I'm back with my second recap of our honeymoon! If you missed the first one, find it here. I am giddy to start writing this post because it means I get to relive such a fun leg of our trip! After leaving Wailea, we set out to drive the Road to Hana.
If you haven't driven it or heard of it, the Road to Hana is known as one of the most beautiful drives in the world. It is a 52-mile road connecting the main populated area of Maui with a remote town called Hana. It has about 500 hairpin turns and 59 bridges, the majority of which are one-way. If you make no stops, the drive takes about 2.5 hours, but it's almost impossible not to stop along the way to get a better view of some of the sights or to get some delicious food from the roadside stands.
A lot of people do the Road to Hana and turn around at the end and drive back. But we decided that to really enjoy it, we wanted to stay a couple of nights in Hana. It's the tiniest town, but there is one amazing resort there, called the Travaasa Hana. More on that later--first, a little bit about our experience driving the Road to Hana.
We used the app I screenshotted above, the Road to Hana Gypsy Guide. I definitely recommend it. It uses GPS to talk to you as you drive past certain landmarks, and in between, it tells you about Hawaiian history. The history parts were REALLY interesting--it was so cool hearing about all the different kings and queens of Hawaii in the past. With the jungle all around us and the little voiceover telling us what was coming up ahead, it seriously felt like we were on an Indiana Jones theme park ride. It was so fun and otherworldly beautiful.
But it was also rainy. While we were honeymooning, Hurricane Hector brushed by the islands, and the day we drove the Road to Hana was definitely the worst of it. To us, it was cozy and romantic and beautiful (thankfully, the rain and weather was not dangerous at all), but it also meant that a lot of the roadside stands were closed, and it was honestly just too wet to really enjoy stopping to see the sights. After a few stops that left us drenched, we eventually decided that we would press on to Hana without any more stops, and then see more stuff when we drove the same route back a couple of days later.
Here are a few highlights from our rainy day on the Road to Hana:
We also stopped at an area with a collection of roadside food stands and got THE BEST coconut shrimp ever. It was made with fresh grated coconut and no other breading--you'll see in the pic, but it just puts any other coconut shrimp to shame. I also got a yummy smoothie.
Once we decided it was too rainy to make any more stops, we got to the Travaasa Hana pretty quickly. We pulled up to our gorgeous resort and were greeted in the lobby with cool lemongrass towels to wash our hands and a delicious passionfruit nectar to sip on while we checked in. One thing that's really nice about Travaasa is that everything is truly complementary, including the valet parking, and the whole resort has a no tipping policy. While I definitely do not mind tipping at hotels or anywhere else, it definitely contributes to the relaxed vibe of the resort that you know gratuities for the staff are already built into what you're paying.
Once we checked in, one of the staff members took us on a golf cart down to our ocean bungalow. It was a long drive because the lobby is at street level, and then our bungalow was allllll the way down right by the shore. We were pinching ourselves in disbelief at the view and the cozy, idyllic setting in the rain. The loaf of banana bread and welcome card waiting for us didn't hurt, either!
The resort was incredibly dreamy and romantic in the rain.
And this was our little bungalow!
I didn't get the best photos of the inside (kind of a running theme for whatever reason), but here are a couple of pics that give you an idea:
And our amazing lanai:
That night, we were pretty exhausted from the drive, so we ordered in food from one of the two restaurants at the resort. I got a sea vegetables salad and Mac and cheese, and Grace got a caprese salad and arancini (fried risotto balls). We also tried two desserts: lilikoi cheesecake and a buttery tropical bread with ice cream. We were also happy that the restaurant delivered bottles of wine :)
The next day we woke up and it was our one full day in Hana. It was such a good one! We had a slow morning drinking coffee and tea on our lanai and enjoying the banana bread the resort left for us.
Next we went to the hotel's Wellness pool to hang out before we had spa treatments later in the day. It was so stunning--our favorite pool of the trip by far.
And at one point we had to wait out a passing shower, which was quite funny.
For the rest of the day, I don't have any photos because we left our phones in the room while we went to lunch and the spa. But it was one of the best days of the whole trip. We went to The Preserve for lunch, which is one of the hotels on the grounds, and OMG! One of the best meals we had in Hawaii for sure. We shared the bread pudding and each got a "Da Fish Moco" bowl. This was like a combo between a rice bowl and an Eggs Benedict. My mouth is watering typing this. It was a bed of jasmine rice, topped with grilled local fish with a poached egg on top. Everything was covered in Hollandaise sauce and surrounded by a halo of perfectly crispy tater tots. SO GOOD! It was a very Hawaiian meal, as Hawaii is all about fusion.
Next we went to the spa, where we had booked the Hana Couples Escape. It was a 90-minute couple's massage followed by a honey foot treatment and a essential oil scalp treatment. The massage included dry brushing, which is where the masseuses take a bristle brush and brush your skin all over your body, brushing up toward the heart throughout. It was a little uncomfortable at moments because the bristles are coarse, but my skin has NEVER felt softer afterward. They sent us home with two of the brushes and I want to keep doing dry brushing because of how good it is for your skin and circulation!
The whole spa experience was exceptional. It was 2 hours of bliss. Afterward, we did a hot/cold regimen for thyroid and general health, which the spa recommends. The way it works is you do 5 minutes in the steam room, followed by a 1 minute cold plunge (in a freezing but beautiful black lava plunge pool with flowers floating on the surface), 2 minutes of resting and drinking water, 5 minutes more of steam, 1 minute cold plunge, 5 minutes steam, finished off by a cold shower in the beautiful outdoor shower. It was so invigorating and yet restful and restorative at the same time. After we did the hot/cold regimen, we hung out in the spa jacuzzi overlooking the ocean. We were the only other guests we saw during all of this--it was so special and felt like we had the whole spa to ourselves (which I guess we did!).
After our spa time, we went to the Wellness pool again and got mai tais and mojitos from the pool bar. Then we went back to our room and rested (from our clearly difficult day... haha), read our novels, and drank wine. Heaven on earth!!
We finished off the day with dinner at the Hana Ranch Restaurant. We sat outside on the patio overlooking the ocean, with twinkle lights overhead, and I just remember feeling so incredibly lucky. The restaurant was sooo yummy--we shared poke to start, and then Grace tried some Hawaiian BBQ and fries, and I got a Caesar salad with furiake fish on top. There was also great live Hawaiian music that night. The restaurant was walking distance from our bungalow, so we walked everywhere and just soaked in our relaxing day.
The next day it was time to fly to Kauai! The airport on Maui is back near where we started our road trip, so we drove the whole Road to Hana again going in the opposite direction. We stopped a few more times than we did on the rainy drive up, but I have a word of caution here: if you are driving the Road to Hana with someone else, make sure to discuss with them in advance what your goals are for stopping versus just doing the drive. One of the only tense moments of the honeymoon was when I wanted to pull over at turnouts to see pretty views and Grace didn't think it was safe. I think Grace was right, but at the time I definitely voiced my disagreement with her choice :)
But we did do a few fun stops. One of our first stops of the day was at a roadside stand called Hana Farms. We got delicious coffee and iced ginger tea, and THE BEST pineapple banana bread! It had slices of candied pineapple on top. We ate 1/3 of it there and then took the rest all the way to Kauai and had it for breakfast the next day!
Grace also indulged me and pulled over at beautiful turnout to see these views:
Later, once we were back closer to where the airport is, we stopped at a gorgeous surfing beach called Ho'okipa Beach and watched the surfers for a while. We also got the yummiest coconut water--the guy at the roadside stand chopped the tops off for us and stuck straws right in them! Best coconut water I have ever had.
Our last stop on Maui before the airport was Paia town. It's a super hippie town, apparently a favorite spot of Willie Nelson's (which of course we loved), and has kind of an artists' community feel. We did a little shopping and then got traditional Hawaiian lunch plates for lunch: poke, rice, and mac salad at Tobi's shave ice and poke. YUM!!
Looking at this picture makes me crave this meal again--so so good! To me, this is such a classic Hawaiian taste.
And then we had to say goodbye to Maui :( We went to the airport, returned our rental car, and boarded our plane to Kauai.
More next time! Thanks for following along.