found shops that have become dear to us. It is also fun to find new things. Shopping can become a chore if over done, we would do a little every day or so. Sometimes if I saw something I liked but wasn’t ready to commit, I would put a note on my I-Phone, than I could find the shop later. Works for me. Lets break shopping down into categories:TREATS: Honolulu Cookie Company makes tasty little cookies good for a treat for you or to take home for a gift. My favorite flavor is Lilikoi Mango but Kona Coffee flavor is a close second. They are located in Whalers Village, the airport, and on Front Street. ABC Stores sell Macadamia nuts in several size containers and at the best prices. We buy and ship home two flavors I can’t get in Iowa, Butter Candy Glazed and Maui Onion & Garlic. Hilo Hattie’s also sells mac nuts, but what I buy there is white chocolate /pineapple candy. Napoleon Bakery has wonderful malasadas and many more pastries and sweets with favorite Hawaiian ingredients. Oh, Broke da mouth!CLOTHING: Blue Ginger is my new favorite clothing store for women. Style, fit, fabric and attitude are perfect. Bill’s favorite shirts have come from Tori Richard. Both of those stores are at Whalers Village. I always stop at the Crocs store on Font Street they have many many more styles that I have found available at home. Some of them are kind of sexy and all are comfortable for beach and sidewalk walking. Our friend is addicted to Crazy Shirt shops. She hit every one we saw and amassed a wardrobe of shorts and shirts. Bill and I each bought a Kliban cat T-shirt there. Hilo Hattie’s also is a source of aloha wear, but I highly recommend you try it on before leaving the store. Some good-looking shirts are cut skimpy. Others look and fit great.SOUVENIRS and ART: My first stop shopping in Lahaina is the Courthouse Gallery and gift shop. This is located across from the harbor in Banyan Tree Park. There is a poster competition yearly in Lahaina where artists submit works and the winner has a limited number of prints made and sold for $30 each during the first year and lower thereafter. When they are sold out that is it. Over the years I have bought four of their posters at $10 apiece. Besides being a wonderful memory for me, I get lots of compliments from visitors. I have heard there are available higher quality prints, but I don’t know details. My husband has bought pottery art at this gallery. Maui Hands has three locations. My favorite is at 612 Front Street in Lahaina. All the art work in these stores are made locally. They have a variety including jewelry, prints, pottery, metal sculpture, glass and cloth items. These are all good quality items and have enough range in styles; I bet you could find something you like here. Whalers Locker is a unique shop mixing prehistoric fossils to antique scrimshaw to modern designed jewelry. I found a silver pendant designed by Ron Laes. It is called Aloha Makamae or Precious Love. Two traditional petroglyph characters form a heart shape. This shop seems to attract a lot of guys. Totally Hawaiian Gift Gallery at the Whalers Village offers lots of temptations. The highlights are the locally designed quilts and bed spreads using traditional Hawaiian quilting style. Under lock and key are precious Ni’ihau shell leis. I was surprised at the color range. Koa wood products are another favorite of ours. I am particularly fond of handcrafted items made by Tutu Nene. I have a full size Nene goose and a potholder both with lovely abstracted interpretations of the Hawaiian state bird. Martin and MacArthur is another shop specializing in koa wood. One unique item is koa wood watches and watchbands. There are three locations on Maui: Whalers Village, Shops of Wailea and Westin Maui. Prices are high, but so is the quality. Lush is a chain store selling fresh handmade cosmetics. What drew me there was perfume. I had been looking for tropical perfume to take home. They cheer me up on cold winter days. The Plumeria perfume I normally buy seems to have evaporated off the face of the Earth. The perfumes I have tested in other stores had an unpleasant sharpness to the scent. The Lush saleslady took me on a sniff tour of their selections. A bottle of each scent was sitting under a wide-mouthed tumbler. You hold the tumbler up to your nose to inhale the essence. After sniffing all, we started to eliminate and narrow down the search. That was a fun experience and less confusing than spraying various parts of your arms. My favorite was 25:43. It cost $42 for 1.1 fluid oz. well worth it, Not everyone enjoys shopping but then not everyone enjoys snorkeling or zip lining either. It’s your vacation, have a good time! Close
We were located in Lahaina, which is a perfect jumping off place for day trips in many directions. One day I promised my friend a real surprise from our usual sightseeing. We headed North on Hwy 30 (Honoapiilani Hwy). The drive itself is interesting leaving…Read More
We were located in Lahaina, which is a perfect jumping off place for day trips in many directions. One day I promised my friend a real surprise from our usual sightseeing. We headed North on Hwy 30 (Honoapiilani Hwy). The drive itself is interesting leaving the aged and rustic buildings on Front Street and passing modern strip malls, condo complexes, and Norfolk Pines. We turned back toward the ocean on Office Road. Where that meets Lower Honoapiilani Road we turned right and quickly turned into a parking lot beside a golf course. We had reached our surprise destination. Now we walked. By hiking along the edge of the golf course we first paused to observe a hedge enclosed ancient burial grounds…no trespassing. Continuing on we stopped to admire DT Flemming Beach in Honokahua Bay. This is one of the highest rated beaches on Maui…and pretty too. Onward we hiked on the trail until we reached the lava. Walking across the lava is tricky business. I would recommend wearing tie shoes or sandals that can be tightly cinched so you have less problems on rough terrain. Why I brought her her was to see the amazing lava formations called Dragon’s Teeth. Formed when hot lava flowed into a churning storm driven waves and winds. The shapes that formed are tooth shaped and stand in a row along the edge of the cliff. The lava also is a peculiar white color also probably caused by aeration of the molten rock. Not only are the teeth interesting to look at, the very rocks we walked on and by were a geologists joy. After lots of exclamations and explorations it is a long walk back to the parking lot. We met others heading out and they asked if it was worth the walk. Oh, yeah!We had worked up an appetite and our next stop was at the Gazebo in Napili at the Napili Shores condo resort. We had another long walk here, but it was on sidewalks through the resort’s common ground and you could see our objective. This very small restaurant has a good reputation. People stand in line for 30-45 minutes to get a table. But then they have a wonderful view to enjoy. This narrower part of the channel between Maui and Lanai is a favorite place for whales and of course whale watching. We missed whale season, but enjoyed the beautiful dark blue waters framed by palm trees. They are only open from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm, which accounts for the long lines. Back to the food. Once seated inside we enjoyed a number of their specialties: pineapple pancakes, banana pancakes, and Portuguese sausage. Oh yes, they have POG to drink. My favorite Hawaiian drink is a combination of passion fruit, orange and guava. We have also eaten lunch here and it was terrific, too. The waitresses all are lively and seem to enjoy chatting with table after table of tourists. While we were eating our waitress undid a rope tied back on a support pole and lowered a big fake spider down onto our table. No one jumped, but we all laughed. A table groaning breakfast for two with tip cost us $36. After eating we walked along the shore overlook tide pools and beach.Refreshed from a good meal we continued on Lower Honoapiilani Road, enjoying glimpses of private homes, condo and resort complexes. Every once and a while off to the East we would see a small shopping area. We stopped at one in the same shopping area as McDonalds (Kahana Gateway Center). There is a store here. Leslie’s Family Funwear, that sells reasonably priced aloha wear and other souvenirs. I think this place is also popular with the local population, too. Many years ago I bought a dress here that I have worn on this trip. Today I found one the same style and in another lovely print. Sold!The third highlight of our day trip was the UPS pack and ship store at 910 Honoapiilani Hwy. They are open 8:30 am - 6:30 pm. We were preparing for our eventual departure to the mainland and knew our suitcases would no longer weigh under 50lbs. Even if I could get all my stuff in the suitcase I wouldn’t be able to lift it! UPS is the shopper’s best friend. We have used them on Kauai, Oahu and Maui. Check the local phone book for hours and locations because we found that changes. Every UPS pack and ship we have used has taken great care with our precious possessions. Nothing has ever been lost. We did break the head off one turtle candy dish, but I salvaged it with super-glue. I should have pointed out he needed special headgear. They also help keep the costs down for you. We needed an oversized box for length but not height. The clerk cut the box down so he wouldn’t need to add bags of packing peanuts. We were grateful. Close
Every time Bill and I travel we look for consignment or antique stores where we might stumble on some indigenous treasures or finds for our collections. Fortunately our travel companion Marilyn also liked these shops. We decided to make a day of it, searching Maui…Read More
Every time Bill and I travel we look for consignment or antique stores where we might stumble on some indigenous treasures or finds for our collections. Fortunately our travel companion Marilyn also liked these shops. We decided to make a day of it, searching Maui for treasures you can’t get on Front Street. One thing we forgot was the element of Hawaii time. Our website searches listed open times, but apparently that is just a suggestion. We sat outside a couple of places waiting for them to open. The first store we gained entrance to was Rainbow Attic at 1881 S. Kihei Rd in a small strip-mall. This was a mixed bag of consignment items, more of a thrift store. Some of the items looked like garage sale leftovers. It also smelled bad, like unwashed clothing. No purchases here. Our next stop was at La Jolie Maison at 357 Huku Li’i Place at the Kihei Trade Center. Awesome! This store had lovely pieces of quality furniture and décor. There was a heavy leaning to Oriental style, but still the range was wide. If I lived in Maui I would love to decorate my home with items found here. I did find a Savonarola chair I would have loved to take home. But talking with the manager I learned shipping would be prohibitive. We didn’t find any small items. Bill announced that he was hungry and he spotted a small café across the way. We dutifully followed his directions and headed to the Blue Moon Café at 362 Huku Li’i Place. The breakfast crowd had dispersed and the lunch hour was yet to come, so we had the place to ourselves. Our waitress was a newbie to Maui, but had all the confidence of every small town waitress, that all was right with the world if you have a cup of coffee. We decided to call it brunch and ordered breakfast for lunch. Bill had a plateful of scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes. I was thrilled to find Spam on the menu. Hawaiians eat more Spam per capita than any other state. (I learned that at the Spam Museum in Minnesota). Marilyn tried it too…at least one or two bites before giving up. It is not for everyone…can I have your leftover? The place was clean with lots of space between tables. Service was slow, but that gave us time to chat with the waitress. Breakfast for two with lots of coffee and a generous tip was $26. Our next destination was across the island in Wailuku. This is the "normal" Maui town north of the airport town Kahului. It has some lovely art deco and arts and crafts buildings. At one time North Market Street was referred to as Antique Row. That doesn’t seem to apply anymore, as there are lots of empty storefronts. We visited two diverse shops. One specialized in jewelry and small art objects. Again the styles displayed leaned heavily to the Oriental. Very nice looking pieces, but nothing went home with us. The other store, Bird of Paradise Unique Antiques lived up to its name. This is an old fashioned junk to antique shop, dusty books, dusty dishes, and dusty tools all along narrow aisles. The shop owner and a couple of regulars didn’t budge from their coffee drinking chairs. We heard lots of shop gossip as we picked through the items on the shelves. I did find a unique antique to take home. It is a Japanese flower arranging frog. It is made of intersecting circles of metal, very pretty on its own. Only after I carried my treasure in my purse for the rest of the day did I question my wisdom of buying a lead weight to pack in my 50lb only suitcase! Close
I have a tip for you, if once was good, twice should be too. I may have written reviews of these places before, so this is just a reminder that they are worthy of a revisit or another meal. We went back to these places…Read More
I have a tip for you, if once was good, twice should be too. I may have written reviews of these places before, so this is just a reminder that they are worthy of a revisit or another meal. We went back to these places at least once on our eleven day stay.Food: Pioneer Inn – location across from the Banyan Tree Park and the Harbor; good food; historic setting; occasionally live music. Aloha Mixed Plate - traditional Hawaiian Plate Lunch served on paper to cut the cost; good view and atmosphere. Zippy’s – local favorite with extensive menu range; in the lobby is the Napoleon’s Bakery (malasada heaven). Bubba Gump - great ocean side location; humorous wait staff; lots of Forrest Gump trivia and terrific Fish n Chips. Leilani’s - ocean side dining at the Whalers Village; good food and fun to watch the parade of tourists on the sea-walk. The Gazebo – tiny restaurant with long lines but it is worth the wait; great breakfast-brunch menu and fantastic view especially if the whales are here.Attractions: Jodo Mission – serene setting with beautiful buildings; across the street is the austere Pu’unoa Sand Cemetery and there is access off the street to Baby Beach. Maui Ocean Center – plan a big hunk of your day here; awesome exhibits; beautiful marina to watch while having lunch at Seascape Ma’alaea Restaurant and a fun gift shop.Whaler’s Village – good shopping at Ka’anapali; many food court and restaurant choices; and best of all, the Whaler’s Museum. Pacific Whale Foundation – take a boat ride even if you don’t see the whales or dolphins, just seeing the beauty of Maui, Lanai and Lahaina from the sea is worth the ride. Their prices are low compared to charters. Close
Written by jwdorris on 12 Feb, 2008
There it goes again, that loud, obnoxious, and extremely annoying buzzing sound that seems to be coming from somewhere nearby. The sound is some how familiar but I can’t quite make it out. As my mind struggles toward…Read More
There it goes again, that loud, obnoxious, and extremely annoying buzzing sound that seems to be coming from somewhere nearby. The sound is some how familiar but I can’t quite make it out. As my mind struggles toward consciousness, I realize that it is the sound of the alarm clock next to the bed. I roll over and see that the clock reads 2:30. Wait, it’s still dark outside so that must be a.m. I’m on vacation, so why is the alarm going off at this unholy hour? As I come fully awake, I realize that this is the morning that we have planned to experience the sunrise from the highest point on Maui, the summit of the Haleakala volcano. After quickly getting ready, we hit the road from our Kihei condo at 3:00 a.m. in order to be at the summit in time for sunrise and in time to find a parking spot at the Pu’u ‘Ula’ula Overlook at the summit. Here there is a glass enclosed overlook which can be very handy with chilly temperatures and often windy conditions, but more about that later. By the time we traveled the winding road to the summit, it was about 5:15 by the time we arrived. Being a little early was a good thing but cause we found a parking spot without any difficulty and we were able to stake out a prime viewing site before the crowds started arriving a few minutes later. Slowly, at first almost imperceptibly, the eastern sky began to lighten and then turn a thousand shades of purple, red, and orange as the sun crept above the horizon. This morning was spectacular. While the sky above was clear, the crater was filled with clouds which reflected and intensified the colors. Words are inadequate to describe the spectacular transition from night to day and the beauty of the ever changing colors. This was truly an experience not to be missed, regardless of how early you have to get up. The sunrise is a great way to start you visit to Haleakala National Park but should by no means be the only thing that you do while there. After witnessing the spectacular sunrise, we drove back toward the park entrance to the Visitor's Center where there are exhibits showcasing the park’s natural and cultural history. While in the park look for the beautiful but endangered Silversword plant, there is a beautiful specimen in front of the Visitor's Center. You also may encounter the Nene, Hawaii’s state bird. Although they looked spectacular, we did not hike any of the trails in the crater. We were not accustomed to the altitude and simply walking from the car to the overlooks left us feeling winded. We did however; hike a beautiful trail near the entrance of the park at Hosmer Grove. This short trail leads through a beautiful eucalyptus grove where numerous species of birds, trees, and wildflowers can be seen. Haleakala National Park which was established in 1916, covers over 27,000 acres and stretches to the southern coast of Maui. There is a $10 fee that allows unlimited visits to any section of the park for seven days and is good for either section of the park. While this sunrise from the summit was one of the highlights of our trip to Maui, the following advice, or “lessons learned” will make your visit even more enjoyable. First, if at all possible, see the sunrise your first morning in Hawaii if you are visiting from the mainland United States. From our home in the Midwest, the time difference was five hours so, if we’d gone the first morning, before our bodies had adjusted to Hawaiian time, it would have been much easier to have gotten out of bed as early as you must in order to be there by sunrise. Because we’d spent the first part of our trip on Oahu, it was our eight day in Hawaii before we went to see the sunrise and getting up at 2:30 in the morning was just as difficult as it would have been at home. My second piece of advice requires me to do something that no man wants to do, admit that my wife was smarter (at least this once) than me. I mean after all, it was June and we’re going to a tropical paradise, so why on earth would anyone waste space in a suitcase for a jacket? Great idea for her, not so smart for me. Before sunrise, at 10,000 feet, tropical paradise or not, it was COLD!!! OK, cold is a relative thing, but the morning that we were there, the temperature on the nifty thermometer in the rental car was 38 degrees. That might feel warm in Alaska in January but I wasn’t expecting that in June in Hawaii. At least I’d been warned by someone at the condo and did take a blanket which helped, but guys, let’s face it; it is not easy to watch your wife smile at you from her warm jacket while sporting that “I told you so” look on her face. The road to the summit is winding and narrow with numerous switchbacks so you should allow yourself plenty of time. The drive from the bottom of the Haleakala Highway takes at least an hour and a half plus travel time to there from where ever you are staying. The drive was about 45 minutes from our condo in Kihei so an early start is a must if you plan to be there for the sunrise. The drive is remarkable not only for the natural beauty that you will see on the return trip, but also for the fact that you can drive from sea level to an elevation of 10,023 feet above sea level in only 38 miles and just under 2 hours! Be very careful and especially observant on your return trip down the mountain as there will be numerous people on bicycles coasting down the mountain. Several tour operators take hundreds of people daily to witness the sunrise and then ride down the mountain on bicycles. Where else can you ride downhill for 38 miles? As an avid cyclist, that sounded like a lot of fun but maybe next trip. So, was it worth getting out of bed at 2:30 on vacation? For me, seeing the sunrise form the highest point on Maui was one of the highlights of our trip. Plan ahead and follow the advice above for the best possible experience, however, there is an element of luck involved. The morning that we went the weather conditions were perfect for a spectacular sunrise. I might not be as excited about the experience if conditions had not produced such a gorgeous sunrise but I think that the whole experience is worth losing a little sleep. I can’t wait to do it again the next time I’m on Maui. I do plan to follow my own advice though, we’ll go as early I the trip as possible and (hard as it is to admit) I’ll listen to my wife and take a jacket. Close
Written by MilwVon on 26 Dec, 2006
The Hana Highway, aka Road to Hana is famous in Maui and around the world. There are over 600 hairpin turns and nearly 60 small one-lane bridges on the 68 mile route that takes you to Hana Bay. The roadway is narrow and at times…Read More
The Hana Highway, aka Road to Hana is famous in Maui and around the world. There are over 600 hairpin turns and nearly 60 small one-lane bridges on the 68 mile route that takes you to Hana Bay. The roadway is narrow and at times rather frightful. With locals cruising the road like they own it, I prayed at every turn that there wasn’t someone zooming towards us from the opposite direction.The views were spectacular over cliffs, out to the ocean and into the forest. It was a remarkable drive, perhaps one of the most scenic I have personally ever taken. As you drive along, you will come to some places were you will want to get out to take photos, especially when you see other cars parked along the shoulder of the road. Unfortunately, it just isn’t that easy. We had to by-pass at least four or five places where there were waterfalls and beautiful scenery. Come coming back from Hana, the beautiful sights are easily missed because you are by them before you realized “that was the place” you wanted to stop. To avoid that, I would suggest taking some notes so that if you can’t stop, you will remember where you wanted to stop on your return back.At around mile marker 16, consider taking the turn off to Ke`anae Peninsula. The small nearly abandoned village community provides one of the most beautiful shorelines with large lava formations and rough ocean surf splashing up high on the land. Some of my most beautiful stereo-photography (3-d) was taken here!Along your journey, be sure to stop at the Waianapanapa State Park. There are beautiful lava formations including caves, arches, and blow holes. The forest is very thick, with lots of coconut palms. As you hike the trails you will see where campers have shucked them for the milk and perhaps coconut meat. There are very nice rest rooms here that are clean and well maintained. The black beach is beautiful, but didn’t seem like the type of place you would want to lay out and the water was too rough for swimming. There are a lot of hiking trails and an area for picnicking.If you are thinking about taking the Hana Highway, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time and get an early start. For us, it was a 13 hour day. You will also want to have water and snacks with you as there are very few places along the way to stop for refreshments. At Hana Bay there is a snack shack where we got burger and fries before heading back. And DO NOT head out for Hana without topping off your gas tank first!Our last suggestion would be to stop at the Shell Station to buy the audio cassette that provides you with in-car tour guide messages throughout your trip. This is something that while sounding boring is really fantastic. The voice is entertaining and not monotone, and his story telling along the way helps to understand what you are seeing and experiencing. Close
During our week on Maui, we took in two Luaus. Call me a sucker for the Hawaiian combination dining and entertainment experience, I just love the luau! Many of the local hotels feature them, timeshare companies give them away... and tour operators package them with…Read More
During our week on Maui, we took in two Luaus. Call me a sucker for the Hawaiian combination dining and entertainment experience, I just love the luau! Many of the local hotels feature them, timeshare companies give them away... and tour operators package them with snorkel and dive trips. I often wonder if anyone really ever pays full price for them. For us, we got one with our Molokini snorkel trip and the other for free for taking a timeshare presentation for a new resort over on Kauai. This review overviews the two experiences we had with our Maui luaus.Hyatt Regency Resort Luau and Hyatt Resort – Kaanapali."Drums of the Pacific" is supposed to be one of the best luaus in all of Maui. Of the two we did, we enjoyed this one the best. Both the meal and the entertainment were outstanding! Included were all the mai tai's you can handle. Keep a close eye on them, however. They do creep up on you!As guests arrive, the first stop is for the obligatory photo as you get "lei’ed" with seashell lei. Once inside what appears to be a large picnic area, folks find their own tables. Here, you could choose to be close to the food, the bar or close to the stage. We couldn’t agree so we sat pretty much in the middle.People at luaus are friendly so you don’t have to worry about sitting next to strangers as you won’t be strangers for long! There is entertainment to keep people interested in order to avoid boredom. Of course some would say that is what the bar is for.Before dinner, everyone is invited to the imu pit where the pig is cooked in the ground. Having been there for the better part of the day, the pig is brought up from the ground on what appears to be chicken wire mesh. You can see the meat just falling away from the bones. And the smell... mmmmm good! It is amazing how the ancient tradition of cooking kalua pork has been passed on from generation to generation and is now an island tradition at the luau.Once dinner begins, groups of tables are invited to the buffet. In addition to the pork, there is a beef teriyaki dish, baked fish, chicken, veggies, mashed potatoes, rice and the world famous poi. While the butt of many jokes, if you have never tried poi, you really must just to say you have. Rather bland and with no real flavor, poi is a staple in the Hawaiian diet. Light desserts including white coconut cake and bread pudding are also included on the buffet. After everyone makes their way through the line once, you are invited back for seconds if you have room. One trip through is all that we ever do and this night was no exception.As people are eating their meals, the show begins. The dancers tell stories of their ancestors of the Pacific Islands. The choreography is beautiful as are the costumes. My favorite is always the Wedding Dance. Handsome young man, beautiful young lady dressed in white... it is just a lovely, romantic dance.2006 prices are $76 for adults, $58 for teens, age 13-20 and $45 for kids under 13, keikis under six eat for free. For more information, check out their website at: www.best-luaus.com/Drums%20of%20the%20Pacific/ .Old Lahaina LuauOld Lahaina TownThis luau, while fun, was a bit more touristy than the one at the Hyatt. They seemed to herd people in like a cattle call and in general the staff were not quite as friendly. We also felt like we were packed in very tightly, without a lot of space or room to move around at our tables.The buffet was very similar to what was provided at the Hyatt Regency. We enjoyed the food, just fine, but there wasn’t enough for a second trip to the buffet. Not an issue for us, as we were full after the first trip but others in our area were not happy that they didn’t get dessert the first time through and when they went back, there was none left. We also felt that the drinks were expensive and watered down.The show was also not as entertaining. It was shorter than the one at the Hyatt and the performers not as good. I didn’t time the length of the show, but it seemed to also be shorter. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t horrible and had we not been to a really GOOD luau earlier in the week, we probably would have thought the Old Lahaina Luau was just fine.Of the two luaus we did on Maui, we would recommend the one at the Hyatt even if it may be $10-$20 per person more! If however you are a large family, with kids, it probably isn’t worth the difference in price, if you are paying for it.More information may be found at: www.oldlahainaluau.com. (I couldn’t find current pricing online.) Close
Written by jenandfrank on 07 Jan, 2005
Maui was a beautiful island that made for a great trip. It provided endless options for relaxing, exploring, and really enjoying ourselves. It’s really impossible to explain how beautiful this island is and how it’s part of the United States—not Bali or French Polynesia,…Read More
Maui was a beautiful island that made for a great trip. It provided endless options for relaxing, exploring, and really enjoying ourselves. It’s really impossible to explain how beautiful this island is and how it’s part of the United States—not Bali or French Polynesia, etc. I would have to say that the number-one thing we did was the bike ride down the volcano, hands down. At 10,000 feet, standing over a crater larger than most islands, you have the chance to just soak it all in while watching the most incredible sunrise. Mind you, this is along with other people who are equally floored and appreciative of the opportunity they have just been given. It was an incredible experience (although I was as nervous as you can get the entire way down). It is something I will remember doing my entire life and look back fondly on.
For something more touristy and less adventurous, the luau was fun and something I think you should do while in Hawaii. Many of the hotels we found try to sell you on their luau and the convenience of it because it’s at your hotel, etc., but I say to spend the money, make the drive (if necessary), and go to the Old Lahaina luau. It’s by far the best on the island, with an extensive buffet, great show, super staff, and perfectly kept grounds.
If you should find yourself in Maui on Halloween, watch out. It is basically their Mardi Gras (like in New Orleans)—a lot of very drunk people in costumes—but the party stays in Lahaina. If this interests you, there are shuttle buses to get you there that your concierge will know about, and they will require you to make a reservation and pay in renting a car is a must, especially if you are the type who likes to leave the resort, see things/places, or drive the road to Hana, etc. Note that in Maui, you pay per driver when renting a car. My husband always drives, but we usually put both our names on the contract. This was a big mistake in Maui, as they charged us extra and I didn't drive once.
Regardless of where you stay, venture to the other side of the island. All the beaches in Hawaii are public—even those behind the hotels. That said, nothing is stopping you from exploring other hotels, common areas, etc. Toward the beach, behind the Four Seasons in Wailea (where we stayed), there is a nice path that connects to several other hotels. It’s a nice walk and affords you the opportunity to see other hotels. We had lunch one day at the Fairmount Kea Lani (built to try to replicate Santorini) and enjoyed ourselves and the meal very much. If you are looking for a good family hotel, I would suggest either the Westin (pictures attached) or the Grand Wailea. Both offer tons of pools, slides, waterfalls, and kids’ activities. Wailea is about a half-hour from the airport and considered the more expensive side of the island, with lots of beautiful landscaping, fountains, statues, and upscale resorts. There is also a high-end outdoor shopping mall in Wailea called the Shops at Wailea—a lot like Rodeo Drive, but Hawaiian-style.
Lahaina has more action and people, and I would say it’s considered the more fun part of town. There are lots of restaurants in close proximity and a place where people just walk the streets (Front Street mainly) and hang out (like Newport, RI). There are several beautiful scenic overlooks in Lahaina (as well as the best luau on the island) and several art galleries.
I have mixed feelings about the road to Hana. Some people will tell you it’s a must-do, and others will say you waste an entire day driving, borderline getting sick, all to see what you can basically see everywhere in Hawaii (incredible beaches, water, sand, etc). If you have a strong stomach and some extra time, I would say this might be something to consider. There are gorgeous views of the coast, several hundred curves, and lots of waterfalls. The roads are very narrow, so the person who is driving really needs to pay attention—maybe you can switch off driving?! There are places to stop, swim, take pictures, and relax, especially if you find yourself carsick.
Although we were there in the fall, winter is a great time of year to be in Hawaii. Winter (November-March) is the peak whale-watching season. It is also the peak travel season, so you will pay more and find things are more crowded, as well. Because whale-watching is such a big attraction there, it is highly competitive, and your excursion choices are unlimited, but pricey. Bring binoculars! Food can get very pricey here, as well, but you do have a few options to cut back. Many times when we travel, we have our mini-bar emptied and go to a local grocery store to get the basics to get us through at least breakfast and some daily snacks. Maui is no different, and grocery stores are in abundance. If you are looking to cut back a little, do it on breakfast and/or snacks, because the lunch and dinner options here are too good to pass up.
If you’d like to see something a little different, drive past Wailea to the southernmost part of Maui. There are lava fields there from the most recent volcanic eruption (about 200 years ago). Most concierges will not mention this because just past the lava fields are some other, more quaint beaches. These beaches have incredible water and have a lot of "privately run" water-activity rentals, meaning they don’t get a cut, so they don’t tell you about it. We fell into it, to be honest, and it was beautiful. Old folklore says not to take lava rocks off the island—it’s bad luck.