Every year we visit Maui during the Christmas Holiday Break. Below is a summary of my favorite restaurants, places to stay, and fun activities to do.
Places to Stay:
One of our favorite places to stay is the Westin Kaanapali Villas. They have studios, 1-bedroom villas, and 2-bedroom villas. The rooms have kitchens and washer/dryers. The property has a number of pools, including a kiddie ship pool, and a larger pool with a slide for the bigger kids. There are BBQs throughout the property and workout rooms. This property is very comfortable to stay at with or without kids.
We arrived a few days earlier and started out by staying at the Maui Eldorado Kaanapali by Outrigger. I booked a 1-bedroom partial ocean view through Hotels.com. We ended up getting upgraded to a 2-bedroom ocean front condo. I was surprised that they upgraded my room considering I booked it through Hotels.com, but it is nice to know they don't penalize you for not booking directly with the hotel. This room had a beautiful view with a nice patio to hang out on. The room was very spacious. The resort has a cabana area adjacent to the beach where you can hang out, with limited lounge chairs. They also offer a backing to use if you want to hang out on the beach. They only provide one beach towel per person, so be aware of that. We always use our Tommy Bahama beach chairs, so the lounge chairs were not a concern for us.
We returned to Maui in March for the Uncle Willie K BBQ Bluesfest, and stayed at the Honua Kai Resort and Spa. This is a condominium-type property with 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom options. The rooms are very spacious and comfortable. They have full kitchens and a washer and dryer. This property is upscale, with Bosch appliances. There are a couple of pools, including a pool with sand for the younger kids. The fitness room has machines, free weights, and new cardio equipment. There is a Duke's restaurant on the property that offers happy hour. I enjoy eating breakfast at Duke's. They don't have chocolate macadamia nut pancakes on the menu, but they always make it for me if I ask, and they are so good there.
Taverna in Kapalua - Restaurant with a very nice setting overlooking Kapalua (but we always get there when it is dark, so we don't get to enjoy the beautiful view). We started our dinner by having the Pane Fresco al Forno di Casa, their house bread served with Maui olive oil and Hawaiian sea salt. It was so good that we ordered a second one. I had the Insalata Taverna, which is salad with arugula, endive, Gorgonzola dolce, grapes, toasted mac nuts, and cintronette. It was very light and tasty. In contrast, for dinner I thoroughly enjoyed the Casarecce Pugliesi, which is their house made pasta with Gorgonzola cream sauce and black pepper candied bacon. It was so good, but heavy, so I only ate half of it and enjoyed the other half the next day for lunch--and it was just as good as the night before. They had half off bottled wines that night, so we enjoyed a nice bottle of wine and the chocolate cake for dessert.
The Plantation House Restaurant - We are avid steak eaters, so we were very excited to hear that the Plantation House Restaurant was doing a special once a week Steakhouse themed menu, featuring large cuts of premium meats and traditional sides. This restaurant has one of the most beautiful views while dining, overlooking the Plantation Golf Course. We started out with the house mai tai that was so refreshing. The half dozen Good Point Oysters with the Maui onion mignonette, lemon, and adobo loco were incredible. We also enjoyed the Grilled Kampachi Kama with the pickled cucumber and ponzu sauce. Truly amazing and I understand they typically run out of this early, so be sure to order it right away. For our main course I had the 8 oz. filet, and my husband had the Prime Top Sirloin. Both were cooked to perfection. You can choose a variety of sauces to complement the steak. We both loved the Au Poivre sauce, so I would definitely recommend that one. For our side dishes we had the garlic fried rice with sweet peas and the garlic glazed organic beans. We finished off our evening with the S'more dessert, which was complete heaven. This was truly one of our most enjoyable dinners (so much so we returned the following week), and I would highly recommended treating yourself to such a lovely evening.
Sangrita Grill & Cantina - They have happy hour from 4-6. I had one of their $3 tacos, which was very good, and a $6 margarita. The queso fundido did not thrill me. My husband had the rotisserie chicken, which they are known for, and he really enjoyed. It. While the meal wasn't anything special, it certainly was affordable.
China Boat - We discovered this restaurant on our last visit, and we enjoyed it just as much this time. They offer delivery to the Westin Kaanapali Villas and other local hotels. I really enjoyed their corn and chicken soup, and the shrimp in lobster sauce. The chicken fried rice, Mongolian beef, and chicken with mixed vegetables were also great. This is a great, reasonably priced, casual restaurant.
Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar - This is a very popular restaurant, so be sure to make a reservation. If you don't mind eating early, they offer 25% off of most of their menu items (not including drinks) until 6:00 PM. They have a great selection of sushi dishes, as well as a variety of other options. I enjoyed the miso soup, onion tempura, and a variety of sushi.
Mala - This is located on Front Street in Lahaina, with a beautiful ocean view. The Cucumber Salad with Furikake was a wonderful starter salad. I also really enjoyed the Local Tomato & Burrata Cheese Salad, as well as the Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts.
Honu Seafood & Pizza - Honu is known for their pizzas, as well as their other specialty dishes. Because Honu is owned by Mark Ellman, who also owns Mala, they allow you to order food off of the menu from Honu, as well as Mala. I started out with the oysters and the cucumber salad that I had the other night at Honu. I then enjoyed the Margherita Pizza. We also ordered the Mahi Mahi and New York Steak, and both were wonderful. For dessert I had the Blackberry Lilikoi Tart...it was amazing.
Kimo's - This is a restaurant located in Lahaina on Front Street, with beautiful ocean views. They start out by serving wonderful bread and miniature muffins that are amazing. I love their Caesar Salad and the prime rib, and of course their famous Hula Pie for dessert.
Star Noodle - This is a very popular restaurant, so be sure to make reservations in advance. The dishes are intended to be shared, so it is a great place to go with a few people so you can try everything. We had the kim chee wings, miso salmon, miso eggplant, Vietnamese Crepe, kalbi steak, Ahi Avo, rib eye block (which comes served on a sizzling hot platter), garlic noodles, and finished it off with the Malasadas with the chocolate and caramel sauce. Everything was wonderful (except for the Brussels Sprouts). This was one of our favorite restaurants.
Auntie's Kitchen at The Westin Kaanapali Villas - This restaurant recently changed names, and now they offer prime rib every night. I ate here twice, and both times the prime rib was really great. It comes with French fries and mixed vegetables, and I enjoyed everything. They even brought out a fresh Hawaiian roll with butter and sea salt that was wonderful as well. Really enjoyable dinner.
Lahaina Grill - This is one of the most popular restaurants in Lahaina and an advance reservation is suggested. They start out the meal by serving warm bread with herb butter. We always love their French onion soup, and the Caesar salad is very flavorful. I enjoy having the waygu beef ravioli appetizer as my main course, as it is very rich and just the right amount to satisfy me. My friend had the salmon, which was very good.
Teppan Yaki Dan at the Sheraton Hotel - This is a Benihana-style restaurant where they cook in front of you. It is a fun show for the kids and good food--expect to walk out very full. Personally, I prefer Kobe Steakhouse in Lahaina on Front Street, but my husband prefers Teppan Yaki Dan.
The Maui Theatre in Lahaina has a few different shows to entertain the family. They include the Fourever Fab Show Maui, Ulalena, and Maui on Magic with Seth Grabel.
Fourever Fab Show Maui is a wonderful tribute to the Beatles. The show begins by showing commercials and shows from that era. Then the Beatles come out and performs songs from each era and change costumes and hair according to the different time periods. There are video clips showing on backdrop throughout the show. Whether you're a Beatles fan or not, you'll enjoy the live performance of the four lads and the trip back to the sixties era! Lots of audience participation and fun for all ages!
Ulalena - This is a show that tells the history of Hawaii through authentic Hawaiian music, dance, and live music. The performers move beautifully, and their costumes flow with the music. The show has everything from women spinning in rings in the air, to aerialists hanging from sheets from the sky, to stilt walkers--and everything in between. You know the kids are enjoying it when they tap you on the shoulder during the show to give you a big smile and a thumbs up. This is a wonderful show to be enjoyed by the entire family.
Magic on Maui - The Maui Theatre also has a magic show that is great for the entire family. Seth Grabel, who was on America's Got Talent, entertains both adults and kids as he does card tricks, makes things fly, and causes items to appear and disappear. There is a lot of audience participation, which the kids love. Throughout the show you are asking yourself "How did he do that?"
In addition to the Maui Theatre, there are other locations to enjoy live entertainment.
Warren and Annabelle's - For the adults, there is Warren and Annabelle's magic show located on Front Street in Lahaina. When you arrive you are led into a room where you must figure out which door will let you escape into the world of magic. Once the hidden doorway is revealed, you are led into a charming room where you can enjoy drinks and pupus while Annabelle, the house ghost, plays the piano for you and speaks to you through her piano. After Annabelle's entertainment you are led into an up close magic theatre where you will be thoroughly entertained with magic and comedy. John George and Chris Blackmore were the 2 magicians performing this evening. Not only was their magic spell binding, but also their sense of humor was captivating. Both of these men had us laughing so much that our cheeks hurt. They were so quick witted and seemed to have an answer for everything. It was 2 hours of complete entertainment.
Old Lahaina Luau - We were very excited to attend the Old Lahaina Luau, which is located on Front Street, with the beautiful ocean as a backdrop and amazing food and drinks. As you enter the grounds, you are greeted with a fresh lei and a drink. You are then led to your table and encouraged to explore the grounds, as there are different activities going on to entertain you before the Luau begins. The highlight for the kids was gathering along the Imu (the traditional Hawaiian underground oven) and watching them unbury the pig that had been cooking in the ground. After the removal of the pig, we were seated and hula dancers appeared on stage to entertain us while we waited to be called into the Hale 'AI (Eating House) where traditional Hawaiian Cuisine was displayed beautifully for guests to help themselves. The selection of food is enormous, with everything including roasted pork, grilled beef steak, Island style chicken, Island crab salad, Maui style fish, Poke Ahi and so much more. Everything was wonderful and they encourage you to go back for more food. They bring a wonderful dessert tray to the table, with a variety of tasty desserts. After dinner the show continues and you learn the story of the Hawaiians, beginning with the history of the Polynesian migration, to Ancient Hawaiian Hula, and then to the more contemporary Hula style. It was beautiful to watch the dancers as they performed in different costumes and using instruments to tell the story of Hawaiians.
Nakalele Blowhole - This is a great place to take kids who love to climb rocks and be adventurous. You start 1200 feet above and climb down rocks to reach the blowhole. To get there you drive north from Kapalua for approximately 8 miles, and park when you see the mileage marker that says 38.5.
Maui Adventure Cruises - I love to go whale watching and last year I went with this company and had a great experience. This time was no different. They run right on time, and they took us out in an Explorer Super Raft that was so much fun. They found tons of whales for us to watch. It was a perfect day. We went on the 8:00 AM trip and it was beautiful.
Kapalaua Coastal Trails - This is a great place to take a walk along the water and along a volcano. You will pass the Montage Hotel and beautiful ocean cliffs with water crashing against them.
Fleetwood's on Front Street has special events for live music. We had a great time seeing Mick Fleetwood and his blues band, with special guests Rick Vito and Gretchen Rhodes.
Willie K is one of our favorite Hawaiian musicians. He does a few different types of shows. Mulligans on the Blue is a great place to see him in a nice, intimate setting. He sits on the stage and just plays his guitar or ukulele all night and sings everything from Hawaiian songs, to old classics, to country, to opera. No matter the style, his voice fits perfectly. It is a dinner show and they have a set menu, but they also allow you to pay a cover fee and just order dinner off the regular menu as well.
Maui has become one of our favorite places to visit. There are great beaches, wonderful food, and so many fun activities to enjoy while vacationing.
I would like to thank the Maui Theatre, Old Lahaina Luau, Warren and Annabelle's, and the Plantation House for hosting me as well as Honua Kai Resort and Spa for the discounted rate.