Maui Day One: Sheraton Maui Resort Hotel, Whaler’s Village

May 12, 2011

As I mentioned a couple days ago, Cari and I spent the first week of May in Hawaii, celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary and wondering why we’d never been to Hawaii before! This is the first in a series of posts recapping our day-by-day adventures.


(May 2, 2011) Our first travel day. We woke up at 4:15 am to catch our 6:20 am flight out of Tri-Cities. The route was here to San Francisco and on to Kahului (Maui’s main airport), so just one quick stop to get there.

The flights were both great, especially the flight from SFO to Hawaii. It was on what seemed like a pretty old Boeing 777 — old, because it still had those video screens hanging from the ceiling. Haven’t seen those in quite a while. And for such a crowded flight, the boarding process was amazingly smooth and fast.

Landing on Maui

When we landed in Hawaii, the first thing that hit me was the humidity. Obviously it makes sense that there’d be plenty of humidity in a tropical locale, but I had never even thought about it before the trip. But bam — it hits you like a brick wall, especially if (like us) you’re coming from a very dry climate.

We gathered luggage and claimed our rental car and headed off.

Pretty much the first thing you see when you leave the airport grounds is a Krispy Kreme. And since the McGee family is known to go out of its way to visit the Krispy Kreme in Spokane (we don’t have one in the Tri-Cities), it was an obvious first stop since we were both kinda hungry and wanted something to hold us over until dinner.

From there we crossed the street to K-Mart, which seems to be on every Maui visitor’s itinerary. Tons of tourists inside buying the same stuff we were — bottled water, other drinks, snacks, sunscreen, beach towels and all kinds of other touristy stuff. (I picked up one of those little twistable, portable camera tripods, for example.)

A hundred dollars later (seriously, things are wayyyy more expensive in Maui than the mainland), we were back in the car and on the road to the Sheraton Maui Resort/Hotel.

What a beautiful drive!

After about 10-15 minutes of crossing the island, the last half hour of the drive is pretty much right along the coast. We did the tourist thing and stopped at the one scenic point lookout spot — you can see south to Molokini from there and, even though it was a bit cloudy, the scenery was gorgeous. Cari took this photo:


Arrival at the Sheraton Maui Resort Hotel

We got to the hotel to check-in and had a plan: Our reservation was for an oceanfront room, which could’ve put us in building 2, 3 or 4. I had called a couple weeks earlier to let them know this was our first visit to Hawaii, a celebration of our 20th anniversary, etc., and that we really wanted to be placed in building 4 out as close to the beach as possible. If that wasn’t possible, Cari and I were planning to pay for an upgrade to a deluxe oceanfront room in either building 5 or 6.


I mentioned our room request to Anjelica, who was checking us in, and she had some good news: a free upgrade to deluxe oceanfront and a room in building 6! Wooo-hoooooo! She also mentioned that there would be some champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to our room later to help us celebrate our anniversary. How nice is that??? (A dear friend ordered the strawberries for us as a gift, but we think the Sheraton added the champagne themselves – awesome!)

We got to our room and it was stunning. Nothing between us and the Pacific Ocean except about 10 yards of well-manicured lawn. We were on the 3rd floor (of a 4-floor building) and had a wonderful view.

And here are a couple photos:

View from Room 6304

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean

Rain, Thunder & Lightning

After we got settled in and unpacked a bit, we headed down to Ka’anapali Beach to check out the water and soak in the scenery. The weather wasn’t all that great — there was thunder and lightning over the mountain behind us, and a big storm out in the distance over the island of Lanai. It ended up being some of the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard, and we ended up leaving to go back to our room just in time to avoid an amazing downpour. But we did catch it from our hotel room. You can see some lightning at about the 6-7 second mark of the video below, and the thunder comes in about 10-12 seconds later.

And here are a couple photos:

Rainstorm on Maui

Maui rain

This wasn’t the weather we expected in Hawaii, but it was pretty cloudy and rainy for most of the week. Not for entire days — just small rain showers here and there throughout the week.

Dinner at Whaler’s Village

The storm cleared everyone away and, by the time we decided to walk down to Whaler’s Village for dinner, the beach was pretty empty. We decided to eat at Leilani’s, one of a couple restaurants with seats and tables right out on the edge of the beach. Can’t recall ever eating a meal with a view like this before.

Leilani's Maui (restaurant)

The food was good. I ordered a double Kobe beef burger that was much smaller than I expected, but it still filled me up. We walked off the meal by checking out the stores at Whaler’s Village after dinner — it’s a pretty cool little shopping village.

After that, we headed back to the Sheraton, walking along the nice (and convenient) paved walkway that runs all along Ka’anapali Beach. Took this photo with my iPhone on the way:

Kaanapali Beach, Maui

Eventually got back to the hotel and we both crashed. With the three-hour time difference and us planning busy days, we were both in bed by like 8-9 pm every night.

It was a great first day and we knew it was gonna be a wonderful week.


  • Reply Nyagoslav May 12, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I feel noble envy right now! That’s one of my dream places to visit when I “grow up”. And you know what is more funny, just today, Mike Blumenthal was trying to solve an issue with Google Places for some person from Maui on the Google Places Help Forum: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Places/thread?tid=042487fa0e8dbf32&hl=en


  • Reply Sheila Beal May 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Enjoyed reading this post. Can’t wait for the next days.

    I’ve gotta know if you tried hula pie at Leilani’s? If not, you are now required to turn around and go back there until you’ve had it. šŸ˜‰

  • Reply Matt May 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    LOL! There’s yet another reason to go back. We were both too stuffed to get dessert, as I recall. Really wanted to, though. So, yes … we definitely have to go back. šŸ™‚

  • Reply cathy May 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    glad to hear (from Cari) that Honokeana Cove worked for you! I could only see day #1 of your blog, but oh well.

    we are hoping to return to Maui and stay at Napili Shores from an owner next year.


    Cathy in Groovy Grover Beach, CA

    • Reply Matt May 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      Thx Cathy – we had a great time. If you start at http://www.mattmcgee.com, you should be able to read all 6 days if you’d like to.

  • Reply Kris May 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Congrats on the anniversary and the upgrade to building 6. Gotta love that private parking lot, too. We stayed at the Hyatt in ’09 for the photography workshops and the parking there made us miss the Sheraton very, very much.

    Sorry to see/hear about the storms on your very first night, but good to hear you made it to Leilani’s for dinner (one of our favs). Regarding the Hula Pie that Sheila mentioned, it’s perfectly okay to skip dinner and just have drinks and pie. In fact, that’s the only way my wife and I have been able to finish that lovely dessert. šŸ™‚

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