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Messages - Shua

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1
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Maui Master Thread
« on: November 03, 2017, 02:24:15 PM »
Snorkeling is really great right in front of the Marriott. You can access it from Wailea Beach.

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Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Maui Master Thread
« on: November 01, 2017, 10:48:10 PM »
hmmm how long is the drive? starting from the marriott wailea
im not a hiker etc...
i would want to make a few small stops just to enjoy the scenery

any other luau that only has a beverage option besides the sheraton one
RTH is IMO the best part of Maui. You dont want to rush it, leave the hotel early and enjoy it. We left The Marriott in Wailea at 7AM and didnt get back till 6:30 PM. We did do the full loop but we didnt do any major hikes at all. You will also be exhausted at the end of the day so not sure if you are going to want to go to an actual show. 

Just a heads up, the luau at the Marriot can be seen from the hill that is in front of the kid pool area if you just want to see the show and not eat. You obviously wont get a chair but can sit down on the grass. They are totally cool with people hanging out there and watching the show, in fact they were giving out cookies to everyone who was watching on the hill!

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Monday

So originally Monday we had planned to go see Waimea Canyon. But (and you might be noticing a pattern by now) we were exhausted from the day before. We had already seen Waimea canyon from the air on Friday, so we decided to have a relaxing day for our last full day in Kauai. That meant pool, spa and Poipu Beach.

The spa has a separate men's and women's area with a dry and wet sauna as well as a Jacuzzi and rain-showers. There is a main area with a lap pool and 2 jacuzzis.



We hung out by the pools and spa for a few hours and then decided to go to Poipu beach.

Poipu beach is a few minute drive away from the Grand Hyatt. We passed by this sign on the way in.



So we were hoping that we would be able to see the Hawaiian seals. Luckily, there were two lounging on the beach!



They swam up at 6AM and the lifeguard roped off the area so no one would bother them.



Snorkeling here was great with a calm surf and great visibility. I made sure my phone/case was working this time! Unfortunately some of the pics still came out a bit blurry.

Eel



Fish





While we had originally planned to eat pomegranate meals every night, we wanted to check out the tidepools restaurant. Tidepool has a kosher menu through Ohau Kosher. As we still had two pomegranate meals left we only ordered appetizers and desserts.

Tidepools is really cool with the restaurant being situated on top of the pools of fish. There is even a swan!





We ordered the knish and minestrone soup. Both were very good. Desserts were brownies and cake. I would skip those. Everything came double wrapped and they gave us plastic utensils to eat with. While I'm glad I got our meals through pomegranate it was cool to check out the restaurant. I would definitely recommend eating at least one meal here or at least order appetizers just to enjoy the great ambiance.

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Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Next Vacation - Ideas
« on: October 03, 2017, 09:37:58 PM »
Need some help. Dw and I want to take a nice trip in January. She wants to do Sunday-Thursday to be home for DB on Shabbos. (We live in NY). She wants to go to a warm place where we can relax most of the time. I was thinking Maui but I would want to spend more time there. Perhaps Palm Springs would be a good idea. Zika destinations are not an option. TIA
Bermuda? But, might not be very hot

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Thanks for the amazing TR. @Shua I am going after sukkot and all these TR make me so excited to go. Thanks for all the priceless information.
Thanks! I actually learned the most from reading people's trip reports on the forums. While the revealed booked are great (and you should definitely buy them) trip reports have lots of tidbits that aren't in the books. This is my small way of paying it forward. Hawaii is amazing, enjoy!

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What kind of phone did you use? Pics are incredible
Beautiful TR and pictures. Thanks.
Thanks! The phones we used was both the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7. I know this sound cliche, but it really is so amazingly beautiful that I could have used a wind up disposable camera and the pictures would still look incredible.

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Sunday
 
One of the greatest hikes in the world is the Kalalau trail. Traveling 11 miles along the Na Pali coast, with almost 5000 feet in elevation this trail is among the most beautiful as well as one of the hardest hikes in the world. In short, it’s a must do. To travel the 11 miles you must get a permit months in advance. However, you can hike the first 2 miles (4 miles round trip) to the Hanakapia’ai Beach without a permit. There is also a side hike from the Hanakapia'ai Beach to the Hanakapia’ai falls that can be done without a permit. However, we wanted to see some other sights up north, chief among them the Queens bath. As we only had one real day up north we wouldn’t have enough time to do the entire 8 miles (Hanakapia'ai Beach and then to Hanakapia'ai falls) so we decided to just to do the 4 mile round trip.
 
The beginning of the hike is right off of ke’e beach. We parked right next to the overflow parking lot and started the hike.



Check out all those warnings!



While I saw some people do the hike barefoot (!) I would highly recommend getting good sneakers or even hiking boots. We also bought towels to sit by the beach, food for lunch, two 1.5 liters bottles of water and a pair of water shoes. 

We were lucky that the trail was almost completely dry, I've read people doing it where there was thick mud everywhere. The trail pretty much goes straight up for the first half mile.

This wasn’t even the steep part!



You are literally hiking on the side of a mountain through the jungle. The lunch greenery completely surrounds you.



At times, the trail is at the edge of a cliff with a few hundred foot drop.



Finally, at a half mile in you get to the coastal lookout. It's jaw dropping.



At about the one-mile marker you start descending into the valley.



More beautiful views.



Almost there!



I see the beach



Crossing the stream. (Don't do what this person did and jump from rock to rock, I can't tell you how many people I saw falling into the water like this. Just bring a pair of water shoes and change for the crossing)



Hanakapia’ai beach!

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Surf is really strong (people drown here all the time) so no one was swimming to far from shore



Caves by the beach.



Then we hiked back the way we came. I must say that the trail is longer, harder and more exhausting than people let on. It took us almost 4 hours to complete the roundtrip. Was it worth it? Absolutely. The views are unbelievable and the sense of accomplishment after finishing the hike is great. Was simultaneously the greatest and hardest hike I’ve ever done. Just as advertised!

When we got to the bottom there was a guy selling fresh coconut water (he would open the coconut that were in ice). I don't think I ever had a drink that “hit the spot” more than that one.

I'm glad we listened to people on the forums that said we should start our day with the Kalalau trail. When we finished it was midafternoon and we were pretty tired. We decided to skip most of the things we had planned (dry/wet caves, tunnels beach, light house-which was closed regardless as it was Sunday) and go straight to the Queens bath.

To get to the Queens bath you need to take a 15-minute hike past a nice waterfall.



First you get to an inlet with really strong current.



Lots of kids were jumping in and doing crazy flips. So even though the current looked pretty strong I jumped in. I was glad I did! The current was strong but was fun when the waves elevated and receded the water quickly. There was also a turtle who swam into the inlet who either couldn't or didn’t want to swim out.



As you aren't allowed to touch the turtle all we could do was cheer him on. Seemed like the turtle was having as much fun as we were battling the surf! Was really cool to see and swim with.

Hard to see but he kept swimming up on the rocks when the water was elevated and the he slid off the rocks when the water receded.



We hung out there for a while and then went to the actual Queens bath. Unfortunately, when I jumped into the water by the inlet, I put my phone in this. While at times it did the job, many times when I thought I was taking pictures, I was either taking a selfie or nothing at all. It's also very hard to see the screen through the case so many times I didn't even realize that I missed that shot till much later. Lesson learned, get a better case next time. So long story short, I didn't get any pictures of the actual Queens bath. But I have to say while I enjoyed it, I actually liked swimming in the inlet beforehand better! Maybe I'm just a sucker for turtles, strong surf and kids doing back flips

When we finally finished the Queens bath, it was getting late and we were really wiped. Both my wife and I agreed, it was time to head back to the Grand Hyatt.

Some thoughts:

The north part of Kauai has plenty of things to do. If you are going to do the Kalalau trail it might make sense to spend two days up north.

If you can only afford one day up north, do the Kalalau trail first thing in the morning! That way you will have time and energy to do other things that day.

If you can't do the full 4 miles at least go to the coastal look out a half mile in. That view is unbelievable

Bring shoes that can get wet and muddy so you won't kill yourself jumping from rock to rock in the stream

The Queens bath is really nice but check out the inlet beforehand. Observe the surf and if it's not too strong jump in!

If you are using your phone as your camera (as I was), get a good waterproof case that is easy to use! (Any suggestions?)

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Wow. Really incredible pictures.

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1 in stroller, 1 in crib & 1 on couch!
Oh wow! Then it's definitely good that you had 1029. Plenty of room for the kids to sleep and enjoy

10
Hey that was my room

I'm starting to think that they put the DDF crowd in the same room.

Seriously though I loved the location of the room, whilst being a walk from the pools the grassy area was great for the kids
LOL, I should start a poll to see if thats true!

Yes, I do agree that for families it would be a great location so the kids could run around. Out of curiosity, where did your kids sleep? On the couch? Or did the GHK supply you with cots?

11
Shabbos/Saturday

This might have been the most relaxing shabbos of my entire life. We didn't bring/buy anything to heat up food for Shabbos day, but we still had plenty to eat. We had dried salami, challah and deli that we brought from home. The salmon that we had got from Walmart was delicious cold. We also had lots of snack, chips, and salsa that we found in Safeway.

It was really nice walking around the hotel grounds or just sitting on the swing overlooking the ocean. Unfortunately, they donít give the cabanaís out for free anymore (it used to be a perk for Diamond members but that changed when they changed the program), otherwise we would have reserved that.

Nothing more relaxing (picture taken before Shabbos)



Before we knew it shabbos was over. We decided to go to the Kukuiula shops which was about a 5 minute drive away. Was nice to walk around in and they had a Lapperts which had delicious ice cream.

Watch out for those crazy chickens!



When we got back to the hotel we went to Stevenson library for some drinks as well as a few games of pool. Cool place with a nice vibe. We didn't stay out too late we had a full day up north planned for Sunday.

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Friday

We started our day by getting breakfast/lunch from the grand club where they had our 4 kosher bagels waiting for us. There is also cereal, cream cheese, juice and fruit that are kosher as well. We then drove to the airport as we had booked the Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour at 9AM. The reasoning for booking it early in the Kauai portion of the trip was if there was bad weather and we would need to postpone, we would still have an opportunity to go on the flight later in our trip.

Blue Hawaiian is a really professional, well run outfit. There were a lot of people who were flying at the same time as us and they had everything down like clockwork. When you check in they ask you to step on a scale as they have to balance out the helicopter by weight. While I requested the front seat, they wouldn't be able to confirm what seat I had until just before boarding. Finally, after a short safety demonstration I got my seating selection. Front row, right side! As the helicopter goes around Kauai in a clockwise direction this is the best seat on the chopper.

Pictures don't do it justice.

Jurassic Park Falls




Waimea Canyon



Waterfall in Waimea Canyon



Na Pali Coast





Itís impossible to capture the beauty



Inside the Mount Waialeale Crater



As many have said beforehand, this is a must do. So little of Kauai is accessible by foot/car that if you really want to see the hidden beauty you must see it from above.

After leaving blue Hawaiian we took a 15 minute drive to the Hawaiian village to kayak to the secret falls. I called them beforehand to set aside a kayak for us. It's a good thing I did because they ran out of kayaks shortly after we got there. Hawaiian village is the closest place to rent a kayak to access the secret falls trail. While there were many people who were on tours it's really not necessary and very easy to do yourself. It took us about 15 minutes of paddling to get the trail head and we took our time. There is also a fern grotto that you can kayak to if you are interested in kayaking more.

Map from the Hawaiian Village



We really enjoyed the whole experience. The hike was really easy but very enjoyable through the woods/jungle.



While some have warned that it was very muddy we got lucky as it was dry the entire time. We went slow enjoying the sights and it took us about 45 minutes to get to the falls.



We swam in the falls, ate lunch and enjoyed our hike and kayak back. On the way back to the hotel quickly stopped off in Safeway and Walmart to see what food we could get for shabbos.

We didn't have to shelp grape juice for 5000 miles!



Salmon was perfect for Shabbos day and Shalosh Seudos




We got to the hotel in the early afternoon so we had some time to hit the pool before we got ready for shabbos.

As Dan has stated before there are a few issues with the room for Shabbos. To get around these issues you have to enable VIP mode on the thermostat, unplug the bidet, cover the sensors in the closet so the light wonít turn on, make sure the darkeners are up so you can walk out on the porch and tape the latch on the front door.

I had trouble with taping the latch shut (even when it was fully taped with heavy duty tape the door would still catch) so having the ability to walk out onto the ground floor was a life saver.

For food we warmed up the food in the toaster before shabbos and then lowered it to 200 and put on the timer for the longest possible time. I finished davening and food was perfect temperature for Friday night seuda.

Good Shabbos from Kauai!



13
Great report.

I had room 1029 a few weeks ago. Good suite in a quiet section of the hotel.
Ha! I just found my invoice and we actually did stay in Room 1029! Yes, really nice room but again very far walk

14
Great report.

I had room 1029 a few weeks ago. Good suite in a quiet section of the hotel.

Thanks!

Not sure what room number I stayed in (1029 does sound familiar) but I attached a picture of the map below with an red X of where my room was. While it was really nice and quiet, it was also really far from the lobby and the pools.


15
Trip Reports / Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017)
« on: September 12, 2017, 09:36:43 PM »
There is also a Lappert's 5 minutes away from the GHK at the shops at kukuiula

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