Celebrating 10 Years and our favorite things from 8 days in paradise
Guest Editing by David McFarland
David and I just got back from our anniversary trip to Hawaii. We are celebrating 10 years married in July and wanted to take a big trip somewhere special. We decided on Lana’i and Maui since the weather is gorgeous there basically year-round and the flight is so long that we didn’t envision bringing the kids with us anytime soon. Read: 11+ hours of travel with twin toddlers is basically torture. Here is what our trip looked like including favorite things we did, where we stayed and some pretty pics to hopefully bring some sunshine to your morning.
Lana’i is a private island owned by Larry Ellison, which we picked because it is off-the-beaten-path. It’s remote and small: only 3,000 residents live on the island full-time. The rest of the island contains a few boutique hotels and some private residences. We stayed at the Four Seasons Lana’i during our trip. We can’t recommend it enough! It was quite a splurge but was the best hotel either of us has ever stayed at. The service, the rooms, the amenities and the general property of the hotel were all 5 stars. Nothing was overlooked. They thought about every detail even down to the Dyson hairdryers in each room.
View from our sunset / whale watching cruise
Since it’s such a remote island that all of our eating was done at the hotel. They have a few really nice options but our favorite was Nobu for sushi. It has been one of the food groups we miss the most since moving to Richmond so we made sure to get our fair share while we were there.
David teeing off from the 12th hole
We made sure to do at least one activity each day. The first morning we took UTVs around the island with a guide. This was a highlight for us although it’s not for the faint of heart. We zoomed around the island up to 70 mph with lots of bumps along the way! Cat lovers will enjoy the pit stop at the Lana’i Cat Sanctuary – home to over 600 cats. Our guide told us that one family flies in from Japan once a month just to visit this special spot. The second day I had a spa appointment (heaven on earth) while David played a round of golf. David said it was the nicest course he has ever played. Most notably, the 12th hole is where Bill & Melinda Gates got married and you can see why! On the third day, we were supposed to take a Jeep around the island but the roads were too muddy from the rain so we had to turn around…next time! Our favorite activity at Lana’i was the sunset cocktail cruise around the island. It was a beautiful (and fun) way to see the island. The bonus was a few whale sightings.
View from our last Lana’i hike
To be honest, most of our time was spent lounging by their gorgeous pools and the beach. It was the perfect way to relax and we moved into the next part of our trip refreshed and ready for some adventure in Maui!
We took the 45-minute ferry from Lana’i to Maui. It was an easy & cheap way to travel between the islands. Plus, it made for a perfect opportunity to get in some whale watching. From the ferry dock, we made our way to get the rental car. This rental was necessary in Maui so we could travel around and explore the larger island independently.
Gorgeous blue water as far as the eye can see
We stayed at the Andaz Hotel in Wailea. It is newly-renovated, modern with beautiful pools and, of course, views of the beach. The room and bathroom left us a little disappointed but it made up for it in the amazing service and property. The pool scene was the highlight of the hotel with 4 pools spread out. It was popping every day with lots of drinks flowing.
The infinity pool situation at the Andaz
The hotel had a wonderful breakfast buffet spread each morning – with fresh juices, omelets, anything you could want. It was complimentary so we usually filled up enough to last us through a small lunch-time snack and then dinner. Our favorite restaurant, Morimoto, was right on the property. You are probably sensing a theme but we loved Hawaii’s fresh sushi options! Some other favorites included Monkeypod (get their world-famous Mai Tais) and Maui Brewery Company.
Sushi Bar at Morimoto
Our highlight activity was snorkeling with RedLine Rafting Company. The water was crystal clear and we managed to see a manta ray, an eel, sea turtles and tons of colorful fish. Highly recommend booking with this company – they were wonderful. The other activities we did included: two gorgeous hikes at the Waihe’e Ridge Trail and a portion of the King’s Highway (Hanomanioa Lighthouse and Kamanamana Beach). sunset drinks at the 4 Seasons and lots of pool & beach time!
The view from our sunrise snorkeling adventure
Other Maui recommendations
Here are a few other things our friends recommended that we didn’t get to: driving the Road to Hana, Biking down Haleakala Mountain for sunrise, Pe’ahi Jaws Surf Break to watch the surfers, Star Noodle for poke, Mama’s Fish House for sunset dinner, Whale watching with Pacific Whale Foundation, and hiking the Hoapili Trail. All of these are on our list for next time!
I hope this post helps any of you thinking about taking a trip to Hawaii in the near future. It is a magical place and will always hold a special spot in our hearts. If you want more specific details, I saved a Hawaii highlight to my Instagram profile. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments or shoot me an email here. XO