Between 400 resorts and a few million annual visitors, Maui isn’t exactly an original honeymoon destination, but it doesn’t take long to discover why it’s long been newlyweds’ paradise. Picturesque shores, palm-fringed golf courses, lush valleys and hiking trails, and the largest (inactive) volcano in the world, it’s a tropical retreat, but there’s also enough restaurants, nightlife and excitement to satisfy more active, social and adventure-seeking travellers (though that wasn’t us!).
Maui was our second Hawaiian island of the honeymoon, just a 30 minute flight from Oahu, it felt like a completely different country after a few days in Waikiki. Romantic beaches, little beach towns and complete relaxation, Maui’s honeymoon credentials are clear. We chose to stay at Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui’s Wailea coast, where we were greeted with wam alohas, flower and kukui nut leis, ice-cold champagne, and this view of the Pacific from our room.
Not only were we greeted by Champagne, though, but a handwritten congratulations and personalised toiletries in the bathroom – AMAZING!
From the moment we arrived, I realised it wasn’t going to be a particularly adventurous island-stop for us, the mediterranean style palace being far too perfect to venture far from. The Fairmont is where Kate Hudson, Owen Wilson, Britney Spears, and Jason Alexander stay when they’re in Maui, and it was everything I dreamed it would be – but actually not that expensive, by Hawaii standards. Based on the size, it’s actually pretty economical – the hotel room was the size of a one bedroom house – and worth the splurge.
Our first day was spent in a very honeymoon appropriate position, poolside with books and cocktails. There’s three pools, one with a swim up bar, but the adults only one won us over. The cabana life is one I could very easily get used to…
Words like “beautiful” and “paradise” don’t come close – our room (I should say rooms, as the suite spanned three) was so comfortable it was tempting to remain in it for four days. I’d say the resort’s three-year, $70 million renovation was well spent – it was luxurious but welcoming, and complete with every amenity and boutique we could imagine needing.
The resort had plenty of activities on offer, but I’m a little ashamed to say we didn’t even make it to Polo Beach. We did, however, go for cocktails, naturally.
Our second day, we even left the Fairmont, venturing to nearby Turtle Town, Maluaaka Beach – the best place to go snorkelling on Maui. Thanks to the Engangered Species Act, this stretch of ocean is home to a dense population of the Green Hawaiian Sea Turtle. Maluaka Beach is just south of Wailea at the end of Makena Road.
The entrance is off of the main street so most visitors drive past without even knowing it’s there. If you saw my photos of Big Island, you might have noted my
obsession fondness for turtles, and Turtle Town was no disappointment. With just scuba gear and flippers, we paddled through the calm water for an hour, sighting the huge turtles every twenty metres or so. We didn’t take these photos, but here’s an illustration of the size and awesomeness of these guys!
After working up an appetite we took a scenic drive up to Lahaina, a charming and historic whaling town along the west coast of Maui. Its one main street is lined by beach boutiques and gelato stores, all the way down to Premium Outlets of Maui, which – unbelievably – I only spent half an hour at. Hawaii is too good to spend too much time at malls, even if they are outdoor and all outlets…
We browsed the shops (yes, all of them, sorry B) before settling in at Bubba Gump’s for sunset and shrimp.
On our final night we ate at Kō, one of the Fairmont’s many restaurants, the only place on Maui to offer plantation inspired cuisine. Blair still remembers it as the best meal of the entire honeymoon, and that’s truly saying something. The service was exceptional, and just when I thought I couldn’t eat anything else, they delivered a beautiful dessert platter with Congratulations in chocolate.