6/2 – 6/16/12
The Newhouse/Wilburn trip in the Summer of 2012 was pretty amazing. It took lots of planning to get us all there and back using air miles. I also spent lots of time planning, research and working to get us the best deals and perks. The four of us flew from DFW to Denver to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. We brought Ashton with us, because there wasn’t enough availability to fly with her family. They were actually flying to the Big Island 2 days after us.
When we arrived in Kona, we went to get our rental car. I had reserved a convertible for us. Since we had one extra person though, Ashton, we couldn’t all fit in the car with our bags. Susan and Natalie stayed behind and took a bus to the hotel. We were staying at the Hilton Waikoloa village on points. They gave us a room with a nice ocean view. They also gave us a nice welcome on the bed. The resort is HUGE with lots of pools and things to do.
Our first full day, we went to Hapuna Beach, down the road from our hotel. The beach was fabulous. We even saw some sea turtles swim close to the shore. Boomie and Nanny arrived later that day.
The next day, we drove with Boomie and Nanny to Akaka Falls. We also drove across the island to Hilo. The drive was pretty amazing as we drove through the mountain and rain forest to get there. Mitch, Shannon and Jake arrived while we were gone.
Our last full day on the Big Island, Jake and I drove to do some canoeing and snorkeling around Captain Cooks Monument. We rented canoes and rowed across the bay. It was a LONG WAY. We made it and snorkeled around the monument. On the way back, we got around lots of spinner dolphins. I jumped in the water to swim with them. It was really creepy watching them appear out of the really deep water. Jake was too creeped out to get in. We were pretty exhausted by the time we got back to shore. While we were doing this, Boomie and Nannie drove to the other side of the island to see the volcano. The rest of the family hung around the resort and swam and paddle boarded.
We had the morning of the next day to hang around the resort pools. I banged my knee up on one of the water slides, but wasn’t too bad. I always have to get some bumps and bruises to prove that I’m having fun on my vacation. Around mid day, we flew to Maui. We flew with Boomie and Nanny on a very small propeller plane. I believe the plane only held 8 people. They weighed all the bags and people before we boarded to make sure we weren’t too heavy. It was really scary, but a really awesome ride to Maui. Mitch and Shannon’s family had an issue with their plane tickets. They had to purchase some more and arrived a little after us. In Maui, we rented our cars and then drove to Lahaina. There, we found some long term parking and boarded the ferry to Lanai. The ride was beautiful, especially when we got close to Lanai. I heard that you can see whales in the winter. At the port, we were greeted by the hotel staff. They got our bags and ushered us in a van to the Four Seasons Koele. This resort is a log cabin style lodge up in the mountains. It is cool up there and they have fires going in the lodge. I had booked the hotel using a Virtuoso Travel planner. We got additional perks by doing this. This hotel and staff are amazing. They really rolled out the red carpet for us. We were greeted with leis, warm towels and juice. Our rooms were all upgraded too. They also did several special things for the kids, in the room. They gave the kids small robes, horse stuffed animals, milk and cookies and spelled their names out on bath sponges. That night, we had a nice family meal in the lodge. They gave us some vouchers, so the meal was pretty much free. The atmosphere was amazing with the fires and music and dancing.
The next day, we hung out at the resort grounds, pools and stables. I can’t stress how good the service was. While at the pool, they would bring a snack to the guests every hour, popsicles, pineapple spears, juice, etc. That evening, we walked had dinner and walked around the town.
We had breakfast at the hotel every morning and it was included in our rate. The hotel was having a buy 2 get 1 free. We ended up paying about $200/night and that included breakfast, $100 voucher and other perks. Also, we could use the resort by the beach called the Four Season Malele. We hung out at this resort the whole day. It had beautiful pools and beaches. We saw tons of spinner dolphins in the bay. We also got to hang our with Nanny’s cousin Mary Ann, who joined us for a few days.
That evening, Mitch rented a Hummer. He took us all around the other side of the island, most of which were only accessed using dirt and rocky roads. Lanai was amazing! Larry even played golf a few times. I wish I would have joined him because the courses looked awesome.
The next morning, we took the ferry back across to Maui. We got our cars and drove to the Hyatt Regency Maui. I planned ahead and got us all upgrades to suites and access to the lounge for breakfast and snacks. I also got each of us breakfast one day in the restaurant. The suites had a large living room with table and chairs and a king bedroom. They also each had ocean views. I enjoyed sleeping with the patio door open and listening to the waves. After we freshened up, we met some friends of ours who were in Maui. Bill and Chrissi McKown and their kids were staying at the Ritz in Kapalua, not too far from our hotel. We snorkeled with them at a beach and then hung out at their hotel pool. That night, they joined us and our whole family for the Drums of the Pacific Luau at our hotel.
We spent the next day at our hotel pool in the morning. We love the pool at the Hyatt. Then we drove around the north side of the island with Jake. It was actually a pretty awesome drive along the coast and quite treacherous in spots. It was like the Road to Hana, but not as far or as wind-y. We went into Lahaina that night for dinner.
On Monday, we drove to the Wailea area and spent some time at Big Beach. This is one of our favorites. The waves are really big and beat you up really good. We loved it. After Big Beach, we went to Wailea Beach and hung out for a while. We also snuck into the pool at the Grand Wailea. After the beach, we went back to the hotel and got cleaned up for family pictures. After that, we went back to Lahaina for dinner and shave ice.
Tuesday morning, we had breakfast in the hotel restaurant with Mitch’s family. The bill total for 6 adults and 2 kids came to $300, but it was free for us! We hung out at the Hyatt pool and Kannapoli beach the rest of the day.
We got up at 3 am the next morning and drove up Haleakala for the sunrise. It takes a long time to drive up the mountain. We made it in time and went out to view the sunrise. It was freezing and windy out. When the sun rose, we couldn’t see it very good because it was cloudy. We hear it’s pretty amazing on a clear day. That evening, we all went to Dukes for dinner. The best part was the Hula Pie!