Hawaii

Paradise Exists: And it's at the Andaz Maui

Our bucket list is long - really long. It grows daily, actually. Our wanderlust spirits crave new experiences, new cultures, new adventures. We’re not the types to go to the same place over and over again, there’s just too much on this earth we’ve yet to explore!

That being said, we have a small handful of spots that we would gladly return to. Places that we love, places that we crave, places that we start to miss the second that we leave… and Maui is one of them. There’s something about the people, the weather, the food, the wildlife. There’s just something so incredibly special about this little Hawaiian island. If you’ve been, you know. If you haven’t, keep reading. 

We hit a point every year where we begin to have Maui withdrawals. It doesn’t take long before we have our flights, room, and rental car booked (If our budget allows for it). This year, we decided to head to a part of the island that we’d never been before : Wailea, and to a hotel that has been on our bucket list for years: the Andaz Maui.

Ever since we stayed at the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica, we’ve been hooked on this brand. Their attention to detail, the cool, modern style of the properties, the friendly and attentive staff, the food, the drinks, even the rainfall showers in the room. It’s all done SO well. One look at the Maui property online and it was love at first sight. 

It’s even better in person! If you are planning a trip to Maui (and you should), we strongly believe this is the best hotel on the island. Yep, we said it. And we stand by it. Here’s why:

 

LOCATION

You simply can’t beat the location of the property. It’s right on what we consider not only the prettiest beach in Wailea, but the best one for snorkeling. Seriously, the coral reefs there made Alli cry. Highlight of the trip. The Andaz Maui is also walking distance to restaurants, hotels, Lapperts Ice Cream (very important), shops, and more. If you don't feel like walking, no problem! The Andaz has private cars that will take you wherever you want to go (within a two mile radius). 

 

THE POOLS

Photos can't quite portray how breathtakingly beautiful their infinity pools are. At first glance it almost doesn’t look real! We spent the majority of our time pool-hopping around the different infinity pools, and it was glorious. There’s plenty of lounge chairs, complimentary Sun Bum sunscreen, books for guests to enjoy, cold water, Mai Tai’s, and ahi poke when you get hungry. One afternoon the Andaz staff handed out free mochi ice cream for guests to enjoy poolside. Heaven? Basically.

 

THE SERVICE

We’re big on guest experience. Nothing makes us happier than good customer service. If you want our loyalty, treat us well! At the Andaz Maui, guests are treated like royalty. From the smiling faces of the bellmen to the pool attendants, to the talented mixologists, everyone is eager to serve. The second you arrive at the pool they’re making sure your chair is set with towels, your umbrella is where you want it, and your every need is met. It’s absolutely spoiling in every way.

 

THE AMENITIES

Here’s the deal. The Andaz Maui isn’t cheap. You can google hotels in the area and probably find a handful of options that are significantly cheaper. But chances are you’ll make up that difference in all of the extra things you end up needing to buy/rent. Here’s just a few of the things that your resort fee covers at The Andaz Maui:

  • Fitness classes: bootcamps, yoga, 
  • Outrigger canoe excursions
  • Snorkel gear
  • Stand up paddle board classes
  • Mixology classes
  • Ukelele classes
  • Lei making classes
  • Boogie boards

And so much more! There are SO many extra perks to staying at the Andaz. And if you’ve been following us for awhile, you know we LOVE good perks. Like we said, you’re paying a premium to stay in the best location on Maui, have everything you need at your beck and call, and have unlimited activities to keep the whole family entertained. When you’re in the mood to relax, nothing is better than a one-stop shop, and the Andaz Maui is exactly that.

 

Have we sold you yet? We could go on and on about how epic our room was, how insane their breakfast buffet is, how amazing the live nightly music was… But we’ll let the photos do the talking. Stay at the Andaz Maui. And take us with you. Please.

Capturing Maui with Fuji's X-T1 and 10-24 Lens

During a recent trip to Hawaii we were able to try out the Fujinon 10-24mm lens and Fuji X-T1. We want to take some time to reflect on these remarkable Fuji products, and show you some of our sweet shots too!

First, let's look at the Fujinon 10-24 lens. This small, sharp lens is an absolute dream for travel. It is amazing for hotel rooms and landscapes when it is zoomed out, and the tele end is good for a variety of other shots. While I haven’t quite become a photography guru, there are a few things that stood out to me that I really appreciate. First, with such a wide zoom, I expected a little distortion in the corners. The 10-24 surprises with extremely clean corners at 10mm. Check out some of these shots that look incredible!

I also like how you can control aperture with a built in auto switch on the lens. I know you can’t have everything right there on the lens for you, but I like that you don’t have to go digging through the menu to find the setting you want.

I thought I would have an issue with the aperture of this lens being limited to f4, but I found I was primarily using this for ultra-wide (and would switch to my Fuji 23 if needed). While the 10-24 isn’t super fast, it gives you some good low light controls to keep it valuable when you are without a tripod- which is often when you are traveling.

Overall, this lens is the most convenient that I have found for travel photography. It will definitely be the next lens I add to our kit. It is relatively compact (easy to pack) and it takes beautiful photos. Great job Fuji, may we keep it?

 

Next, the Fujifilm X-T1. When shopping for a camera, we were told this was the best mirrorless body out there. We opted for the X-E2 to save a little money, and because we didn’t think we would notice a difference. But we did. And we want one. (Are you seeing a trend?)

The Fuji X-T1 body looks pretty awesome at first glance. Compared to the X-E2, it has more controls, a more pronounced handgrip, and (like the X-E2) has amazing overall design.

While I was overwhelmed by all the dials at first, I quickly appreciated having more control on the body instead of looking through the screen menu (like the 10-24 lens). The dedicated shutter speed dial has a lock on it that keeps it in the automatic setting, but once taken off can rotate all around. I really value having the ISO dial on this camera, as I am prone to using Auto ISO on the X-E2 since it is more difficult to toggle with. My fear of all the dials turned to gratefulness, as every major function that I need to change mid-shoot is at my fingertips.

 

I didn’t realize how much I would love having the handgrip of the X-T1. The X-E2 has a minimal handgrip, but I figured since it is such a small camera it wouldn’t’ matter. I found that the X-T1 was much more comfortable, and the grip gave me peace of mind as I walked up and down the beach looking for the perfect photo.

 

The beautiful look of this camera is backed by a control scheme that is easy to navigate, and an image quality that is incredible. Combine it with any of the X-Series lenses (we want the 10-24) and you have a compact photo kit that is perfect to take with you on a journey to Hana, or to capture a breathtaking sunset from your Lanai! Aloha!