Early on in wedding planning, Daniel and I got our hearts set on going to Hawaii for our honeymoon. There’s a reason Hawaii seems to be the most popular place for honeymoons. It has gorgeous weather, is breathtakingly beautiful, and it truly offers something for everyone. We decided to take a two-week trip because we wanted to visit multiple islands since it is such a long way from home and we weren’t sure if we’d ever get the chance to go back. We settled on Maui and Kauai because we loved the versatility of Maui and the serenity of Kauai. This is part one/week one of our honeymoon: Maui.
We waited a few weeks after our wedding to leave for our honeymoon. When we were planning the trip we were thinking it was a good idea to give ourselves a chance to catch up on work that was neglected during the busy run up to the wedding and to settle back into a routine at home. In retrospect, I don’t think waiting was the best idea, because we basically just spent those weeks anxiously counting down the days to our trip. I think it would have been more fun and ultimately more productive to leave a few days after the wedding.
Both Daniel and I were dreading the long flights. We had two six-hour flights from Boston with a short layover in Seattle. Neither of us have ever been able to sleep on planes, so the long day was daunting at the start. We thought about flying first class to be more comfortable but it was so expensive we ultimately decided to buy three economy seats for the two of us. This gave us our own row which let us spread out and we didn’t have to worry about dealing with neighbors. I think this is a pretty good idea for long flights if you want extra room and upgrading to first or business class is more expensive. The flights were long but the anticipation of getting there kept us in good spirits. We spent the time watching TV or fruitlessly trying to sleep.
The good thing about going to Hawaii is you make up time with the time difference so you can leave from the east coast in the morning and get there in the afternoon of the same day. We left our house at around 5am and after arriving in maui, rented a car and arrived at our hotel around 3pm. As soon as we arrived it was clear that the Four Seasons Maui was going to be an amazing experience.
Four Seasons Maui
Disclosure- We spent 7 nights at the Four Seasons Maui and they graciously comped two of those nights and gave us a bunch of extras in exchange for social media posts and a mention on the blog.
Our stay at the Four Seasons Maui was truly unbelievable—just incredible in every way. Of every hotel I’ve ever visited, this hotel had the best service and the kindest staff. It seems like every guest is treated like a VIP—the staff remembers your name and always greets you with a smile and a “welcome home!” From the moment we arrived we knew it would be a special experience. We were greeted with leis and then walked into the beautiful open air lobby with a view of the ocean.
We stayed in an “Ocean-View Prime” room, with a beautiful view of the ocean and garden.
The room was spacious, modern, and chic. Highlights were: the enormous marble bathroom and the lanai (balcony), which had the most amazing views of the ocean and garden. There was nothing better than enjoying a morning coffee out on the lanai.
FS Maui is the perfect place for relaxation. They have three pools, including a semi-private, adults-only serenity infinity pool overlooking the ocean with colorful Missoni-designed cabanas, plenty of big, comfortable lounge chairs facing the ocean, and complimentary cabanas at the regular pool.
The property is situated directly on Wailea beach. You can walk right down to the beach and the staff will set up towel-lined chairs and an umbrella for you. Every hour they’ll walk around with complimentary snacks (fresh pineapple, brownies…).
It was amazing to be able to just walk down to the beach without having to worry about schlepping chairs and towels, especially since we swam in the ocean pretty much every day. The water was clear, calm, and comfortably cool. We spent some days using snorkel gear—spotting a few colorful fish and turtles, and others paddle boarding very, very pathetically :) One day we rented a luxury cabana at the serenity pool and drank frozen pina coladas out of pineapples. It was fabulous.
They also have an incredible spa where I enjoyed a traditional Hawaiian massage. I highly recommend setting aside time to relax at the spa.
I can’t recommend FS Maui enough. It is just utter paradise. Everything is breathtakingly beautiful, the location is perfect, the food is delicious, and the service is unparalleled. And everyone is incredibly friendly and helpful.
Yes, it’s expensive but then again, there is no resort fee and there a ton of perks included in the price like complimentary sunscreen, snacks, towels, cabanas, an indoor-outdoor fitness center, snorkel gear, valet (and renting a car is something I’d highly recommend), and other amenities that you might pay extra for someplace else.
It’s definitely a splurge but you get a really special experience for your money.
Things We Did
The best thing about Maui is how versatile it is. There is something for everyone—whether you want an adventure or pure relaxation. There are beaches for swimming, snorkeling, diving, and surfing. Mountains for hiking and sightseeing. Cute touristy towns for walking and shopping. And there is plenty of history and culture to learn about. It is a perfect vacation destination.
Daniel and I are lucky that we both have similar vacation priorities. We definitely fall into the lazier, more relaxing side of the vacation spectrum. We like to see the tourist sights and experience some of the adventure, but we mostly like to spend a lot of time at the resort. We spent about of half our time in Maui at the resort and took shorter day trips to see some of the rest of the island on the other days.
Places we went in Maui
Lahaina is a cute little beach town in West Maui. It helps that the drive along the coast from Wailea is gorgeous, but the town itself is sweet and casual.
There are a bunch of little shops, restaurants, and art galleries. We wandered around for a few hours, had some shave ice and bought a few souvenirs (like a “Just Maui’d” Christmas ornament).
Then we drove to the Lahaina Jodo Mission, a buddhist temple nearby. The statue of buddha against the backdrop of the mountains was a really beautiful and serene sight.
Makena State Park
The Four Seasons was having “Couples Season” during our stay, which means they offer a number of couples-friendly activities each day.
We took part in a sushi-making class that we loved, and a sunset photography tour with the talented Daniel Sullivan.
There was a group of eight of us from the Four Seasons that went with Daniel to Makena State Park, La Perouse Bay, and Secret Beach, where we took pictures and he gave us pointers on how to compose better photos. It was a very casual and relaxed little tour and we had a great time learning from Daniel Sullivan.
Haleakala National Park
Most people go to Haleakala to see the sunrise. But we didn’t really want to wake up in the middle of the night to make it in time for the sunrise, so we opted for sunset. The drive up the mountain was incredible. There are a few places you can pull off to enjoy the views and take pictures.
Unfortunately, when we got to the top it was too foggy to see much. But right as we were about the leave the fog cleared for about 10 minutes and we were able to take in the breathtaking views all around.
Our Favorite Meals
The Four Seasons has some pretty amazing restaurants, so while we were there we tried all three of them.
Duo is a steakhouse at dinnertime, but they also offer an outstanding breakfast buffet. One of our favorite things about our entire honeymoon was this breakfast buffet at Duo. The spread was fantastic.
There was delicious fresh fruit, an array of breads, bagels, and pastries, made-to-order waffles, pancakes, French toast, and eggs, and all the other breakfast favorites like bacon, sausage, eggs benedict, and potatoes. Daniel and I both agreed that the pancakes were the best we had ever had, and when you pair them with the Tahitian vanilla syrup…even better. I wish I could start every day with that buffet.
Wellness Your Way
The Four Seasons has a program called “Wellness Your Way” which allows guests to practice a healthy lifestyle while on vacation. They have a special menu featuring healthy dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I know traveling for people who try to maintain a healthy lifestyle can be stressful because you can’t be sure there will be healthy food options available. The Wellness Your Way program is really great because you always have healthier options. And if you are gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan you can be sure there will be some things for you.
While at Duo we tried the local mushroom pasta “alfredo” which is gluten-free pasta with hamakua mushrooms, cashew “cream” sauce, and sambal roasted cashew nuts. It was so, so delicious.Daniel loves pasta alfredo and he is generally a little wary of fancier healthy food but he was blown away by this dish. We also had the grilled local fish with millet & kula corn tabouleh, pea puree, and shaved fennel salad. So fresh and delicious.
One day instead of the buffet we tried the wellness your way breakfast. We had delicious made to order smoothies, a savory chickpea pancake, and the spiced tofu scramble.
All the food was incredibly fresh, tasty, and it really felt great not to be weighed down by five pounds of pancakes as we headed to the beach that day!
Spago is a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, the original location was in LA. They serve upscale California-fusion food. We had one of our favorite meals here. We both agreed the appetizers were the highlight of the meal but enjoyed all the food we ate here. We started with slow braised pork belly and the wagyu tagliatelle bolognese, and both were OUT OF THIS WORLD. I got the grilled monchong and Daniel had Scallop Pad Thai for his entree.
Ferraro’s is an Italian restaurant. We decided to go here after we experienced a private “ultimate dinner” (I am planning on giving that its own post because it was such a cool experience) cooked by the chef of Ferraro’s because we really enjoyed his food.
I had the lamb ragu and Daniel had the sweet corn stuffed agnolotti with crab. The food was terrific but the best part of Ferraro’s was the view. We had a table outside overlooking the ocean, perfectly timed at sunset. It really felt like such a special experience.
We decided to go to Ko at the Fairmont because it was recommended to us by a friend. It was a beautiful walk along the beach path from our hotel (the Fairmont Hotel is next door to the Four Seasons). Their menu is plantation-style local cuisine. We had honey lavender shrimp, lobster tempura, and fried rice. Ko had the most amazing bread plate with different breads, dipping sauces, and butters. The food was really tasty and I had one of the best cocktails I’ve ever tasted—a lilikoi (passion fruit) margarita.
Monkeypod Kitchen is a really popular spot in Wailea. They serve bar food and are renowned for their Mai Tais with lilikoi foam. We had pizza and fries and went mostly just to try what the “best mai tai in the world” tasted like. I guess neither of us are Mai Tai fans because we didn’t really like it. It was much too strong for me and Daniel wasn’t a fan of the foam. Monkeypod has a fun and lively atmosphere—it feels like a real happening spot since there’s always a wait—but the food is pretty mediocre, so I’d only recommend going if you’re into mai tais.
I’ll be sharing part 2 of our honeymoon, in Kauai, very soon!