I first traveled to Maui in 2009. This was long before I started my travel blog (2011, if you're curious) so I never had the opportunity to write about what a brilliant experience it was. The island atmosphere provided the antidote to my burn-out. I had just resigned from a frantic full-time editor position and needed to recharge.
It was pure luck that a friend invited me to her home in Kailua for a week in January, so I thought I might as well tack on another week to check out Maui.
Upon arrival, I rented a Jeep (naturally) and set off on my solo adventure.
So for those, like me, needing an escape, or if you are in the market for a honeymoon, here are five reasons you should make it Maui:
#1 Conde Nast's Readers' Choice Poll drew in raves about the island, calling it a "combination of tropical ambiance and American comforts." From whale watching, to nature hikes, to water sports, there's no end to the ways one can fill the hours. However, I say sitting on a beach all day, doing nothing but taking in the epic scenery, is perfectly acceptable.
#2 The Road to Hana. I give road a capital 'R' because it is remarkable. Harrowing and dangerous (and I call a whole lot of other expletives I recall uttering while taking blind corners) as well, but the 68-mile scenic route is worth every waterfall. I recommend going early in the morning and making it a day trip.
#3 When TripAdvisor went about ranking the best beaches in the U.S. for 2014, the state of Hawaii scored seven of the top 10 slots. Maui had the most stunning seaside spots with three on that list: Ka'anapali Beach, Lahaina (#2), Wai'anapanapa State Park, Hana (#5) and Wailea Beach, Wailea (#6). I spent a couple of days in Wailea, and can say that area has lots to offer once the sun goes down. I remember dining on delicious sushi at a place called Kai.
#4 Woody Harrelson lives there. Though you likely won't spot him on the North Shore (where he lives with his wife and three children), stargazing is not my point. The actor, activist and environmentalist, knows how to chill out. In an interview with Men's Journal Harrelson says, "Maui is heaven. My family is there, and my buddies...the good times never stop. A year could pass and you wouldn't even notice. Kitesurfing, soccer, living off the grid, eating fruit from your trees... That's my heaven. That's how life is meant to be lived." Sounds like a happy hippie to me.
#5 Resorts abound (large and lovely as they are), but if you're not one for crowds, and looking to make Maui feel more home-away-from-home, then companies like Paradise VIP are just what the frequent flyer ordered. Imagine your own private vacation retreat, completely kitted out with all the essentials, plus a private lanai (personally always wanted one of those) and a full kitchen so you can enjoy brunch or sunset cocktails in the breeze. Like to have someone else make the plans? Paradise VIP has your back with first-class concierges on call during your stay to help make every dream a reality. Bonus: they'll do it all for free!
The company's owner, Carol Cobia, says it best: "We make it our business to know and meet your needs, before you even know what they are." At the moment, there are several properties to choose from between Kihei, Wailea and Makena. A West Side expansion, from Lahaina to Kapalua, is in the works this year.
Images courtesy of Photopin.com.
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