After I accepted my position as the Marketing Manager for Closet Candy, Chris asked if I’d be up for a work trip/family trip to Hawaii. Let me just tell you, you don’t have to ask me twice to travel, especially to Hawaii.
Two flights and 10 hours of travel later, we landed in Kauai. Hawaiian Airlines is catering to its passengers as the only American airline to serve meals on flights between the Mainland and the Islands, though I will say they don’t offer gluten free options so I ate the egg off my sandwich. They also give you a festive rum punch drink and hour before landing which was so cool. I couldn’t wait to get off the plane and explore The Garden Island.
Kauai is known for its lush, green scenery and is the least populated of the Hawaiian Islands. We grabbed a rental car and headed to Kukui’ula, a beautiful neighborhood that feels like you’re at home in Hawaii. We stayed in a home that had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gorgeous kitchen, exquisite wood floors, and a quaint porch with a wall that opens into the living room. The home also has an Ohana or a guest house which is where I slept for the few days we were there.
We spent our first couple of days relaxing and getting accustom to life in a new time zone, island time. The Clubhouse offers a quick complimentary breakfast for guests, but also has a restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner. For lunch, we enjoyed fish tacos and nachos poolside at the bar or right in our chairs.
The pool servers offered drinks on the first day and I asked for something refreshing and not too sweet. She came back with one of the best drinks I’ve had that was some concoction of club soda, coconut water, vodka, sugar cane, fresh mint, and sliced cucumbers.
On Monday, we took the boat out for a half day adventure at sea. We were able to fish, see the island, and chat with a couple of locals who have lived in Hawaii all their lives. Life on the islands is so much more peaceful and resourceful than the mainland. I appreciated learning about Captain Kawika’s tribal tattoo that represents all of the strengths of his children and the foundation of his family in an octopus shape because that’s what he hunts in the ocean. I did manage to get a little seasick, but thankfully there was peppermint oil on board and I sat by the captain to avoid feeling the waves quite as intensely.
The Shops at Kukui’ula are a short bike ride or drive away. You can enjoy a variety of restaurants and the famous Lappert’s Ice Cream (or sorbet in my case). I do suggest making a reservation as several of the restaurants we wanted to visit were full or an hour or more wait. We ended up at Ruth’s Chris one night because they could seat us right away and I swear my steak was better there, something about Hawaii.
Kauai is lush because it rains so I was glad I had my rain jacket. We actually would sit by the pool with towels over us under umbrellas because we refused to stay inside, regardless of the rain. If you’re looking for a relaxing trip where you don’t have to fight for pool chairs, you’re okay with a little rain, and you want the luxuries of being in a house versus a hotel room, then Kukui’ula would be for you.
On Wednesday, we packed up and island hopped to Maui, which ended up being a totally different vibe than Kauai and I was glad I got to experience both.
When we arrived at Grand Wailea, we got leis and I remembered in this moment that it doesn’t take much to impress me. You walk into this majestic lobby which is completely open to the outdoors making our nighttime sushi experience a beautiful one. Our room on the 8th floor was spacious and had a balcony with a view of the ocean. This resort sits right on the beach which I loved because we could watch the sunset in the sand, which we did twice.
I wouldn’t have wanted a room near the pool area because this resort was crowded. Each morning we went to the pool was a fight for a decent chair. That being said, this is a great resort for families because they have waterslides, a swim up bar, and the luxuries to allow both parents and kids to have a stellar vacation.
While in Maui, we ventured on the Road to Hana, a famous scenic drive with unique stops along the way. We rented a Jeep so we could enjoy the views ahead of us. A warning about the Road to Hana: this drive is not for anyone that experiences car sickness or fear of heights. You’ll spend hours driving through twists, turns, one lane bridges, and on the edge of cliffs.
I’d also suggest getting the Road to Hana CD that tells you about the drive as you won’t have cell service to be able to look up details. A full tank of gas, water, food, and a portable phone charger are all items I’d suggest taking with you if you drive the Road to Hana. It is a full day of driving (and we didn’t even make it to the very end) so just make sure you leave early and plan to be gone most of the day. Take a look at the stops along the way beforehand and have an idea of what you want to see because you likely won’t be able to do it all and really enjoy it all in one day.
The biggest tip I can tell you about planning a trip to Kauai and Maui, is to do your research and consider your budget. Each island offers a different experience and depending on what kind of vacation you’re looking for, you’ll want to make sure to pick the right spot. Once you do, dig deep into what you want to do and see because the islands have so much to offer.
Cheers to many more new adventures,
Shop my favorite Closet Candy outfits for Hawaii below —>