Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 Maui Trip -- Photos of the Hotel Grounds

Good Morning from the KBH. The lawns are all groomed and ready for a new day.

To see a Flickr slideshow of photos we took on the grounds of the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel just CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012 Maui Trip -- Day 3

No airplanes today, no schedule today -- total vacation. The weather is partly sunny, partly cloudy, not too hot but very warm.

We didn't like the location of the first room we got last night (second floor, long walk to the elevator, longer walk to breakfast). So we asked what they could do for us. The second room was on the ground level with a lanai that opened right on the lawn and was just a few steps from the beach.

Kaua'i Wing, Ka'anapali Beach Hotel The view from our room.

West Maui Mountains, November 28, 2012 And the view from the other direction -- the West Maui Mountains.

We have stayed here several times before but not in the past 12 or 15 years. It's an older property and we didn't really know what to expect. It is still very Hawaiian and well maintained. The rooms are in great condition and the grounds are as lovely as ever.

We got a package with the room, car and breakfast included. The extra charge for the breakfast was just $4.00 per person per day. It's buffet style and they offer to make fresh omlettes, pancakes, French toast, etc. Lots of fresh island fruit -- pineapple, papaya, melons and a fabulous bread pudding. After breakfast it was time to go back to the room and read, or nap, on the patio.

The ocean was rough and most of the time there were yellow flags or red flags on the beach, meaning use caution or don't get in the water at all. We had both experienced the serious rip currents here in the past so we heeded the warnings.

In the evening there was Hawaiian music in the air and a gigantic Maui full moon lighting the Pacific.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2012 Maui Trip -- Day 2

There was no great rush to get out of the hotel and over to the airport. Takeoff was at 10:30 AM. First class isn't what it used to be. But the lunch was good. A Chinese spiced grilled salmon by the Big Island's Sam Choy. Very good.

The flight was uneventful and we were at the gate in the Honolulu Airport before 3:00 PM. Our flight to Maui was at 5:00. But we had to claim our luggage, go to another terminal and check in again.

HNL -- Honolulu International Airport HNL -- Honolulu International Airport

It turned out the flight to Maui was not out of the Interisland Terminal, but from the Commuter Terminal next door to it. The Commuter Terminal looked a lot to us like the old Interisland Terminal. Also, adding to the confusion in our travel addled brains, the clerk at the Mokulele Airlines counter told us our flight would be on GO! Airlines instead. It was at the same counter but a different person signed us in and charged us for our luggage.

We landed in Kahalui, Maui a little after 5:30. By the time we got our bags, found the Budget Rental Car site and started the drive to Ka'anapali it was totally dark out. As soon as we got out of town the only lights were from car headlights and they were somewhat blinding. I was a bit dazed driving the winding roads after sitting on planes so long today. At least I couldn't see the cliffs and the ocean way below us.

It was just after 7:00 when we got to Lahaina and we decided to get something to eat before checking in at the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel. We then made a great discovery, CJ's Deli & Diner. Just a mile from the hotel and we knew about it from their website. Good food, casual setting and free WI-FI access. At about 8:00 we checked in to our hotel and soon were fast asleep. Hotel details to follow. Tommorrow.

Monday, November 26, 2012

2012 Maui Trip -- Day 1

Sunset at LAX Sunset at LAX looking from the Crowne Plaza toward Hawaii

Up at 3:45 AM all packed and ready for a cup of coffee before heading for the airport. At 4:30 we were watching for the taxi. At 4:35 I called J.J. who sounded very sleepy. He said something came up and he would be over to pick us up in twenty minutes. I asked him where he was coming from. And could he be here in ten minutes?

He couldn't tell me where he was so I cancelled the taxi, unbolted the garage door and we drove to the airport. And parked in the expensive parking garage there. A tiny bit of much needed good luck: there was a parking space right next to the elevator and near the main lobby entrance.

My knee replacement sometimes causes a lot of delay getting through security so I get nervous when it appears we are late getting to the airport. As it happened we were fine and, with the kind help of the AirTran agent, got set up with wheelchairs for ATL and LAX.

We left Pensacola on time and were off the plane in ATL about 8:30 (AM!). With lots of help from the friendly staff at the airport we got to our gate for the flight to LAX with time to spare. The airport is huge and to get from one terminal to another involves elevators and train rides.

We even had time for a sit-down restaurant breakfast by our gate. As for the Atlanta-style southern cooking, it was the worst breakfast this side of the free breakfasts they give you at Hilton's Hampton Inns -- scrambled eggs cooked till they bounce and icy-cold sausages.

Our flight to LAX was on time at both ends, taking off a little after 10:00 AM and getting to LAX before 1:00 PM. Wheelchairs from the gate to baggage claim. All our bags arrived OK, then we were off to the hotel van pickup area. It took forever. Neither of us had been to LAX for nearly ten years. Very little has changed. Total chaos at the curbside. The only change in all this time is, it's gotten worse.

The Crowne Plaza LAX was ready for our early check-in and the room was nice as were the naps we immediately took.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Maui Trip, Getting Ready To Go

Toward the end of last June the future of American Airlines looked bleak indeed. And we still held a lot of their AAdvantage Club frequent flyer miles. We could use them for upgrades or even free first class tickets.

We worried that a reorganized American Airlines, taken over by US Airways, could make the frequent flyer miles difficult to use or they might cancel the program completely.

As much as we both wanted to go to London, getting around London wasn't going to be easy. The last trip nearly did me in. So we decided on a late fall trip to Hawaii.

Photo: Hawaii's State Flag
The design of the Hawaii State Flag was commissioned by King Kamehameha in 1816. It originally represented the Kingdom of Hawaii. Later it came to represent the Republic of Hawaii, then the Territory of Hawaii and now the State of Hawaii.

It's a lot easier to fly to Hawaii if you live in Los Angeles, as we used to. From Pensacola you need to fly to a "hub" airport and connect -- and connect. Lots of flights; lots of changes of planes.

After many phone calls and hours on the Internet we got an itinerary and used up nearly all of our frequent flyer miles. The only bad connection was outbound. We came in to LAX late in the evening and had to be at the airport very early the next morning. But that was to change. Flights got rescheduled and one got cancelled. What had been the late arriving -- mid-afternoon takeoff -- flight was now leaving Pensacola at 6:00 AM.

At one point, because of the early morning flight we planned to spend Sunday evening at an airport hotel by the Pensacola airport. Instead of that we made an appointment with Pensacola Taxi. J.J. will pick us up at 4:30 AM exactly.