Peachhead™ Approved Vacations: Vacation in Maui, HI January 2009
I was lucky enough to find a Peachheader who was willing to sell 1 week of her timeshare so we booked the last week of our Christmas break at the Westin Kaanapali villas in Maui http://www.westinkaanapali.com/ . This is an excellent place to stay with kids. We had a 1 bedoom, so the kids slept in the living room on the pull-out couch. The unit comes with a full kitchen and a washer/dryer. There are 3 different pools to hang out at and one pool is a kiddie pool with a ship in it for the kids to play in. The larger pool has a fun slide the kids loved to slide down on. The resort is very family-friendly and they have bbq's set out throughout the property, so very easy to have a bbq there. They even have a bbq pit by the bar in the North tower, where we made s'mores at night.
If you go during a crowded time, you can rent the lounge chairs by the pool in advance so you don't have to fight for a chair. They cost $40.00 for 2 chairs with a cover. On the beach you can rent chairs the morning of. They cost $10.00 a chair or $20 if you want the shade cover on it. We rented chairs on the beach everyday because it was much quieter than the pool and very relaxing there.
This trip we decided that we weren't going to go to restaurants every night and would bbq at the resort instead. What a great decision. Every day we bbq'd for lunch and most of our evenings we bbq'd our dinner as well. The evenings were so relaxing because we weren't racing off to restaurants. While the food was cooking I sat out and relaxed, overlooking the ocean and watching the sunset while the kids played ping pong at the table next to the bbq's.
We did go out to dinner a few nights. The first night (New Year's Eve) we took the kids to Kobe Steakhouse www.kobemaui.com. It is a Benihana type of restaurant where they cook the food right in front of you. The kids loved it. The next night we went to Pineapple Grill www.pineapplekapalua.com. Nice restaurant. They have a kids' menu with grilled chicken, which is a nice change from the hamburgers and chicken fingers you find on most kids' menus. One night it was our friend's birthday so we went for a nice dinner at Merriman's http://www.merrimanshawaii.com/. Very nice setting, great service. The food was good, but very expensive. Their kids' menu actually had a 3 oz filet, which Amber loved, but she said it was too small.
One night we went to a Luau at the Sheraton http://www.sheraton-maui.com/smluau.htm. It is a Polynesian-style luau. It was a smaller setting than the one I had been to before. It overlooks the ocean, which is very nice. They start out with activities for the kids. They get to try to swing the balls on the strings, they show you how they carve coconuts, and they even teach Hawaiian games. Then they do the Hawaiian Imu ceremony. Dinner was buffet style and the food was pretty good, especially the steak. Jasmine actually liked the pig. The kids really enjoyed the show. They especially loved the fire dance. There is nothing greater than seeing the kids' excitement after a show they enjoyed watching.
We did plan some fun activities for the kids so they didn't get tired of being at the pool and beach every day. One day we took the kids to the Maui Ocean Center. www.mauioceancenter.com They loved looking at all of the different fish and touching the starfish and sea urchins and sea cucumbers in the tide pool. Next door to the Maui Ocean Center is Maui Golf and Sports Park www.mauigolfandsportspark.com. They have miniature golf, bungee jumping, bumper boats, and rock climbing. The kids chose to do the rock climbing, which they loved. You can get a wristband for all of the activities if you want to spend more time there.
The big thing we had planned that my kids couldn't wait for was the horseback riding. We went to Ironwood Ranch www.ironwoodranch.com for a 90-minute ride through the tropical valleys and ironwood forests. The kids absolutely loved it. Kids have to be at least 7 years old and 46 inches tall. What is really great is that they take you out in small groups of 4 or 6 (unless you have a larger party in which case they will give you more guides). My girls and I went on a private ride with our guide. Janelle was amazing. She kept making sure that we were all sitting on the horses correctly, leaning forward or back depending on if we were going uphill or downhill, and really teaching us about everything that we were seeing (plants, trees, Hawaiian history, etc). It was a beautiful day and a great way to spend it outdoors.
If you are going to be there awhile and plan on snorkeling you can rent snorkel gear by the week at Boss Frog's Dive & Surf. The hotels can charge $25/day but Boss's is $9.00 for the week for adults and they have a 2 for 1 coupon in one of the magazines. The kids were $20.00 for the week. www.bossfrog.com Someone gave us their inner tubes and boogie boards when they were leaving. The inner tubes were so great for the ocean. I definitely recommend getting an inner tube right when you get there.
At night we like to walk around so we went to Lahaina to explore the art galleries and shops. There is a glow in the dark miniature golf place called Glow Putt mini golf in the Lahaina Shopping Center that the kids were dying to go to so we let them play a round of miniature golf. It is right near Ruths Chris Steak house.
My husband loves guitar and we heard about the Masters of Slack Key Guitar Concert Series at the Napili Kai Beach Resort every Wednesday. There is a restaurant at this resort called The Sea House at the Napili Kai Beach Resort that is right on the beach. http://www.napilikai.com/dining_in_maui.html This was one of the nicest settings for dinner we have encountered. We got there at 5:45...in time to watch the sunset (request a table overlooking the water). The torch lighter runs along lighting the torches and all of the kids follow him. Dinner was really great. They have a very nice kids' menu with all of the kids' favorites for only $6.00 (hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, spaghetti, ribs). The adult menu had a great selection to choose from...I only wish they had a combo appetizer plate because there were too many appetizers to choose from. I went with the sashimi ahi and it was very good...melted in my mouth. We also had the spring rolls, which were great as well. The Waldorf Saldad Napili Kai was very light and summery. Monday and Wednesday nights are their prime rib special night so my family had that and it was very good. My kids are big scallop fans and they loved the scallops as well. I went with the shrimp stuffed with crab. It was wonderful as well...and let's not forget the lava cake for dessert...always a favorite in my family. FYI: They also have nightly specials as well as an early bird dinner if you order by 6:00. Their breakfast menu looked pretty good, too, but I didn't have a chance to try it. After dinner we walked next door for the guitar show....it was really great. They play slack guitar and tell cute stories while playing and you learn about Hawaiian history.
We had to check out of the Westin on Saturday so we booked a room at the Sheratonhttp://www.sheraton-maui.com/. The rooms are a nice size and they have little refrigerators in the rooms. This hotel has the best beach for snorkeling called Black Rock. The water is very calm, so very easy for the kids to swim in it. We also had inner tubes, which the kids loved floating on in the ocean. The pool is like a long maze with little slides. This hotel has beautiful views of the beach and beautiful green grass. We had dinner at their Teppan-yahi Dan restaurant (once again similar to Benihana's); the cook was very talented with his knives, and the volcano he did was one of the best ones I have seen.
This vacation was so relaxing and fun. It really helps to stay at a timeshare where you have a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and access to bbq's. If you don't want to buy a timeshare you can still rent the rooms out on the property.