Packing and Checking out of the Grand Wailea in Maui - Day 10 - Friday

As we say good-bye to the Grand Wailea and sadly begin the chore of packing our suitcases, I leave you with the sounds of the tranquil waves that we’ve grown accustomed to listening to.



Our Last Full Day in Maui - Day 9 - Thursday

Today is our last full day at The Grand Wailea. Tim played a round of golf while I relaxed at the hotel and we met up for shopping at the Shops at Wailea and lunch at Tommy Bahamas. Picture three shows me wearing the beautiful crystal necklace and earrings that Tim bought me at the Swarovski store. Every time I wear them in the future, I will be reminded of a most amazing vacation.

After another lazy afternoon in the winding pool (I don’t think this would ever get old), we dressed for dinner at Humuhumunukunukuapua’a and met some new friends at the lobby bar.

The view was spectacular and the wine flowed. Before long, I was so drowsy, lulled by the sound of the waves, that we decided to end the night early and give in to the call of our soft bed.

Beaches in Wailea
Although we didn’t take this picture, I had to reblog it as I think the photographer definitely captured the beauty of the beaches here in Wailea.

Wailea Beach Maui by mojo2u on Flickr.

Beaches in Wailea

Although we didn’t take this picture, I had to reblog it as I think the photographer definitely captured the beauty of the beaches here in Wailea.



Wailea Beach Maui by mojo2u on Flickr.

(via killerkattt)

Enjoying Maui - Just Another Day in Paradise - Day 8 - Wednesday

Today was a wonderfully restful day. We decided to forgo the “Road to Hana” and spend the day relaxing at the beach. Good choice. We spent the morning drinking mimosas, while lounging on our balcony, and marveling at how lucky we are to have such a beautiful view. Life is good.

For lunch, we ventured out to the “Cafe on the Green” located just down the road at the Makena Beach and Golf Resort. This is a wonderful restaurant located at the golf course. The food was delicious (I had the lemongrass and corn veloute and the BLT avocado sandwich). Yum. The view of the course, ocean, and Molokini was exceptional. Oh yes, and the two Mai Tais hit the spot too!

After a very filling lunch, we changed into our bathing suits and hit the beach. The beach at the Grand Wailea is truly magnificent and calming. Given that it is a quiet little cove, only the guests of the Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons were enjoying it. I took a nap while listening to the waves gently rolling in. What can I say? I lead a tough life.

After such a grueling day, we showered off the sand and headed out to Ferraro’s at the Four Seasons to dine and watch the sunset. We started with Bruschetta and then I had the Pappardelle Bolognese – Traditional Veal and Meat Sauce and Tim had the Ricotta Gnocchi – Red Wine Braised Short Rib Ragout, Fresh Mint. We chose a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to accompany it. So good!

We remarked at how funny it is that we’ve dined twice at the Four Season’s next door but have yet to experience the cuisine at our own hotel.

This is because we are working our way through the top restaurants recommended for Wailea on Trip Advisor:

We’ve also eaten at Longhi’s (Tuesday lunch) at the Shops at Wailea (next door to our hotel).

Actually, we do have reservations at our hotel for our last night at Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Yes, I did cut and paste that name!) at our hotel.

Named after Hawaii’s state fish, the Polynesian thatch roof restaurant seems to float on a million-gallon saltwater lagoon filled with tropical fish. Awarded “Best Resort Restaurant” in Maui by the readers of The Maui News and “Best Table for Two” by Islands magazine’s Best of the Worlds awards in February 2009.

After a fabulous dinner, we enjoyed port wine at Ferraro’s bar and listened to the instumental sounds of the violin and guitar. The couple beside us mentioned that the two very talented gentlemen playing for us had been playing at this bar for 12 years! Talk about job security.

The Grand Wailea is beautifully lit at night. I kicked off my stilettos and we strolled the grounds walking hand-in-hand. A synonym for Maui is romance.

Enjoying Maui - Experiencing the Old Lahaina Luau - Day 7 - Tuesday

After a day of exploring the Grand Wailea hotel and some time lounging by the pool, we cleaned up a bit and headed out to the Old Lahaina Luau. It is rated as one of the top traditional luaus in Maui (some say it is the best). We decided to go with common opinion and did not reserve the one at our hotel (which would have been very convenient) but, instead, drove the 45 minutes on a very slow road to the town of Lahaina to experience it. We were not disappointed.

After a short visit to the very touristy town of Lahaina, we entered the luau grounds and were seated at a table of eight. Although the food was bland, the show was not. The story told by the dancers was of Pele, the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes.

In a nutshell, Pele has a nasty temper. Every incident with a volcanic eruption in Hawaii is said to be Pele’s way of expressing her longing to be with her true love, in many stories a young chief named Lohiau, but she’s a fickle and dangerous lover who sometimes kills her husbands. It was a gripping story. :-)  You can read more about Pele here.

I included a picture of my husband and I wearing our evening outfits that included some Hawaiian tradition. Tim is wearing a Kukui nut lei. The history of the Kukui nut lei dates back to the arrival of the early Polynesians to the Hawaiian Islands. The reigning chiefs and kings treasured the kukui nut lei and wore them proudly. You can read more about these necklaces here.

I’m wearing a plumeria in my hair. It’s very popular here in Hawaii. Wearing it behind your left ear means that you’re taken; behind the right means you’re available. Now that’s a cool way of getting a date! I’ve read that beautiful Hawaiian women will wear it on the left side until they see a man they are interested in. Then they quickly switch it to the right to show their interest. Love it!

Waking Up in Maui - Exploring the Grand Wailea - Day 7 - Tuesday

Today was an exploring day. The hotel that we’re staying at, The Grand Wailea, is like heaven on earth. It’s situated on 40 acres of lush vegetation and percisely manicured lawns and we took some time to explore it.

Note: I love the grass at these resorts. It looks nicer than a putting green and you can walk on it in stilettos without sinking in.

The first photo is the view from our balcony. This is what we wake up to every morning. Nice!

I’ve chosen only a few of the gorgeous pictures of the resort. Every where you turn there is a pocket of paradise.

Tonight we have reservations for the Old Lahaina Luau. It is a traditional style luau situated in the town of Lahaina and comes highly recommended.

Arriving in Maui - Day 6 - Monday

We’re now entering part 3 of our trip. Sadly, Maui is the last island we will explore. On a brighter note, we have heard from many that this is their favorite. We will be enjoying the Grand Wailea for the next 5 days.

After the slightly cooler temps in Volcano at 4000 feet elevation, Maui promises to deliver 82 degrees and allow us to change from jeans and sweaters to shorts and t-shirts. Nice. I’m ready for this.

Note: You can see my cute pink suitcase that I had to leave behind sitting beside the new tougher one that I bought. Sadly, the new one is not pink. Sigh.

Two short flights later and we arrived in Maui. Our hotel, The Grand Wailea, is only 30 minutes from the airport and after a quick stop to replenish our mimosa, wine, and appetizer supply, we arrived. The hotel is truly magnificent. Although we had already reserved an ocean view room, we were delighted to find out that we had been upgraded. Our view is of the magnificent gardens and the ocean. I don’t think the pictures will do it justice but I’ve posted two and will definitely be posting more over the next few days.

After having drinks out on the balcony, we made reservations at Duo, a highly recommended steakhouse at the Four Seasons, next door. A short walk along the beach and we arrived. We dined poolside/oceanside, with a view of the majestic fountain (see the picture with the fountain). After partaking in a wonderfully romantic dinner of champagne and filet mignon we strolled along the beach, back to our hotel and marvelled at how difficult it would be to spend the next few days in this heaven on earth. ;-)

I will be sharing pictures with you over the next couple of days.

In the meantime, you can see some pictures that I posted of the resort after we made reservations a couple months ago in this entry.

Traveling Outfits

I am totally loving these five outfits presented by Brad Goreski for Kate Spade. Given that I’m currently exploring the islands of Hawaii, traveling outfits are definitely on my mind.

Goodbye to the Big Island - Day 6 - Monday

As we leave our cosy cabin in Volcano, we reluctantly say good-bye to Gino, a cat that befriended us at the village, and the quiet serenity of the surrounding forest that provided us with piece of mind and a trip back to when you didn’t hear traffic in the background or sirens in the distance.

Touring the Big Island, Viewing the Volcanoes - Day 5 - Sunday

Waking up to our first full day in Volcano was amazing. The floor to ceiling glass walls provided us with an amazing view of the forest. A scrumptious breakfast of French toast and fruit had been left for us.

After breakfast, we headed out to the nearby Volcanoes National Park to see the steam vents and lava tubes. How amazing is it that steam just rises out of holes everywhere? You really have the feeling that you are standing on something volatile.

The lava tubes were equally as impressive. Standing inside the long caves snaking through the underground, you get a sense of how large and strong the underground  lava flows are.

Our helicopter tour (Safari) was scheduled for just after lunch and we were lucky to score the best seats—right in front. Richard, our pilot, kept us very entertained, flying so close to the lava that I really did feel like I could almost reach out and touch it. You’ll notice, in one of the pictures, that there is a lot of silver ground. This is actually slow moving lava making its way across land. Apparently, full-scale eruptions are rare and the volcanoes on the island are constantly releasing lava through fissures and lava tubes. Most often lava moves slowly, giving lots of warning for those in its path. Deaths, resulting from it, are very rare—millions of dollars of obliterated properties, not so rare. Richard told us that it wasn’t a question of ”if” the lava would reach all the houses on the island it was ”when”. At some point Hilo (a main city where we flew into) would be gone like many of the other towns.

We asked, “Why would anyone build here?” Richard explained that land was incredibly cheap, running at about $1,000 to $5,000 an acre; however, volcano insurance does not exist and you cannot get a mortgage or loan to build a house. You have to pay for everything out of your own pocket. Yikes! Even when the lava has demolished your land, you still own it and must pay $25.00 to the government every year.

Richard then pointed out his friend Jack’s house (chronicled here) that, up until 2 months ago, stood beside land that he, himself, had planned to buy and build a house on. All that remains now is the top of the water tower and roof. The rest is buried under lava. So sad.

It was an amazing tour that we will always remember and as we witnessed the power of volcanoes and their ability to transform an island. We are amazed at the resilience of the people.

We continued to explore the island. The last few photos are of Rainbow falls and surrounding area. Magnificent!

Tomorrow, we say goodbye to our beautiful cabin and catch a flight to Maui to stay at a Waldorf Astoria resort, The Grand Wailea. we are told that it will surpass our wildest expectations. I’ll let you know. ;-)

Arriving in the Big Island, Volcano Village Lodge - Day 4 - Saturday

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to Oahu. We have great memories and I will always remember our view of Diamond Head and the beach. However, we’re off to part 2 of our amazing Hawaiian vacation so I’m excited about that.

Tim and I are definitely in a vacation state of mind. So much so that we forgot to remove a corkscrew and large bottles of suntan lotion from our luggage. We, of course, got flagged by security and were properly embarrassed. The woman in security was so nice. She transferred both contraband articles to our suitcases that had already been checked.

Retrieving our luggage in the Big Island was easy but broke my heart a little. On this first short (40 minute) island-hopping flight, our luggage had been beaten like a bongo drum….torn apart by the seams, literally. (I wonder if that was security getting back at us?) My lovely pink suitcase suffered a mishap and is ripped at the seams. With 8 more flights to take, I don’t think my suitcase will survive and we will need to shop in Hilo to replace it. Oh well, we’re on vacation. Big smile.

Hawaii Island is an incredible collection of many diverse micro-environments, each with its own weather. You can travel through all but two of the world’s different climate zones on Hawaii ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra, a result of the shielding effect and elevations of the massive volcanoes Maunakea and Maunaloa.

Arriving at the rainforest we were met by a cold mist. The temperature was a cool 58 degrees. That’s downright chilly for this Florida girl and quite different from Oahu. 

In an earlier post, I blogged about the Volcano Village Lodge in the town of Volcano. The lodge is a luxury resort, with only 5 rooms (cabins). It bills itself as being “for people who want more out of life than a whirlwind tour of the island. Wake up in peace and beauty. Stroll through our lush garden trails and giant fern leaves… look up at the native ohia trees, and be delighted by the wild and delicate orchids on the trees.”

We arrived at about 6:30 pm, at dusk, and after walking down the short path and around the beautiful winding staircases and platforms, we were at our cabin called Kilauea, after the volcano. First order of businesss…start the gas fireplace. Fortunately, the room warmed up quickly.

I snapped a few pictures of the room and, as you can see, it’s gorgeous, luxurious, and surrounded by nature. I’m not sure that the pictures do it justice as it was getting dark…I’ll surely get more tomorrow. No telephone service, no cable service, and spotty Internet wireless (and you can only access it if you’re standing in the right place in the bathroom (lol)).  I’ll do my best.

Our next day here includes exploring the grounds, the Volcano National Park (only one mile away) and a helicopter tour of the volcano. Sweet!

Touring the Island of Oahu - Day Three - Friday - Part 1

Another beautiful day in Waikiki. I don’t think I could ever get tired of the view of Diamond Head and the beach view from our balcony.

The day started off with me blogging and preparing for the day. After another magnificent breakfast and a walk along Waikiki beach (Unfortunately, I don’t think it was long enough to burn off all of the calories from our buffet breakfasts at the Sheraton), we headed down to the lobby to meet our guide. Ron picked us up at 1:00 pm to provide us with a private 5-hour tour of the island. Armed with our champagne and a bottle of wine (the important stuff!), we set off to view the sites.

Our day included two very touristy stops that I think everyone is obliged to visit: the Dole Plantation and a macadamian farm. Ron had us laughing when he informed us that the macadamian farm was, in fact, not really a farm as macadamian nuts only grow on the Big Island. The owner is shipping them in. Still, we got to sample the nuts and view the luscious surroundings.

Late lunch included a stop at a shrimp farm where we sampled the local cuisine. This was a side-of-the-road shack directly in front of where they harvest the shrimp. Our dining environment consisted of picnic tables and was not at all glamorous, but I’ve never tasted fresher, tastier shrimp in my life!

We continued drinking champagne and viewing the sites. Both were simply breathtaking!

One interesting part of our tour was that we got to see the sites where Lost, King Kong, Hawaii-50, and Jurassic Park scenes were filmed. The last picture of this entry is the site where they are being chased by dinasours (velociraptors?) across an open field. I remember it vividly and it’s quite something to see it in person.

Touring the Island of Oahu - Day Three - Part 2

During the second half of our tour, we visited La’ie Point (first four pictures). Legend has it that a giant lizard (Mo’o) stood upright, ready to kill any intruders. Kana, a legendary warrior, slayed the lizard and chopped its head into five pieces. He flung the pieces into the water, creating the five islands that we can see from this point. Cool.

Ron was determined to show us history that he enjoyed. He is slightly religious in nature so it meant a lot to him to show us a Heiau. This is the term given to Hawaiian temples. They are created to treat the sick (heiau hōʻola), offer first fruits, offer first catch, start rain, stop rain, increase the population, ensure health of the nation, achieve success in distant voyaging, reach peace, and achieve success in war (luakini). Wow. They are basically a catch-all, aren’t they?

Because the land of heiau was sacred, it was not unusual for successive generations to add to original structures and for the purposes of the heiau to change over time. An example is the one we viewed, Ulupo heiau in Kailua on Oʻahu, which is said to have been built by the menehune, that is, a long time ago, and is thought to have been used first as an agricultural heiau and later as a luakini (for human sacrifices). Wow.

Okay. That’s impressive but this is what I saw…This particular heiau, called ULUPO, is located behind a YMCA and looked like farm land and a huge pile of rocks. Ron stated that all the rocks were gathered into the pile (time period approximately the 1400s) in only one night and came from as far away as the mountains. One night? Men working all night? I’m doubtful. Still, I couldn’t resist joking that men like that don’t exist anymore and that I’m sure all the women at that time snapped them up. ;-)

The second last picture is of the plumeria flower that is so popular here. You may have seen it in my ponytail in this post. I also have one that I hope to wear if we ever make it out to the late dinners that are popular here. Wearing it behind your left ear means that you’re taken; behind the right means you’re available. Now that’s a cool way of getting a date!

Finally, the last picture is the building that is the Hawaii 5-0 television show police headquarters. In actual fact, it is a Department of Transportation building where you get licenses. The famous King Kamehameha stands proudly at the entrance to the building.

That was fun!

Waking up in Waikiki Beach, Oahu - Day Two - Thursday

Our first full day in Waikiki. Due to the 6-hour time difference, we woke up way too early (5:30 am). We ventured down to Kai, one of the restaurants, at the Sheraton. As you can see, it was a very delicious breakfast buffet. Yum.

After breakfast, we walked the grounds of our hotel and its sister hotel, The Royal Hawaiian, and snapped a few pictures. This leisurely stroll took us to Kalakaua avenue where we took advantage of the amazing assortment of shops and people watching. We spied a cute newly-married couple coming out of the Westin. They were one of two wedding couples we encountered.

At one point, I came across “Forever 21” and it was then that I agreed to meet up with Tim at the hotel a little later. P.S. I bought a few things (of course) including a cute summer dress that you’ll see tomorrow when we go on our private tour of the island.

Lunch included a casual refueling at Dukes, a restaurant that I’m told is an icon of the island.

For the afternoon, we decided to lay low and hang out by one of the pools at the Sheraton, the Edge Infinity Pool. Rumor has it that this was the first infinity pool on the island.

We made reservations at Roy’s (another island recommendation) for 8:15 pm. Back at the room at 4:30 pm (10:30 pm EST), I talked Tim into letting me take a little nap. Big mistake. Still groggy at 7:00 pm (1:00 am EST), we both agreed that we needed to skip the night’s festivities and get a good night’s sleep to combat the jetlag. We would need to meet up with Roy the next night.

P.S. You’ll notice that I’m wearing flip-flops in these pictures. This must (surely) have shocked some of you as I’m such a shoe fanatic. Flip-flops! you say aghast. Where are her high-heels or fancy shoes? Well, I brought the cutest pair of ballerina flats (with crystals on them) with me for the heavy walking days but at the last minute, I decided to go with flip-flops for our walk because the flats rub up against the back of my foot and I couldn’t take the chance of getting blisters with all the fun we have in store over the next few days. I guess it’s the Florida girl in me that prefers high heels or flip-flops. :-)

Arriving in Waikiki Beach, Oahu - Day One - Wednesday

After getting up very early to take two long flights, complete with very loud and rambunctious children, we finally arrived at the Sheraton Waikiki in Oahu. We were both exhausted. It was 7:00 pm Hawaiian time which equalled 1:00 am (the next day) our time (Florida). The time difference is 6 hours. A very long day.

We ventured down to one of the hotel bars, RumFire, to have our first Mai Tai of the trip. Delicious! The bar is absolutely beautiful overlooking the beach and the infinity pool and I will be posting much better pictures of it and everything else in the next couple of days. 

For now, here are a few pictures I snapped last night from our balcony overlooking Diamond Head, one of the hotel pools, and the beach.

  1. A view of Oahu from the plane.
  2. One of the areas in the RumFire bar.
  3. Our view of Diamond Head from our balcony.
  4. An early morning view (5 am) of the surfers (from our balcony).
  5. Looking down from our balcony. One of the hotel’s pools (the lazy river one).

We’re off to breakfast and then to do some exploring of the hotel and area.

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