I knew that the number one adventure for our family was to explore Hana;get to the top of the waterfalls where the seven sacred waters spill into, swim in the cave and experience the Road to Hana. I also knew that our family vacation ,( we are 57,55,18,16 and 14 years young ) would be miserable if we did the drive ourselves. I knew this because many of our friends said it was really tough, exhausting, winding,horse shoe turns and 52 miles, one way roads and bridges. My husband was not convinced we needed to go to Hana or hire a tour since we had a rental car, so,I had to be in charge of putting this trip together and be wise in selecting the tour company.
There are quite a few good companies but they didn't go to the seven sacred waters and the vans were like the airplanes, tight seating and the food was a set menu. Since we would be in the type of party bus for 12 hours , I knew that we wanted comfort and private Famliy time. Our son is off to college in the fall, so this is a special memory to create.
Our concierge at the Ritz Carlton, showed me the brochure for Platinum Tours of Hana and explained it is a New company and she has gotten excellent reviews/reports from other guest. So I paused because Shelly knows what would be best for us but this was twice the price of the other tours which are good but not what we wanted. We wanted to hike,swim, eat what we selected and be comfortable and have a excellent guide. I looked it up on tripadvisor and there were no reviews, it is a New company and the past customers did not review, I think they rely on the concierge services.
My concierge was so helpful and helped me call Platinum to,get a better understanding of what we could do, customize our trip and meals. Napula spoke to me and was so knowledgable and helpful. In fact, she is a " local girl" who is so bright, beautiful and professional. After 5 minutes I saw my husband and kids were completely delighted and excited about our adventure to Hana! Why? The party van is large leather type captain seats, beautiful wood floors, a mini bar customized for traveling, with ginger tablets to avoid car sickness (they work, wish I had gotten the name) Burt's insect repellant,lots of great munches, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, Hawaiian chips, drinks, wipes ect. And just us and Napula and Connor, the driver and great local, as well. Young energy and a fresh feeling was the vibe !
We started with a delicious breakfast and then got on the road. Since we began early while Connor was driving we all fell asleep and enjoyed sleeping in our comfortable seats and listening to music eve my kids like. You can bri g your own iPod and they can play your list. And the kids charged their phones. We woke up dazing at the remarkable rain forest, and amazed by the beauty of the roads, bridges and very different side of Maui. Relaxed, vey few people compared to the rest of,the island and a first.
Napula called the parks and the sacred waters were closed because of the big rain. She had advised me of this the day before so I was prepared for that and we had other plans which I was excited about as well. So we hiked to the top,of the water falls, and that hike was remarkable because I never hiked through a bamboo forest before with level walking platforms . It was truly amazing and I only wish I could have stayed there longer. My 18 year old son said he felt nature at the waterfalls. We all loved the hike and got a good work out, which we needed after sitting in the van for a couple of hours. We had lunch at Travassa and this is where I really knew it was well worth the huge cost to have Platinum. The other tour bus was there and I saw them and the buffet lunch they had. It was all very unappealing for me. I saw we could have not hiked with them, nor wanted to sleep on the van or have our super comfy seats, or eat that limited buffet. And we were headed to the caves to swim in fresh water and springs and those tourist were not fit to do that activity as a group. So I knew given the sheer work of driving the roads to Hana, finding the trails, designing meals for us our own family time and most important Napula and Connor were competent and bright. I could rest and enjoy the ride!!
Spend the money, yes spend the money because we will always remember this adventure and the pampering was over 12 hours of personal and customized care. We wish Platinum the very best and salute you for upgrading the options for your tourist to travel the Road To Hana!!!