MAUI

The pictures above are of the Grand Wailea's fantasy pool, lagoon, adult pool, cove, and river. The pictures of Craig and Elizabeth were taken at the Four Seasons, and Lanai is in the background.

Maui is the island of great weather, great dining, great golf, and the ultimate in spa indulgence.  The hotel pools at many of the resorts are a veritable Disneyland for anyone (child or adult).

The Island's focal points are the two mountains that dominate the landscape.  Mt. Haleakala protects the beaches of Wailea from unpleasant weather.  It also is an amazing place to take in the sunrise (bring a jacket and a snack). Haleakala also is great for driving around . . . on the famed road to Hana.  This full day drive is worth it and you never will forget the waterfalls, springs, gardens, and stunning views.

Lahina is an old whaling village, and sports some of the best restaurants on the island.  It also is where many of the ferries and whake-watching boat trips land.  The water "lanes" between Maui, Lanai & Molokai have some of the best whale-watching in the world, and you'll be there at the perfect time of year.

Wailea

Wailea traditionally has the best weather in Hawaii, and sports views of Lanai and Molokai crater (SCUBA heaven). Recommendations for Wailea resorts: the Grand Wailea; the Marriott Renaissance; and the Four Seasons.  All resorts are pricey, but both also usually have great packages, sometimes with a car rental or breakfast included, and sometimes with a free night - it it worth it to both check online and call the resort - it is amazing to watch the awfully high rack rates get chopped down. 

The Grand Wailea might be the best resort for children in the world. Its pools include a lagoon, beach, volcano, water elevator, water slide, lazy river, and every imaginable use of water.   The resort also has an adults-only pool. The resort has a Japanese restaurant (read awesome sushi), with rocks from Mt. Fuji.

The Grand Wailea also has what often is rated the top Spa in the world.  It quite simply is the best place for a gal or guy to relax. Arrive at the Spa an hour early for a verbena steam, full body scrub, hot & cold pools, and baths of every sort (seaweed, mud, aromatheraphy, etc.).  After an hour of lolling in the "pre-treatment area" – during which you are given lemon-iced water – you are escorted to your treatment room.  Treatments include a mind-blowing massage, where two people massage you in-sync for about 2 hours while slathering you in sandalwood oil.  After your treatment, you sit on a balcony to "decompress" -- if you time it correctly, you can sip water or wine, and eat fruit while the sun sets over the island of Lanai.

The Marriott Renaissance also has good packages, is well-located, and has a great beach, but is a little less indulgent   The best rates are for AAA members and are the "advance purchase rates" – combine this with the AAA rates.

The Four Seasons (mere yeards from the Grand Wailea, and the Four Seasons Concierge can arrange treatments next door, and charge to your room) is the best for those traveling sans the little ones.  The Four Seasons is much more adult-oriented, and better for those who want to lounge without noise. The resort has some of the best golf in Hawaii with multiple courses, and a great beach.  One note, although the interior of the rooms it top notch, make sure you get the full or deluxe ocean view room, rather than the partial. Alternatively, ask for view of Lanai.  If you like SCUBA, the resort's PADI affiliate does a remarkably good job with both instruction and outings.

Ka'anapali

Kanapali also has wonderful beaches, good weather, and great views of Lanai and some of Molokai. At the Westin and Sheraton, you also can accrue and/or use Starwood Preferred Points.  All resorts usually have good packages and quote great AARP, AAA and military rates.

On her first trip to Maui Elizabeth stayed at the Westin, which also has a spectacular pool for children and adults, and recently opened a much-touted spa.  The keiki (children's) program is one of the best and has all sorts of explorations and outings. The resort also has a variety of exotic birds and other animals in mini-zoos throughout the resort.

Other resorts with reportedly great pools are the Sheraton Maui and Maui Hyatt.  The Sheraton has one of the best beaches on the island, althought the rooms aren't quite as nice as the Westin and the Hyatt.   All three resorts are affiliated with good golf courses with ocean views.