Hawaii has been on my bucket list for over 20 years, I have dreamed of going since I was a child! To a girl in southwestern Ontario Hawaii seemed a place of dreams. My dream became reality in June when we set off for Kihei on the island of Maui. Now a trip to Hawaii is no small deal, it is a long flight with a wicked time change and it is not light on the pocketbook. Therefore we got a lot of advice before embarking on this trip. The first advice was unless you are going for a long period of time, pick an island and stay there and I agree- we were there for 7 days and had we tried to island hop I fear we wouldn’t have seen a thing. We also used the Hawaii tourism island finder– this was helpful in discovering what island would provide the experience just for us. I like activities, my husband doesn’t. I like beaches but also need a decent pool and there has to be a good offering of food! We landed on Kihei because it offered excellent weather, great beaches, loads of activities and came very highly recommended. Kihei has desert like conditions so you will not be plagued with the rain that hits other parts of the island even Wailea just 10 minutes up the road got rain when we didn’t. We have friends that also went to Maui and didn’t stay in Kihei and said they wouldn’t go back- so choose your location wisely.
You will land in Kahului Airport and it was only a 30 minute drive or so to our hotel. We took the SpeediShuttle and found the service excellent. Very easy, on time and very personable drivers. We stayed at the Maui Coast hotel. I can’t rave enough about this property. Clean and quiet with incredible staff. We were upgraded to a junior suite and it was spacious and pleasant. We had a big balcony that we sat out on every night with a nice beverage and we had a microwave and fridge in the room which made our stay even more pleasant. The hotel has bicycles for free, however it is first come first serve so you need to be there early in the morning. The hotel also boasts a car rental and expedia rep in the lobby- this type of convenience makes the stay so easy. The pool is fantastic- it does get crowded in the afternoon when the trade winds sweep people off the beach so be early! The happy hour is excellent and the daily live music is fun. We had a few appetizers from the kitchen on site and they were yummy so I imagine the full entrees are delicious. I felt like a special and valued guest at this hotel. Every morning we were greeted with smiles by all staff. You can’t beat the location a simple 4 minute walk down the street and you are on the beach. The beach is soft creamy sand and the ocean is just right for playing in as the big waves don’t roll in so it is safe for the whole family. Anytime after noon hour the trade winds start to blow in and this is the time to retreat to the pool unless you want to become a sand dune!
There is so much to write about this vacation so I will leave this post to the location, hotel and of course…food!
Breakfast: Our first morning found us at Café O’Lei Smoothie bar- now they have a restaurant also, however the smoothie is deeelicious and filling plus the smoothie bar is a great joint for a morning breakfast or mid day pick me up.
On our second day we found Kihei Caffé and we parked ourselves there every morning thereafter! The biscuits are out of this world-no not gluten free so I only had a nibble. My morning breakfast- fish- fresh wonderful tasty grilled up fish! I thought we got great value for our money and the service was always really prompt and polite. Now you do have to order and pay at the cashier and then find a table- this can be tricky- but they do their best to accommodate. The line can get long so make sure you arrive earlier rather than later.
If you are looking for a restaurant with view then Sarento’s on the Beach is your kind of place. Located on the beach you get a stunning view. Our breakfast was fantastic and the service was excellent.
We never made it to lunch- ever- we were stuffed on a daily basis until later in the evening. One night we happened up on Sansei. We were told if we waited .5 hour we would be just in time for ½ price sushi and as an added bonus, karaoke! The sushi was excellent and we ate waaay more than we should have. The karaoke was entertaining to painful but all in all it was a pretty excellent way to spend the evening. I hear that people start lining up at 5pm! I think we lucked out because it was fourth Friday and everyone was already at that party leaving this one for us and some die hard karaoke stars! As a side note- if you are in town for the fourth Friday there is usually a pretty kicking party going on so we hear!
One of our fave evening spots became Three’s Bar and Grill. A fantastic patio under big trees with live music, incredible drinks and delicious food. It really doesn’t get much better. The service was excellent and the menu is robust. This is a must try.
Our other big fave was Café O’Lei– yes of the smoothie stand fame! The restaurant is a bustling paradise of taste and sound. It gets busy which gives it a lively and exciting buzz. The food is outstanding and I had no trouble navigating my gluten free needs and my vegetarian desires. The potatoes in the restaurant were to die for- I don’t know what they do but honestly, I would have just ordered a big pot of mashed potatoes if I could have!!
If you are coming from Canada and stop through the Duty Free the booze is cheap cheap cheap and you can bring in as much as you want! It was nice to have a bottle chilling in the fridge when we were finished a long day of beach laying! Also the Foodland downtown just requires your postal code in order to get their card- do it- it will save you money. I bought Hawaiian salt and macadamia nuts there for a fraction of the price I would pay at the tourist shops. Also the ABC store has a loyalty program so save your receipts and you can trade them in for small prizes. If you are there for a week and grab snacks from their shop it can add up really quickly. One last thing you have to try…donkey balls….I leave that for you to discover!