It was with some relief that we arrived on Maui. The weather problems in Kaua`i had us feeling slightly disgruntled and it showed in our sniping at each other during the flight from Lihue through Honolulu and then on to Kahului. In short, we needed familiar sights and we needed the sun! We found both those things in abundance on Maui.
This was our third stay at the Lahaina Shores Beach Resort and it was, once again, a very pleasurable stay for us. The full kitchen meant a necessary trip to Safeway in order to stock the cupboards and full-sized refrigerator, and we saved some serious money by being to eat some meals in our room, especially breakfasts.
Our room featured a hideaway bed; when this was pushed up into the wall, it afforded us a ton of space. This was nice. The lanai in our fifth floor room offered the same great views of the Pacific and the island of Lanai in the distance. Grounds were well groomed, and the pool and hot tub were kept at the perfect temperature and were also clean. Cockroaches were a bit of an issue; I found at least a dozen in our room during the stay.
What we liked:
– Swimming pool and hot tub–just the right temperature in both.
– Full kitchen with non-stick cookware.
– Very quiet, with the only nighttime sound being the ocean; this made for some sound nights of sleeping for us. We missed this sound after we returned to Duluth!
– Front Street and numerous restaurants were close by; in fact, a number of restaurants exist right next door at 505 Front St.
– On-site concierge (Activity World) was very helpful and didn’t attempt to pressure us into any activities which we didn’t want.
– Free coffee each morning.
What we didn’t like:
– A slight problem with cockroaches; a few needed to be killed each night.
– Toaster malfunctioned (this was specific to this particular unit, however..previous trips to the Lahaina Shores were without problem in this area.
– Parking was $3/day. Am I being naive here in thinking that it should be free, considering that we’re paying close to $200 per night for our room?? Maybe.
All in all, this was, once again, a wonderful place for us to stay and we would return here in the future. Rating: 9
Molokini Snorkel (Four Winds II)
Our first full day on Maui started early, as we had to be at the Maalaea Harbor by 7 a.m. for our morning snorkel cruise on the Four Winds II. Having never snorkeled before (I know, this sounds weird considering that we’d been to Hawai`i twice before!), we found the crew to be very helpful with snorkeling basics.
The Four Winds II holds a maximum of 120 passengers. While this is well short of the Coast Guard approved 149 passengers, it still felt a bit cramped, especially when we reached Molokini and it was time for everybody to hit the water. There was a continental breakfast while cruising to Molokini, but the unusually rough water conditions caused several people to…um…reject their breakfast. In fact, it wasn’t known for some time whether we would be able to get to Molokini on this day, or if we were going to have to snorkel at another location. Luckily, the conditions improved just enough to make it to our destination.
Once in the water, we had a fantastic time. Swimming in salt water is quite different from swimming in fresh water, such as Lake Superior, which was where I grew up swimming. Not to mention that it’s about 30 degrees warmer; we weren’t sure if we would need a wet suit but the 70-72 degree ocean water was more than warm enough for us.
After we’d had our fill of snorkeling, there was a BBQ lunch waiting for us, including burgers, chicken, hot dogs, gardenburgers, etc. Open bar was also included. Overall, this was a great activity at a reasonable price.
If you’re looking to do some snorkeling, the Four Winds II through Maui Charters is highly recommended. Rating: 9
We did some exploring of the North Shore twice during our week on Maui. Our first trip was simply a drive to Mama’s Fish House in Paia. We’d heard much about this restaurant in the past but had never taken the opportunity (before this trip) to see just what was so appealing. We soon found out. You can read more on the restaurants page.
Strong trade winds made for some heavy-duty action at Ho`okipa and Baldwin beaches for surfers, boogie boarders, body surfers and windsurfers. When we checked out these beaches two years ago, it was a far different story; Kona winds on that day meant the surf was minimal. Today was more representative of what normal winter conditions are like on the North Shore.
Our Wedding Spot
First, an excerpt from the journal I kept during our Feburary 1996 wedding/honeymoon trip to Maui:
Friday, February 16: Up at 6:30–saw first whale from lanai! Can hear them easily, too–not much to see even with full zoom (on camcorder) on–the tail coming out of the water then a huge splash when it hits the water.
More sun today–bout an hour and a half. Patty went to get her hair done afteward–me sitting in the sun on the lanai–smoking like crazy getting nervous over the upcoming wedding ceremony.
Her hair looked great when she returned–her parents had flowers sent to us–called Bruce, he wasn’t home–called Karen’s, Devon answered–they’re at the Friday meeting–told him to tell them hello from us and that we’d see them in a week.
Leave for Kihei at 3:00–got to the licensing place early so we just drove around for awhile after getting the license stuff in order–drive down to Paipu (Beach)–arrive just after 5:00–nervous waiting for the minister & coordinator–lots of locals hanging out here–few tourists, looks like–still waiting at 5:20, 5:30–by 5:40 we’re wondering what the hell is going on. Strike up a conversation with a guy who move here from Michigan years ago–luckily he has a cell phone so we call Royal Hawai`ian Weddings–they page us through to Janet–they’re at Wailea Beach! The trip up there (just past the Four Seasons resort) takes a few minutes so no big deal.
They set up the camcorder on a grassy hill overlooking the ocean and the ceremony starts. We’re both nervous–can’t take my eyes off Patty–everything else around us seems to be blocked out–laugh when I realize she’s really chomping that gum! Ceremony only takes about ten minutes–twenty minutes to take pics afterwards–Thank God it’s over, now we can relax!
Rush back to Lahaina–message waiting from Karen & Kaylor wishing us the best–neat–still dressed in our wedding garb, we stroll hand-in-hand down Front Street to Kimo’s–VERY romantic setting, softly lit with Hawai`ian music playing–led to a table on the upper deck in a corner–Polynesian chicken (with teriyaki sauce) for me, steak & shrimp for Patty–great food, great atmosphere–perfect.
When we visited Maui in 2002, we tried to find the wedding hill and also Paipu Beach and weren’t successful in either case. We came to the (wrong) conclusion that newer construction had been done in both places.
As it turned out, we drove straight past Paipu Beach; there is a sign which says “Poolenalena Beach” which is the turnoff (Paipu actually has five different names which it’s called by!). We flat-out missed it two years ago.
The other problem was that I was certain that the hill we were married at was at the Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort. Patty wasn’t certain, and with good reason. First, had I read our 1996 journal, I would have known it was just past (going from south to north) the Four Seasons and that Wailea Beach is clearly marked. So we went to the Maui Onion one day at the Renaissance, and then walked north afterward; we saw some construction on the north side of that resort, assumed that this was our wedding site being built over, and left.
So much for leaving the directions to the guys. One day, after finishing an incredible lunch at Mama’s Fish House, we drove down to Wailea. As we were driving north on Wailea Alanui Drive, Patty saw the “Wailea Beach” access. She had a hunch, so we pulled in to the public access lot and ended up parking less than 100 yards from the hilltop!! Unbelievable. Even with us standing on top of the hill, I still wasn’t sure. Eight years, as it turned out, was a long time. Patty pointed out a few landmarks and other things which I had forgotten about until I was finally convinced. Duh.
Feeling lucky, we decided to try again to find Paipu Beach. After missing the turnoff the first time, we backtracked and finally found the beach. Sitting in your car in the parking lot, the place looks rather dumpy. We didn’t get out and check the beach out because it was starting to rain. I drove back down there the next day and found out that this is a very nice beach. Not that we were disappointed in where the wedding actually took place (how could a wedding be a disappointment anywhere in Hawai`i?), but it would have been an unforgettable event in either place.
Needless to say, we were very happy to have found both of these places.