A little less than a month ago, my wife and I travelled to Maui for a somewhat spontaneous 7 day vacation. Although it interrupted our work schedules and did not fit into the a-typical “Maui in Winter” thematic, this was a much needed departure from the routines and rigours of our daily lives and a reward for our hard work of late.
We nestled into our ocean-view suite at the Fairmont Kea Lani at Wailea. Perched five storeys above Polo Beach we rarely ventured out, except for a bit of shopping here and there, a day of travelling to Iao State Park, Lahaina and Kaanapali, and a few hedonistic dinners to some of the region’s best restaurants – Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at the Four Seasons for example (drool!).
While this vacation was unquestionably excellent and satisfying in all aspects, I would have to rank Maui behind the splendours of the Big Island, which we visited three years ago. Maui is indeed a tropical paradise, but feels somewhat congested, staid and quite touristy. And very expensive. I appreciated the ‘undiscovered’ feeling of the Big Island and its variety of activities in comparison. Maui is a great vacation spot, make no mistake, but if choosing a favourite, it finishes second.
Here are some photos of our trip (click ‘em to make ‘em bigger!). More will be posted to my online photo gallery in days to come. Enjoy.
"Lunch" in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at YVR prior to departure. Not a bad chick-pea salad, but truly the worst mushroom soup i've ever eaten.
First light the morning after arrival. This is the view from our balcony (lanai).
From our room, across the grounds, Polo Beach (great snorkeling), looking across to Lanai on the horizon.
Polo Beach. Exquisitely fine sand - just fantastic. A very nice beach!
Humungous bamboo growing in the courtyard lobby of our hotel.
At Tommy Bahamas Tropical Cafe (several US locations - highly recommended): one of the tastiest things we ate all week: baked macadamia nut-crusted goat cheese with mango salsa and flat bread. OMG! The lemon drop martini...thought it was a good idea at the time...
Visiting Iao State Park. Blast from the past - I'd visited here with my parents over 20 years ago!
The Iao Needle geological formation.
On the road from Kahului/Wailea to Lahaina/Kaanapali. Just crazy beautiful scenery and a perfect day.
On the highway to Lahaina - as the lefthand coastline disappears, that's where Kihei and Wailea are.
The ever-popular (and populous!) Kaanapali Beach off Whalers Village. Black Rock is the peninsula in the distance - a famous locale where I snorkeled more than 20 years ago... Found this area too commercial and busy for my tastes nowadays.
Maalaea Harbour, half-way between Wailea and Lahaina - where many snorkel, sail and fishing charters depart from. Wailea coastline in the distance.
Clothes shopping... sigh
"The Shops at Wailea." A collection of high-end stores and other amenities/accessories. Rolex boutique, Louis Vuitton... And stuff for normal people too. Tori Richard (on the right) sells fantastic "Aloha" shirts for men; dresses for ladies. Got some flip-flops near here too.
Awake and shooting pictures at 4am. Don't ask... Great scenery though - especially the lightening storm in the distance.
A very quiet hotel lobby at 5am. Serene.
Early morning over the pool deck.
Looking back at the hotel from near the beach. Our room is second from the top, second from the right on the near building.
Polo Beach. The abandoned/uninhabited Kahoolawe Island in the distance and the little sliver in front of it is Molokini.
Fresh water shower station to rinse your post-beach salty body and sandy feet.
Deserted Polo Beach at 6am. Can't figure out why?
Closer look at Kahoolawe (completely deforested, grazed down to nothing by ranching cows and sheep, and then bombed by the navy and air force - poor island) and Molokini in front.
The Fairmont Kea Lani property seen from Polo Beach
A beautiful walking path lining the coastline and a nice sunrise. Northwestern Maui - Haleakala volcano, Lahaina side - seen in the distance.
Sunrise over some of the private estates next to our hotel. Listings showed these half-duplexes for sale for up to $6 million. What recession?
Which way to the beach? This way!
8am = take your stations at the beach!
Later in the day, the aforementioned private villas on the left. Fantastic snorkelling/diving off this rugged coastline. Another perfect day in Hawaii.
My favourite Hawaiian flower - the ever-popular Plumeria. Lovely. Bye Hawaii!