In this series, Katie Goldstein from Travelingpanties and Smartypanties is breaking down the best honeymoon destinations, one at a time, to help you narrow down the dizzying array of options so you can choose the one that reflects your interests, budget and style. Up today? Hawaii.
You'll like it if
You seek relaxation and outdoor adventures.
Kahului Airport (OGG) is the primary airport on the island of Maui. Most flights to Maui connect through Honolulu (HNL). We recommend renting a car in Maui since getting to most of the top restaurants and activities requires a short drive from most hotels.
The locals of Hawaii say "Maui No Ka Oi," which translates to "Maui is the Best," and this saying is not without merit. For the last 17 years straight, travelers have named Maui the "Best Island" in the Condé Nast Reader’s Choice Awards. Maui’s laid-back, aloha spirit, coupled with its spectacular scenery, stunning hotels and endless outdoor activities, as well as its hospitality industry’s unbeatable expertise in romance, makes it a premiere honeymoon destination.
A trip to Maui is the perfect choice for couples seeking an unforgettable romantic experience, relaxation and a taste of adventure. Given Maui’s perfect honeymoon credentials, expect to pay premium rates for accommodations and dining, especially around Christmas. Honeymooners looking for a bargain should not visit during peak season and should instead plan to come between April and November, when, ironically, Maui’s weather is the best.
Where to stay
Most honeymooners visiting Maui choose to stay in either Lahaina or Wailea, depending on what the couple is looking for. Lahaina, a quintessential beach town, is a more typical tourist area. Its oceanfront streets are lined with souvenir shops, bars and restaurants, perfect for wandering through during an afternoon stroll. Although some honeymooners will find this part of town overly touristy, this is where you want to stay if you’re looking for bustling nightlife.
Honeymooners looking to stay close to the center of town and also experience fine luxury, can stay at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, just north of Lahaina. This breathtaking resort is home to one of Hawaii’s finest white-sand beaches, which features some of the island’s best surfing. Another plus in Lahaina is that the prices are usually cheaper than in Wailea.
Travelers searching for an away-from-it-all experience will probably prefer Wailea. Located in South Maui, Wailea is the sunniest and driest part of Maui, making it ideal for visitors hoping to soak up the island’s famous golden sunshine. This part of the island provides seclusion, tranquility and an unparalleled, idyllic setting removed from the main part of the city. Wailea is perfect for discerning clientele looking for privacy and is home to the island’s most lavish resorts, like the Four Seasons Maui, The Fairmont Kea Lani and the Grand Wailea.
What to do in Maui
Whether your ideal honeymoon involves rejuvenating your senses, participating in thrilling outdoor activities or taking advantage of the island’s enchanting, natural beauty, there is something here to please everyone.
When it comes to relaxation
Guests looking to relax can book romantic couples’ spa treatments at The Four Seasons Maui. The Four Seasons recommends a private couples’ instructional massage class for lovebirds looking for something extra special. Each person receives 50 minutes of instruction as he or she practices on his or her partner, resulting not only in the perfect souvenir, but also in a heavenly four-handed massage for each.
Finally, although it may be surprising, not everything on Maui requires a credit card. The city’s beaches are free and are open to the public, which brings us to our final Maui activity suggestion that every visitor must take part in: Harness the happy-go-lucky aloha spirit and do absolutely nothing at all. Seize the moment and relax with the love of your life on the luxurious, white-sand beaches, sip a Mai-Tai and watch the waves crash against the shore.
For culture seekers
For couples looking to learn more about Polynesian cultural traditions during their stay, The Fairmont Kea Lani recommends an authentic canoe excursion, offered on site. Couples will not only learn the basics of canoeing, but also its importance to the Hawaiian heritage as a means of both sustenance and settlement conquests. During this outing, couples can jump out for a swim in the middle of the ocean and witness wildlife such as sea turtles and even the occasional humpback whale!
For thrill seekers
A must-see for every Maui adventurer is a helicopter tour of the island, where passengers will witness the stunning and expansive views of the island. (Travelers prone to motion sickness might wish to skip this.) If you prefer to stay on the ground, locals and hotel concierges alike recommend that every visitor take a scenic drive on the Road to Hana.
This full-day trip will give you a chance to see breathtaking scenery, swim under waterfalls, hike through the rainforest and visit the Kahanu National Tropical Botanical Gardens. Outdoorsy couples can hike through the Twin Falls, as well as Iao Valley State Park (hikes vary in difficulty, so be sure to choose the right one for you).
No matter what your interests are, no visit to Maui is complete without a luau. Visit the Old Lahaina Luau, which provides the most authentic experience and sticks to tradition rather than touristy notions.
If you're a day-tripper
Cassie Conching, manager of romance at Four Seasons Resorts Lanai, suggests taking the 45-minute ferry from Maui to the island of Lanai, an idyllic backdrop for romance, where guests can experience turquoise blue water and picturesque rolling hillside of the upcountry. Guests can enjoy Japanese cuisine at the new renowned Nobu Lanai.
Where to eat and drink
Don’t plan on fitting back into your wedding dress, because the food in Maui is too good not to splurge on. Indulge in some of the world’s finest and freshest seafood, savor traditional Hawaiian cuisine or feast on fabulous fish tacos. Whatever you’re craving, Maui has the perfect answer. Lahaina’s premiere restaurant, Lahaina Grill, located at the famous Lahaina Inn, serves delicious food in a sophisticated yet casual atmosphere. Visitors looking for succulent seafood should be sure to try Nick’s Fish Market and Mama’s Fish House, which serve up the freshest catches in unforgettable settings, overlooking the ocean. You should also check out the killer fish tacos at Fred’s Mexican. Finally, sushi-buffs simply must visit Sansei, an unassuming Japanese restaurant surprisingly located in a strip mall. This well-known sushi haunt is famous for its panko-crusted ahi sashimi sushi roll, which is flash-fried and served with a soy-wasabi butter dipping sauce.
What to watch out for
Always remember your sunscreen. Even when it’s cloudy, the sun is extremely strong, and nothing ruins a vacation like painful sunburn. Also, be cautious and always lock up valuables in your room. Even if you’re at a luxury resort, remember the beaches are public — don’t leave your valuables lying around and become a target. Finally, be careful when you book tours: Vendors recommend tour companies based on which one pays them the highest commission, not necessarily which one is the most reputable or the safest. Be sure to do your research, and when in doubt, ask your hotel before booking any excursion.
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