Recently I had the good fortune to travel to Maui, Hawaii. Probably one of the best experiences of my life! Even though I’ve been on many interesting trips this was my first vacation where the main purpose was laying on the beach.
Maui is one of the Hawaiian Islands located in the Pacific Ocean about a 6 hour flight from Vancouver, BC. I stayed just outside of the city Lahaina at The Westin Spa and Resort. Lahaina itself is a sleepy city, where no one is in a hurry to go anywhere or do anything. While renting a car isn’t a requirement for your stay, I would recommend it as you are able to explore more of the island. Personally, we didn’t rent a car and I wish we had.
The Westin Resort was GORGEOUS like paradise on earth! The amalgamation between pool area and beach was fantastic, while some hotels placed a fence around their pool making it feel like you were in jail, the Westin had free traffic flow. The check in desk/concierge desk overlooked by a built in oasis complete with flamingos and small waterfalls. The pool was split into 3 pools via waterfalls. You can swim through the waterfalls and in between them is a separate secret pool; one you can’t see from the deck and is only accessible from within the pool. On the deck there are several cabanas to lounge under and you’ll never have trouble finding a pool chair. No matter what direction you face, the view is beautiful and relaxing. A downside to the Westin was that if you wanted to sit on the beach you had to pay extra for a cabana and beach chairs (~$40.00 US), however poolside chairs are free.
The resort also provides a complementary shuttle service to the shopping district in Lahaina. Here is where the outlet stores are featuring Calvin Klein, Coach, Michael Kors, and many other retailers. The pricing isn’t bad and the selection is good however, Calgary has an outlet mall with the same retailers so I didn’t lose my mind with the shopping. The customer service in each of the stores was spectacular. A short walk away from the outlet mall is the harbour and Front Street. This is an absolute must see. The harbour has several boats offering a variety of activities from dinner cruises to whale watching to snorkeling. There are also several small locally owned stores with nick-nacks, jewelry, clothing and art work. Front Street also has several restaurants and historic sites. A famous site is the Lahaina Banyan Tree, planted over 100 years ago!
One of my favorite activities in Maui was whale watching which is at it’s best during mating season in March; males, females and baby whales! We booked through the Pacific Whale Conservation at ~$30.00 US per person. Although the concierge has your best interests in mind they wanted to charge us $125.oo US per person not worth it. The Pacific Whale Conservation has a trained naturalist on board who provides information about the whales and helps with sightings. We were lucky enough to have three whales approach the boat (less than 100 feet away) and jump. It was a spectacular experience and definitely worth trying. You have the option of going on an actual boat or on a raft. While the raft is smaller and holds fewer people the larger boat is probably safer and travels further away from the harbour.
Food in Hawaii is amazing. I think just the idea of being able to eat outdoors with a view of the ocean probably helps. The fruit specifically is very sweet and fresh. I sampled papayas and fresh pineapple; I’m not a pineapple lover, but over there it was a different story. Another great food feature in Maui is that at every restaurant you can order seafood that was caught that morning; talk about fresh!
Another “must do” is a luau! The Westin offers their own luau complete with four course meal (buffet style) and cultural entertainment like hula dancing, and fire juggling. Although the entertainment was hilarious and captivating I was disappointed with the meal. There wasn’t a very large variety and some of the food was just plain bland. I enjoyed the grilled fish immensely but the desserts were a complete bust with no taste and weird textures. They even messed up chocolate cake… In conversing with other people at our resort and other resorts we heard the Hyatt puts on a fantastic luau and the food their is much better, so we’ll probably try that one next time.
Overall, this trip was great. Very relaxing, with everyone there doing their best to make sure you have a great vacation. I would rate the resort I stayed at 8/10, activities 10/10, food 7/10 and the over all trip 8/10. Totally worth going back!
Trotting Traveller ❤️