By Margot Black
It doesn't take much to persuade anyone to holiday in Hawaii, and my husband and 10-year-old son were as excited as I was to explore the resort town of Wailea on Maui. Wailea's oceanfront, which has been called America's best beach, delivers all you need for the ultimate beach holiday — exquisite waters, excellent swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, paddle-boarding and hiking. Land-based activities include an award-winning tennis center and three high-end golf courses.
Our schedule was packed, but because everything is so close we were able to go sailing and kayaking and learn paddle-boarding. But as a busy mom I was also happy to factor in time to laze around the pool at the Grand Wailea Hotel, the first place we stayed. And what a pool! It's 2,000 feet long with nine individual pools on six levels. There's also a Tarzan pool with rope swing, five intertwining slides, a whitewater-rapids slide, six waterfalls, caves, an infant pool and a 262-foot lava tube slide. Adults over 18 get their own pool, which features a swim-up bar and two Jacuzzis.
One night we ate at the nearby Monkeypod Kitchen in the Wailea Gateway Center. We loved its lively yet relaxed family-friendly atmosphere and the room's big communal table. Another time we wanted to try something more traditional, so we booked the Te Au Moana Luau dinner show at the hotel next door. There we feasted on a traditional pig roast, danced under the stars and watched hula dancers, singers and fire-dancers.
The next day we worked off the roast by booking a small group kayaking trip — the best way to explore the waters of Maui. Our guide, Matt, knew everything about marine life and was great with our son. Best of all, the pace was also slow enough for me to keep up.
Post-kayak we stopped at the South Shore Grill, a cozy diner where roosters ran around and bikers were at the bar. We enjoyed giant juicy burgers and hanging with the locals — a delightful end to our kayak expedition. Undaunted, the next morning we took a stand-up paddle-board lesson, which proved easier than I expected, thanks to the calm waters and a 15-minute lesson on the sand.
Midpoint during our stay we moved to the Wailea Beach Resort. Our room over-looked the ocean and we couldn't stop admiring the view. This resort stands out for its many quirks and interesting corners, such as a tree lounge, a large chess set and a yard with a swing. There are three pool areas and four water slides, one of which, at 325 feet, is the longest in Maui. Other amenities include a swim-through grotto, waterfalls, family cabanas, a pool bar and a food truck where you can get traditional island snacks such as shaved iced and poke.
Breakfast at the buffet in their Humble Market Kitchin provided plenty of fresh fruit, including mango and papaya, and we loved their delicious lava pancakes. But what made this mom's heart sing were their coin-operated laundry rooms.
One day found us taking an eight-hour catamaran and snorkeling tour to the island of Lanai, which was once owned by the Dole fruit family and is the sixth-largest island in Hawaii. Its current owner is Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, and there are only 3,200 residents. After a plantation-style barbecue lunch at a pavilion overlooking the harbor we had time to swim and snorkel in the ocean, and we caught sight of spinner dolphins, which literally spin as they swim.
My advice for anyone planning a family vacation is to schedule activities and book trips but build time into your schedule to relax. There's so much to do in Maui, and one of the most wonderful things is doing absolutely nothing.
WHEN YOU GO
For further information about Maui visit these websites:
Grand Wailea Hotel: www.grandwailea.com
Wailea Beach Resort Hotel: www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/hnmmc-wailea-beach-resort-marriott-maui
MonkeyPod Kitchen at the Wailea Gateway Center: www.monkeypodkitchen.com
Te Au Moana Luau dinner show: www.teaumoana.com
Maui Kayak Adventures: www.mauikayakadventures.com
South Shore Grill: www.nalusmaui.com
Aqualani for paddle-boarding lessons: www.aqualani.com
Sail Trilogy sailing tours: www.sailtrilogy.com/tour/lanai
Margot Black is a freelance writer. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Traditional Hawaiian dancers entertain visitors at the Te Au Moana Luau dinner in Wailea, Maui. Photo courtesy of Margot Black.