Spring Break: Our Family Vacation at the Westin Maui
Last year, on one of our final days in Greece for our amazing honeymoon, Peter made me swear that I understood that not all vacations are created equal. Not entirely willing to except that private boat rides up and down the Amalfi Coast was sort of “out of the ordinary,” I graciously agreed, and nodded, “Of course. I know… This was big.”
“Very big,” he said. “Like, no more vacations for —”
“Until our one year anniversary,” I said. “We can go somewhere
small or local for our one year anniversary, right?”
“Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it,” he said, clinking champagne glasses on our private veranda overlooking the Caldera. How could something that feels so right, not be so normal??
Cut to a few months later: I’m pregnant. Talk of time, and plans, and plans, and time start to come up. And by “come up,” I mean, I ever so gently
pushed convinced Peter to agree that a babymoon/one year anniversary/ Spring Break vacation with just Jonah (Just the three of us, for the very last time ever, babe!) was a must. Within weeks, okay, fine, DAYS, my “oh, hey, I just got back from Rome, Amalfi Coast, and Greece like ten minutes ago, where are we going next” brain was a’churning.
Needless to say, my brain didn’t have to churn long. We live in Los Angeles. We had a week during Jonah’s (and Peter’s) Spring Break from school. I was pregnant. We were celebrating our anniversary. Hi, Maui.
As SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) members, we began to look into our options for hotels and opted for The Westin Maui Resort and Spa in Ka’anapali. The resort just underwent a multi-million dollar reinvestment which includes redesigned guest rooms and suites. We were so excited to be in a Superior King Ocean view room which had a beautiful transparent balcony overlooking the amazing pool as well as islands of Lanai and Molokai.
We spent our first afternoon at the hotel playing in the 87,000 square foot “aquatic playground,” which features 5 large pools and a swim-through grotto which Jonah made me go through at least 4500 times during the entire stay. Hair, shmair. Of course, it also didn’t take long for Jonah (and Peter) to race towards the awesome water slide.
The first night we sat on our balcony before dinner and watched as the sun set. We decided to walk to Whaler’s Village, which neighbors the hotel and is just a few steps away. It was a beautiful evening and with 6 days to follow, we were excited to call it an early night and get ready for the vacation to REALLY begin.
Beach day! One of our favorite things about the hotel was the easy access to the beach. No, like, crazy easy. The hotel offers beach chairs and umbrellas for a very reasonable price, which you can rent from the Towel Stand by the pool. They set it up anywhere you like. The towel desk opens at 8am. Guess who’s child was in the ocean by 8:05am?
We met a lovely family at the beach who asked, in exchange for taking a few photos of them on the beach, if we’d like their boogie board. They were leaving (and we were just starting!) By 8:15, guess who’s kid was boogie boarding and which Stepdad was helping?
While I did this, of course….
The towel desk sells really fun beach balls and will even deflate them for you so you can take them home, which we did. We also opted to rent snorkel gear for the week. Because by 10:30, guess who’s kid… You get the drift…
For those parents needing a little break, and for kids needing a break from said parents, you can opt for the Westin Kids Club for kids ages 5-12 years old.They offer half day and full day programs with activities that introduce Hawaiian culture and traditions as well as arts and crafts, guppy and gecko hunts, and pool games. We didn’t send Jonah to the camp during our stay simply because we all wanted to be together and cram as much family time as could in before 3 becomes 4, but we did take a look at the camp and it looked fun!!
Breakfast that morning was at the Colonnade Cafe, where you can grab a quick morning bite- pastries, fruit, and Starbucks coffee (yes!)- and enjoy the waterfall and garden. Jonah loved feeding the koi fish as the Chilean flamingos looked on jealously (and I pretended to not be afraid of birds).
For lunch, because let me tell you, beach = roaring appetite, we headed to Relish Burger Bistro Bar , which serves American favorites such as all-natural Kobe Beef Burgers and vibrant island flavors that include Huli Huli with grilled chicken breast and Maui Gold pineapple salsa (what I had below. DELISH!) It’s outdoors and next to the pool which makes for super easy access. While I opted for something hefty, their menu, like all the dining options at the Westin Maui align with their Eat Well concept. So you can order your burger bun free on lettuce instead…
Good thing for comfy cocoon dresses.
It was a special day… Our anniversary day! We started the morning off by heading to the beautiful Napili Bay, which is about a 10 minute drive north.
Napili Bay is tiny and tucked away behind small condos. It’s known to have wonderful snorkeling and amazing pancakes… Well, not in the ocean, of course, but at in a tiny restaurant tucked away at the edge of the bay called The Gazebo. You have to wait about 45 min to an hour for a table (there are only about 10 in the entire restaurant) but if you love macadamia nut pancakes: It’s worth it.
While waiting, we spotted whales and a stunning rainbow… It’s really a beautiful, beautiful place.
After breakfast, we headed back to the Westin and enjoyed another perfect day at the beach. We noticed that their was a catamaran cruise that pulled up literally right to the beach in front of the hotel for a morning whale watch cruise and a mid-day snorkel cruise. We spoke with the concierge and they told us all about the Gemini and we made plans to go for the following day.
For our anniversary dinner, we headed to Mama’s Fish House along the North Shore in Paia. It’s quite a drive but once again, worth it! The food is delicious and the ambiance is fun and quintessential “Hawaii.”
Did I mention Jonah got whacked in the eye with a baseball at his game the night before we left for Hawaii?? Hello, shiner.
Let’s cruise! Since the catamaran was set to leave at 11am, we had, according to Jonah THREE. WHOLE. HOURS. to swim!! And that we did… We Grabbed breakfast from the Relish Burger Bistro buffet then headed to the pool! It was so convenient to jump out of the pool, get fresh towels from the towel desk, then line up to board the Gemini right there!
The boat took us North past Napili and Kapalua to Honolua Bay. Since Honolua Bay is a Marine Life Conservation District, the water is crystal clear and the coral is simply breathtaking. It was awesome to snorkel with Jonah and Peter (Jonah is brave! He went far out!)
One of the highlights of the trip was on the return ride to the hotel, the Captain let a few of the kids jump up and steer the ship. Jonah was so excited I thought his head might explode!
In addition to the whale sitings, we got up close to a big school of dolphins that were definitely doing a little performance for us.
After 4 beautiful hours at sea, it was time to return to the Westin. Again, the boat pulls up literally on to the sand and voila. You’re back at your hotel. Doesn’t get easier than that!
The boat returns at 3pm, and since we had already been out since 8am, we were wiped! So the rest of the afternoon we spent in our room relaxing. For dinner, we headed to Lahaina for a bite at Star Noodle. Best garlic noodles I’ve ever had!!
Of course, no trip to Lahaina is complete without one Maui must-have: Shaved ice! Oh, yes, it was worth the 30 minute wait at the famous Ululani’s Shaved Ice on Front Street.
I was so excited to be asked to takeover the Westin Maui’s Instagram for the day. We had a fun schedule planned! We started our morning off by ordering in room service (one of Jonah’s most beloved vacation treats… And mine too). I love the Westin’s Eat Well menu options for kids… but that can also easily be made for adults. (Guess who ordered the Granola Parfait!)
They also had a fresh pressed juice menu, and since I am craving citrus like crazy (and was planning on taking a Yoga class), I had to have the fresh pressed papaya, pineapple, and mint juice. Amazing!
By 9am, we were down by the beach and all checked in to our awesome beach cabana. It rents for $75 a day; the beach chairs are $15 each and the umbrellas are $25. Very reasonable considering you’re really out there, like us for nearly 8 hours! Shade is key!
While the guys headed straight down to the water, I headed to the Spa to meet my instructor for a Yoga class at 9:30, which is held directly on the resort’s Beach Lawn, with serene ocean views.
Lucky for me, it was just ME for the 9:30. I got a totally solo/ one on one yoga class. And it. WAS. AWESOME.
She helped me make plenty of adjustments and even tailored it to my prenatal needs. I need A LOT of work on my yoga practice, but it was a wonderful, relaxing hour.
After yoga, I met J and P back at the beach and was able to convince them to get out of the water to take a picture with me. But only if I hurry up, I needed to join them in the water!!! Good thing I got my hour of “me time” in!
We had an awesome lunch at Relish Burger Bistro and an even better afternoon “pick me up” brought right to our cabana. I kind of made it my mission to have a (virgin) Lava Flow everyday while in Maui. (Mission accomplished).
Later that evening, we headed down to the Westin’s Wailele Polynesian Luau which is held in the Aloha Pavilion sounded by waterfalls, tropical gardens, and tiki torches.
The MC was really entertaining and we enjoyed a traditional Hawaiian buffet plus the free flow of Mai Tais and other signature cocktails (again, virgin for me). But the best part was once the sun began to set and the dancers came out. This luau happens to have Maui’s only extreme fire knife dance! A definite perk for a 7 year old boy!
We spent our morning enjoying room service once again. There was no way I was going to not soak up this view as much as I could.
We decided to rent a cabana again because it was our last day in paradise… and I was determined to get past the first 30 pages of my book. Guess that’s a good sign we were having fun! (Spoiler alert: Didn’t actually get to read one single page that week. Finished the book on the plane though! Yippee).
For our “last supper,” we decided to head back to Front Street in Lahaina. We took the Ka’anapali inter-resort shuttle that runs daily from 9am-10pm and picks up at the hotels and takes guests to/from Lahaina. It is super convenient and… Free! Once we got to Front Street, Jonah saw Cheeseburger in Paradise and our fate was sealed. (Not the best burger in the world, but guess what– one of the best sunset views of our entire trip!)
All in all, this was one heck of a trip. Staying at the Westin really made our trip effortless. The accessibility from beach to location to dining options and more was fantastic and let’s face it, that balcony was dreamlike. I know we’ll be coming back here again… and not just because I got to take over their instagram for the day, but because Peter promised me. Something to the affect of, “Babe, we’ve got to do this every year.” See, reason #45 to love an afternoon Lava Flow…
Want to stay at The Westin Maui? Visit their website and follow them on FB/Twitter/Instagram – @TheWestinMaui
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
2365 Ka’anapali Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761