Trip Journal entry for Thursday, February 19th.
Another day here on Maui, and Cindy’s day to get a little bit of spa Aloha!
Cindy and I both slept in a little later this morning, even though I still have a lot of blogging to catch up on. Something about spending all day in the fresh air and these nice, comfy beds at the Sheraton gives me some of the deepest sleeps I’ve ever had.
Once again, the morning greeted us with an amazing rainbow from out on our lanai. This one was a little more vibrant, and instead of arching off of the island of Lanai, it seemed to start about 200 yards off the coast here. It almost looked like you could reach out and grab it with your bare hands. We could get used to those every morning.
It was about time to head down to breakfast at the Sheraton, as today was Cindy’s spa day and we were on a bit of a schedule as a result. Cindy’s been going to the Heavenly Spa at the Westin Maui for the last few years now, and she absolutely loves it there. There was another wait for breakfast again, but we still managed to fill our plates at the buffet and enjoy the meal without any real rush.
A Time for Peace
Cindy’s spa treatments started at 11am and her annual visit there includes a 50 minute massage and a facial. We started to head towards the Westin along the boardwalk at around 10:15am, which gives her time to get settled at the spa and really start soaking up the peaceful atmosphere there before her massage. I, for one, haven’t actually been at the spa itself, but seeing how relaxed and stress-free Cindy is afterwards, I can tell you they really do it right.
As for me, I had my camera with me and after a kiss goodbye in front of the Westin, I headed out to the beach. It dawned on me the day before that for all the times we’ve walked the beachwalk in Ka’anapali and all the photos we’ve taken along the way of the different resorts, I didn’t have too many photos of the beach itself further south than Whalers Villages. So that was my task for the morning.
For the many families and other beach goers out that morning, the weather could not have been more perfect. With only a few passing clouds in the sky, there were stunning blue skies and just a brisk breeze. For a photographer, however, these ultra sunny conditions were just a little too harsh for trying to capture all the vibrant colors I was seeing. The blues from the sky and the water paired with the amazing greens from some of the plants and the palm trees was the best I’d ever seen. Too bad I couldn’t capture it.
I was a little frustrated at first, but soon realized it was mostly futile. At that point, I shot for awhile longer, this time just practicing my composition and looking for different angles and vantage points. Even if the colors wouldn’t come out the way I wanted, I still was practicing and had something to review and learn from later on. The rest of my time walking along the beach was just peaceful, reflecting on everything that had happened already this week, other activities that are still coming up, how fortunate we were to be here, and what the future holds.
Back in our room, my walk lasted about 90 minutes, which was a lot of thinking and searching. Cindy made it back by about 2:15pm, just as calm and serene as she does every year after the spa. No wonder she keeps going back there. I started to wonder if I’d ever be able to become as relaxed as she was at that point, even for a little while.
Plans? What Plans?
The rest of the day became a little ad-hoc from there. We were still looking for a new shirt for me to wear for our portrait session on Friday, so we headed into Lahaina Town to continue the hunt. We weren’t planning to be there long, and of the 2-hour parking we paid for, we used about 1:55 of it. In the end, we found a shirt that I would later wear to the photo shoot, plus a few other ones, too. It was off to South Maui.
Er, that was the plan anyway. Little did we know at the time, there had been a really bad accident further south on Hwy. 30 that had shut down the road for a good couple of hours. Even after the road was re-opened, traffic still stood still for another few hours after that. Unlike back home, where there are side streets and different alternate routes you can follow to get from point A to point B, there’s only one main highway between Lahaina and the rest of the island heading southbound, so you’d better get comfortable.
Luckily, we picked up on this and were able to switch directions before joining the impromptu parking lot. Unfortunately, we were really looking forward to going down south that night. First, we wanted to take a test run down to the beach where we were having our portrait session. There was also a restaurant down there that we had planned on having dinner at. And most of all, there were two roller hockey games scheduled for 8pm and 9pm that I really wanted to go see. All those plans, gone.
So, when you can’t go south, you go north. Seemed novel enough. The furthest north on Hwy. 30 we’d driven on past trips was D.T. Fleming Beach in Kapalua, so we decided to just wing it and keep driving. A few of my Twitter pals had recommended this drive, where Hwy 30 turns into Kahekili Hwy. Although one of the guidebooks calls this stretch of road “an adventurous journey” because of some of it’s turns and narrow lanes, we were told the views were incredible.
It was already later in the afternoon, around 5:30pm or so, and there had been a light drizzle coming down for awhile now. The first spot we stopped at was an overlook at Honolua Bay. There were already a few cars up there, and looking down below, we saw a small group of surfers tackling some pretty decent sized waves. We weren’t exactly sure how to get down there, but we probably wouldn’t have tried even if we knew.
We kept driving north, even though we were starting to get a little hungry. We made it up to the Nakalele Blowhole, which we were pretty proud of considering we had just started driving without any real destination in mind. We started the hike down to get a closer view, but by then the wind had really picked up and we hadn’t exactly dressed for the occasion. We might try and go back later next week or save it for a future trip. Kahekili Hwy goes all the way around the West Maui mountains and ends up back in the Wailuku/Kahului area, so it will be nice to drive one day.
Settling for Dinner
Part of me was hoping that much of the traffic congestion would have been cleared up by now, and that we’d still be able to make it to Kihei at least to see the second hockey game. But, I was to be disappointed. It was going on 7pm and traffic southbound on Hwy 30 was still not moving. We ended up going to the Outback at the Lahaina Gateway shops across from the Cannery. We had gone there last year when they had just opened, and the service wasn’t that great. It still wasn’t, but I was too bummed and we were too hungry to pick a different spot. We had to settle.
You Have Voicemail
It looked like the night was going to end on that somewhat sour note. We did, however, get a little unexpected surprise when we got back to our room. The voicemail message light on our room phone was lit, so we gave it a listen. It turned out to be a nice pick-me-up to cap off the night.
It all started with our walk to the Westin on Tuesday, and the journal entry I posted about it. We were there to book Cindy’s spa reservation for Thursday, but couldn’t because of a power outage. We didn’t think it was that big of a deal at the time, I mean, those things happen. Well, one of the directors at the Heavenly Spa at the Westin stumbled across the note on our blog, found Cindy’s reservation, pulled up our room number here at the Sheraton (since it was a room charge), and called to apologize and extend another massage for Cindy at 50% off.
We were speechless. For starters, Cindy’s spa day on Thursday was absolutely perfect, as it had been for the past few years. The fact that someone from the spa tracked her down, and apologized for something that was obviously outside of their control, and offered this discount was amazing. And we weren’t even guests at the Westin! I guess that just goes to show you how focused and committed to client satisfaction the staff over at the Heavenly Spa are.
In my opinion, that was a big display of the Aloha Spirit from the spa at the Westin, making sure that each and every single person that walks through their doors has the absolute best possible experience. Many mahalos to them for that commitment and for all the work they do there. That call was certainly a nice ending to the day.