Aloha, friends! This week I’m bringing you a travel diary from our honeymoon in Maui, Hawaii! A honeymoon is undoubtedly meant to be unforgettable, and with so many beautiful places in the world, choosing a location can be tricky. Daniel (my husband) and I have started a travel bucket list that we’re slowly (and excitedly) checking off. And since Daniel doesn’t have a passport (yet), and mine is not up to date, we knew we needed to stay within the U.S. Not a problem! It didn’t take us long to decide on Maui, Hawaii. A word of advice: please, please, please don’t let popularity scare you away from choosing a destination. Daniel and I like to think of ourselves as “anticonformists” – basically, we don’t like to do what everyone else is doing. But, this is not the case when it comes to traveling. Your trip is your experience, no one else. Just because a destination becomes popular for a certain occasion does not mean you should shy away from it. We visited Maui this past March, and I can’t imagine a more perfect place for Daniel and I to celebrate our marriage.
[[Don’t let popularity scare you away from a destination]]
Ask any local on Maui, and they’ll be quick to tell you that their island is the most tourist-friendly of all the Hawaiian islands. And they’re right. Maui’s economy thrives off of the tourist industry, making it an easy choice over the other islands. (In fact, our airport bus driver told us one island in particular dissuades tourists from visiting to the point that a few years back, they managed to keep a cruise ship from docking..). And no matter what part of the island you stay on, you’re bound to find a tourist-friendly atmosphere.
Where To Stay
Daniel and I had the opportunity to stay at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. Just like most hotels in Hawaii, we were welcomed with beautiful leis being placed around our necks.
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa Amenities
The resort features two pools (one with child access, one without), a jacuzzi, Ka’anapali beach access, beachfront lounges to rent, and an oceanfront walkway leading to Whaler’s Village, a local, tourist-friendly shopping center. And, it’s also only a 5 minute drive to historic Front Street! Each guest is given a refillable water bottle to use during their stay. The water stations are located in a small room next to the elevators, providing the guests with free water. It was absolutely perfect! We were able to fill up our bottles before heading out to the beach each day.
Alternative Hotel & Resort Options
Where To Eat
(NOTE: All but one of the restaurants listed below are located at The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa).
The Swan Court – This beautiful restaurant is located downstairs of the resort, and offers front row seating to a beautiful duck pond. You can watch swans, ducks, and several exotic birds swim around while enjoying a delicoius buffet breakfast. The ducks will sometimes make their way to the edge of the pond, but don’t worry, they never get too close for comfort.
Honolulu Coffee – This little coffee shop is located inside the resort and offers breakfast and lunch sandwiches, a variety of coffees, and my personal favorite, guava juice.
In-Room Dining – Daniel & I took full advantage of the room service availability most mornings. Devouring a delicious meal from the comfort of our room was a perfect way to start the day!
‘Umalu – This poolside restaurant offers a to-go option in addition to eating in-restaurant. I recommend either the fish & chips, chicken tenders, or the cheese burger. And no worries: although it’s poolside, there is plenty of room between you and the not-entirely-sober 40 year old man who decides he wants to do a cannonball into the pool. (‘Umala is open for a casual dinner, as well).
Ululani’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice – The long line is worth the wait at this shaved ice stand! Located outside next to ‘Umalu, Ululani’s offers a variety of sugar & sugar free flavors. There’s even colorful benches (with umbrellas) to sit and watch the ocean while you enjoy your shaved ice!
Cool Cats – Located along Front Street, Cool Cats came highly recommended to us. Voted best burger in Maui 13 years in a row, this restaurant is located on the upstairs porch of a shopping center. We were able to people watch while enjoying delicious burgers and fries!
Japengo – Phenomenal Asian cuisine while watching the sunset? Yes, please! Located just inside the hotel lobby, this restaurant offers an overlook of one of the pools, as well as a beautiful sunset over the ocean. You can also opt for the sushi lounge for a more laid-back atmosphere.
I highly recommend making reservations, especially in the peak seasons (9 out of 12 months of the year in Hawaii). I used the Open Table App to make our reservations.
Son’z Steakhouse – Located in the same venue as The Swan Court (breakfast), this restaurant will make you want to wear your best resort attire. The menu is a la carte, and the sides are large enough to share with your friends and family. Although Son’z is downstairs of the resort, there’s just enough sky visibility to watch the gorgeous sunset Maui is famous for. I highly recommend booking a reservation through the Open Table App.
In-Room Dining – I never have disregard for room service. It’s one of the highlights of my vacations! We used room service only twice for dinner – once when we were feeling too jet lagged to get dressed up for appearances, and another after spending hours on the road exploring Haleakala (volcano). The menu offers a variety of seafood, landfood, and salads.
What To Do
Explore Front Street
Just a 5 minute drive from The Hyatt sits historic Front Street! The first courthouse still remains near the end of the road, and offers visitors a museum-like experience to see the progression of the island of Maui. Front Street is also the location for many activity meeting points. Our submarine tour departed from the main dock, where there are numerous fishing excursions, as well as whale tours and sunset cruises. More than anything, it’s a great place to explore on a cloudy day!
Walk (or drive) to Whaler’s Village
Whaler’s Village was probably in our top 3 of favorite activities. It’s located at just a 20 minute walk from The Hyatt, and offers an array of shopping: local boutiques, national chains, and oceanfront restaurants.
In front of Whaler’s Village are a multitude of activities offered. You can find surfing lessons, whale watching tours, scuba diving excurshions, and many more options at one of the kiosks.
See The Ocean Floor On a Submarine Tour
My advice to anyone on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation: Take advantage of all you can! After booking our whale watching tour, Daniel & I noticed a brochure for a submarine tour. Realizing our chances of being able to see the ocean floor in a submarine more than once in our lifetime were slim to none, we quickly signed up. The tour meeting spot was located on Front Street, which gave us an opportunity to explore more of the island!
We were taken to the submarine by boat, where we were able to enjoy an ocean view of the island. Once situated on the submarine, we sat side by side, each facing a circular, iconic submarine window. The tour was phenomenal. You’ll be able to see a sunken ship on the ocean floor, schools of fish, eels, and maybe even sharks!
Book A Whale Watching Tour
Whale season in Hawaii is from November – May. Whales migrate from Alaska to Hawaii in November with a peak season of about 3,000 whales in February (2018 statistic). The mamas give birth and hang out for a while to let their calves begin the first stages of life. Then the whales start migrating back to Alaska around April or May. Although you can sometimes spot whales from the comfort of your hotel during these months, I still very highly recommend booking a tour to see them up close.
Drive to The Top of Haleakala Volcano
Set aside half a day to visit the glorious Haleakala Volcano. The park is open 24 hours, but you must have a reservation (and/or be part of a tour group) to enter from 3am-7am. The sunrise tour requires you to get up at 2am, so we passed, but if you’re up for the challenge, go for it! Be careful not to choose a day that has had a lot of rain. Rock slides are a huge issue in Hawaii, and the road leading up to the Volcano is steep and sharp. Ask your concierge first for their recommendation on if you should make the trip or not.
The top of the Volcano stands at a little over 10,000 feet. The road to the top takes a few hours, and I must say, the drive itself is almost better than the top of the Volcano. Once you’ve reached the top, take it slow, as your lungs will need some time to adjust. Also, bring a jacket! There is about a 20 degree temperature drop.
Take the precautions necessary and it will be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life!
Drive the Road to Hana
I’ve been told countless times the town of Hana itself does not have a lot to offer. The drive itself is the destination. There are beautiful waterfalls along the road, and historical sites to explore! Give yourself anywhere from a half a day to a full day to experience this beautiful adventure!
Enjoy Time On The Beach
If you’re planning quite a few excursions on your trip, don’t forget to take a little time out to just relax and enjoy the beach(es) of Maui. On our last day, Daniel and I were soaking up the last few moments of sun when we spotted sea turtles playing in the waves.
Are you planning a trip to Hawaii anytime soon? Where is your dream destination? Let me know in the comments below!