Here's my review, because for once I'm feeling reasonably motivated to do one, and if there are any questions at all, I'll try to answer them. If you're researching Maui on the cheap, or are interested in an independent, super-active outdoors vacation, you won't find the info here. This is all about how to spend money, eat, drink, shop, and mostly goof off like a tourist.
We are primarily Big Island fans, and it remains our favorite island to visit. But we were traveling with two teen girls, so we picked Ka'anapali for this trip, and had an ocean-view condo at the Ka'anapali Ali'i.
My husband went paragliding ten days before we were scheduled to leave for Maui. Bad decision, and I should've told him to wait until AFTER Maui, 'cuz he landed with a mighty thud on his left foot and fractured his ankle. Ouch! So I made some spendy decisions that I wouldn't ordinarily have contemplated if my husband had been mobile, such as pre-ordering groceries through Demming Delivery to minimize our shopping time upon arrival, and hiring a private car and driver for the day we did Haleakala and part of windward Maui (Lincoln Navigator Cab Services), in order to maximize his comfort. We did rent a mini-van through Alamo for the two weeks we were on the island, and I was the sole driver. I always gave myself plenty of time to accommodate the travel distance and traffic conditions.
The Ka'anapali Ali'i remains a good choice for a family condo stay. With two teen girls, the walking distance to Whaler shopping village is a no-brainer. There is a wonderful selection of stores at this mall, for spending lots of time and money. If you don't want to vacation with a zillion kids, however, don't stay at the Ali'i or in Ka'anapali, or even come to Maui in the summer. Come in the fall or spring.
Fun and worthwhile excursions we did:
An excursion that was good, and we recommend, but that didn't quite pan out for all of us because my daughter and I discovered we have a fear of heights:
Pi'iholo Zipline in Makawao.
Great, well-run operation, just know your limitations better than we did. I'll call this one a very expensive lesson. However, my niece had a blast, and this was probably her favorite excursion we did on the island.
Trips that were fun, but were only a limited success because of clouds that came out of nowhere and socked us in:
I guess I'll just have to go back and try again. We did see some beautiful blooming silverswords.
Good, but not cheap, eats for dinner in the Lahaina/Ka'anapali area:
3. Ma'la Ocean Tavern
Expensive fiasco meal:
Great shave ice:
Ulalani's (any location)
Good lunch spot (during the week):
Hali'imaile General Store
Fantastic over-the-top Polynesian fantasy lunch:
Mama's Fish House
Good lu'au to go to with a husband in a wheelchair:
Feast at Lele
Best bartender on the island, with or without crutches:
Airport experience with no aloha:
Kahului airport/ Hawai'ian Airlines.
In Seattle, our point of origin, the Hawai'ian Airlines staff were great, and accommodated our situation graciously and efficiently. The flights themselves were on time, smooth, pleasant, with good crew and service. We're grateful Hawai'ian Airlines has non-stop flights between Seattle and Maui. However, the experience at Kahului airport left us with a sour ending to an otherwise wonderful vacation. I have filed a complaint with the airline, and I hope to hear from them, so I'll just leave it at that for the purposes of this review.
Mahalo for reading, and again, if I can be helpful in addressing any questions, please let me know.