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Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

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Seattle, WA
posts: 195
reviews: 26
Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

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:

Snorkel cruise with Hula Girl, trip to Maui Ocean Center in Ma'alea, drive to the upcountry Kula region, visit to Makawao and Pa'ia, and driving a little tiny bit of the road to Hana.

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:

Haleakala.

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:

1. Gerard's

2. Roy's

3. Ma'la Ocean Tavern

Expensive fiasco meal:

Merriman's

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:

My husband

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.

Aloha!

washington
Destination Expert
for Maui
posts: 18,279
reviews: 12
1. Re: Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

Thanks nerd!! Great report..."spend money, eat, drink, shop and mostly goof off like a tourist"! I LOVE full disclosure in a TR!

Hope you'll come back and let us know Hawaiian's response to your complaint.

Sorry you had to learn about your fear of heights the hard way.

Honolulu, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
posts: 28,747
reviews: 2
2. Re: Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

Thanks for the report, appreciate you taking the time. Good luck with the airline, sure wish you would expand!!

Saint Cloud...
Destination Expert
for Oahu
posts: 21,179
3. Re: Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

Thanks for the trip report.

Seems you made the best of it considering hubby's fractured ankle.

I also wish you would expand on your "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."

Seattle, WA
posts: 195
reviews: 26
4. Re: Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

The issue at Kahului involved only one particular gate agent, and if I hear back from Hawai'ian, I will report the resolution here. There were also a couple of issues with the security line, which of course the airlines cannot control. Bottom line: I need to acquire more patience and a more philosophical attitude about flying in general.

Thanks for reading the review! Maui no ka oi (except for the Big Island :-)

anchorage
posts: 5,723
reviews: 6
5. Re: Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

Wonderful trip report nwnerd! So sorry about your husband's injury, but loved your "take charge" attitude! I found it very informative the way you wrapped up your experiences. I think I have just decided to skip Merrimans and go with a different choice. I don't think it's our vibe. We like relaxed and comfy.

LOL at your advice to come in the spring or fall to avoid kids.......we do that to avoid crowds period and it's cheaper. But our kids are grown up and we're able to do that schedule now. Thanks for the fun report. Deb

Seattle, WA
posts: 195
reviews: 26
6. Re: Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

There's a book I found helpful and interesting to read, called "Top Maui Restaurants", by James and Molly Jacobson. They didn't care for Merriman's Kapalua either; I guess I should've listened to them, but I wanted to find out for myself. Now I know :-)

The book covers all the restaurant categories from cheap to splurge. There are so many wonderful restaurants on Maui, to fit every diner's taste, preference, and pocketbook. (Not to mention all the wonderful fresh produce available).

Owen Sound, Canada
posts: 347
reviews: 23
7. Re: Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

Not to take away from your Maui trip report, but I'd be interested to know why you prefer Big Island over Maui.... we are the opposite. Mind you, I like all the islands.

Thanks for the effort, it was entertaining!

Cypress, California
posts: 122
reviews: 1
8. Re: Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

Nwnerd, what happened at Merriman's? We've been there at least 5 times and has always been excellent.

Seattle, WA
posts: 195
reviews: 26
9. Re: Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

Each island has its own flair, vibe, personality, and beauty. They are all wonderful and special. I have been visiting the Big Island since childhood, so I probably have formed an emotional attachment based on memories of family vacations there. My husband loves its wide open spaces, and feels that Maui is crowded in comparison. He also loves spending time at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Other family members love the diving, snorkeling, and sailing opportunities the Big Island provides (that is not to say the other islands don't provide similar opportunities, because they do). To me, there is more of a sense of early Hawai'an history there.

I understand why others feel differently, and have a preference for Maui. On this trip, our group comprised my husband, my mother, me, and two teen girls, and we had plenty of wonderful Maui experiences that we all enjoyed, from young to middle-aged to senior.

Seattle, WA
posts: 195
reviews: 26
10. Re: Maui with mom, teens, and a husband with a broken ankle

Merriman's Kapalua was just not our thing. It felt very chic and trendy, and we felt out of place (rightly or wrongly). The setting is outstanding, and the food was excellent, but the service that particular evening ranged from inefficient to indifferent. We have eaten at Merriman's Waimea, and have always enjoyed our experiences there.