Day 1 – Maui Arrival, Iao Needle, and the Condo Debacle

Thursday, March 27 – A bit of a rocky start but all is well on Maui

First – a bit about us.  Skip this part if you want to get to the fun stuff first.

Joe, Lisa, and youngest son Carter (10) are headed to Maui for our long awaited Spring Break 2014 vacation!  It’s been a horrid winter in Minnesota making this trip all the sweeter.  The only thing better would be to have our entire family along, consisting of our oldest son Rob (25), his girlfriend Jo who is expecting our first grandchild in August (had to slip that in we are so excited to see our baby grandson soon!), our daughter Stephanie (24), and her husband Jimmy.  This is our 4th trip to Hawaii but our first to Maui.  We went to Oahu with all 3 kids about 8 years ago, and the past two years Joe, Carter, and I have been to Kauai and the Big Island.  So far Kauai has been our favorite island by far – loved the beauty and the laid back culture.  Let’s see what Maui brings us!

Our flight from Seattle after an extended 2 night planned layover (see previous post if you want to see what we did there) was long but pretty uneventful.  It left about a half hour late and did not make up time so we arrived on Maui around 12:15pm.  Waited about 5 minutes for bags and headed to Alamo to pick up our car, which also went smoothly.  We did the online check-in so no lines to wait in!

Check-in time for our condo in Kihei was not until 3pm, so we stopped at for Shave Ice at Ululani’s near the airport for our first Hawaiian treat!  I had Pineapple, Banana, and Tiger Blood with vanilla ice cream and it was heavenly!  Joe and Carter both had some kind of coconut concoctions with coconut ice cream (they love coconut – me not so much).  Our only regret was forgetting to ask for a punch card as we know we will visit Ululani’s on the island many more times during our trip!  It’s always our special treat in Hawaii especially for Carter.

With time to kill, we decided to get a jumpstart on the sights with a short detour to Iao Needle State Park before heading to our condo.  It was cloudy with some light rain showers so not the best views of the needle today but it was still a great intro to Maui and beautiful.

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I don’t know what these are but I loved these red plants and also the little hut they had in the park.


And of course – I had to take my first rooster picture.  When we were on Kauai a couple of years ago Joe and Carter gave me a lot of crap for taking pictures of so many roosters.  I just love them – yes even when they are waking you up in the morning!


After the park we drove through a bit of a downpour and onto Kihei.  It was sunny and time to check-in to our 2BR condo at the Royal Mauian by the time we got there around 3:30.

Warning – this gets a bit long but it explains our debacle – wasn’t exactly how we pictured our first afternoon on Maui!  

We went up to check out the condo – and here is where our first day on Maui started to go downhill.  As we were searching through the kitchen to see what they had, several roaches came crawling out of the kitchen drawers where the utensils were.  At first I just saw one on the floor and kind of blew it off.  Then Joe saw a few more in the drawer and we were not too worried yet as we did not even know for sure what they were, but they kind of creeped us out.  We went down to get the rest of our luggage and talked to the condo manager and they told us yes they knew they had roaches, it was normal because of all the rain they had, and they would be coming to spray tomorrow.  YIKES!!!  We started to get worried.  I know we are in a tropical climate and I can handle bugs – but roaches on silverware just don’t go well for me.  We started to get swimsuits on and Carter was ready to head to the beach, while Joe and I pondered on what to do.  We had rented the condo through VRBO, it got great reviews and the owner seemed really nice, but we had also paid the entire thing in advance (I think normal for VRBO?) so felt somewhat stuck.  At one point I broke down in tears because I think we both knew we would not be comfortable staying there but did not know what to do.  Even if we could get our money back it is Spring Break so could we find anything else?  There are literally HUNDREDS of places to stay on Maui but since we booked this a year ago I really didn’t know where we should even start looking if we decided to leave.  We felt we would need to wash dishes before we ate, and I really don’t think I could have slept thinking they might be crawling around.  Ants, mosquitos, even spiders I can deal with – but roaches I believe are a health issue.

Anyway – I’m rambling.  We called the owner but she did not call us back right away.  Decided at that point to call around to see what else was available.  Not sure why but I checked the Makena Beach Resort (maybe 3rd place I tried) and they had rooms available for entire 9 night stay, at a super saver rate (meaning you don’t get to pick your type of room – they assign when you arrive) that seemed reasonable considering our situation.  It got good reviews so we decided to book it, not knowing yet if we would even get a partial refund on the condo but deciding we would rather write it off vs. ruin our vacation.  About 10 minutes after we booked at the Makena, the owner called back.  She offerred to put us up for a night at hotel while they sprayed, etc. but we told her we just did not feel comfortable staying at that point.  She was very understanding, and agreed to give us a full refund!  It just goes to show that if you are nice people will understand and provide good service.

Although a bit sad about leaving the centrally located Kihei, the 2BR condo for a hotel/resort-type atmosphere, and a beautiful property on the Kam beaches (here are the views) – off we headed to the Makena Beach Resort.


We drove through Wailea to get to the Makena Beach Resort – this area, hotel, and the resort property is GORGEOUS!!!  We generally like condos and are not resort-type people as I mentioned, but we felt as soon as we arrived in the lobby we absolutely made the right decision.  Our trade-off is no kitchen and we will miss having a few dinners and most of our breakfasts in our condo, but we are very happy with where we ended up.  The beach and views are beautiful as well.

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We explored the pool and beach area a bit, let Carter swim in the pool while we relaxed a little, and enjoyed the beautiful sunset on Makena Beach.

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After the sunset we headed back to Kihei to buy a few snacks, some beach towels (wasn’t sure if we would have some to use at the Makena while not at the resort), and get dinner.   We headed to Coconut’s Fish Cafe for dinner.  Joe had the fish tacos and Carter had the local fish plate and they both really liked it.  I had fish and chips and they were “just ok” for me but probably because I really don’t like fish much.  I know Joe would be more than happy to return so we might.

It was about 9pm by the time all was said and done.   This was Carter about 5 minutes after leaving the Safeway in Kihei. I think it pretty much sums up how we all felt at this point.



We all fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows – exhausted but happy now, and looking forward to finally being settled and looking forward to our snorkel trip to Molokini early tomorrow morning!


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