Author Topic: Ten days in paradise: Ten year anniversary trip to Maui, Kauai and Pearl Harbor  (Read 12319 times)

Offline Shua

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Thursday

Originally the plan for Thursday was to go on a snorkel cruise to Molokini crater. ButÖ.  we had been running around Maui the past two days (Road to Hana and Western Maui loop) and we really enjoyed our first day of relaxing. As we had plans to have an active day in Kauai on Friday, we decided to just relax by the pool and do some snorkeling off of Wailea Beach.

Itís hard to say no to this view.



I swam/snorkeled from Wailea Beach (on the right) to Ulua Beach (on the left). While there weren't as many turtles as in the afternoon, the visibility was better so I saw plenty of fish.



Here is where the hotel lounge really came through. Our flight was at 5pm to Kauai and check out was 12. They had no problem storing our luggage and keeping our food in the freezer while we hung out by the pool and relaxed. They had towels and showers in the lounge so we could change for our flight.

Before we knew it, it was time to leave and head to Kauai.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Marriott. The staff were extremely accommodating, everything feels new as it was recently renovated and the adult infinity pool is amazing. Also at 13.3k SPG point per night it's a very good deal.

Had an uneventful flight to Kauai and got upgraded to a convertible at Alamo.

Chickens everywhere!



Drove through the tree tunnel to the Grand Hyatt Kauai



There have been many trip reports with the Grand Hyatt Kauai pictures (so I apologize in advance) but hereís a few more.

The open lobby with the ocean window is beautiful



View from the front of hotel from the beach/salt water lagoon area



The hotel is huge covering 55 acers. The pool situation is really nice with an adult upper pool, a lazy river (with waterfalls and hidden caves) and a lower family pool. The lazy river connects the upper and lower level pools. There is also a huge salt water lagoon with a fake beach. The lagoon is so big that you can rent kayaks and paddle around the lagoon!

Salt water lagoon with the ocean in the background



Lazy river



Lower family pool



We got upgraded to the garden suite. We specifically requested the garden suite as it was on the ground floor which would be better for us on shabbos.





While I requested an extra fridge, the fridge they had in the room was large enough to fit 10 pomegranate meals.

We had an early day planned for Friday so we crashed after eating our Pomegranate meals.

Offline yoohoo

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Nice. How did you go about arranging shabbos (Doors, heating food etc.)? Plan on being there in Nov

Offline Shua

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Nice. How did you go about arranging shabbos (Doors, heating food etc.)? Plan on being there in Nov
Will talk about it more in the next installment (which I will hopefully finish before the end of the week!)

Offline JS69

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Great report.

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

Offline Shua

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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.


Offline Shua

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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

Offline Shua

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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!



Offline JS69

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Ha! I just found my invoice and we actually did stay in Room 1029! Yes, really nice room but again very far walk

Hysterical, We didn't mind the walk, it added to the activities everyday.

Great pics!

Offline Shua

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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.

Offline efflpetzel

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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.


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

Offline Shua

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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?

Offline efflpetzel

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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?
1 in stroller, 1 in crib & 1 on couch!

Offline Shua

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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

Offline mochjas

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Room data points from GHK:

Booked 4 DDFers in GHK from my account

2 got room 1038 and one got 1007 I believe all are garden suites as well

One went when the hotel was sold out so no suite and I dont remember what kind of room he got
 

Offline Shua

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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?)
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 12:05:00 AM by Shua »

Offline yoohoo

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What kind of phone did you use? Pics are incredible

Offline ludmila

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Beautiful TR and pictures. Thanks.
I was the Best,still the Best, and will always be the Best.
Pele Good,Maradona Better, George Best.

Offline Shua

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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.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 10:41:24 PM by Shua »

Offline yg1836

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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.

Offline Shua

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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!