Mar 14, 2013

Maui, Hawaii 1.0

Woohoo! Time for some Hawaii recaps!

I decided to split my Hawaii recap into two posts. This one covers where we stayed and where we ate. The next post will cover all the fun activities we did, such as Mt. Haleakala sunrise/hike, Hula Girl Whale Watching, snorkeling, etc.

Where We Stayed

We've been to Hawaii twice and have always stayed at the Fairmont in Wailea. It's a pristine resort, but the beach in front of it leaves a little to be desired and it's just so expensive, even the garden view rooms. On our last trip in 2010, we discovered a beach in Makena that we loved. Great snorkeling, never crowded, and no intimidating waves. We would have to pack the car and drive there each day.

Maui Hawaii-12

So this time around, we stayed in Makena's only resort that has walking access to this perfect beach; The Makena Beach and Golf Resort. It's not as ritzy as the Fairmont, but we didn't really care because it was much cheaper and the staff: oh so friendly.

Makena Golf and Beach Resort

Also, unlike many resorts in this area, this one did not nickel and dime you: free WiFi, free valet parking, free self parking, breakfast included, and free bottled water in your room.

Maui Hawaii-5

Our hotel room was the cheapest one available (we never upgrade because we don't stay in our rooms very often on vacation) and it had an ocean view! Sweet. No bending our necks in weird ways to see it either!

Maui Hawaii-4

The inside of the room was nothing fancy, but nice, clean and had Tommy Bahama toiletries, which I loved. The best part of the room, besides the view and huge balcony, was the bed. A comfy bed is a must on vacation and I'm proud to say we slept an average of 10 hours a night in this baby.

Maui Hawaii-1

Maui Hawaii-6

As for the rest of the resort, it was beautiful. The grounds are very well kept and even though there are only two tiny pools, we didn't mind. Who goes to Hawaii and swims in a pool anyway?

Maui Hawaii-10

Breakfast was served each morning in the indoor/outdoor restaurant (pictured above). I'm not normally a buffet fan, but the food was tasty and there were plenty of offerings.

Maui Hawaii-14

If you can get breakfast included (and I think if you book directly with the hotel's website you can), by all means do it. But, I wouldn't recommend paying full price for it (around $30 a person). You can find all kinds of cheaper and better restaurants in Kihei.

Let's Talk About Food

Hawaii Food 1
Ono Gelato Company | Café O'Lei | Fabiani's Bakery and Pizza

Out list of our favorites and links to their Yelp pages for more information:

ESKIMO CANDY - no this is not a candy shop (darn), but it might be the best seafood we had all trip. The tempura fried shrimp will knock your socks off. This is definite hole in the wall, so be prepared to have to eat standing up and the lines are long, but the staff is friendly.

PAIA FISH MARKET - When we get off the plane in Maui, we high-tail it to Paia Fish Market in the hippy town of Paia. It will be packed and you will have to wait a while, but it will be worth it. Trust me. The obvious choice: fish tacos...though some swear by the mahi burger.

Hawaii Food 2
Fabiani's Bakery and Pizza | Paia Fish Market

ONO GELATO COMPANY - After we stuffed our faces with fish tacos from Paia Fish Market, we headed across the street for dessert: pineapple for me and peanut butter mocha for him. Amazing.

CAFÉ O'LEI - Go early or you'll have to wait a while for dinner (or make reservations). This place is usually packed and for good reason: it's the perfect date night dinner place in Kihei. Don't be fooled by the location (it's in a strip mall), the food is upscale and so is the service. The price; however, is not. Many people come for the sushi, we stick to the macadamia nut crusted chicken.

FABIANI'S BAKERY AND PIZZA - We loved this restaurant so much, we went twice. Back to back nights too. The waitress laughed at us. The first night we ordered pizza and it was divine. Wood fired and perfectly thin and gooey. The second night we ordered pasta and while good, we definitely recommend the pizza. Oh and it's a bakery too, so you better leave room for dessert.

Cafe O'lei
Cafe O'Lei - When that handsome young man asked me to marry him on our trip here in 2009, we went here to celebrate.

And now we just gained 10 pounds by looking at those photos. Seriously don't under-estimate the food in Hawaii. You have to look for it though and trust the locals + Yelp. If you can, steer clear of the resort food. It's overpriced and not exactly worth it in my opinion.

Next Hawaii post: the stories, the activities, and how we spent one of the coldest nights in our lives on a tropical island...


  1. Gorgeous pictures and gorgeous foods!!!

  2. Sarah @ The Smart KitchenMarch 15, 2013 at 7:06 AM

    I think trusting the locals is the way to go anywhere. Not 'eat local' but 'eat LIKE a local,' right?

    I'm stowing away in your suitcase next time.

  3. Hooray for recaps! I think hotel looks really nice, plus I love Tommy Bahama :) And that food? AHmazing. Makes me jealous, as on our vacation we had english muffin pizzas ahaha!

  4. Locals are the best resources when traveling. IMHO! John David and I are looking for a place to go for our 5yr anniversary. I will be emailing you soon!

  5. My husband and I stayed at this exact same resort for our honeymoon and absolutely loved it! We were there during the off season and it felt like we had the place to ourselves--such a beautiful resort and beach! Also, I agree--the breakfast buffet was so delicious!

  6. It was fully booked when we stayed and you would have NEVER noticed it. I just loved loved loved the staff. So wonderful.

  7. Pick my brain! I could talk about it for hours...

  8. The food was spectacular. I'm sorry to hear yours wasn't so great. I'm not even a huge seafood fan and I would have even been disappointed if they didn't serve a lot of it. Boo.

  9. Shoot me an email if you guys ever plan to go and I'll give you all the deets!


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