Maui Travel Guide: Part 2

Are you thinking of traveling to Maui? If the answer to that question is yes, than you’re in the right place. This post will be the last of my Hawaiian honeymoon travel guide and recap. We started our trip on Oahu and ended in Maui. Although Hawaiian honeymoons sound a bit cliche at the start, I assure you that ours did not feel that way and was nothing short of amazing. We ended our trip at the Andaz Hotel for a few days of pure relaxation.

After leaving Paia, we headed to Wailea where we stayed at the Andaz Hotel. From the moment we arrived on the resort rounds, we were amazed. The hospitality of the staff at the Andaz was top notch. The resort provides free shuttle service {most of which are luxury SUVs} to all guests traveling in the Wailea area. Although we rented a car, we did not need it while in Wailea thanks to this service. When we were ready for dinner, we walked outside the lobby and told the bell hops which restaurant we were going to. After a short wait, we would be driven to dinner. When we were ready to be picked up, we just called the bell hops and they came to get us. It was really such a wonderful service! The men working during our stay were terrific. All the staff was very friendly and provides tons of restaurant recommendations. Although we did not sign-up for any tours while in Wailea, the hotel does provide tour guide services for its guests as well.

The grounds of the Andaz are beautiful! The main lobby overlooks the beach and a three tiered deck each featuring an infinity edge pool. Around the corner, guests can find an adult-only pool in close proximity to the spa. We spent most of our time at this pool partly because it was closer to our room. Throughout the all pool areas the Andaz provided towel carts for fresh towels throughout the day. On these carts they also offered a variety of complementary flavored ice water {lemon, cucumber, mint, cantaloupe and strawberry, just to name a few} and Sun Bum SPF. In the afternoon, Andaz staff would walk around the pools offering a complementary refreshing treat such as a mochi or and ice pop. All of these small touches really made our stay feel extra special.

I booked our stay at the Andaz directly through their website because it a better price than through third party sites. I was really happy I was able to get us an ocean view room. When we were escorted to our room, the hallways reminded us of the 90s show Legends of the Hidden Temple. The room was spacious, included a balcony, modern furnishings and a spacious bathroom. The bathroom included a large rain shower with a window that actually allowed you to overlook the room and balcony. Any drinks or snacks in the bar area were also complementary and were replenished daily. My favorite touch may have been the speciality Maui Lays’ chips. During our stay we also order lunch and snacks poolside. The bar menu had a decent amount of GF options, but as with everything in Hawaii, the poolside menus were very pricey.

For breakfast and snacks we went to the Mokapu Market on the grounds of the Andaz. I was overly happy when we realized the market had a gluten-free section including homemade baked goods and our favorite GF pretzels. We would grab breakfast, coffee and head to the adult pool early or take it back up to our room to be enjoyed on the balcony. I love having a balcony with a great view on vacation. I think it’s so relaxing.

My husband made us a reservation at Monkey Pod based on a recommendation he caught by an ESPN news anchor; Monkey Pod is known for its Mai Tais! While we were on Oahu I tried a Mai Tai, but it definitely was not something I would order again. That being said, I am not much of a liquor drinker. My experience was a totally different story at Monkey Pod. Their Mai Tais were delicious! As I type this, I am wondering why we haven’t tried to recreate these at home. Fortunately, the food at this restaurant was as good as the drinks. I had no problem finding a gluten-free options and I went with the Organic Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi. Our server was super knowledgeable and able to steer me in the right direction. I highly recommend adding MP to your list of ‘musts’ while visiting Maui.

Monkey Pod Mai Tai

On our last night in Maui, we went to Matteo’s for another memorable evening. Many of the staff at Andaz recommended Matteos as the best Italian food in the area. We were totally on board when we looked through the menu and saw plenty of gluten-free options. For starters, we shared gluten-free turkey meatballs in red sauce with a side of fresh garlic bread. Naturally, I ordered a second round of bread (#twoplease). I tend to over analyze my dinner selections. My husband will vouch for me when I say, I am not always good at ordering food for dinner, but at Matteo’s my choice was a winner. I had the Fettuccine {sub GF penne} Frutti di Mare. For me personally, seafood dishes can be a real hit or miss, but this one was a home run my friends. Matteo’s is another restaurant I highly recommend while on your visit to Maui.

We also had dinner at Gannon’s in Wailea. It is known for its view and atmosphere. We caught the tail end of happy hour and got to chatting with a local semi-retired couple. These types of encounters are always our favorite. They were originally from California and decided to move to Maui after making frequent visits. The husband’s name was also Mike and he was a physical therapist. I cannot remember the wife’s name, but she was the cutest and a bit of a Jane Fonda look alike. They were so sweet. Talking with them at the bar was the highlight of the night. As for our meal, I can’t say either of us were blown away, buy Gannon’s got brownie points in my book for having my favorite Prosecco, La Marca.

Alohilani Resort & Spa Waikiki

Hi friends! Welcome back to the my little blog. I am excited to share our recent trip to Hawaii for our honeymoon! We got married in October, but delayed out honeymoon until this summer due to work schedules. Although I think it is probably exciting to jet off to a honeymoon destination right after the big day, it was nice having something to look forward to. We also did not start planning our trip until well after our wedding was over, so it was one less “to do” I had to worry about prior to our wedding day.

It took us a while to decide on a destination. We considered Italy, Paris, London, Greece, Napa Valley and Bermuda, but Hawaii was the winner.  Hawaii has a good mix of adventure, relaxation and history. Once the trip was booked I could not be more excited! Within the next few blog posts I will share details of our time on Oahu and Maui, and of course tons of gluten-free recommendations.

20180803_09492920180805_161422

I found planning a gluten-free trip to Hawaii to be a bit difficult. When I was doing my research I struggled to find restaurants that offered GF options. At some point during my search I stumbled on a helpful blog and the wonderful blogger behind the site responded to my email with a lot of suggestions. Unfortunately, I lost that email and cannot find the link to her site again. I hope my blog helps to fill the current void of gluten-free Hawaii tips!

We flew direct from JFK to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines. It was an 11 hour flight and to our surprise it did not seem that bad! I can’t say either of us were overly impressed with this airline. There were no complementary movies or TV shows and limited snack and beverage services. Although the flight attendants were friendly, they were not as attentive as those on some other airlines we have used.

We started off our honeymoon and my birthday weekend on Oahu at the Alohilani Resort & Spa, which was recently renovated. A complementary bottle of champagne was left in our room which made our arrival even more exciting. The resort is on Kalakaua Avenue and no other hotels are obstructing its views to the ocean. This was a key criteria in my hotel search because there are many hotels in the city. We had a partial ocean view room with a king bed in the Beachside tower {the tower closest to the ocean}. I think the view from our room was excellent, especially for the sunset. The only disadvantage of this area is the city noise when siting on your balcony. We thought our room was perfect; very clean, sleek modern decor and a comfy bed. The only minor flaw I can think of is that the bathroom was a little blah. All white everything {literally}.

20180803_18560620180803_17573320180803_17572720180803_17572520180803_17570520180803_17565020180803_17564620180803_17563120180807_181012

When you walk into the hotel you enter a grand, yet modern lobby with views of the O-Bar floor to ceiling aquarium. On the 5th floor there is an inviting infinity pool overlooking Waikiki beach, a kids pool and the Swell bar area. We loved the pool area and the pool bar staff were very attentive. It’s not a huge space, but we lucked out with only having one overly crowded day. You can also pay extra reserve a cabana or lounge chairs in the pool. We considered renting a cabana, but once we realized they were not alongside the pool, we passed. The resort also has a gym and on-site parking for a fee.

20180807_08581520180806_07465320180806_074641

If you are considering renting a car, I highly recommend booking through Costco if you are a member. The Costco site compares about 5 major car rental companies; all of which were much lower than booking through any other sight. I also liked that through Costco, I only made reservations and did not make a payment until we picked up the car. When we arrived in Honolulu, the line for Avis was very long and slow moving. I was quickly able to change out reservation through Costco on my phone then popped over to one of the rental places with no line. To my surprise, I was able to save another $15 and the car rental person upgraded us to a Mustang because she thought, “we needed something nicer for our honeymoon.”

20180805_092618.jpg

We ate at two restaurants at the Alohiliani; Morimoto’s Asia and Momosan’s. Morimoto’s Asia has gluten-free options identified on the menu, knowledgeable waitstaff and outdoor seating. Although it is not overly fancy, I would say the dress code is a step up from casual. As usual, Mike enjoyed his dinner, but I was a bit taken by surprise when mine was placed in front of me. {Side note: he always teases that I don’t order well}  I ordered the garlic shrimp expecting something along the lines of what I order at PF Chang’s. That is NOT what garlic shrimp is in Hawaii. A classic garlic shrimp dish consists of gumbo shrimp {shells and legs included} in a garlic broth. Be prepared to work and get messy to enjoy this meal. Although the shrimp and garlic broth were very tasty, this style dinner was just not for me. Not to mention, gumbo shrimp give me the heebie jeebies.

Momosan’s has a casual atmosphere and also offers outdoor seating. Their menu doesn’t indicate gluten-free, but all grilled skewers can be make gluten-free (without the sauces and just with salt). We actually ate here twice and all of the waitstaff who helped us were very knowledgeable. I tried the chicken and beef skewers with a side of edamame. I highly recommend the beef skewers and a glass of rosé.

Head over to my Instagram to see more photos from our trip and stay tuned for my next Hawaii blog!

post-signature-1