It was round 4 of Hawaii for the Hathcock family as we packed our suitcases (about 20 to be exact) and headed far far west for the islands of Hawaii. This trek is something oh so familiar to us, having been visitors of Maui, Hawaii for four summers in a row, it felt almost natural.
We spent a full day traveling from Valdosta -> Atlanta -> LA -> finally Maui! Grabbed our belongings, got lei’d & headed to the hotel. We were greeted by the oh-so familiar faces of the Four Seasons Wailea hostesses and gorgeous hotel, not too shabby of a welcome if you ask me. That was it, we were 4,500 miles away, six hours behind Eastern Time, & finally on our annual island vacation. Let the adventure begin!
Our daily routine while in Maui consisted of waking up (attempting to sleep-in, although jetlag hit us hard the first few days), eating a grand Four Seasons-style buffet breakfast, lounging by the pool, swimming through the Pacific, having lunch in our lounge chairs, and just relaxing & enjoying each other’s company. Come afternoon, we’d split off and watch the sunset, have a family workout, or rest up for the very large, very exquisite dinner to come. Dinner varied from night to night, sometimes we’d stay in and enjoy the amazing cuisine out resort had to offer, and other times we’d venture out to get a taste of some of our favorite local Maui spots. The nine of us, including my parents, sisters, brother, brother-in-law, boyfriend, and adopted sister, were living a dream. It’s what you call paradise, a true Hawaiian vacation – sounds like a fantasy right? A fantasy I got to live for the past two weeks, so here’s a glimpse at what our family adventure was like and all the adventures, the laughs, & the memories that came along with it.
Two days or our fourteen-day vacation were spent aboard the ShangriLa, a private catamaran that we’ve rented out the past four years for a little family time at sea. The same one, I may add, that Taylor Swift boarded with her friends a few summers back (fangirl moment, sorry I love me some TSwift). Aboard the ShangriLa we’d eat, sunbathe, sleep, read, search for dolphins, and sail away to Honolua Bay. Once arrived at Honolua Bay we’d de-board our private charter and head into the crystal blue ocean water of the Pacific with snorkels in our hands & flippers on our feet. We snorkel for hours in the chilled but beautiful water of this hidden cove in the reefs of Maui, spotting sea turtles, manta rays, tropical fish, eels, and more. Once back on board we were treated to a fabulous meal of sushi, sashimi, steak, grilled fish, veggies, and my favorite, chocolate molten cakes… not really a meal you’d expect when aboard a boat. Stuffed to the max, we’d head for the bean bag chairs & cushions at the bow of the boat for a nice nap as we set sail. The trip normally made a pit-stop on the way back to dock in Lahaina, for CLIFF DIVING! The cliff diving crew would hop off the boat, make the long swim to the highest cliff we could find & thrust ourselves off the very top! The rush you get after safely hitting the waters & not plummeting to your death is one that cannot even be described, but has us always coming back for more. On the way back to dock in Lahaina, we’d enjoy the sunset, sit together, and try to glue into our memory the adventures of the amazing day we just had.
On another adventurous day for the Hathcock clan we woke up early, drove the hour to Lahaina from Maui, and boarded a ferry to Lanai. It was my first visit to Lanai, and definitely one I will never forget. Lanai is the very private and very empty island across from Maui where Dole used to grow all of their pineapples. That day, the boys went for a special golfing trip and the rest of us headed to the Four Seasons Lanai, where we’d be guests for the day. They showed us to our private bungalow, which included a private pool, lounge chairs, hot tubs, a canopy bed, and a private butler. The resort was beautiful, and so private that we felt as if we had it all to ourselves. We relaxed all day long, had tropical drinks in the pool, and adventured around the resort. We then journeyed down a path surrounded by the gorgeous Hawaiian nature that led to Lanai’s Manele Bay. Manele Bay is said to be the resting place for pods of hundreds of spinner dolphins. We hopped in the blue water and snorkeled away. The resort as a whole was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever visited (plus it had a NOBU inside) and our day on Lanai was definitely well spent.
One of the best parts of our family trip to Hawaii is always the day we spend together taking family portraits, followed by a grand Four Seasons feast overlooking the beach. Well this is my favorite part, but other members of the family (aka the boys) may not enjoy the photographing part quite as much. We all dress in our best white outfit, get all fancied up, and head down to the beach to meet our favorite Hawaiian photographer, Amity Mason. After a few dozen photographs and poses in front of the beautiful sunset we are finished with family portraits, well for this year anyways. We then head up to the private dinner setup arranged by my amazing mother and the Four Seasons staff. It is simply a fairytale and looks as if it plopped out of a dream. With a canopy setup, gorgeous chandelier, and vibrant flower display, we felt like true Hawaiian royalty… or alii nui as it is known. Our menu has to be my favorite part, and is decked out with some of my most favored foods such as ahi, truffle risotto, filet, sushi rolls, and some sweet Riesling. As a surprise finish, thanks mom, we enjoyed a do-it-yourself ice cream bar that was simply to die for. The night was beautiful, the food was nothing short of amazing, and the time spent with my loved ones was invaluable.
That’s just a look at my four favorite days spent in paradise, and unless I write a novel, there is no possible way to convey all the memories, the laughs, the adventures, and the days spent on our Hawaiian vacation this summer. I’m so thankful for two weeks spent vacationing with my favorite eight people in my favorite summer destination. I ate enough food and sipped enough wine for a lifetime, I swam and snorkeled daily, saw hundreds sea turtles and fish, spent quality time with my family, boat-jumped with my boyfriend, took more photos than I could ever count, and truthfully had the best summer yet. I am so thankful for trips like these, parents like mine, and the memories I’ll treasure always.
KEEP READING — for a list of my go-to Hawaii eats & stops PLUS a photo gallery of our trip
mahalo for reading, I love you all… xoxo your Hawaiian local, Hailee 🙂
HAILEE’S HAWAII GO-TO’s :
The Four Seasons Wailea, Morimoto , the Spa at Grand Wailea , Monkeypod Kitchen , Lahaina Grill , Spago @ the Four Seasons Wailea , Manele Bay on Lanai , The Shops at Wailea , the Grand Luau at the Marriot Wailea , the ShangriLa: private catamaran charter , The Alii Nui sunset cruise , the Shops at Lahaina , Lapperts Hawaiian Ice Cream