This Blog entry will be fairly short. Our trip to Maui was primarily about relaxing as opposed to our usual Hectic see and do everything trips. We begin our blog already on the Ground in Maui as we included the flight element in our LA blog.
Budget – Car Rentals
We will take the time to review the service offered by budget at their Kahului Airport location. It doesn’t make good reading, however. As we exited the terminal around 12:30 we quickly found the pickup point for the short shuttles to the Rental location. After a few minutes of taking in the very pleasant island weather, we were whisked off to the center. All Car hire companies on the island use this system as there is no room on site for them. But most Centres, including Budget, are pretty close it took us around 5 mins as we had to drop off at Avis first.
Upon arrival, we noticed a large congregation of people and luggage simply milling about. We were not sure what they were waiting for. Inside there was next to no queue and we were seen to almost instantly. We got quite a hard sell for insurance upgrades and such like but a polite no to everything got them to move along.
At this point, things started to go awry. With no explanation, our agent wandered off to the other side of the room and made a phone call. This lasted a good 10 mins and we had no idea what was going on (we still don’t but assume we were being located a Car) Eventually they returned and seemed to be pleased to give us the good news they had assigned us a car. err that would be the basic level of service we expect, right?
We were given a Grey Compass and being a little unfamiliar with some US brands didn’t know what that was but we had booked a Ford Explorer or similar so knew to expect a small-sized SUV. We were told to wait outside and it would be brought round.
This is when we realized what the throng of people was waiting for and why they all looked so angry. The weather was slightly overcast and hot (27/80 deg) perfect pool weather but not perfect Standing outside Budget Weather. After around 35-40 Mins a Grey Piece of Junk turned up and the License plate seemed to match our receipt.
In all our times Renting cars all over the world, we have only once received a car older than 1 year and that was in Turkey and to be expected. This junker was 3/4 years old and on 40,000 miles and had all the style and finesse of a dustbin wagon. After our staggering wait in the lot, we simply didn’t argue and jumped in and headed off.
This may seem like we are picking holes in the service but we have never quite had such poor service from a rental car company before, certainly not a Major US brand anyway. Remember we had just rented a <100mile old SUV From Alamo for around $100 for 5 days and spent less than 10 mins in the facility during both pick-up and return. To go from that to this was quite upsetting. But we were now on the Open roads of Maui and it’s hard to be too upset about anything there.
As we headed down Highway 30 and rounded the Papawai Point, a cursory glance out to sea, saw our first whale sighting. We had been out of the Airport for less than 15 Mins and had seen whales. God, we love Maui.
Traffic through Lahaina was typically heavy and slow but we had the radio on and the windows down and were just happy to be in the best place in the world. Even traffic jams don’t suck on Maui. We couldn’t check in until 4:00 pm and still had a few hours to kill so popped into Safeway, Lahaina to pick up some Essentials. Like Beer, Rum, Mai Tai ingredients, Huge Steaks, and some Kraft Macaroni Cheese. We always buy Macaroni Cheese in the US as we just can’t get it at home. One of our guilty pleasures. The Bill at the end was incredibly shocking until we realized the Club Prices had not been taken off, then it was only mildly shocking. Still cheaper than eating out every night. The moral of the story, make sure you join the Safeway Clubcard! $190 became $120.
We then headed off to our Condo in Napili
Napili Shores Maui by Outrigger
We adore this complex. It is not fancy or luxurious but it makes up for it with unbeatable natural beauty. The location is just stunning. We had rented a condo privately from VBRO.com so New what to expect. It was actually the exact same condo we had rented for our honeymoon on our first trip to Maui. So we REALLY knew what to expect.
We rented a One Bedroom Ocean View Condo on the second floor which offers stunning views of the Ocean and the Grounds including the World Famous Gazebo restaurant (more on that tomorrow). We grabbed a drink and sat back on the Lanai utterly content with everything in the world. Wondering how it could get any better. We then noticed the Pod of Humpbacks surfacing just off the headland! That’s how it could get better!
Around this time I realized I was still Dry. I had been in Maui FAR too long to still be dry. So a fast change into my Swimmers and we headed off to the beach, which is about a 2-minute walk. As our feet sunk into the Deep Soft Coral Sand a large wave broke and drenched Katie. While I had come dressed for a full-on Snorkel / Swim but She was just planning a paddle, but the ocean had other ideas!
After she headed back to the condo I took my first Aquatic outing of the trip. A good snorkel around the bay and I saw my first Turtle of the trip, in fact, my first 5. The Turtles are prolific in Napili Bay. That was about all I saw of interest. If you don’t count thousands of Tangs, Unicorn Fish, Moorish Idols, butterflyfish, and humuhumunukunukuapua’a as interesting…
After my Snorkel, we unpacked then carried on with the Mai Tai’s while watching the whales frolic. As the sun dipped down we headed to the on-site Grills to burn the Steaks for a fantastic first meal. Before long the time difference of 10hours was getting to us and we finally gave in to the drooping eyes at around 8:30. Falling asleep to the gentle waves lapping against the shore.
The forecast for Tomorrow was mostly cloudy with rain all day, and this was the forecast for the next few days. It had been dry and hot but slightly overcast all day today and fingers were crossed this would continue and the notoriously unreliable Hawaii forecasts would be wrong. We had no specific plans for tomorrow, a full day of kicking back on the beach. But even doing nothing in Maui is an exciting experience…