Sunday, June 12, 2016

Travel Diary: Maui : Part 3 (the end)

Four Seasons Resort, Maui
On Sunday, I meant to get up and have a fancy Sunday brunch at one of the resort hotels, but ended up sleeping late and it was lunch instead. (By this time in my trip, I was having a hard time falling asleep at a decent hour at my AirBnB because of the bug situation, having seen a cockroach on the paper towel holder, and many ants all around - even in my bed!!!). Anyway, I finally made it out to the Four Seasons Resort in Wailea, and ate lunch at Ferraro. It was very pretty, with a lovely shaded porch looking out to sea. I had a delicous burger and a salad.
Four Seasons Resort, Maui

Lunch at Forrero at the Four Seasons
After lunch, I decided to go to Makena Beach in Wailea, which is part of a state park, due to the good reviews in the Fodor's guide that I had. However, when I got there, it was overcast, and the parking was very far from the beach, so because of my knee injury and not wanting to walk that much, I turned around and headed back up north, settling on Ulolo Beach instead. This beach had close-by parking, bathrooms, and shady spots to sit. It was lovely.
Ulolo Beach in Maui
Wild bird came very close looking for treats

Found a shady spot on the beach

Ulolo Beach in Maui
When the sun started to set, I drove back to Kihei and had dinner at 3 Grill. This was a comfortable restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating in that same touristy outdoor mall that I had already been several times. I sat out on the deck, near the parking lot, but under some pretty trees with fairy lights. The service was good, and I enjoyed some delicious fries, and a good bowl of ramen. Only negative was there was a live music performance, which I am not a fan of. But otherwise, I recommend this place.
Breakfast at the Four Seasons
Monday, May 2nd was one of those days that I wish I could do over. I woke up with high hopes of being able to swim finally when I went for my spa appointment at the Four Seasons. I woke up very early because of the yard rooster, but that was okay because I had finally slept well and felt rested. I checked my mail and watched the full "4 Things with Taemin" video, then headed out by 9am to enjoy the breakfast buffet at the Four Seasons that I'd missed by oversleeping the previous day. Well, holy cow! The breakfast buffet was $41, and it was totally ordinary, food-wise and presentation-wise. So that was the first disappointment: I wished I'd saved my money on that one. At least the valet parking was completely free, so that was good.
Four Seasons Maui spa

Four Seasons Spa Maui

Four Seasons Spa Maui
After a leisurely breakfast, I walked the LONG way over to the spa. My appointment for the Aromatherapy Journey Massage in the ocean-front hale was not until 12:30pm and I got to the spa at 10:15 but I thought I could use the spa amenities until then. Unfortunately, there were NO amenities, except for a sauna. I wish I had booked the Spa Montage for today instead. They had the lovely pool, water circuit and it was just a lovely place to spend the day. This spa was tiny and cramped with no outdoor spaces, and only the locker room and waiting room to hang out in. I ended up waiting in a garden chair outside of the spa because the interior was dark with no view. Eventually, it was time for my appointment and an employee came to escort me to the ocean front hale. It was another long walk across the grounds and down a bunch of stairs, and not wanting to be walking so slowly behind him, I ended up rushing and hurting my knee more.

The hale was simple and could have been really pretty but it was cluttered with equipment of various sorts. My massage therapist was a woman and unfortunately, I did not get a good feeling from her. She was pleasant enough but I don't know ..... just bad vibes. Also, I had asked for a firm pressure massage, but her touch was very light. So I didn't really feel any benefit from the massage. It felt like she was simply applying lotion. Plus the "aroma journey" part of the massage was a joke. They were selling a $265 set of essential oils, and all she did was pour EVERY SINGLE SCENT from the set on my back. So although the first couple of fragrances were nice, by the end, they had all mixed together and I couldn't smell any of them. And because she used even the scents I don't particularly like, like the peppermint, it wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been. Any way, it was over before I knew it, and I felt very underwhelmed. Then came the LONG walk back to the spa to change and pay the $185! Way overpriced. Another regret for the day.
One of the pools at the Hyatt Regency in Lahaina

Japanese Garden bridge at the Hyatt

The view from JapanGo restaurant at the Hyatt
But in the end, it ended well. I drove back up to Lahaina to have dinner at the Hyatt Regency there. This was my favorite hotel, as I've mentioned, because of the retro Mid-century Modern style of the architecture, and how the grounds were not overly expansive, but were beautifully designed in Japanese style, with real black and white swans, and flamingos wandering about, Asian art everywhere, waterfalls, and pretty swimming pools. And it was right on a lovely beach.
Hyatt flamingos

Hyatt swans
After milling about the grounds, I had a nice dinner at the Japanese restaurant, JapanGo. The food was good and the location was amazing, perched high and looking down on the pool and ocean below. Only negative here: live music performance. It was a lady playing her guitar and singing Carly Simon and James Taylor songs. Blech! It would have been perfect without her there, but I know I am in the minority here in not liking live music performances at restaurants. I lingered over dessert to watch the sunset, then headed back to Kihei for the night. If I had to do it all over again, I would have stayed 2 - 3 days fewer in Maui and stayed at the Hyatt instead of the AirBnb. Oh well .... "hindsight it 20/20" as they say....
The Fairmont
Tuesday was my last full day in Maui and I really wanted to go into the ocean and laze on the beach all day. I chose to go to Kamaole III beach because of its closeness to my room. There was ample close parking but no shade to be found on the beach, so I ended up only staying for an hour because my white skin cannot tolerate that kind of sun. But it was pretty. A narrow strip of sand that was not crowded but also not deserted. The water was lovely: clear and warm.
The Fairmont

Ladies' locker room at Fairmont spa Wailea
After the beach, I went back to the room to change into a nice sundress for my appointment at the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont in Wailea. The entry way to the valet at the Fairmont was so so pretty. I really loved the super tall white arches, beautiful zen style landscaping and all the Hindu deity sculptures. The valet parking was free and the valet guys were really cute. I was glad I dressed up. Luckily, I did not have to walk far to get to the spa from the valet. The Fairmont hotel is gorgeous. Very high ceilings, open-air lobby, and very friendly and attentive staff. I loved the mini Japanese garden in the lobby and the amazing views out to the ocean.
Three shower experiences at the Fairmont Spa

The grounds of the Fairmont in Wailea

Little garden at the Fairmont
The spa was in a contemporary Zen style in earth tones. Unfortunately, there was no attached spa pool, but it was beautifully appointed. The locker area was really pretty. I especially liked the yin/yang shaped sofas and the lit make-up/vanity tables. The sink area was very pretty and well-equipped. The showers were lovely as well, and I really liked the shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel provided. But the best part of the locker area was the self-serve mud bar and the rain showers. There was a counter with little pots of two kinds of mud: cooling and warming. You could spread mud on yourself, relax on the heated tile ergonomic benches, then shower off in one of three rain showers with different temperatures, water pressures (mist, rain, massage, etc.) and light and sound effects. It was so cool and so relaxing. I did this for about an hour and a half and it was really nice.
Lobby at the Fairmont

Then I had my spa treatment, which was a custom anti-aging facial. It was really good, and felt luxurious, and my skin really was glowing afterward! Of course, the effects were only temporary, but it was still nice. I also liked the "energy bites" that were in the lounge area to snack on. They were date, almond, cocoa, flax and coconut, and really delicious. The spa also provided ginger tea and fruit infused water that were really delicious. Lastly, I got my nail polish reapplied, and then set off for dinner. This spa was really lovely and totally worth the splurge. I would say it would tie with the Spa Montage at Kapalua as being my two favorites.
Valet/entry way at the Fairmont
For dinner, I stayed at the hotel and ate at Ko, the upscale Hawaiian fusion restaurant. It was another lovely patio setting and I got a seat facing the ocean, and under some palms and flowering trees. I read an Agatha Christie mystery as I ate my dinner, which was delicious, occasionally gazing out into the coast. It was perfectly pretty, and a wonderful way to end my trip to Maui.
My view from the restaurant, Ko, at the Fairmont in Wailea
I hope you, dear reader, enjoyed my travel diary. I write them to help me remember all the details of my travels, but I also hope others can benefit from my observations and experiences. I read a lot of travel writing and they almost always talk only about the wonderful things, as if they were sponsored by the tourist boards. But I think it's important to record both my positive experiences and my disappointments, and talk about what I would have done differently. In that way, I hope to craft better and more rewarding travel experiences for myself, and for others.