Hawaii is a magical place - it rarely (if ever) disappoints. On my last visit at the end of October in 2017, I figured out the ultimate Hawaiian honeymoon (or just an amazing vacation):
#firstimpressions 3-4 nights at Andaz Maui, Wailea
[recommended: vibes, design, location]
From the moment we arrived, I was impressed. It felt ultra luxurious - far beyond the price we were paying, which is always a good thing. The design is modern but it still has a great Hawaiian vibe with all the woods and materials.. They have created these unbelievable layered infinity pools. The bottom pool really attracts families so that’s where the kiddos tend to gravitate, leaving the 3 infinity pools above for more of the adult crowd - again beautifully designed. The crowd was a good mix of honeymooners, babymooners, families and couples and even groups of friends. In October, there were only a handful of families. It’s not a huge hotel, and it feels intimate but not too intimate. The food options are amazing (Morimoto and Ka'ana Kitchen for breakfast were unreal). And there are definite night-time vibes for people who want to dance and enjoy a social scene. It’s by no means a club, but the patio lounge provides great music entertainment and a Hawaiian fire dancer. And the windows are nice and thick if you are more of an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of vacationer. It’s an amazing property and it would be the perfect way to start out a Hawaiian honeymoon.
#vibes: If you like trendy, ahead-of-the curve experiences, this is your hotel
#location: Great for travelers that want to be able to leave the resort - Wailea has a shopping center, and other resorts with great dining. The hotel offers a free shuttle within the Wailea area as well.
#convenience: Their 24hr Mokapu Market is everything anyone has ever wanted in a hotel gift shop. Good food, reasonably priced, convenient. We got beer to enjoy on our balcony for $8. Unheard of at a hotel.
#goodtoknow: if you can, spring for the ocean/partial ocean view as mountain could include parking the parking lot. I still liked the hotel enough to stay even if I did have a less desirable view. But definitely something to consider.
#bucketlist Helicopter tour and transfer to Lana'i
[wish list: views, luxury, thrillist]
Lana'i is about 8 miles from Maui. There is a great ferry that leaves from Lahiana multiple times per day. But if you really want the ultimate honeymoon, there is nothing like a helicopter transfer. It feels like the being in a Jurassic Park movie. It’s also quite a rush. I am not a great flyer, and my first helicopter ride was one of my favorite experiences in 2017. First you can fly to the top of Maui’s great peaks and waterfalls, then you can fly across the bay to Lanai. The Island of Lana'i, which is mostly owned by one philanthropist billionaire, is one of the most unique places I have ever visited. It’s in the western world, and yet, it still has a very interesting and preserved history,culture and environment. There are many parts of the island that aren’t easy to access, so the helicopter would give you a great opportunity to really see the island and get a lay of the land, and even help you determine how you want to spend your time when you arrive. I am sure it would be one of the most memorable 45 minutes of your life… it’s on my bucket list.
#grandfinale 3-4 nights at Four Seasons Lana'i
[recommended: once-in-a-lifetime, romance, exclusive]
After such an incredible arrival, the destination has a lot to live up to. And the Four Seasons in Lana'i will not disappoint. Every square inch of this property is perfect. They have a director of landscaping and it’s obvious. It’s paradise. Everything from the pools on the bluffs above the ocean, to the full-service beach just a few minute walk from the hotel, to a never-ending list of activities you can partake in (horseback riding, paddle boarding, off-roading, PGA golfing,)... the spa is incredible and the food is delicious (Nobu and Malibu Farm)... And the rooms. The most romantic and well designed rooms I have been in. They are all teched-out, and everything actually functions. No detail has been spared. What I loved most about this hotel was the incredible hospitality. Everyone is super friendly, welcoming, attentive and laid-back. It’s not uptight or pretentious luxury. You can really relax and enjoy this super exclusive resort - the staff makes you feel right at home. It may seem like there is not much to do on the island but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Definitely make time for a few activities or at least a trip into the little and only town to learn the history of the place and the people. This is an island experience you will never forget.
#bucketlist: This will be one of the top hotels you ever stay at - US News ranked it the #1 in the US for 2018!
#romance: they have an adult only pool where they offer mini spa treatments pool-side.
#exclusive: it's the only hotel on the island and it's not a massive resort - this is a great place to experience the highest level of luxury and get away from the overcrowded-vacation-destination feel.
#goodtoknow: this is meant to be an active (if you want it to be), but mellow experience. If you are a mover and a shaker who likes a hotel to be buzzing and likes to get off property for nightlife, this is not the hotel for you. There are a handful of local restaurants in town, and a shuttle to take you there, but expect to spend a good deal of your time relaxing at the resort... and why shouldn't you? - it's paradise.
the reasons why Hawaii is so amazing:
Great weather year-round (though I would recommend October and most of November as there are much fewer families)
Great mix of activities and relaxation
No major bug worries
Great food - lots of fresh fish and great steak houses.
Great access/short flights for West Coasters
And finally, hotels have been updating their inventory and renovating... you can now visit Hawaii without having to experience a cheesie printed bedspread.
#tip If you don’t have all the money in the world, or you are saving to buy that first house or a safari in Africa, the Andaz is a great mid-range choice for the entire trip. And you can add in a catamaran day trip to Lanai, or a hike on the road to Hana. Hawaii, any way you experience it, will be magical and romantic for the occasion.
#tip Don't rent a car for the entire trip. The hotel's parking fees are ridiculous and there is a rental car service on property at most hotels or hotels nearby so you can get a rental for just the day when you need it. Ubers and transfers are also available. You will likely spend less and hassle less too. The uber from the airport to the Andaz is about 30 - 45 minutes. Andaz has a car rental the Four Seasons Lanai has a pristine fleet of white jeeps for exploring the island for an extra fee.