This year was seriously the year of weddings. It was one after another, after another...and I must say that I absolutely loved it! Thankfully our friends either live in some pretty awesome places, and/or chose even better places for destination weddings. Case in point, our friends who chose to have their destination wedding in Maui. I mean, twist my arm, I guess we can make it!
Hawaii has been on both mine and my husband's list for years, and it was even more beautiful that I could have imagined. I can see what everyone has been raving about all these years - it's truly a magical place. The surf, the sand, the weather, the breathtaking landscape and the food...oh man the food, so, so good!
Upon arrival, we were greeted with a warm breeze and sunny skies and after a quick ride over to our hotel we pretty quickly decided that we didn't ever want to leave. We stayed at the Andaz which I would HIGHLY recommend. This property is stunning. As soon as we arrived we felt at home - were welcomed with cocktails, cool towels and leis as we were escorted to the beach sand lobby check-in area. After a long flight it was exactly what the doctor ordered. The resort itself is the utmost in luxury with breathtaking views, swanky pools, impeccable architecture and breezy beach styled rooms with tech creature comforts like automatic blinds, music and lighting.
Most of all I loved the restaurants on site, nightly live music, pool-side cocktails and snacks, the gift and spa shop (which were both dangerously good) and the large, well-equipped fitness center. Plus the property had it's own private beach area, which I learned from some of our friend's resorts wasn't quite as common as I thought, with towel and drink service...plus excellent off shore snorkeling, SUP and kayaking (all included in the rates). And did I mention the complimentary shuttle service?! Total lifesaver for rides to and from beaches, shops and restaurants.
The Andaz was definitely worth the splurge and completely spoiled us each and every day.
We did end up renting a Jeep Wrangler for part of our stay so that we could explore the island and get to and from our zip lining and helicopter adventures that we had planned. Although we didn't need the Jeep the entire trip, it was certainly nice to have for a few days of top-down driving adventures. Definitely made me miss my Jeep, which was one of my very first cars.
For ziplining there were quite a few different options, but our destination wedding group made it easy for us and they selected Pi'iholo Ranch - which was spot on. The ranch is located just outside of Haiku Pauwela (which I would suggest stopping in for some shopping & a bite to eat) and it's absolutely beautiful. There are a variety of options for your tour, and ours featured 5 zips through tree-tops overlooking the rainforest and ocean views. I can't even begin to describe how amazing it was. Such a great way to spend the day.
Next up for adventure was our helicopter tour of the entire island with Blue Hawaiin Helicopters, which was my personal favorite. You simply cannot go to Hawaii and not take a helicopter tour, especially if you are on a shorter trip like we were. It was the best way for us to see the entire island, rural towns, the rainforest, volcano and amazing waterfalls. I am pretty sure my jaw was on the floor the entire time. You can check out some videos on my intsa page to get a taste of what you are in for.
The rest of our trip was filled with wedding festivities for two of our dearest friends, pool & beach days with friends, shopping, sipping cocktails, enjoying delicious food and sneaking in as much time together as possible. We also got in a few really good works with morning runs and walks on the beach and some HIIT workouts our trainer set up for us before we left which made me very happy.
All in all, one of my favorite vacations in one of the most beautiful tropical destinations I have seen to date. Don't worry...I will keep searching for others.
xo - margaret