Monday, June 5, 2017

Honemoon Recap Part I: Where We Stayed

Happy Monday, everyone! I'm back at work today for the first time in nearly 3 weeks. I'm expecting the next week to be extremely busy as I get caught up. But I'm going to try to hold onto those peaceful, easy-living vibes from Maui as long as I can!

And what better way to hold onto vacation vibes than to share your vacation experience with others!  I'm going to break up my recap into 3 posts:  this post about where we stayed, a post about where/what we ate and a post about our favorite things we did in Maui. If you ever plan to go to Maui, let me refer you to my good friend Amber's posts about Maui (found here, here, and here). I love planning trips but I have to say that I was pretty overwhelmed between a busy season at work (the busiest season I've had in years!) and planning a wedding. Amber and I are so much alike, have the same interests and value the same things when it comes to vacations. So I figured - why reinvent the wheel when I can utilize all the planning she did!  So, thanks Amber!  I am sure we would have found the same things to do and places to eat, but we wouldn't have stayed where we did if it wasn't for you, so I'm incredibly grateful for all the advice/recommendations she made!

Our honeymoon was so incredible. I am so glad that we went to Maui because our vacation was the perfect combination of relaxing/swimming/snorkeling and adventure/exploration. I would go back in a heart beat (although I wish the flight wasn't so dang long!).  

Where we stayed:

Phil and I prefer to have a kitchen while traveling and prefer the feel of staying in a condo over staying in a resort, so we opted to rent a condo through VRBO. We stayed in this unit in the Napili Bay area, which is on the north side of the west part of Maui. No where in Maui is cheap, so the cost to stay there for 9 days added up, but it was far less expensive than staying in a resort and we made at least one meal a day there, sometimes 2. Plus we used my airline miles for our flights so that cut down on the cost for this vacation.

We could not have been more happy with the location. I think Napili Bay is an undiscovered area of Maui, probably because there aren't any big resorts there - it's all smaller privately-owned condos (as far as we could tell). Further north in the Kapalua area, there are some resorts, like a Ritz Carlton, but they are tasteful resorts and not huge high rises (this is personal preference but we are not a big fan of HUGE resorts.  We prefer smaller developments as they tend to be less busy and a bit more low key, which is our vacation style). Our condo was a small studio but you don't need much room since the whole point of being in Maui is to be outdoors!

The reason we were drawn to Napili Bay (besides Amber's glowing recommendation of the area) was because it has fabulous snorkeling. Since it's on a bay, it's a bit protected from the wind so has excellent snorkeling. We don't have an underwater camera so I don't have photos to share from our snorkeling, but it was AMAZING!  We saw many sea turtles - 2 different kinds actually - and so many different tropical fish.  It was awesome to walk out the door and walk into the ocean and snorkel. Plus there was a snorkel shop that was a 5 minute walk away, so it was easy to get snorkeling equipment.  So if snorkeling is your thing, this is the place to stay! Also, Kapalua Bay is another bay that is about a 10 minute walk from Napili Bay. We walked over there to snorkel one day and the conditions there were also amazing.

Our unit was on the ocean so we had a gorgeous view from our lanai.

I get up earlier than Phil, so each morning I would brew some coffee and head outside to read until he woke up.  There isn't a better way to start the day in my opinion!

We also had drinks on our lanai each day. I always had white wine; Phil drank local beer. We rarely bought drinks while eating out since we could head back to our room for a post-dinner cocktail (ok, and we had pre-dinner drinks - we were on vacation after all!)

This is what Napili Bay looks like standing on the north side of the beach. Our condo was towards the south side. The beach was never overly busy.  You do have to get there early to get a spot in the shade, though.


Proof that I was actually on this vacation/on this beach. :)

We saw a lot of Maui, with the exception of the south part of the east part of Maui and we both agreed that Napili Bay is the place to stay.  I feel confident that we'll go back some day and we will definitely stay in the same area. The combination of the beautiful beach + great snorkeling + the quiet scene are just too hard to beat. A couple of downsides to this area is that you aren't walking distance to restaurants and since you are pretty far north, it makes for a longer drive to places like Haleakala and the Road to Hana. But that longer drive is on a road that goes alongside the ocean. So really, it wasn't that bad. And the longer drives were more than offset by how beautiful the location was.

Have you been to Hawaii?  Do you enjoy tropical vacations? This was the best tropical vacation I've ever been on and I hope we can come back for a future anniversary celebration!! 


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I wish Amber had stayed before I went to Maui because that place to stay is just gorgeous! We definitely booked this wrong because we would've preferred that area, I am sure. We stayed in Kannapali, mostly because my parents went there on their honeymoon and we thought that was cool. To be fair, when they went- it was not nearly as "resorty" as it is now- I think I just made up that word!

Glad you guys had such a great trip! This makes me miss Hawaii and want to go back. We also had such a great trip there and have great memories!

Jeanie said...

I never have been to Hawaii but when I travel I do like an apartment/condo -- at least someplace with a kitchen if I'm to be there any length of time. Looks like you hit the jackpot with a perfect location! All that blue --biggest sigh!

Marlys said...

This is a fun post and I look forward to the next two! We loved Maui when we went there, too, and found the Island to be very relaxing, besides beautiful. That is the island I would go back to if I ever do.
Your view was spectacular!

Carolina John said...

That does look like a beautiful place to stay. Can't wait to read the rest of the recaps! Very cool. Good luck getting back to work today. I'm having a tough time with it and I only took last friday off.

katielookingforward said...

I've also stayed in the built up resort side, for our family we wanted the path along the beach for my brother's wheelchair, otherwise the condo option would be great! I'm glad you loved maui, and I love the idea of pre dinner drinks, and solo morning coffee. How relaxing!!

Charbelle said...

I loved the pictures you posted! I am looking forward to snorkeling when we go to TCI this August! We talked about Hawaii but determined the flight and time change would make that a better destination for a different time. You only have one honeymoon so I'm delighted you enjoyed the pre and post dinner cocktails! The pictures from your hike were amazing!! I'm looking forward to the recaps!!!

Leigh said...

Sounds like you guys picked a great spot to stay! I've never been to Hawaii but would love to go one day

Stephany said...

I've never been to Hawaii but it's on my DREAM travel bucket list. I'd love to visit someday. I think it's the perfect destination for a honeymoon!

Amber said...

Maui is still our favourite vacation to date! Honestly, you can't go wrong with Hawaii in general, but I definitely loved Maui more than Kauai and have been feeling anxious to go back! We will definitely always stay in Napili Bay, and likely in those same condos, as we loved the location so much! I'm soooo glad you loved it too! As I told you, my friend Tara went with her husband in early April and her travel agent tried to convince them to stay in Kihei because it's "the place to be" and Tara told me after she was SO glad they stayed in Napili Bay because it was just their style.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I have been to Hawaii, but was on Oahu. It was amazing. I would LOVE to go to Maui one day, as Hawaii is definitely the best tropical place I've ever been. I really enjoy tropical vacations. The best one besides Hawaii that I've been on is to the Mayan Riviera this past January. We're planning on going back again next winter.

What a lovely place to honeymoon, and so nice that you got some reading time in each morning before Phil was up ... so peaceful.

Stevie said...

I was born in Hawaii and lived there until I was 7 (went to Kindergarten and First Grade there) so it has a very special place in my heart. We lived on Oahu but traveled to other islands. It is truly a magical place, and each island has its own distinct vibe. I've loved seeing all your photos! So glad you got to experience the magic :-)

San said...

This sounds wonderful!! I've only been to Hawaii once (for a work trip) and I'd love to go back with J.

Jenny said...

I've never been to Hawaii but it's definitely on my list! I usually like to stay in self catering style appartments but last Christmas we had our first resort vacation on Moorea, Tahiti. It's all individual bungalows and over the water bungalows so it's not built up at all and feels very secluded and private and we did lots of snorkelling too!