Friday, May 30, 2014

Maui Annversary Trip - With Baby :)

Introduction

Now that baby M is a bit older, we feel like we want to start going on trips again. Maybe not as often or as crazy packed as our pre-baby days, but we do want to go somewhere.

My friend suggested Maui, since Hawaii is such a baby friendly destination. We had been to Maui before, and typically don't like to visit the same place twice, since there's so many other places we want to visit in this world. However, now that we have a baby, we have to also think of a destination that is close enough and baby-friendly, and Maui seemed to fit the bill. I heard about the new Andaz Maui that recently opened, saw blog posts and reviews on Trip Advisor, and thought this would be a good place for our stay. I was able to get a pretty decent rate, and found availability using points for our flights for the dates we wanted (around our wedding anniversary).

Andaz Maui

I didn't really plan much this time since we have been to Maui before and did a lot of the touristy/must-dos, so this time around we just planned to relax around the hotel.

Flight to Maui

We flew on Alaskan Airlines and booked an infant ticket for baby M. The flight to Maui was actually pretty full, I think there were only 2-3 open seats. The lady at the gate was really nice and issued us updated boarding passes which essentially gave baby M her own middle seat, which was huge!

10 minutes into our flight, the captain made an announcement that they hit a couple of birds and had to circle back and land to have the plane checked. It was a bummer and in total our flight was delayed for 2 hours. But they issued lunch vouchers, and it was good to be safe and have the plane checked.


Baby M is around 10 months old, crawling, and very, very active. The flight was a little challenging. A couple things that we did to make the trip go smoother:
  • Prepared PLENTY of snacks. Our baby is such a good eater and is the most calm when eating. We packed plenty of snacks ready to go to keep her in a good mood.
  • I went and bought a few cheap new toys that she has never played with before to keep her entertained when she got a little cranky. This worked for a little bit. :p
  • Once I ran out of ideas, I took out things from our diaper bag (such as plastic ziplocks, different containers, etc.) to keep her busy.
  • We also held her and walked up and down the aisle a few times when she seemed bored and a bit agitated. This mostly worked.

Andaz Maui

After the 7+ hours flight (due to the 2 hour delay), we finally made it to Hawaii. We got our rental car and went straight to Geste Shrimp truck (sorry no pictures, we ate it so fast! :p) and then to Ululani Shave ice. Afterwards we made our way to our hotel.

Andaz Maui Lobby

The Andaz hotel was just amazing. It was located in Wailea (which I consider the nicer part of Maui). They did extensive renovations on what used to be the Renaissance Hotel, and the hotel felt completely brand new. The entrance was totally gorgeous and the view from the lobby was just breathtaking.

We were greeted by our "host", who checked us in with her iPad and offered us cold towels and glasses of water while we looked into the beautiful ocean view. We were also given  a welcome lei & shell necklace, which baby M loved!

"Host" area

We got upgraded to the Andaz Suite due to my Hyatt Diamond trial status, which was totally worth it. The suite was just absolutely gorgeous, modern, and huge. There was a half bath in the first living "room", as well as a desk, dining table, and a seating area + TV.

Half bath

I thought the half bath was just so over the top....it did come in handy though, so I'm not complaining. :p

Dining area
Seating area

The second "room" was the actual bedroom with a small seating area, lanai, and a huge bathroom.



The bathroom was really big, with a shower that could probably fit 10 people, a beautiful bath tub, and double sinks.



Everything still felt brand new and clean, and the style was just really gorgeous. We also got really good views from our room on the 7th floor, which is the top floor.

Having the extra "room" really helped for baby M's naps, so she was not distracted by us. Since she sleeps pretty early, we were able to close off the door to the living room where she slept, and have quiet nights by ourselves, which was nice.

Pool & Hotel Grounds

There were 5 pools at the Andaz-cascading/infinity style pools. The first pool was a bit small and we didn't use it because there were no lounge chairs & shades. We tried the second and the third pools during our stay, and I like the third pool better since it's a bit bigger.

Pool service was pretty good, although I think not as polished as our last stay at the St. Regis in Kauai. It took probably 5-10 minutes before anyone greeted us at the pool and set up the lounge chairs with towels.  Servers came around every so often to take drink/snack orders from the bar, too.

Activities in Maui

This time around we really didn't do much. We usually started our day around 5:30AM when baby M woke up. Then got ready, and took a short stroll on the Wailea path. Afterwards we went straight to Ka'ana kitchen for breakfast. Afterwards, pool time/beach time or other low key activities.

Here are some of the activities we did:
  • Maui Ocean Center: Our friend suggested a visit to the Maui Ocean Center for baby M.  The Maui Ocean Center was located halfway between Wailea and Lahaina. The aquarium was around 70% indoors and 30% outdoors. We took our stroller and walked around the aquarium. Dan also took out baby M a couple times so she could see the fish / wildlife closer to the aquarium glass. She would reach out and coo when she saws the different fish, which was super cute.  The aquarium was a little small but it was good enough.

Baby M and Dan looking at the Aquarium

  • Beach time: There's a small stretch of beach with direct access from the hotel. The hotel provided beach chairs as well as umbrellas. It was a pretty nice setup, although we only took advantage of it once. Dan tried stand-up paddle boarding which we rented from the activities center.

Beach in front of Andaz Maui

  • Pool time: This was where we spent the majority of our time/activities. We brought a floater for baby M which she loved and we loved (since we didn't have to constantly hold her).

View of Four Pools

  • Spa: For Mother's Day, I booked a 60 minute massage at the Awili Spa. I really wanted to try their Omakase treatment where you book two separate treatments and customize your own lotions, etc. But the price was a bit too much, so I decided to just do the 60 minute massage. I loved how everything was so clean and modern. They had the usual spa stuff (sauna, steam room, jacuzzi), shower, vanity area, locker room, and a wonderful waiting area. They served this yummy trail mix at the waiting area which contained cashews and chocolate chips. :)  My masseuse was amazing, and I thought it was well worth it. I enjoyed this spa better than the spa at the Grand Wailea where Dan & I got massages last time.

The treatment room

Food in Maui
  • Geste Shrimp Truck: This is still one of our favorites in Maui. We stopped by on our drive from the airport to the hotel. I wanted to get the combo which consisted of shrimp & sausage. But they ran out of the sausages. Dan got the Hot & Spicy shrimp, and I got the Hawaiian Scampi shrimp (regular garlic flavor). Both were amazing! We ate so fast and forgot to take pictures.

  • Ululani Shave Ice: We LOVE Ululani shave ice and think that they are the best! They expanded and had 6 locations on the island, which was great because it's more convenient to go to whichever location was closest to where we were. :) We stopped by twice at the one in Kihei and once in Lahaina. Quality was pretty consistent all around. The amazing thing about Ululani is their super soft ice. At other shave ice places, the ice isn't as fine/soft. All their syrups are also home made. We always get macadamia nut ice cream in the bottom, and the mochi topping as additions.


  • Eskimo Candy Shop: The name of this store is really funny, but they serve a mean poke bowl! I'm not even a big tuna fan but I love their tuna poke! Definitely recommend it--it consisted of 3 different kind of pokes, seaweed salad, wasabi cream aioli, all on a bed of warm white rice. Yum! We ate here twice, and this is definitely on our list next time we come back to Maui.

Poke rice bowl from Eskimo

  • Breakfast at Ka'ana Kitchen: Having breakfast at the hotel was really nice since we didn't have to drive elsewhere. The food quality was really good and selection was huge. They always had 2 signature juices, and different sections for hot food, an omelet station, cold cuts, breads, and fruits. Overall quality was great, and we really enjoyed it. The price was expensive, especially for the buffet, but thankfully it was included as part of my Hyatt diamond status (they even covered the tip from our bill which was nice and unexpected).  Some of my favorite items were the corn fritters, fluffy pancakes, fried rice with bacon, and their egg & pork bao. I didn't know this but apparently you could also order anything off the a la carte menu (included in the price of the buffet). 

Yummy breakfast!

  • Star Noodle: During our visit to Lahaina we stopped by Star Noodle which seemed to be a very popular restaurant. We came for an early lunch so didn't have to wait long. Apparently the Top Chef star used to work here before he opened his new restaurant at the Marriott, called Migrant. We thought the food was pretty good and reasonably priced. Dan almost laughed because the total cost for our meal was the same as one person's breakfast cost at Ka'ana kitchen if we had to pay out of pocket. We got the Lahaina fried soup (which was more like a dried noodle soup, quite tasty), Ahi poke (not quite as good as Eskimo's), the Vietnamese crepe (pretty good), and their famous Malasadas (though not a huge fan - the shell was a bit too hard). Overall I would recommend this place.

Lahaina Fried Soup

  • Morimoto: We went to the Morimoto restaurant which was actually located at the Andaz. It was located by the bottom pool, closest to the beach. I got the moricristo sandwich and Dan got the chicken banh mi sandwich. I thought my sandwich was overly salty (especially the part that was soaked in the sauce). Dan's sandwich was pretty good. But overall we didn't think it was worth the price.

Mori Cristo Sandwich
Chicken Sandwich

Conclusion:

We really enjoyed our trip to Maui. The Andaz was everything I could have imagined and maybe a bit more. I love how everything was so modern and new, and just love the overall concept of Andaz hotels. I have to say that Andaz is probably our newest favorite chain. We are looking forward to trying out other Andaz hotels. Well done Hyatt!

It was VERY different though traveling with a baby vs. traveling with just your spouse. We had to be very flexible, not plan for too much, and take into account the baby's schedule. This trip gave me hope that we can still travel with a baby, albeit a very different kind of traveling. :) But I can see that it is doable and that hopefully, we can have many trips in the future with baby M!

1 comment:

  1. Hawaiian islands are a fave of ours too.. would you mind posting the prices for the meals/snacks in Maui like you do with some other food purchases? thanks PS: So far the best Malasadas for us have been the ones on Oahu from Leonards. At around $1.50 a piece they are amazing.

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