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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Maui, Hawaii with a group

We are back from quite the group trip to Hawaii. If I counted correctly there was a total of 33 people plus an American Girl doll (who participated in a lot of the activities). Everyone had their own agenda and we did have a few things that a majority of the group participated in. 

Here's my personal experience.

We flew United all the way. We got in on this crazy good air special that we couldn't pass up. Chris and I shared a 3 bedroom ocean view condo at Honua Kai with Chrissy and David and their 3 kids - Kelsey, Madison and Kelson. It was placed right next to the Tindalls and Byrds who had the same type.  Honua Kai was very nice. I loved the kitchen that had all Viking appliances, granite, an extra sink on the island, wine cooler, All-Clad cookware....the list goes on. I was all excited about this but we did end up only make a couple breakfasts in there but still!  The condo had 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It was perfect for our group. The resort had 1 full service restaurant called Dukes which was tropical style food (amazing mahi mahi sandwiches) and then a coffee shop with paninis and salads.

The resort is located on North Kaanapali Beach. According to my phone it was 1.7 miles from Whalers Village which we visited several times. The beach at the resort had waves the first day I guess due to the weather and then it was really calm. Their was a reef really close to shore and the resort rented snorkel equipment for $35/week and the snorkeling was really good. One member of our group said they saw a sea turtle!

Chris did the Maui Downhill bike tour. They had to be there at 3am but said it was totally worth it. He said they were very glad I booked the one without a guide that would ride along with you. He said they go really slow. I think we could have just rented the bikes and put them in the back of the Jeep we rented. The downhill bike tour includes having to do this whole tour and all that which if you just want to ride the bikes it's a bunch of unnecessary stuff.

While Chris and David did the Maui Downhill, Chrissy and I headed to the spa at the Westin Villas next door to Honua Kai. It was a nice spa but they don't go all out or anything. They had a nice outdoor waiting area and a steam room but there weren't different plunge pools and hot tubs which I have experienced before. They didn't have the little almonds and it was lime water instead of cucumber water. (I know I sound overly picky) We both did the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage. It was pretty good. I think I'm still a traditional Sweedish massage person. Each time I try a new one I always wish I would have just gone with the traditional Sweedish. At the Westin Villas they add a 20% service charge which was $27 and then they still had a line for gratuity. Since this wasn't my first rodeo I asked if the service charge was gratuity and they said yes. I think this was misleading. Chrissy said she was glad I asked because she would have wrote in a gratuity. I kinda thought $27 for a tip seemed kinda high. I guess I dont normally tip that much for a 50 minute massage.

Saturday night we did an adults only dinner night while Kelsey and Madison baby sat the little kids. We went to Pacifico in Lahaina. Chris had eaten here before and was excited to go back. I guess they use to have live jazz music but that is no more. I was surprised the town of Lahaina was kind of dead at night. It didn't really seem like Hawaii has much nightlife, at least not in the touristy areas. I guess everyone falls asleep so early because of the time difference from the mainland. Anyway, Pacifico was pretty good. We sat outside and the sunset was beautiful. We got some really good pictures. I had the Ceviche and then a coconut crusted mahi mahi. Chris ordered some sort of curry fish and we were going to share with each other but then he liked his so much he said he no longer wanted to trade plates. The service was just so-so at Pacifico. They were pre-warned that we would all be paying "per couple" and they messed it up on almost every ticket. It was annoying.

A large percentage of the group did the Old Lahaina Luau on Sunday night.
I’ve done a luau before and this one was by far superior. You get the fresh flower leis when you arrive. The wait staff was very attentive. The food was pretty good. (way better than I expected it to be) The show was very entertaining and it didn’t go on and on like I’ve experienced before where you are ready for it to be over. They did the history of Hawaii and explained different stuff. They didn’t have the fire dancers because that is Polynesian. It was all about the history of Hawaii. The group all said they were really glad we all did it.

My favorite was Mama’s Fish House. We did this with the Hammonds on our last night. It’s about 45 minutes from the resort on the North Shore. For sure go to this one. Probably the best food I’ve ever had. The atmosphere reminded us of Swiss Family Robinson and then it was set on the beach with huge waves coming in. We went right before sunset and it was perfect for pictures. I had their signature dish which is lobster and crab stuffed mahi mahi which was macadamian crusted and then it had some sort of pineapple glaze. Wow! They said it had been on their menu for 25 years. As an appetizer we had beef tenderloin that inside of a grilled papaya. It was all very Maui  and had the wow factor with each course that came out. I loved it. as we ate and then Chrissy was like "If the regular menu was that good, what do think dessert is going to be like?" We ordered dessert too. I then had to have one of their mai tai glasses to take home. It looked like a round tiki man.

It was a really good trip. Everyone seemed to get to do what they wanted and then we had good group time. The resort was really set up for groups and families so that worked out. Hawaii was expensive just like everyone warned us but it's not like anywhere else.

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