Tuesday, June 21, 2011

If Heaven Were a Place On Earth

One of the things I mentioned to you yesterday was that I love to travel.  El Cubano (aka, the hubs/the guy I'm married to) and I are fortunate enough to be able to do that a couple of times a year.  For the most part, our destinations take us to where our family is located.  But in honor of our 5th wedding anniversary, we decided we wanted to take a nice vacation... just the two of us.  On our 4th anniversary (May 2010), the hubs and I were in Miami visiting family.  We went out for an anniversary dinner while my mother in law kept the bambinos.  The hubs told me he had planned our trip for the following year and that we would be visiting..............  Hawaii!!!  I was so excited I could hardly contain myself.  I only had to wait an entire year.  :(
May 2011 finally rolled around.  My lovely mother in law came to keep our kiddos while we traveled to Hawaii for a second honeymoon.  :)
I've had a few people wanting the play-by-play of our trip. so here it is!

We had a direct flight from DFW to Maui.  We arrived in Kahului, Maui around 3pm local time.  We picked up our rental car, and headed to our resort:  Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa.  Maui has two sides to the island, known as "South Maui" and "West Maui".  Wailea is located on the south side.  It's known for more of a relaxation atmosphere and beautiful beaches that are great for snorkeling.  There is also fun shopping at The Shops at Wailea (think:  Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Tiffany's).  But affordable shopping is at the Shops, too (think: GAP, Roxy).
By the time we got to the hotel, checked in, and to our room, it was time for dinner.  We had a yummy dinner at Mala restaurant located at the hotel while watching our first Maui sunset.  All we could think was, "Is this place real??"  It's so beautiful that I imagine God put these little islands here to maybe give us a small glimpse of what heaven just might be like one day.  Except I know that my imagination could never do justice to heaven.  But it's gotta be a pretty close second.  :)

Since we were still on Dallas time, we were both wide awake at 5am.  So we got up and went for a short run.  There was a beach path/sidewalk that we were able to run on while watching the Maui sunrise.   We then grabbed some breakfast and then changed into our suits for a full day by the pool.  We rented an over-water cabana at the infinity pool.  The absolute perfect spot, according to me.  The view was spectacular.  You can see the beach and ocean.  The pool is designed to actually look like the water drops off into the ocean.  All while sitting in a wonderful lounge chair and not in the sand.  See, for me... I really really like the beach.  But I'm not so much a fan of having sand in my suit and salt water in my mouth.  So this option is perfect for me: .  :)  We were able to jump right into the pool and had food and drinks brought to us all day.  What a perfect way to experience our first full day of Maui.

DAY TWO:  The Road to Hana
This famous coastal drive is one of two things for most people:  heaven or hell.  It's a winding coastal drive with pit stops along the way for waterfalls and some light hiking.  For me and the hubs, it was heaven.  We wanted to get in some hiking on the trip, and how awesome is a hike with a beautiful waterfall and pool at the end of it?!  I do know some people who think it's pure hell and torture, though.  You'll have to decide for yourself.
The drive is definitely an all-day deal, and leaving early is key so you don't get stuck in a line of cars the entire drive.  We left around 6 am.  Hana is a very small town and there is really nothing there, once you get there.  It's more about the drive there and taking in the beautiful scenery.

Another laid back day.  (Isn't that what vacation is all about??)  We went to the beach for a short while in the morning. Then I had to go rinse off in the shower because of that whole sand-in-the-suit and saltwater-in-my-mouth situation.  We walked around the Shop at Wailea and had lunch overlooking the ocean.  That afternoon we relaxed by the pool before cleaning up for our most amazing meal on the island... and in my life, for that matter.  I told you I love food.  I actually love it a little too much.  I would eat out every single night if my wallet and thighs didn't have any effect on my eating decisions.  But when you're on vacation, you don't worry about your wallet and thighs.  At least I didn't...
MAMA'S FISH HOUSE.  Where to begin?  I don't know if I can put into words the amazingly deliciousness experienced here.  First of all, it's strategically placed on a small beach where you can walk through the sand while waiting for your table.  You can watch the waves crashing onto the rocky shore below while watching another gorgeous Maui sunset (which never gets old by the way).

Everything there is caught fresh from Hawaiian water (except Salmon), and most of it is caught and cooked the very same day.  We started with a few fruity cocktails and yummy seared Ahi Sashimi for an appetizer.  For the entrees, the hubs had more tuna, while I had the stuffed mahimahi - stuffed with crab, lobster, and onion - baked with a macadamia nut crust.  [my stomach just growled...]
For dessert, we had the chocolate pie with caramel crust.  I'm still trying to work off that pie...

Another thing on my list of loves is yoga.  If you haven't tried it, you should.  just sayin...  Anyway... I really wanted to try to do some yoga while in Hawaii.  We found a yoga studio very close to the hotel and went for a class in the morning.  The studio is located right off the beach path and they leave the studio doors open, so you are essentially practicing yoga on the beach.  Pretty cool.  The Cuban had never tried yoga before, but he was kind enough to tag along for his first class.  All in all, I can't say it was my favorite yoga class I've ever been to... it was a little different than what I'm used to, but I'm still glad we went.
We then went to do some snorkeling off Wailea beach.  There is a pretty coral reef right off the beach so there was lots to see.  We even saw a few sea turtles.
That afternoon we headed down to Makena to catch a boat for a Sunset Cruise.  It was really nice to be on the water on a pretty catamaran boat and just sit and relax.  It was also nice to mingle with a few other couples that we met.  And, yet again, we experienced the gorgeous Maui sunset.
Unfortunately, we had to leave Wailea on this day.  :(  We decided to split up the trip a little bit and stay on the West side of Maui for a few nights.  So, we packed up from the Marriott Wailea and headed to Lahaina, but we made a pit stop on the way.  We made our way up to Pa'ia.  A small little hippy town with lots of shopping and eating.  We had lunch at Flatbread; a pizza place that has all natural/organic ingredients.  Super yummy.

On the west side, we stayed at the Marriott Resort and Beach Club...aka Time Share.  This place had lots more families and groups at it.  And the pool was packed!  It was hard to find a chair.  I'm really not complaining... the accommodations are plenty nice.  We were just completely spoiled from staying in Wailea.
That evening we went to a nighttime show, called Warren and Annabelle's Magic Show.  I know... sounds cheesy, right?  Wrong!  I had multiple people tell me that we HAD to go to this show, so we did.  And it was good.  The magician left me thinking, "How did he do that?!?!" and he was hilarious, too.  We also scored front row seats.

I met a girl in college nicknamed "P".  She grew up only 20 minutes from where I grew up and through a series of events, she landed in Maui.  P and her hubby Austin own a surfboard/SUP (stand up paddleboard) rental company called 808 Boards.  She was a HUGE help to me when planning the trip.  We knew we wanted to rent some boards from her while we were there, but we didn't know when we were going to have time.  But, on day six we decided we would give it a go.  Austin met us at the hotel with the boards and we went to a local beach.  Unfortunately, it was quite windy this day, but we were still able to get the hang of it.  If you go to Maui, call them for your boards!
That evening, we had dinner at Lahaina Grill and walked around on Front Street in Lahaina.
After being in Maui for one week, we headed to our next Hawaiian island, Lana'i.  Lanai is a privately owned island, with only two resorts...both of which are Four Seasons.  One is located on Manele Bay, by the ocean, and the other is located in upcountry, in the mountains.  Both are beautiful, but very different.  To get to the island, you have to take a ferry from Lahaina.  We arrived at the dock, and there was immediately someone from the resort there to greet us and take our bags.  We took a shuttle to the resort and were greeted by a personal concierge to check us in.  She then took us to our room.  I swear we had the best room in the whole place.  Our room was located in the main building, overlooking the pool and ocean, with a beautiful balcony.
After getting settled in the room, we made our way down to the pool.  The staff set us up with some lounge chairs (one shade chair for the hubs, and one in the sun for moi).  We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the pool.  That evening we ate dinner at the steakhouse restaurant on the resort.
This day was our official 5 year anniversary.  The hubs had set up a spa day for me, so off I went for some pampering while he went on a hike.  All of my spa treatments were fabulous.  Nothing like being pampered all day!
That evening we went to dinner at the Four Seasons in upcountry.  They have a very nice French restaurant there.  It was a perfect way to celebrate!
We spent the morning down by the beach doing some snorkeling and more SUP.  We heard some people ont he beach talking about how they had seen dolphins, but we never saw any.  That afternoon was more pool time (you'd think I'd be tired of laying by the pool by now, but no.... never for me....).  That evening we had dinner on the resort at the Italian restaurant.  Afterwards, we treated ourselves to room service with champagne and strawberries in honor of our last night in Hawaii.

Time to go home.  :(:(:(:(  A sad, sad, sad day... except for the fact that I was going to see my kiddos.  But still... Leaving the most fabulous resort...
After catching the ferry on Lana'i back to Maui, we made one last pit stop:  to have lunch with P!

Well, I'm sure most of you stopped reading my novel by now.  But if you are still reading, I hope you saw a little piece of Heaven!

Much love,


  1. I enjoyed reading this! Looks like y'all had an amazing vacay!! Congrats on the 5 year anniversary!! :D

  2. ummm P.S. My Google account is used for my school blog, hence the "Mrs. Russell" haha Made me a feel a little dorky seeing my comment signed that way. :)

  3. thanks, Mrs. Russell! ;) ha. We did have an amazing time!