FAIRMONT KEA LANI – JAMIE’S IN MAUI PART 2

As the remainder of my time in Maui was spent mainly in conference meetings at the Fairmont Kea Lani, I think it is important to comment on their meeting and convention facilities. The meeting rooms were very nice and unlike some, the A/C was very adjustable – one day was too warm, but they were able to cool the room quickly and one day the A/C was too cold, but they were able to turn it down and warm the room quickly, making the setting comfortable for attendees, which is important. We had several coffee breaks with fruit and baked goods, all of which were good – a nice selection of coffee and tea as well. The three lunches we had were lovely, set either on the patio outside out meeting room or on the lawn – beautiful settings, a nice break from being inside and good food as well. The staff were friendly and attentive, always saying hello and asking if they could help. The WIFI worked quite well through most of the hotel, although a little spotty in my room, which was at the end of of one of the wings. Although I wasn’t the organizer, from what I could tell, everything went very smoothly. Fairmont is a high quality product and everything was well done.

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One evening we had a sponsored dinner in Lahaina. Although I have been to Maui before, I had never spent much time in Lahaina and was looking forward to going. We had a bit of time to wander Front Street and shop for a few souvenirs and the setting felt very Hawaiian with the ocean on one side and the green mountains on the other. I don’t think I found any great bargains, but I did manage to pick up a couple of things I was looking for and have a nice stroll around the area. We all met at the Pacific’O Restaurant for a sunset dinner.

The Sunset was gorgeous and the setting was perfect. Beachfront, ocean views, a nice evening with warm weather and no wind. It couldn’t have been any better. The staff at the restaurant were great, very attentive and quick at bringing drinks, taking drinks, bringing around trays of pupu’s. For dinner, we had a choice of fish, lamb or beef. As I had fish the night before, I thought i would try the beef filet with Gorgonzola cheese on top, even though it was Hawaii and fish is usually the way to go. I was pleasantly surprised! The filet was as good as any I have had at a steakhouse back in Canada. It was the best meal I had the entire time I was in Maui – a big thumbs up and the next time I go to Maui, I would make a point of going back.

I would usually rent a car on Maui as it’s necessary to get around, but as I knew I wouldn’t have time to be out exploring, I decided to use a car service instead. I used a company called Maui ATS – Maui Airport Taxi Service – for a rate of $49 USD each way, it was less than taking a taxi. The drivers were waiting on time both ways and the drivers were friendly and professional. I would recommend them to anyone needing car service in Maui.

Sadly, my time in Maui was not longer, but I was lucky to be flying Air Canada Rouge in Premium Rouge class. It made the longer flights and night flights much more comfortable. The staff was friendly and the meal service was good. I also had a 7 hour layover in Vancouver and decided to get a day room rate at the Fairmont Vancouver airport. For a rate of $129, I had a room for 4 hours. I was able to get another 3 hours of sleep after not getting a lot of sleep on the night flight from Maui and have a shower and change my clothes before having to continue my journey home. It was well worth it and I felt significantly better for having spent my time there.

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FAIRMONT KEA LANI – JAMIE’S IN MAUI PART 1

This is my third time to Maui, second time to the Fairmont Kea Lani.  The first time I stayed at this hotel was about 8 years ago and I remembered it being an oasis of calm and beauty after the busy-ness of Honolulu.  I was not mistaken.

24775145_10155009822345009_385372031145172010_nAfter a long day of travelling, stressing over almost missing a connection and making it through a very bumpy landing (not my favorite), I walked outside the airport to meet my car service and 30 minutes later stepped out of the car to be greeted with a fresh orchid lei welcoming me to the Fairmont Kea Lani, a grand lady of a hotel that sits oceanfront in Wailea.  She is a large, white, elegant and classy looking hotel, with sweeping green lawns, flowers everywhere you look and endless shiny marble floors, columns and staircases.  She is really something to see.

As always, Fairmont provides exceptional service.  I was checked in within a matter of minutes and they had all my preferences on file and even welcomed me back, knowing exactly when I had last been here.  They sent me a text message so I would have that message on my phone and could just reply to the message if I needed any help with anything during my stay.  Instead of having to go to the front desk to ask, I could text and they would come to me.  WOW!

Due to the time change, it felt more like bedtime than dinner time when I arrived, but the Fairmont has a deli/bakery that is wonderful and allows you to pick up fruit, deli meats and salads, cereal, milk, yogurt, baked goods, wine, beer, etc.  So, I picked up a few things and had an early night.

The rooms at the Fairmont Kea Lani are fantastic.  For the most part, all rooms are one bedroom suites and very large.  A full bedroom, large bathroom with soaker tub and separate shower and a living room with sofa bed, plus a beautiful large lanai with a sunbed and table and chairs.  There is also a small fridge, microwave and coffee maker, allowing you to have a simple breakfast or small meal in your room, if you like.  The breakfast items from the deli are perfect.  I don’t usually eat a large breakfast, so there isn’t much point spending around $40 USD for a breakfast buffet when all I really want is toast or cereal!

There are three pools, one is adults only, one is geared for smaller children and one is more active and has a small water-slide.  The beach has nice sand, but is smaller.   There is some lava rock and some areas good for snorkeling.  I spent some time at the beach and pool yesterday morning.  They have cold water stations and towel stations throughout the property and I had no problems getting chairs at the beach or pool front, even at 9am.  I had lunch of shrimp quesadillas and a delicious cocktail called a Hibiscus margarita – and the cocktails come with orchid flowers in them, instead of umbrellas….how can you not love that.   The service around the pool was great, they were very quick to bring drinks and offer menus, etc.

We had a private dinner in one of the outdoor spaces last night.  It was also well done – a Hawaiian Duo with a pair of hula dancers for entertainment and some buffet food stations with the best Hawaiian Poke I have had.  It was a lovely day, in one of my favorite places.  Until next time, Aloha!

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Celebrating 2016

2016 has been a year full amazing travel experiences and adventures.   We thought we would share some of our favourite personal travel moments with you.   This is such an amazing world we live in and we are so happy that we get to share it with you!

Karen’s Visit to Club Villain at Walt Disney World

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“The one thing I have learned about Disney from my past trips is to never pass up a special ticket event. My favorite that I have been to so far is Club Villain. There is themed food and cocktails. A Dj and his dancers entertained us throughout the evening. We were given an opportunity to socialize with several diva Villains. There were no lines awaiting you to meet up with Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, Cruela De Vil and the Evil Queen.  This is an event not to miss!”

Amanda’s Jamaican Vacation

“Beautiful water and great weather.  The Jamaican people are the friendliest and most accommodating I’ve ever been around.”

Correna’s Search for Charlie Brown in Hong Kong

“My great adventure in Hong Kong began when I tried to locate this Charlie Brown Café in downtown Hong Kong.  One piece of advice, do not think you can get by with land marks in Hong Kong.  There just happens to be a Rolex store on every block!   It was well worth the search!”

Casie’s Trip to Puerto Vallarta

“It’s fabulous”

Joanne’s Blue Lagoon Plunge in Iceland

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“Iceland is the perfect destination or people looking for the unexpected.  It has something for everybody.  I was lucky enough to experience the Aurora Borealis, take in geysers and glaciers and bath in the Blue Lagoon.”

Jamie’s Family Vacation to Kauai

“Kauai Hawaii. Land of flowers, sunny beaches and Jurassic Park movies. Poipu had perfect weather and we loved the quiet, laid back feel of this Island. “

Elena’s Romantic European River Cruise

“Life on the ship is amazing.  They say food fills the soul, well your belly will be happy also.  I went on the galley tour while on board. For a kitchen so small the meals are impressive. No soup or dressings are made from powders or pre-made starters, everything is from whole natural foods, it’s evident in every bite.

The cabins are comfortable and take your breath away.  I highly recommend paying the extra to upgrade your cabin from the lead in category. You may not think you’ll spend time in your cabin but when the sun comes up around 5am or you’re leaving port then you can just draw back the curtains and doze off and on while watching the views as you sail by.  Sailing past countless Vineyards and castle is great way to start your morning if you ask me.”

Kyra’s Family Camping Trip to Banff

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“I went to the beautiful Moraine Lake and Lake Louise.  I had never been to either of those lakes before and I just fell in love with how pretty they are!”

Heather’s Destination Wedding Travels

“In 2016 I was lucky enough to travel not once but twice for amazing, beautiful destination weddings.   My brother was married in Puerto Vallarta and a dear high school friend was married in Ucluelet, British Columbia.  The first trip was another amazing family vacation but even more special.  The second a bit of a high school reunion and a road trip with two of my very best friends.”

Stephanie’s Costa Rican’ Adventure

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“Kayak and paddle boarding on Lake Arenal in Costa Rica, with beautiful views of the Arenal Volcano is one of my favorite travel memories in 2016. “

Colleen’s Bucket List trip to Newfoundland

“Ales, Whales and Newfie Tales is what is waiting for you in Newfoundland and so much more.  We went for 2 weeks but could have stayed for a month.  The people, the hiking, the music, the scenery even their own winery are just some of the things that are waiting for  you.  From Iceberg Beer which you can only get in Newfoundland to the East Coast music heard at every pub it’s a must return destination.  Oh, yes don’t forget the Puffins. “

It has certainly been a memorable year.   We can’t wait to see where 2017 takes us and hope to share it all with you along the way.    If you would like any help planning your own amazing vacation please feel free to call our office at 306-242-TRIP (8747).   We would love to help you have amazing travel experiences too.

*If you enjoyed this blog and would like to continue to follow our team as they have amazing travel experiences check out our Instagram @UniglobeCarefreeTravel
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Amanda’s Trip to Hawaii – Final Blog

Well I’m sad to say that it’s time to say goodbye to Waikiki.  I’ve had a great last few days here.

We went to the Chief’s Luau and it was great. The chief is really a chief and the luau is very traditional showing various dances from the various Polynesian countries.  We were picked up at our hotel and had a short 25min ride or so to where we needed to be.  Our host on the bus was very entertaining and kept us laughing while debriefing us about the night.  We arrived at Sea Life Park, where the luau takes place in a big outdoor area. They bring people in by wristband color as each represents a different package that people paid for.  They had some fun activities to do while waiting to eat such as, temporary henna tattoos, stick dance, hula dancing lesson, headbands woven out of palm leaves and spear throwing.  Then we got to eat, and when we were finished eating the luau began.  It was very intriguing and had lots of audience involvement.  Even called up all those celebrating special occasions and had a little something special for them all.  It was a great experience and would definitely recommend it to everyone. Just a heads up that we were picked up at 420pm, got into the luau area with the activities about 530 and was eating at 630pm. The luau started about 7pm and lasted at hour.  We were very hungry by the time we ate so would recommend preparing for a late supper.

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We took a short 5 min walk to Kings Village where there were a bunch of little shops.  Very cute and good prices.

The fireworks tonight were good but we were under the impression that they would be about 15mins long…they were 5mins.  They were at the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel.  They are supposed start at 745 but was about 8pm. There were a lot of fireworks shot off all at once.  It was about a half hour walk back to our hotel.  The main street is very pretty to walk at night as they has torches and lights up everywhere for lighting.

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Our last day we started at the International Marketplace, then popped in at Duke’s Lane for last minute shopping as well as Kings Village which we found had better prices.

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Then we went to the zoo as it was only a 10min walk from my hotel.  It is a 40 acre zoo with a lot of birds and African animals.  We were there 2.5hrs or so and that included having lunch there.  The food is reasonably priced which was a nice surprise, around $8. Admission to the zoo was $14USD for an adult.

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Tips for travelers:

-Bring good walking shoes
-Make reservations for Duke’s restaurant ahead of time.
-Friday night fireworks at Hilton Village if you’re interested.  Their restaurant called Tropics was packed and a long line up, so prepare for that if you want to eat there.
-Book Friday night dinner cruise ahead of time as they stop to watch the fireworks too.
-There is no free WiFi at the Honolulu airport, but you can buy WiFi time.
-Most of the shops don’t open til 10am.
-If you want to surf, shop around for pricing if you have the chance as they do vary.
-The Chiefs Luau and Magic of Polynesia shows are great to see.

I really enjoyed my time in Waikiki, Oahu. I highly recommend visiting this lovely destination and I would love to help you with this fabulous vacation.

Thanks and Mahalo.

Amanda’s Trip to Hawaii – Blog 2

Aloha again from Waikiki, Oahu. Today was a great day as I got to do a tour around the island called “Grand Circle Island Tour.” We were picked up at our hotel and rode in a coach bus. We only had a couple of other pickups before we were on our way. The driver was our guide as well. He gave us a lot of interesting information about not only Oahu but all of Hawaii when we were driving between stops. He made jokes and was pretty entertaining.

Our first stop was Hanauma Bay which is a great place to snorkel. Lots of coral there. It was raining pretty hard when we were there so didn’t stay long. There is limited bus parking there so could only stay for 15 mins.

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Hanauma Bay

It looked like scuba divers go there as well as there was a group of them and separate booth for them. They also had a tram that brought them from the top down to the beach.

Saw lots of beaches where the pros come to surf and do other water sports.  Lots of golf courses here that are used for big championships. We stopped a macadamia nut store and I tried them for the first time! There were many assorted flavors and I think one of my favorites were the cinnamon covered macadamia nuts.

We went along the East Coast past many beaches, we stopped at a Buddhist Temple  and also went through the Dole plantation.  Who knew you could make such many things with pineapple?  The pineapple whipped ice cream was very yummy.

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A neat stop was at Kualoa Ranch where I found out lots of movies were filmed here like Jurassic Park, Karate Kid, and many others.

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Kuaola Ranch

There were a few other stops on this tour and I’d be happy to share about them sometime if you’re going to Oahu and think you’d be interested in this tour.

After we got back from our tour we walked 20mins from our hotel to the Hard Rock Cafe.  The food was delicious and our server was great. He was very efficient and attentive.  The guitar covered wall was the neatest thing to see. (Fourth pic)

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As I said there are a lot of shops and open air shopping centers.  We walked through some on the way back to the hotel.  Also stopped in a very nice park that was lit with torches.  You would miss it if you weren’t looking for it.

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The International Market Place has been closed for two years and has its grand opening on the 25th so want to check that out sometime before we leave.

You definitely need really good walking shoes when you come here. There is also a cute trolley and city bus to help you get around as well.

Stay tuned as my adventure continues. Luau, International Marketplace, fireworks, and maybe the zoo, still to come.

Mahalo.  😊

Amanda’s trip to Hawaii – Blog 1

Aloha from Honolulu, Oahu!

This is my first time here. It was a good taking the Westjet 5.5 hour direct flight from Vancouver.  I was greeted with an orchid Lei at the Honolulu airport.  It was about a 20min shuttle ride to my Waikiki hotel, the Pacific Beach hotel. I was surprised how very busy it is along this main strip in the hotel zone of Waikiki. Lots of shops everywhere you go and people happily doing a lot of shopping.  The beach is great with powdery sand and clear blue water. It was sunny with some clouds yesterday and today was cloudy. It is supposed to be 28 degrees everyday, and some days feel more humid than others.

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Beach

Eating at the world famous Duke’s restaurant was great and had some entertainment as well. There was a guy playing his guitar and singing while we were there.  They have daily entertainment with local talent.  With the meals there is usually an orchid flower on the plate. They say the flower is edible, but I didn’t eat it as it is a real orchid flower. 🙂

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All of the beaches are public so there are no chairs for you. Some hotels loan out chairs and beach towels for you to use.  The Magic of Polynesia magic show was spectacular. The performance included illusions and other magic tricks, fire and knife dancing as well as Polynesian dances like Hula! There is an option to just watch the show at $59USD per person for an adult or you can eat dinner before the show as well for an additional cost.

It was interesting to be stopped by police today on the sidewalk as they were filming a scene for Hawaii Five-O.  They closed sidewalks and an intersection to shoot the clip. Apparently this is a regular occurrence around Honolulu and Waikiki. It didn’t take very long and was a surprise as we don’t have that happen at home.
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I’m going to be taking the Grand Circle Island tour tomorrow.  Check back again soon to hear more about my wonderful adventures here in Waikiki.  Mahalo. 🙂

Colleen’s Hawaii Holiday – Final Blog

Our time in Kihei is done and we are moving to the Westin Kaanapali for our last 3 nights in Hawaii. Kihei and Kaanapali are 30 minutes apart but a world away.

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View from Westin

Kihei is low key and quite and Kaanapali is high end and busy. The hotels that line this beach are higher priced but most think it’s worth it. The beach here is beautiful and stretches at least a mile. There is a path that runs between the ocean and the hotels for easy access to everything. In the middle is Whalers Village with plenty is shopping and ladies take out your wallets for the outlet mall in Lahaina. The shopping here is like a dream.   The prices here are a little higher than Kihei but they do have an ABC store in Whalers Village to get everything you need. There is something about Hawaii that keeps us coming back. I can’t really explain it. It’s just something you have to experience.

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