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HONEYMOON REVIEW

KAUAI AND MAUI
AUGUST 26-SEPTEMBER 4, 2006

This has been a busy year for me and travelling.  Those of you who
have known me over the years- I have been more of a workaholic
than a travelaholic and now the tables are turning.  Finally, the
payoff for all the months and months of planning a wedding, 10
glorious days in Hawaii.   We arrived at SFO quite early for our 9am
flight since we were about 2 weeks after the "no liquids in carry-on
baggage" rules were installed and we wanted to be sure security
would not be a nightmare.  To our delight, everything was very
smooth.  I think the traveling American public has learned to
conform to new travel rules as they become needed.  Security
staff were very nice and got people in and out smoothly and
quickly.  My new favorite travelling shoe is the "flip flop", not sure
what I will do when I go to winter destinations!  =)  We had used
mileage to upgrade our non-stop United flights and service was
very good.  Upon arrival into Kauai, unfortunately we

waited almost an hour for our baggage, which was disappointing since they were tagged "priority" with our First Class status.
 They were literally, the last bags off the plane!!  Something about wasting time in Paradise that starts a trip off on the wrong
foot.  Oh well!  We had a car rental with Avis, they were extremely crowded and it took another 30 minutes to get the car
rental.  By now, it was pouring rain-which is typical for Kauai and it never rains for very long, by the time we drove 30 minutes
down the road we had sunshine at our resort.  We stayed at the Sheraton Kauai Resort in Poipu, staff was very friendly upon
our arrival and we were a bit early for our room to be available, so we had lunch at The Grill, which was the outdoor ocean
view cafe/bar.  Lunch was good and it was nice to sit there, relax and take in the beautiful ocean and beach.  We strolled
around the grounds since we were waiting for our room to be available and I noted a few things that I thought would be of
interest:  swimming pools are small, especially the beach-side pool which is more popular, many of the ponds and fountains
around the property weren't running and seemed to be stagnant (breeding ground for mosquitoes), the health facility was
very lacking with 2 treadmills, 1 bike and a few weight/nautilus pieces of equipment.  I understand the health facility is
scheduled for renovation.  The room that we had was recently renovated and it was very nice, extremely spacious with a
garden view, flat screen TV, large closet, double vanity sink in the bathroom.  The room was not disappointing at all.

Once we were able to get into our room, we unpacked, decided to order room service and called it an early night.  We
were pretty exhausted from the travel day and the late night before we left.  Room Service was very prompt and the food
we had ordered was very good- appetizers and dessert, but we enjoyed sharing our Quesadilla, Shrimp Cocktail and Ice
Cream!!  

NOTE ABOUT THE SHERATON KAUAI:  The Sheraton is part hotel and part time-share.  It is important to consider this when
deciding to stay at this hotel.  We had booked ourselves on one of the spectacular deals we all receive in the mail:  $600
for 5 nights including a free car and $100 resort credit.  It was an awesome deal-without a doubt.  However, a few things to
keep in mind.  The Sheraton has several wings, with 1/2 of them being across the street from the beach.  Most of the
time-share preview room "deals" are in these far away buildings.  We were upgraded, but only because of my status of
Travel Agency Owner.  They did try to upgrade us for a cost of $100 per night to ocean view, $150 a night for ocean front,
but we declined.  We received 3 phone calls within 13 hours: 7pm and 8pm the day of our arrival and 830am the next day
from the Time Share representative reminding us to come get our resort credit.  When I went to visit her to obtain the $100
credit, she was very persistent about making an appointment to tour the property and receive another $100 resort credit
for our time.  I was very persistent about not being interested and told her we would not spend out time on our honeymoon
listening to a time share presentation.  I thought we were getting the high pressure sale because we were at the resort on
the time-share preview deal, but I found after speaking to others at the resort who were regular paying guests that they
were pressured as well.    If you are easy prey, then stay away.  If you can stand your ground and say NO, then overall the
Sheraton is a nice resort on a fabulous piece of beach in Poipu!

DINING ON KAUAI:  The Sheraton Kauai has a mandatory resort fee of $25 per room, which includes various amenities, but
most valuable is the daily buffet breakfast.  Overall, good food, decent service (it doesn't take much for  staff to bring you
coffee and take away your plates).  The buffet was pretty much the same each day, but easy and quick and although not
really free, it is included with your room by default.  Most days because we had this buffet breakfast, we did not have the
need for lunch.  We would grab a snack at the poolside grill, which serves the typical burgers, hot dogs, nachos, fries and
other snack type of foods.  For dinner, we did try various options.  One night we attended a luau, which included dinner-I will
explain in more detail when writing about activities on the island.  We had dinner one night at CASA DI AMICI in Poipu, it
was a little hard to find, a side street off the beach near Brenneckes on the beach, but a great find!!  Wonderful little Italian
restaurant, they have an outdoor dining option and a very extensive menu-it was very hard to decide what to eat.  I had
the Fettuccine Alfredo and it was excellent.  The staff was very friendly and could not have been more accommodating.

Having a terrible craving for Mexican food one night, we went on a wild goose chase.  We read about a great place
located near the airport, RICARDO'S, but when we got there the place was closed.  We picked up a few more guide books
and decided to go to NORBERTO'S EL CAFÉ in the heart of Kapaa.  We are spoiled here in the Bay Area with so many fine
Mexican dining options, we take it for granted.  The food at Norberto's was good, it just wasn't very authentic.  Their menu
was fairly small and basic.  The service was excellent and the staff was very friendly and helpful.

Our final dining night in Kauai, was an easy choice.  We had found a place that had country line dancing and the location
was also a local pub- ROB'S GOODTIMES GRILL in Lihue.  This was your typical local pub type of atmosphere located next to
the local bowling alley.  Many patrons were wearing matching shirts,  pre- or post- bowling meals and drinks seem to be
popular here.  Food was very good, they offered a decent selection of sandwiches both hot and cold and several dinner
entrees.  I had a wonderful, juicy burger and fries.  The place is fairly small with about 10 tables for dining, we got there early
and were fortunate to get a booth.  Staff was very friendly and service was prompt.  The meal and drinks were probably the
most affordable that we came into contact with while on Kauai.

 

 

 

 

 

ACTIVITIES ON KAUAI:  There are endless possibilities and I can honestly say there were more things that we wanted to do and
simply did not have the time or found that some of our days weren't the most advantageous with regard to weather.  We
went to a luau on Kauai- the Drums of the Pacific Luau at the Hyatt Resort Kauai, this luau was excellent.  We had the perfect
evening weather-wise and the show and food were both wonderful.  The rate was all-inclusive of show, meal and all drinks.  
The wait staff was very attentive and the choices on the buffet were abundant.  Of course, the Hyatt's grounds are beautiful,
so I would suggest that you allow extra time when attending this luau to walk around their grounds and take advantage of
some great natural picture backdrops.

Waimea Canyon, also known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", is a beautiful site to see.  We took one day to just "drive".  
We headed for Waimea Canyon and pulled off on all the lookout points that are all clearly marked.  We made our way to the
top point which is where you are looking out over the Na'Pali Cliffs coastline.  It is an opportunity to take in spectacular views
and just sit in awe of mother nature.  We did have lunch at the Lodge of Kokee located along the drive.  My suggestion would
be to stop at one of the Subway Sandwich locations before getting to the canyon and pack your lunch for the day.  The food
at the Lodge was just very mediocre.  It doesn't have to be good, because if you find yourself hungry while touring the canyon
area, that is your only choice.  I would recommend stopping by the Kokee Museum, located next to the lodge and you can
read about interesting history of the beautiful Garden Isle and you can also purchase trail maps.  This was a very relaxing day
just driving about leisurely.  The drive heading up to the top point or to the "dead end" is a road that requires re-paving, there
are several significant potholes, so one should drive with caution.  I believe they will be repaving the road before the true
rainy season arrives.  On our way back to Poipu, we stopped off at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.  We arrived late in
the day and all daily tours were done, but they have a "sample" garden that you can walk through.  Note:  You need to make
sure you have your insect repellent - we weren't there more than 10 minutes and I had 8 souvenir bites on my legs!  If your trip
allows, this seems like a very nice tour to take, they have 3 gardens located remotely and are only accessible through the
tours that they provide.  From there, we drove just a short distance down the road to view Spouting Horn which is a "blow
hole" along the coastline.  When the waves crash upon the rocks, water "spouts" up through the rocks.

Afterwards, we then drove into Old Koloa Town, walked through the shops and had an
ice cream cone- yummie!  Overall a very relaxing day.  Our next day we took a
coastal snorkeling tour of the Na'Pali Coast line.  We booked our tour with Kauai Sea
Tours on the Lucky Lady.  We had an early alarm, as we had to be in Port Allen by
630am to check in for our cruise.  Once everyone was checked in, we had a short walk
to the pier to board the Lucky Lady.  After a short safety talk by the captain, we were
cruising.  Our cruise to Na'Pali  included a continental breakfast consisting of pastries,
coffee and juice, snorkel equipment and a deli buffet-style lunch afterwards.  Also,
mai-tais, wine and beer on the ride back.  We had a crew of 4, they were all very
knowledgeable and eager to share the history of Kauai with us.  We rode past
beautiful, dramatic cliffs, saw beautiful waterfalls, got up close to some sea caves (we

were too large to go in the caves with our sailing mast).  We had the company of spinner dolphins along the way.  Many of
them were swimming along side of us, we did see several "spin" out of the water- they were absolutely amazing to watch-
hundreds of them!!  We were able to see many sea turtles swimming along the way.  We then stopped off at a location to
snorkel, overall the snorkeling wasn't spectacular, we did see some pretty fish, but there weren't huge amounts of fish.  The
ride back was a bit rough and if one were prone to seasickness on small boats, that ride could do it for you.  We were fine and
enjoyed the day completely.  There are several tour operators that provide tours to the Na'Pali Coast, and this is one site I do
recommend you see when you visit Kauai.  There are many other activities that we would have liked to have tried-there are
zip line tours, tubing excursions and much much more...check it out!  
THE FOLLOWING LINK PROVIDES MORE INFORMATION: BOOK YOUR HAWAIIAN ACTIVITIES HERE

Kauai is a very quiet island and not known for its' nightlife.  We were very excited though to find a place that had country line
dancing on Wednesday nights- ROB'S GOODTIMES GRILL in Lihue.  After we finished our dinner, we stayed for the line dancing,
which was much different from what we are used to at our own local hangout, The Saddlerack in Fremont.  The lesson wasn't
very organized or publicized, this was more like a local group of friends who get together each week and dance for an hour
and then go home.  It was still fun to watch and we did get a few couples dances in for the night.  At 930pm they had a band
play and it turned into more of a nightclub atmosphere and the music was anything but country.  We did have a good time,
but it was still an early night.  People don't go to Kauai for the nightlife.

After 5 nights on the Island of Kauai, it was time for us to move on.  We had a mid-day flight to Maui and after we showered
and packed we enjoyed our last buffet breakfast at the Sheraton Resort, taking in our last view of Poipu Beach.  The drive to
the airport was smooth and of course we had to fill up our tank in the car.  Gas prices in Kauai are about 70 cents higher than
what we see in California, so keep that in mind when deciding upon vehicle type for your vacation.  When you arrive at the
airport, drop off your passengers and baggage before returning your car.  This makes life so much easier and you avoid
having to drag your baggage on/off the car rental shuttle bus!!  Check-in was smooth that we were even able to get on an
earlier flight to Maui.  We didn't arrive much earlier than scheduled due to an aircraft mechanical issue, but oh- well, we
tried!  Our bags came off the plane right away and we were off on our way to Ka'anapali to the Hyatt Resort in our
convertible.  Traffic to Ka'anapali can be brutal, so just be prepared to accept it.  There really isn't much you can do about it,
so no need to let your temper get the best of you.  Just think it could be worse- you could be sitting in traffic on the 101 in
downtown San Francisco, instead you are sitting in traffic viewing the beautiful waters of the Pacific Ocean with Lanai or
Molokini Crater in the distance.  We arrived to the Hyatt Resort and were greeted with flower and shell leis.  The valet, bell
and desk staff were all very warm and friendly with huge smiles as they welcomed us.  We were escorted to our room, the
bellman explained all pertinent details to us about the resort on the way, offered to get ice for our room and then we were
left to unpack and start part two of our honeymoon.

They Hyatt Resort is beautiful and there are many "friends"
around the resort.  In the lobby you can visit with an
assortment of tropical birds- this is R2D2 located to the
right.  On the left is one of 3 resident Penguins who are
very cute to watch.  There are various ponds of Koi fish
throughout the resort and then you have areas with
beautiful Swans, Flamingos and Ducks.  They are beautiful
creatures and fun to watch and the birds are quite fun to
converse with!  The atrium is open-aired and filled with
tropical plants and beautiful flowers all about the hotel.

After we unpacked, we had a quick snack at one of the lounges and then got ready for our first evening in Maui.  The Hyatt is
a wonderful resort.  An amazingly huge pool with waterfalls, and caves, swim-up bar, water slide (boy that was a fun one!!),
plenty of planned activities: water aerobics, scuba lessons.  There are plenty of lounge chairs around the pool and along the
beach.  Three activity desks for you to plan any water activities you wish to partake in and if there is something not offered
there is a public vendor setting up para sailing, jet skiing and other activities just at the end of the Hyatt resort.  So it is all
very convenient, you can do everything and never really leave the Hyatt Resort.  The health facility is a dream with plenty of
cardio oriented pieces of equipment, a group exercise room with step, yoga, pilates and weight lifting classes.  Each
treadmill, elliptical trainer and stationary bike was equipped with its' own TV screen, just in case you were to tire from the
beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.  A state of the art spa facility with every treatment known to man offered here, along
with beach-side and couples treatments.  We knew that we didn't want to do much in Maui, except hang out at this
spectacular resort and that is really what we did!  As my husband said, this won't be our last trip to Maui, so there is no need
to do everything at one time.  Personally, I have been to Maui more times than I can count, so it was nice to just chill out by
the pool day after day!

DINING ON MAUI:  Most of our mornings we went to the Swan Court at the Hyatt for their buffet breakfast.  You have the
choice to order off the menu or to opt for the buffet, of which you can do a full buffet or continental.  The continental is a
pretty full assortment of choices:  cereals, bread, bagels, jams, fruit, smoked salmon, pastries, cakes, cheese.  You really had
everything except for the eggs and meats.  We did the continental most mornings and the staff and service were very
friendly and attentive.  Bringing you any beverage you requested and also happy to take pictures of your party with the
beautiful swan court in the background (a pond with swans, waterfalls, ducks, etc.)  A few of the mornings we were seated
along the water's edge and had a few visitors- the ducks appreciate any handouts!   We did have breakfast one morning at
the poolside restaurant.  Everything here is cafeteria style with some buffet items.  Turns out their continental buffet breakfast
was extremely comparable to the Swan Court buffet, but about $7 cheaper!  Of course, a different atmosphere and the
serve yourself environment.  We did this on our last day when we had to get to the airport, so it was fine.  Again most days we
ate such a large breakfast that we didn't need lunch.  An occasional soft serve ice cream cone would suffice! Our first night
we weren't very hungry since we had a late afternoon appetizer before going out for the evening.  We found ourselves in
downtown Lahaina after the 'Ulalena Show, we walked up and down Front Street, enjoying the atmosphere and then
decided to have dinner at the Hard Rock Café, it was late so we had appetizers and dessert.  Of course, you know what to
expect when you go to a place like this.  The food was very good, service staff nice and friendly.  Our next evening we
ventured into Lahaina again and dined at Ruth's Chris Steak House, this is one of my favorite restaurants and it did not
disappoint.  The steaks were so juicy and just melted in your mouth.  It was a lovely dinner, with a window seat looking over
Front Street to the water.  This is a 5 Star Dining Experience and the wait staff lived up to the reputation.  Afterwards, we
walked along Front Street and found ourselves in Moose McGilleycuddy's which is a pub like dining/dance establishment.  
We hung out there for a bit, but things weren't getting "lively" enough for us.  Not to sound like a snob, but I would not
recommend ordering a glass of wine at this place, they do much better with beer and mixed drinks.  Even the waitress, when I
pointed out that the Cabernet was awful, she candidly said, "I think it's just cheap wine".  We laughed and I agreed.  We did
not get charged for the glass.  On our Saturday night in Maui, we had pre-booked our Dinner-Dance Sunset Cruise with Maui
Princess.  We arrived into Lahaina early enough to park, check in for the evening and had a cocktail at a local bar near the
pier.  Now to get to the Maui Princess you have to board the Lahaina Princess water taxi.  This boat takes you out about 10
minutes from the Harbor where you then board the Maui Princess.  This is all done smoothly and you board a beautiful boat for
your evening experience.  They take boarding souvenir photos with Maui as the backdrop, you receive you cocktail and
head up to the top deck to your pre-assigned table.  Each table is seated for 4 people, the wait staff then begins to serve
dinner.  When booking, you have 2 choices for the meal: prime rib, or roasted chicken.  We were seated at a table with
another honeymooning couple, which made table conversation easy since we had many things in common with recent
weddings.  Dinner was delicious- huge portions on the prime rib, you did not go away hungry.  Cocktails were included for the
duration of the cruise and a one-man band played music during dinner and picked up the beat after dinner for some dancing
on the lower deck.  It didn't seem as though we had much of a dance crowd on our cruise, but we managed to get a few
dances in ourselves.  We saw a beautiful sunset with Lanai in the background and really enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  When
we returned to the Hyatt, we heard music and headed down to the Weeping Banyan Lounge to enjoy.  By then it was 10pm
and the Italian restaurant Spats turns into a nightclub on Saturdays only.  It is all Disc Jockey music and the evening seems to
work through the decades as we were dancing to 70's and 80's music for the first hour and then we seemed to quickly get to
current pop and eventually "house" music.  We stayed until 1130pm or so, felt we did get in a good portion of dancing to
music we could enjoy.  Finished off the evening with room service Ice Cream.    Our last evening in Maui, being big Mexican
food lovers, we thought maybe in Maui we'd have better luck, so we tried an old favorite of mine, Compadres located on
Front Street in the Lahaina Cannery Mall.  Just what we wanted, exactly how we would have expected it to be.  Overall, our
dining experience in Maui far outdid our dining experience in Kauai.  Many more options and really every meal we had was
excellent.  In fact, there were so many places that we wanted to check out and simply did not have enough nights to do this.

ACTIVITIES ON MAUI:  Our first evening we attended the 'Ulalena show at the
Maui Theatre located in Lahaina.   This show was filled with song, dance,
acrobats and amazing costumes telling the stories, myth and magic of the
Hawaiian and Polynesian people.  We had the VIP Producers Package which
also included a cocktail and a short presentation/question & answer session
with the cast and crew.  I am glad we took part in the Producers Package as
the session afterwards was interesting and helped to give you an inside view
on what it takes to put on a production of it's stature.  
The other "activity" that we participated in was the Sunset Dinner Dance
Cruise, which was described in the "dining" section of this review.  We really
were happy to just enjoy the Hyatt Resort and all that it had to offer us.  There
was one night in Lahaina that we had known about in advance which offered
Country Line Dancing.  So being the dance junkies that we are, we showed
up-this was Sunday night at the Lahaina Cannery Mall.  They were very
professional with their instruction and the dances they did were good, fun and
overall fairly easy to learn.  The locals that were there made it a point to
come greet us "newcomers" and find out where we were from.  It was a fun
time.  Being in the Cannery Mall, we decided to finish up any last minute
shopping and find the perfect "thank you" gifts for our kitty-sitters and airport
shuttle service (a.k.a. My Brother).    There are so many activities that you can
do in Maui and I have to say that, we really didn't do any of them!  We were

very content to just relax and enjoy the Hyatt Resort.  We used the health facilities several times, we relaxed by the pool,
enjoyed the beautiful ocean, listened to our iPod tunes.  On past trips, I have participated in several activities on Maui, so
some of the things I would recommend if you want to make sure you see and do whatever you can in Maui, then I would
suggest some of the following things:  Snorkeling Molokini Crater, Drive to Hana and visit the Seven Pools, Drive or take a
tour to the top of Haleakala to see the Sunrise, Old Lahaina Luau or Drums of the Pacific Luau at the Hyatt Maui.  There are
several hiking, eco-tourism inspired activities, many types of boat cruises that you can take to make your trip to Maui as
fulfilling as you wish for it to be.  When I book your next trip to Maui or any of the Hawaiian Islands, I would be happy to go
over all the possible activities that we can set up for you.  
THE FOLLOWING LINK WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH MORE INFORMATION: BOOK YOUR HAWAIIAN ACTIVITIES HERE

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and we had to finish up this trip and come home.  Once again, smooth
sailing on our final day to get up, pack and make our way to the airport.  When you get close to Kahalui airport, I would
recommend getting gas at the Shell station.  They are the first station you see on the right hand side.  They might not be the
cheapest, but if you go to either station on the other side of the street, you have difficulty getting across the road back on
your way to the airport.  You probably could get gas in Maalea and not see the gauge move, unless you are in stopped
traffic.  Again, I recommend dropping off your passengers and baggage at the curb, return the car and then join them for
check-in.  Everything seemed to run very smoothly at the Maui airport, we departed about 20 minutes late, but still arrived
into SFO 15 minutes early.

The Hawaiian Islands are beautiful, with each island being different, but just as beautiful as the others.  I have been to Hawaii
many times, and now being married to a man who has only been to Maui twice and Kauai once, I am sure we have many
more trips to Hawaii in our future.  I won't sugar coat things though, Hawaii is expensive.  It is expensive to drive, to dine and
to entertain.  I think for those on a tight budget, a condo is the way to go as long as you are O.K. with shopping for groceries
and doing your own cooking.  Dining out is expensive:  for example, our dinner at Compadres was $70 for two people, that
included 2 entrees, 1 appetizer and 2 margaritas.   Two glasses of wine at the Sheraton in Kauai one evening was $25
including tip...so that should give you an idea!

The Hawaiian people are really wonderful, I can't say that we really encountered anyone who was less than completely
friendly and helpful.  That really is what makes Hawaii what it is- her people.  It is a beautiful place, from it's scenery to it's
people.