This week’s Real Honeymoon features one of the happiest couples I know, Desa and Jared. With tropical relaxation as their number one honeymoon priority, they decided to make the (relatively) easy trip from California to Maui where they avoided the typical touristy activities and just enjoyed the beautiful island for what it is. Desa and Jared also really know what’s up when it comes to great food, so you won’t want to miss their list of awesome Maui restaurant recommendations toward the end of this post. Read all about their wonderfully relaxing Hawaiian honeymoon below:
When and where did you honeymoon?
Maui, HI May 27 through June 5, 2014.
How long was your trip?
How did you decide on your honeymoon destination?
Jared and I are pretty good at waiting. We waited over ten years to get married and another eight months before we took our official honeymoon. I am very happy we did not try to plan a big trip after our August 2013 wedding, but my level of anticipation grew as the months went on and I could not decide where I wanted to go. I suggested Belize, St. Maarten, Japan… Jared wanted to go to Hawaii. I pulled up itineraries for Ireland, New Zealand, and the Tahitian Islands. But Jared wanted to go to Hawaii. Everyone goes to Hawaii, Jared. How about something new?! Also, I couldn’t shake that memory of the one time I went to Hawaii (Oahu) and got chased down the street by the 300 lb pepper spray wielding Samoan transvestite named Passion – not the honeymooniest image.
Jared’s sales pitch: tropical, uncomplicated, good food and drink (something other than rum).
The months went on and I ended up working through a long, mentally exhausting trial. So, when it was time to book the trip, EASY was the name of the game. Hawaii! And it was perfect. Good work, Jared.
The best part about our honeymoon was…
The level of relaxation. We slept in every day, then wandered down to the cabana by the ocean with our bottle of sparkling wine, guava juice, and bowl of ahi poke, and floated back and forth between the ocean and the lounge chairs. Maui let us revel in sun-soaked lazy hours, until we felt free enough to ignore every tourist guidebook and “must-see” recommendation.
Instead of hopping aboard an overrun snorkel tour boat, we self-explored around our beach with gear found in our condo, learning later that Black Rock just south of our cabana is one of the top five snorkel spots on the West side of Maui. Instead of a luau, we treated ourselves to decadent dinners of elevated island fare.
Instead of the early morning trek up the Haleakala volcano, we cruised up north for an easy walk down to the Nakalele Blowhole with its picturesque heart-shaped rock.
One day we took a short trip to the Upcountry (central Maui) for a day cheese-tasting at a goat farm, exploring the deserted Enchanting Floral Gardens, and dinner at the Hali’imaile General Store for one of the best dinners I have had in my life.
Knowing Jared and I could always come back to Maui if there was anything we wished we would have tried was very liberating. It allowed us to focus on each other instead of our itinerary.
If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…
I would book a hotel on the East side of the island for the last two nights of the trip. That way we could explore the Road to Hana without the daunting task of driving the long winding road twice in a day, which we opted to forego this trip.
How much planning did you do in advance?
We booked the flight and the condo at the Outrigger Maui Eldorado, which was an ideal home away from home for us. Our last minute planning actually ended up saving us some money. Hertz car rentals from the Kahului airport are 30% off for walk-ups for any vehicle they have left, which is cheaper than any advance online rates.
What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?
Food! Equipped with a friend’s detailed, vetted list of delicious restaurants organized by price and location, we ate our way through the island. In no particular order here are several of my favorites:
- Star Noodle – Lahaina – I LOVED this place so much I went twice. True to their name the noodles are the star, I tried saimin and ramen, so fresh. Excellent sake cocktails too.
- The Gazebo – Napili – Open for breakfast and lunch only, very good, be prepared for a long wait if you get there too late in the morning.
- Aloha Mixed Plate – Lahaina – our first stop in Maui; cheap Hawaiian BBQ, great pasta salad, and beer.
- Pupu Lounge – Kihei – Not much to look at but very fresh island sea bass.
- Hali’imaile General Store – Hali’malie – What a dream! Crab pizza (sounds weird tastes fabulous), watermelon salad, and seafood risotto with bouillabaisse. Well worth the trip to the Upcountry.
- Lahaina Grill – Lahaina – Classic upscale steak and seafood, attentive service, Jared’s favorite.
- Fleetwood’s – Lahaina – Out of this world cocktails, try the Front Street Mule! We caught the tail end of happy hour (3-5pm) and the first half of $1 oyster hour, yum and yum
- Banyan Treats – Lahaina – Homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches!
Where do you want to go on your next big trip?
I have my eye on Italy. Jared probably wants to go back to Hawaii, ha.