Hawaii 5-0
April 2, 2008 5:22 AM   Subscribe

So, after much research, we have decided to go to Hawaii for our honeymoon. I have already been to Oahu and was not too impressed. But everyone is telling me that the other islands are far superior. So, where do you recommend we go? Where should we stay? We have quite a bit of money to throw at this, so we are not averse to staying in 4 star / 5 star hotels. Because the wife is pregnant, I don't want to overdue it, but I think she would be up for some activity like a downhill bike ride. Anyone recommend a fabulous itinerary for a Hawaiian honeymoon with a pregnant wife?
posted by jasondigitized to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
A few years ago I did this downhill bike ride on Mount Haleakala (Maui) and I would recommend it. You meet at the bike shop at like 3 a.m. (which is a perfectly reasonable hour if you're still on mainland U.S. time. In fact, it's about 3 a.m. in Maui right now as I type this). They take you up the top, you watch the sunrise, and then they give you a bike and you roll down the mountain at your own pace. When we looked, other tour companies did guided tours in which the whole group had to stay together the whole time. That was very undesirable to me. I think it was more expensive, too.
posted by Dec One at 6:01 AM on April 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Maui is wonderful. The wife and I typically stay on Kaanapali Beach. Makena Beach is a great day trip. The Hana Highway is cool too... Have Fun!
posted by LakesideOrion at 6:29 AM on April 2, 2008

North shore of Kauai, check out the Princeville if you want comfort and luxury.
posted by docpops at 7:09 AM on April 2, 2008

Yes Maui and then maybe Kauai. Have not been to Kauai but we loved Maui. The Big Island is okay but just didn't have the magic that Maui did.

The area around Makena is very nice. I strongly recommend the old lahaina luau in Lahaina on Maui. Its apparently the most authentic one and the food was fantastic.

Maui also has some great snorkeling which I think would be okay for her since if youd like it can pretty much just be floating. Their is a boat that leave from the Maui Prince hotel and goes out to a really old submerged volcano crater called Molokini. The fish are not as numerous as some of the places right off shore but you don't have to worry about the waves scraping you against the corral plus that trip is one of your best chances to see a turtle.

Also Mama's Fish House is worth a strop. Fun atmosphere, great service and great food.

If you do drive the Road to Hana you might want to stay a couple nights at the Hotel Hana Maui...I think its the most relaxing few days I have ever had in my life. Nice bonus welcome basket and champagne if you tell them its your honeymoon. My wife woke up one morning to the sound of children singing in Hawaiin at a nearby school...can't beat that with a stick.
posted by UMDirector at 7:41 AM on April 2, 2008

I've done the Haleakala bike ride as well -- a lot of fun. One thing I would recommend is that you take some warm and windproof clothes with you -- it gets darn cold up there, but the view from the top as the sun rises is amazing. I proposed to my partner up there -- I've got a lot of great memories of the place :).
posted by elmay at 8:11 AM on April 2, 2008

Some insight about what you didnt like about oahu would help in recommending other islands...
posted by ShootTheMoon at 8:13 AM on April 2, 2008

Poipu beach on Kauai. Garden spot of the earth.
posted by Wet Spot at 8:16 AM on April 2, 2008

We are also going to Hawaii and settled on Maui as our intended destination, partly because NortonDC is a biking fan and they have a terrific bike ride down the volcano. Something you should be aware of is that the group tours generally will not allow pregnant women to bike down the volcano, though -- to sign up for the tours you have to fill out a release that certifies you are not pregnant.

Also, just be careful because there have been many accidents and even several fatalities per year from these bike rides, which can get to speeds of 30 to 35 mph going down hill on a road that has a lot of twists and turns. As a result of these accidents, the National Park Service in Maui recently issued a "safety stand down" of the part of the ride that occurs on their grounds -- the top third of the ride. So the tours can take you up the mountain to watch the sunrise (and elmay is right -- wear sweats over your shorts etc. and think about bringing a blanket, because it's supposed to be freezing up there), then take you in the van down the mountain a bit until you are outside the park, and then start the bike ride down. Here is a helpful website that lists all of the Maui bike tours of the volcano.

There is also a bike tour on Kawaii, though I think it is not as long. I think it's likely that it also does not allow pregnant women. Both islands also offer "zipline" activities, but on Maui at least these tours also require you to attest you are not pregnant when you sign up.

As far as where to stay, if you decide on Maui like we did for a mix of relaxation and things to do, it's recognized that the Western and Southern parts of the island get less rain than the North and East, and hotels have built accordingly. We are staying on the west side, and got a really good deal on a resort on Expedia.com for about $225 per day at resorts that normally go for >$500/day (not including resort fee). The resorts on the west side are the Sheraton, the Westin, and the Hyatt. The Hyatt's beach is worse than the other two, but they have good rooms and a great pool. The Westin has a great beach and a great pool, but the rooms may not be as big. The Sheraton has a great beach and good rooms, but the pool doesn't have as many bells and whistles. But all are in a good location.

But even if you don't do the bike tour or the ziplining, there are plenty of water activities to do. There are lots of snorkel cruises or sunset cruises that look like alot of fun. If you go before April 15, there is whale watching; if you go in May or afterwards, a whole bunch of watersports open up like parasailing or jet skiing.

You may want a rental car once you get there to take the road to Hana, which is supposed to be a lovely drive. I'd suggest renting your car via Priceline.com; we got a better deal there than through any other offer we found. Also note that if you don't use Priceline but you're a member of Costco, they will give you special deals on rental cars, and the second driver is free.

Also highly recommend the controversial Maui Revealed (or Kawaii Revealed, etc.) books, at least for your initial research stage of figuring out where you want to stay and what you want to do. Just be sure once you get to your destination to be respectful of private property. Also, Tripadvisor.com, as well as the forums dedicated to whatever particular island you are vising, is a great resource to find a place to stay, restaurants to go to, and fun things to do.

Have a wonderful trip!
posted by onlyconnect at 8:25 AM on April 2, 2008

The Mauna Kea on the Big Island is old fashioned and elegant and an amazingly romantic, isolated sort of resort at one of the nicest beaches in the world. It's closed until Fall 08, though, so might not fit your time frame. The Hapuna is just up the coast half a mile, and it's more posh, newer, and almost as fantastic. You don't give too many details about what kind of vacation you're looking for, though, so research before you go because there are a thousand different types of resorts in Hawaii. I've always loved the Kona coast on the Big Island -- easy to get to from the airport, perfect weather, almost no rain, fantastic beaches.
posted by incessant at 8:28 AM on April 2, 2008

(I know that you said that you have a bunch of money to throw at this and that alot of my answer was focused on resources you can use to save money. I should have said -- in general, we found Hawaii to be a more expensive vacation to plan than other places we have been in the states or compared to other fun/sun spots like Mexico or Jamaica. So even though we had a budget of >$5000 for 10 days, we still did everything we could to get a good deal so that we could make the most of our stay once we got there.)
posted by onlyconnect at 8:31 AM on April 2, 2008

Other comments reminded me of this:

If you have a costco card bring it. More than one person I know makes the Costco on Maui their first stop after the airport (it was for us). Stock up on wine, cheese and hawaiaiin treats for the hotel....even if you are not looking to save money its just nice to have what you want, not what the hotel has available.

You might want to look at the Maui Prince Hotel too. Its 4 star..room decor could use some updating but its the nicest staff I have ever met. The breakfast is on an awesome outdoor lanai, the lobby are a is open and beautiful. Nice, if small beach, that was typically never crowded and GREAT snorkeling off to the left side of the beach. Take advantage of the time change and wake up early, go snorkeling and then have a nice breakfast.

You might want to also go to flickr and in the search box do a search for things you are thinking of doing or hotel you are thinking of staying at. This might give you a better idea of what to expect rather than what is on the promo sites.

Second tripadvisor - as hunt for their photos taken by visitors. They can be hard to find but are worth it.
posted by UMDirector at 8:46 AM on April 2, 2008

kauai bar none. either poipu or hanalei.
posted by violetk at 9:17 AM on April 2, 2008

Kauai is fantastic. If you want something 180 degrees opposite of Oahu, though, go to Molokai. It's basically half desert island/ranch and half lush jungle. Very few people live there, there's neat stuff to do and we saw very few tourists when we went. (We camped on the island, but there's a very nice hotel on the ranch that takes up the west half of the island.)
posted by Happydaz at 10:50 AM on April 2, 2008

I saw your earlier question, so I know you have a big budget (waaaaaay bigger than I had at least). So I'd recommending doing some awesome stuff that requires money / planning. Once-in-a-lifetime shit. Like sail between Islands (and into private beaches / coves / etc.) You could charter a boat with a crew (and a chef) and provision it all out. Then use it for a three or four day spin around and between other Islands. I'd also definitely add a helicopter tour to one day. There's probably even a way to do some "extras" in the helicopter, like a charter. Perhaps there's even a way to land in the middle of the day in some spot to grab a bite to eat and then "oh look at the time! we gotta get back to the helicopter!" Seriously, how many times in your life will you get to utter that sentence.

I can't seem to find it, but I remember a 4-star hotel in Hawaii that is a tree house. I'll keep googling, but all I'm finding are mentions that it exists, not any pictures / details.

Have fun y'all. *Throws hawaiian aloha*
posted by zpousman at 11:37 AM on April 2, 2008

Best answer: I was on Kauai last year and though I didn't stay there I'd strongly recommend the gorgeous, new, elegant Hyatt Poipu if you're looking for a luxurious resort honeymoon hotel. The Princeville Resort is very ritzy and has a unbelievable view (I heard they have a great Sunday brunch), but it seemed a bit stuffy and old-fashioned compared to the Hyatt.
posted by tula at 12:40 PM on April 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh boy! We need tourists, for sure. Things aren't going so well here. For one thing, the Moloka'i Ranch that's been referenced above is no more - closed last week. Huge loss. But that island is one of the least touristy and extremely important culturally. But don't be surprised if the locals on Moloka'i are a bit somber right now.

Also, Aloha Airlines, the 2nd biggest airline in Hawaii, went out of business on Monday. That was huge. So you should know that if you're going soon, the remaining inter-island flights around here are going to be pretty crowded/hard-to-book until further notice.

The Big Island is probably where I'd go. Multiple ecosystems are cool. Except the volcano started spewing sulfur dioxide gas this past week, and that's no good if you like breathing without effort. So if you go, stay away from that side of the island. Hilo is a fun town, but there are no really nice hotels. Kona is more touristy, but it's like a desert if you go in summer. And you'll have to drive a lot to see everything. Lots of resorts to choose from, all pretty spaced out. If you can sneak out to see Hokuli'a (private golf community), try. It's supposed to be unbelievable.

Maui is your best bet if you want activity. That place is geared towards tourists like no other island and they've even got shows ('Ulalena, which comes highly recommend from the performing arts folk I know), art galleries, etc. And Haleakala.

Kaua'i is nice if you want the lesser traveled island. The Princeville Resort is nice enough to intimidate me into not even using the lobby bathroom. But it's pretty golf-oriented. If I were better at golf and had more money, that's where I'd go. There's not much to do on Kaua'i except sight-see and relax, but again, we're not sure what you're looking for. Don't go during hurricane season. The place is still overrun with chickens ever since Iniki blew them hither and thither.
posted by krippledkonscious at 9:50 PM on April 2, 2008

Earlier. I'll reiterate - I loved Kauai. It was as touristy as we let it be.
posted by plinth at 7:44 AM on April 3, 2008

Response by poster: Tula was bang on. We ended up staying at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai and that place was ridickerous!!!!! The pool alone was worth the price. Kauai is absolutely amazing, and this is coming from a guy who lives in Bermuda. Bermuda has better beaches, but across the board Kauai is awesome!!!!! Highly recommend a helicopter ride around the Napali Coast with Jack Harter Helicopters.
posted by jasondigitized at 10:41 AM on June 26, 2008

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