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Maui Review & Info

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#1 TA Dina

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    Posted 05 November 2008 - 01:22 AM

    So I just returned back from a few weeks of traveling between Hawaii and Mexico and wanted to share some info with everyone here. Hopefully some of this will help you all out with your wedding planning or give you some food for thought.

    While on Maui I stayed in the Kaanapali area at the Kaanapali Alii condo resort. It’s located right next door to the Westin on a great stretch of Kaanapali Beach. Probably the nicest, widest stretch of beach in the area. Just a few minutes walk to Whaler’s Village. The resort has 1 & 2 bedroom condos with full kitchens, washer/dryers and daily maid service (but they don‘t do dishes). Great place for families. And since the resort did not have their own dining facilities on site guests are permitted to dine at the neighboring resorts and charge back to your room. I did that 2 mornings for my breakfast buffet at the Westin. You can also order room service from them as well, although I was a little disappointed as everything comes in To Go containers carried in a paper bag. Food was kind of soggy and only luke warm by the time it was delivered. But overall, the condo was great. I personally love that area so it was a perfect location for me.

    BEACHES (some ideas for beach weddings)
    Kamaole Park I, II, III - lots of parking, great sandy beach areas at all of them
    Poolenalena Beach - another great sandy beach, large parking area (room for limos or lots of cars)
    Cove Park - this was a good recreation beach - volleyball, lots of grass, kiddies surfing
    Beach @ Maui Prince Resort - this resort sits on a beautiful beach down in Makena and they rent out their location for weddings - this area is more private than the beaches above
    Napili Bay - the beaches around the bay have some nice quiet areas

    Keep in mind that all of the above are public beaches so you have the local crowds to deal with in addition to the tourists. Weekends are crazy busy.

    Many hotel/condo accommodations are located down in this area of the island. This is probably where the largest concentration of timeshares is located as well. Most hotel complexes are not beachfront, but across the street from the water. And many require you to walk or drive to the nearest beach park if you just want to lounge in the sand for the day. It’s not like Waikiki where you just cross the street and hit sand. I would recommend staying at the resorts closest to Kamaole Park for the easiest and best beach access.

    Another thing worth mentioning is that all of these complexes include units that are privately owned. They are managed and rented by various management companies. I toured a few of them and some were definitely much nicer than others (some were just downright nasty). Even within the same complex. You really never know what you’re going to get. I can say that I know the wholesalers that travel agents use to sell units in some of these properties do get us the nicer units. Many save their less than desirable units for different online discount websites. So it may be worth checking with a TA if you are considering a unit in one of these resorts to see if they sell them. In addition to possibly getting a nicer unit you also eliminate the risk of double bookings by management companies. I had the front desk staff at 2 complexes tell me that unfortunately it happens more than they like to admit. Mgmt companies or even the actual owners (VRBO.com) don’t update their rentals in a timely manner and before you know it, 2 sets of people are showing up for the same room.

    As far as the resorts themselves, most of these are moderate at best. Nothing really upscale or luxurious. And most do not include any ‘resort-type” amenities. No daily maid service (although some do offer it every few days), no restaurants onsite. So you are obviously responsible for buying your own food and cooking during your vacation. Or driving to the nearest restaurant. I really suggest all of my clients sit and really do the math before taking this route. Compare the cost of a rental unit with nothing included, versus a ‘resort” package that might include daily breakfast/food credits, to see what works best for you. Also talk this option over with your guests too. I’ve had plenty of DW guests ask me ‘what about hotels down the road” when the B&G select a condo-resort, as going all the way to Hawaii to then cook and clean for their family was not their idea of a great vacation.

    And as I mentioned before on another thread, the islands are all cracking down on the rentals of private properties in residential areas. So be extremely careful if you find a great deal on a beach house or bungalow as you could end up without a place to stay or end up paying large amounts of money in fines. I know some on here have found these and are using them for weddings or their honeymoons on all the islands. None are legal (whether the owners or realtor tell you they are or not). So don’t be mislead.

    This is a fun area to visit during the day for shops, dining, people watching. There are also fun places to visit for nightlife too. It is very busy. Especially if there is a cruise ship tendered for the day. Bumper to bumper traffic down Front St. The Lahaina Hotel is a nice beachfront hotel. There are other nice B&B's in the area as well. I don't know that I'd stay here though as it's just too crowded and not my idea of a relaxing Hawaii vacation IMO. But definately go for a visit.

    One to the north and the other to the south side of the island. If you are a golfer, just flip a coin as the courses in either location are incredible. Upscale resorts and shopping available in each. Great dining both inside and outside the resorts.

    This is the main tourist area on the island where the majority of the big resorts are located. The beachwalk area is fun to walk at nighttime. Lots of options for dining (hula pie at Leilani's...yum), shopping at Whaler's Village, and a nice stretch of beach for all of your watersports and sunbathing. This is my favorite area because I like having everything within walking distance. The only downfall to this area is it is like a mini-Waikiki. Not as bad with the high-rises and crowds of tourists...but it's a very close 2nd. I always wonder when people say they won't visit Oahu but want to stay in Kaanapali on Maui instead.

    #2 TammyWright


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    Posted 05 November 2008 - 01:34 AM

    thanks fro the great review dina...it is long...is your hand cramping yet

    but seriously this will be so helpful to future maui brides!

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    #3 TA Dina

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      Posted 05 November 2008 - 02:14 AM

      Originally Posted by Tammy Host
      thanks fro the great review dina...it is long...is your hand cramping yet

      but seriously this will be so helpful to future maui brides!
      I know...once I get started...I just can't stop.

      Wait till tomorrow's Oahu review.

      #4 PaulaV

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        Posted 24 February 2009 - 01:01 PM

        This was very helpful Dina.
        I am not a Maui bride, but my DH and I are taking a trip there this July :)

        #5 michelle08

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          Posted 25 June 2009 - 12:05 AM

          Thanks for the info dina...my sister is getting married in maui in january...I was wondering about shuttles from the airport and how we can get info on that? Or is renting a car better?

          #6 Married_In_Maui

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            Posted 25 June 2009 - 09:33 AM


            I'm not a TA, but we did return not to long ago from Maui & I would def recommend renting a car. Maui is a big island & you will want to explore. We got online & looked for weekly specials on rental cars & ended up getting our Jeep Wrangler for $199 for the week (plus taxes of course), so look for some online deals. Def rent a car, or you will miss all that Maui has to offer!!! Have a great trip.

            #7 Chiquita

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              Posted 04 July 2009 - 12:22 PM

              I second renting a car. There is so much to see and do we really needed one. I think we got our car for 12 days for 360 dollars or something like that.

              #8 TA Dina

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                Posted 14 July 2009 - 01:35 PM

                Originally Posted by michelle08
                Thanks for the info dina...my sister is getting married in maui in january...I was wondering about shuttles from the airport and how we can get info on that? Or is renting a car better?
                Hey michelle...sorry for the delay. I just returned from a 2 week trip around the islands so I'm a little slow in checking the boards here. I miss Maui already

                In any case, Speedishuttle provides airport shuttle service on most of the islands for those that don't want to rent a car. This usually works out for guests only coming in for a few days that don't plan on wandering around much. But for anyone staying any length of time, I'd recommend a car rental. If you're booking a package through a TA check their rates too as we get contracts that are sometimes just as good if not better than online deals. Good luck!

                #9 michelle08

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                  Posted 05 January 2010 - 03:02 AM

                  talk about late to responding! Thanks so much everyone for your replies and info...I'm only 6 months late. We ended up booking a car for the week. I can't wait...we leave in a week.

                  #10 baj

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                    Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:46 AM

                    thanks for sharing

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