Maui is one of Hawaii’s most popular islands for visitors. I went my wife and two daughters, ages 8 & 9, for a four-day visit. Here were some highlights.
We first stayed at Aston Kaanapali Shores Resort in Lahaina. This is a terrific ocean-front hotel with great views, direct beach access and beautiful grounds. We had a condominium suite, which included a full kitchen, washer & dryer and TVs in all the rooms. There’s also a pool alongside the beach, a variety of cultural activities and a kids club for ages 5-12. They have a small but good restaurant, the Beach Club; try the macadamia nut pancakes for breakfast. The hotel is a 10-minute drive away from downtown Lahaina, an old whaling town that was once the royal capital of the Hawaiian Islands. Or, if you don’t want to drive, there are plenty of shops and restaurants across from the hotel.
South of Lahaina is Wailea, which has some outstanding upscale hotels. One of the best is The Fairmont Kea Lani. Our room was spacious, had great views of the ocean and had particularly attentive service (they turn down the beds!) The hotel itself is beautiful, as are its lush grounds. They have many nice touches, such as lei-greetings when you arrive. There was direct access to the beach where you can enjoy some nice snorkeling, and three pools, including one adults-only. A special feature of one of the children’s pools was a long water slide. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet with a wide variety of foods at the Kei Lani Restaurant; we also took advantage of poolside dining. This hotel has all the amenities in a beautiful setting, and you could easily spend an enjoyable vacation without ever leaving the hotel. If you do, there are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby.
Hands down one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to was Lahaina Grill in downtown Lahaina. This upscale restaurant has a variety of delicious entrees from land and sea; I especially enjoyed the sweet corn soup and ahi entrée. They have a first-class wine list, and the kid’s menu is terrific. Save room for dessert—we had an outstanding kula lime tart from the restaurant’s bakery. The décor is pleasant with colorful local artwork, and we had an ocean view. The place is popular; went on a Tuesday evening, and they had a full house.
If you need a sweet treat and like yogurt, visit Yogurtland in Whaler’s Village shopping center, Lahaina. You have the opportunity to make your own sundae, picking your flavors and toppings, and then pay by the ounce. It’s clean, the staff was friendly. There was a good selection of flavors, including some with a Hawaiian theme (Taro). Perfect for a hot day.
South of Lahaina, in Kihei, another delicious but more casual choice for lunch or dinner is Coconut’s Fish Café. This fabulous restaurant has a surfing theme and features amazing fish tacos. They also make excellent appetizers such as coconut shrimp and calamari, and do a great grilled mahi-mahi on a bun. They have amazing sauces and toppings; all is healthy, not greasy. There is also a kids menu. You order at a counter and sit at surfboard-shaped tables, and they bring the food to you. It’s a favorite hangout of rocker Steven Tyler, who lives nearby.
Next to Kihei, in Wailea, we had a great dinner at Monkeypod Kitchen. It has great variety of delicious food, and wonderful drinks (try the Mai Tais!) We loved the fish tacos and lobster pizza; I also liked the cornbread and Brussel sprouts. For dessert, try the cream pies, baked daily. There’s also a kids menu. We had a great ocean view, live music and a choice of indoor and outdoor seating. It was crowded … but with good reason!
If you enjoy Elvis’ music, take the family to Burn’n Love, a show featuring Elvis lookalike Darren Lee and back-up dancers and musicians performing Elvis’ greatest hits at the Maui Theater in downtown Lahaina. The music was excellent, the costumes colorful and Lee was playful and interactive with the audience. Lee has the Elvis look, mannerisms and voice. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, and will definitely go back when I’m on Maui. The show offers flashbacks to Elvis career, particularly his visits to Hawaii.
It was a fabulous trip, and one of the best islands Hawaii has to offer.