the world | andaz maui

forty-eight hours before tk and i were asia-bound for a three-week extravaganza, we postponed our trip for unfortunate personal reasons. that’s okay, asia will be there when we go next time, i told myself. ugh. at this point, we had time to fly anywhere within america for some quick time away…hours later, we had booked a crazy 200usd/pp rountrip flight from san jose to maui.

a little background on my vacationing preferences. laying out by the beach all day in hawaii does not sound like a vacation to me. yes, i am crazy. but i have ADD crave adventure on my trips and if i am idle for more than a day, i go nuts! plus, tk has been to maui multiple times and i was born in hawaii and lived there for seven years. so running away to hawaii does not hold the glorious vacation expectations that other american-travelers have in these islands. in general, i wasn’t thrilled about our last minute change of plans.

twenty-four hours into our trip, the maui andaz proved me wrong. we chose this hotel because we are ridiculously dedicated and won’t stay anywhere else hyatt members. we knew it was built only a month before we arrived which i knew guaranteed the best quality service and cleanest conditions. [did i mention that i am a slight germophobe?] as we drove up in the airport shuttle, i immediately felt that i was VIP. and let me tell you, that feeling did not leave me until i flew home the following week. if you are considering a hawaiian honeymoon, anniversary trip or babymoon (there were tons of babymooners there!), stop searching around and land yourself at the andaz.

andaz staff: are you honeymooners?
tk: no, we have been married for a couple years…we are just really in love.

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the entrance to the lobby was unreal. the smell of fresh bamboo and salt water overcame my senses. and yes, they greet you with a lei. which ironically was the one thing that tk wanted to happen organically on this trip.
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never saw a hotel pull off having sand in their lobby. the andaz hyatt chain is known for their artistic and modern approach to hotel concierge. our check-in consisted of no lines, no front desks. rather, we were asked to sit down on comfortable chairs, offered lavender lemonade and had a private tour with one of the hosts. they gave us reusable water bottles (which we still use at home) for our stay as well as a beach bag for our convenience. the small details did not stop there. in our room were complimentary non-alcoholic drinks, Kind Bars and other snacks that were replenished every morning. oh, and did i mention a black-out option?
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some of the littlest things i loved about this hotel. for example, the complimentary organic body lotion that i used every day. tk was all over this.
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the water bottles i told you about…
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andaz take on the blue hawaiian drink. i may or may not have ordered multiples…
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we were so happy to know that they not only had a beach right below the hotel, but extended hotel services there. tk actually overheard a couple fighting about how their hotel in maui didn’t have access to a beach. i thought to myself that i would go crazy if i was taking holiday on an island and didn’t have the direct access to water. andaz not only provided direct access to the perfect beach, but they also had full-towel service who doubled as professionally trained life guards. they constantly asked us if we were doing well or needed anything. tk jokingly said that he actually needed a little bit of space from the staff since they knew what he needed before he even said anything out loud. reading your mind and predetermining your needs? now, that’s top service.
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this guy is all mine.
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our week there was actually pretty overcast and stormy. we had moments of sharp sun and a whole lot of time with the rain clouds. we didn’t care though…swimming in the rain is a beautiful feeling.
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five infinity pools on the property. i could live here for infinity..
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i won’t post too many images of the bathroom…that’s kind of weird. but i think i could have lived in the rain shower for the entire week. the bathroom was always clean when we came home from the beach and stocked with organic fresh soaps and lotions from the hawaiian islands. not to mention the entire bathroom smelt of fresh bamboo…have i convinced you to go here yet?
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everyone can paddle board.
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its almost christmas…but you wouldn’t know it being there.
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the hotel offered complimentary outrigger tours. on the tour, we saw turtles and learned about the history and geography of the maui island. i listened intently tuned everyone out and soaked in the sun. (the hotel also offers a complimentary photo session with an on-site photographer…tk and i almost did it for fun, but we passed….i’m sure you could understand why)
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we must have seen ten turtles while we were there. and tk had the opportunity to step on one accidentally..don’t tell peta…
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okay, this is where it gets really good. when you go on vacation, you just assume you won’t be eating well. andaz, however, made it possible for tk and i to splurge on food that we love but also maintain our clean eating that we have been on for a few months. now, not everything is going to be thigh-friendly, but the majority of their food is grass-fed meats, ocean-fresh seafood and local organic produce. one entree that blew my mind [that is not within our clean eating] but made my toes curl, was the lobster grilled cheese. holy moly – foodies unite!
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for our entertainment, the “head bartender” competition took place poolside. it is their version of “chopped” where they receive secret ingredients to create a masterpiece drink. there were judges, but also the of-age guests were able to try out the drink and vote. my favorite was made of fresh lavender! holy moses.
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now this must have been my favorite part of the whole trip – the andaz beach crew. not only did they provide a ton of water activities for our entertainment (and like i mentioned before, i crave adventure so they helped me accomplish a laundry list of water sport to-do’s) but they also provided tk with prescription snorkel gear.

stop for a moment and let’s take in what this actually means. every kid grows up being able to open their eyes under a pool and search for the quarter that their mom threw in. other kids have grown up going to the beach and are able to search for the best shell at the bottom of the ocean. but since tk was seven years old, he has had terrible vision. in fact, his nickname was blindo for the majority of his life. poor tk! and after i had scuba dived and snorkeled in my life, i asked him to do it with me even if he wasn’t able to see anything. clearly, that never sounded fun to him to stare off into a blurry abyss while i freaked out over the nemos of the ocean.

but at andaz maui, for the first time in his life, tk was able to dive under the water, snorkel to the reefs and see things he had only ever seen on shark week. our entire trip could have been terrible and if this still happened, i think that it would have still been a fantastic week. as dumb as it sounds, thank you andaz beach crew for helping tk see a whole new world don’t you dare close your eyes…

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the andaz beach crew also helped me scratch my paddle board and paddle board yoga off my bucket list. i am now obsessed.
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tk is such a romantic.
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we stayed on property at the andaz for the majority of our stay. with the beach, five pools, three restaurants, a 24-hour marketplace and walking distance from shopping center, we didn’t need to go anywhere else. but one day we rented scooters so we could see some of the island. the scooter rental dropped off and picked up the scooters at the andaz for us. seriously, we barely had to think this week. it was amazing.

on our last day, we rented a convertible to waste time between our morning check-out and our flight at 11:00 pm. we drove all over the island and went swimming in waterfalls (one of my favorite things to do since korea). i was worried about showering before our 10-hour trek home. but don’t worry – the andaz wins again. they offered us the ohana room for guests who are checked-out but still waiting for their flights. we had access to everything in the hotel/beach and were able to shower in private rooms, relax in the private living room to watch television or even surf the net. they think of everything!

here are some highlights from our two 1/2 days on the road to hana (off andaz property):
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overall, our vacation did not start out how i had planned. for one thing, we didn’t go international. and we ended up going to a state that we have been to multiple times before. but it doesn’t matter – that all was fortuntately swept away by the glory of the andaz.

brides + grooms, this is where your hawaiian honeymoon should start and end.