Nick and I just returned from what I’ve been jokingly referring to as a “forced vacation.” I know I know, cue eye-roll.
A few months back, our business partner asked us when we wanted to take time off this Fall, and Nick and I responded with blank stares. Time off? Like… intentional time off? Just because? As we travel often for work, the idea of going on a vacation for rest and rejuvenation is a bit of a foreign concept to us. We chatted about it for weeks, and deliberated between a few ideas: a road trip up to our old stomping grounds in the Pacific Northwest? Maybe head to Southern California for some surf and family time? And then the idea of Hawaii came up, and all bets were off: nothing beats a Hawaiian vacation. We used points to fly over there, and booked a few nights in Maui at Fairmont Kea Lani (which I’ve stayed at before and is one of my favorite resorts), before heading to the Big Island to crash at Nick’s dad’s house in Kona.
In need of a “forced vacation” yourself? Trust me, Hawaii has what you’re looking for — here’s how we did it:
1. Start In Maui
Maui is the quintessential Hawaiian escape: gorgeous white (and black!) sand beaches, palm-framed jewel-toned sunsets, and endless adventures around every corner. I truly love staying at the Fairmont Kea Lani. Located in pristine Wailea, it’s an easy 30 minute Uber drive from the airport. Upon walking into the stunning lobby, you’ll be greeted with a lei and shown to your room. Check out the new Wellness Suite Package, which includes spa products, workout equipment, and one perfect view. Normally when we travel, Nick and I like to be pretty adventurous, but this time, we just enjoyed lazily swimming with turtles at the beach and hanging poolside at our own private cabana. Even just typing this makes me want to go back!
2. Eat At Ko
My favorite restaurant at Fairmont Kea Lani, and arguably one of the best restaurants on all of Maui, is Kō. The menu features a blend of Asian cuisines, all paying homage to the various influences you can find on the Hawaiian islands, including Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese. The seafood is all caught the same day, and specials rotate seasonally. Order a bunch of options just to try — the “sear your own ahi” appetizer was our personal favorite. This is a popular restaurant, so I definitely recommend making a reservation in advance!
3. Hop Over To The Big Island
If you want to check out another island during your relaxing getaway, definitely consider the Big Island, just a quick 30 minute flight from Maui. There are multiple inner island flight options available, but I would recommend looking into Mokulele. They often have really great deals (I’ve flown from the Big Island to Maui for $50 before!) and best of all — as they fall into the “commuter” category, you don’t need to go through airport security, or even really go inside the airport at all. Super easy and convenient. The plane ride itself almost feels like an attraction you’d pay for — it’s a really small aircraft that can only seat 10 passengers. Plus those views are hard to beat! P.S. Heading to the Big Island and looking for a place to stay? I love Fairmont Orchid Hawaii!
4. Go For A Run Or Bike Ride
Hawaii’s heat and humidity is NO JOKE. Maybe I’m extra sensitive as I am used to a cold, dry climate in the mountains, but exercising in humidity is not easy for me. The trick is getting out and doing it early, around sunrise or just after. There’s also not a better way to explore a new area than by bike or on foot. When we stayed in Kona at Nick’s dad’s house, we borrowed bikes from the garage to go downtown and watch the Ironman World Championships, which was pretty incredible. I have a whole new level of appreciation for the grit and dedication that these athletes possess, after watching them swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, then run a marathon (26.2 miles), all in the aforementioned humidity! So inspiring.
5. Go Snorkeling
Did you even go to Hawaii if you didn’t snorkel? You can snorkel just about anywhere in Hawaii, as long as the waters are relatively still. You can rent gear, bring your own or go with a guided group (bonus: Fairmont Kea Lani has free snorkel gear they loan out). On this trip, we snorkeled on the Big Island at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, also called Two Steps, one of the best spots for snorkeling I’ve ever been to. This lava rock beach, several miles south of Kealakekua Bay on the Kona side of the island, is quite popular, as it’s so easy to access, right next to the road where you park. I have heard it’s common to see Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins in the morning, although unfortunately I never have. As always, be respectful of wildlife and give them plenty of room if you do encounter them. Two Steps is pretty close to Captain Cook Monument, which is also an excellent spot for snorkeling, although involves a long and arduous hike with little shade protection.
Are you traveling to Hawaii soon? What adventures do you have planned?
Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Fairmont Kea Lani, one of my favorite resorts, who hosted us in Maui. All thoughts and opinions are my own.