Back in November, Michael and I decided to spend our seventh wedding anniversary on beautiful Maui, Hawaii. Having spent most of our lives on the East Coast, neither of us had previously had the chance to visit any of the Hawaiian Islands, as it’s a bit of a haul unless you have at least two weeks to spend. Luckily, now that we’re Phoenicians, Hawaii is only a six-hour flight away.
When determining which island to spend our time on, we spoke to various friends, family members and acquaintances and narrowed our selected to Maui and Kauai. Full disclosure, we chose Maui because we got conned into buying some timeshare points and luckily the timeshare enabled us to stay at few resorts in Kaanapali Beach (on Maui). That timeshare thing is a story for another day ;) Kauai is on our shortlist for an upcoming vacation, as both islands received rave reviews from everyone we spoke to. But back to Maui…
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Aston Kaanapali Shores, which was pretty no-frills, but somewhere we really enjoyed through the week. It had everything we needed in a relaxed environment, right on the beach. Our room was a garden suite, so we had a full kitchen to use for mixing up drinks (let’s be honest), and a patio door that lead right out to the hotel’s garden and pool area, just a short walk to the beach. We also enjoyed breakfast every morning at the hotel’s Beach Club Restaurant & Bar, which was really affordable for the area.
From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty hard to go wrong when staying in Maui if you pay attention to reviews. Overall, we were really happy with our laid-back home for the week!
Where We Ate
You may have already read my review on Taverna Maui. That was by far our favorite meal of our Maui getaway, but there were a few other amazing restaurants we ate at as well.
Koa 156º is a phenomenal restaurant in Downtown Lahaina. Michael and I snagged a corner table overlooking the ocean (as well as the Islands of Lanai and Moloka) and enjoyed a truly amazing eight-course meal by Chef Dan Vesey.
First thing’s first, the presentation at Koa 156º was superb, and the food tasted even better than it looked. Each of the eight courses was seriously amazing — we left so full. Michael and I still talk about the salmon; it was so tender and paired perfectly with mashed purple sweet potatoes!
The last restaurant I’ll mention as part of this post was our favorite spot for a quick, fresh lunch — the Fish Market. I still dream about their lobster bisque and ahi poke. I don’t think I’ve ever had tuna so fresh! And as Maui is concerned, the Fish Market is really affordable.
One thing is for sure: Maui knows food.
What We Did
Aside from eating (which we did a ton of), our extra curricular activities on Maui ranged from relaxing in a beach side cabana, to exploring just about the entire island. Here are a few of our highlights…
We couldn’t visit Maui without attending a luau. Of course, there are a few to choose from, but after a pass through Yelp, we knew we had to go with the Old Lahaina Luau. The ticket itself seems a bit pricey when you book it, but when you consider that it includes all your drinks, a delicious buffet and an amazing show, it’s very worth it! Plus, you get a lei’d ;)
Michael and I had a blast with our table-mates, which included two honeymooning couples and an older couple. The show itself was a ton of fun, and the food was surprisingly good too. We didn’t want to leave when it was over.
The Road to Hana is another must-do activity while in Maui, and it’s a great way to spend a day seeing much of the natural beauty of the island.
While on the Road to Hana, Michael and I went into two caves, visited countless waterfalls, stuck our toes in the water at the famed black sand beach and generally explored the beauty of Maui while cruising through Hana Highway’s 600 curves.
In addition to the Road to Hana, we took another much shorter excursion to the Nakalele Blowhole and Heart Rock. This was just a 30-minute drive from our hotel and a perfect way to experience the West side of the island.
But when it comes to Maui, we saved the best for last. On our last full day on the island, we drove up to the top of Haleakalā to watch the sunset, and it was by far one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life.
Overall, our trip to Maui was one for the books. I’ve been to quite a few islands (mostly Caribbean) in my life, so I assumed Maui would be similar to other islands I’ve spent time on, but boy was I wrong. When it comes to natural beauty, Maui truly is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been!
A big thank you to the teams at Taverna, Koa 156º and the Old Lahaina Luau for the hospitality!