Memories of vacations past at Maui’s most secret spot
By Patti Pietschmann, Travel Diva
I can’t get Maui’s Airport Beach out of my mind. But it’s not exactly near by. It’s a six hour flight away from where we live via Hawaiian, Delta or Alaska Airlines. But worth the time and effort.
The beach snuggles along the north end of Kaanapali Beach in West Maui. It’s past an outcropping called Black Rock (official name: Kakaa Point) and outside the main master-planned resort but within easy walking distance to it.
It got its name because of an old landing strip for West Maui that has since relocated. . The long and sandy stretch of beach has the gentle drop off and easy waves that main Kaanapali sometimes lacks.
Best swimming beach on the island
The water’s crystal clear and the swimming and snorkeling fine either at the north end of the beach or around Black Rock. That’s where I swam with a bat ray on day, and a green sea turtle bobbing its snout up for air another time– just a few yards off the shore. It’s Maui’s best beach.
We fell in love with this beach year ago. But what happens when that place is a couple of thousand miles from where you live? What happens when you can’t move there from because of work or family or now even go there because of Covid19 restrictions.
Waiting for Hawaii to open for tourism
First you wait until Hawaii’s Gov. Ige removes the quarantine. Then you eiher buy a getaway if you can afford one, or you rent one by the day. There aren’t many options if you want to stay within walking distance of the beach, as we do. You could buy one of the handful of multi-million dollar homes set just back from the beach, but the best option for the Diva and her husband is renting one of the condominium apartments.
Recommended resort options
There are just three of those resorts on the best part of the beach nearest Black Rock. Maui Kaanapali Villas has condos at the beach, a medium-rise tower and Castaways, the beach’s only sand-adjacent restaurant. Royal Lahaina Resort has a big, bustling hotel tower, relatively small by big-resort standards but too busy for my tastes.
But we were always partial to Outrigger’s Maui Eldorado. It houses a couple of hundred condo apartments in two-story structures spread around the fairways of Kaanapali’s North golf course. About a third of the apartments in the rental pool are run by Outrigger, Hawaii’s biggest and most reliably well-run hotel company.
The Eldorado isn’t directly on the beach. But it’s just a short walk away where guests are welcome with a residents-only beach cabana. We walked to the beach every morning and most afternoons. Our one-bedroom, two-bathroom condo, L 204, had a nice view of the sea from our spacious second-floor lanai, a top-notch kitchen, comfortable beds, nice furnishings, a washer-dryer and even WiFi. We couldn’t have been more comfortable, or happier, and the $199 per night rate was a steal compared to the glossy, impersonal Kaanapali hotels.
We ate breakfast on our lanai every morning. Sometimes we did the whole enchilada with eggs, bacon and always fresh papaya or mango.
We did our grocery shopping at Times market just up the road stocking up for days at a time.
We love dining on the lanai at sunrise, sunset (happy hour cocktails first) or in the moonlight.
We often went to lunch in Lahaina at Mala Ocean Tavern, right on the rocks (always fabulous food).
Some evenings we ate out but as I write this memory many of the restaurants are gone. Some nights we did take out at nearby China Bowl at the Fairway shops next to the front office and ate it on the condo’s lanai. It was some of the best Chinese food we’d had in a long time.
We often enjoyed lunch at Peter Merriman’s seaside Hula Grill in Kaanapali, but somehow never found the time.
In other words, it was the perfect Airport Beach vacation. What’s more there were always awesome sunsets and vibrant rainbows.
We loved condo vacations so much we eventually bought one of our own. Not at Airport Beach but at another of Maui’s finest over in charming BoHo Kihei.
The property, Manakai Maui, sits smack on the beach and sports a fitness center, activities center, Deli, business center and pool. But it’s closed now due to Covid19. And we miss it so much.
Would have been there in April if the virus hadn’t reared its ugly head. but the resort is all shuttered up until the governor gives the okay for visitors to return.
Missing the good ole days of travel
It’s funny how this coronavirus-induced travel lull brings back memories of previous trips, cruises and vacations. And how we pine to have them all back.
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