MAUI, HAWAII - Time was running out. I was halfway through my pregnancy and yearned for a vacation – a few days away was just what the doctor ordered – but the window of opportunity for me to fly was quickly closing.
“Hawaii” was one of the destinations suggested by a friend.
I liked the sound of that but feared we couldn’t enjoy all Hawaii has to offer in the time we had to spare – six days.
My husband Bill and my obstetrician convinced me otherwise and soon we were tucked safely in our United Airlines seats heading westward on our second honeymoon – make that “babymoon.”
The plan was to spend two nights in Maui – at the remarkable Four Seasons Resort – before flying off to the Big Island and a night in Hilo and another two nights at another Four Seasons gem on the opposite coast in Kona.
Being our first time in America’s paradise, we wanted to do it up right and that meant giving in to Billy’s wishes to rent his “dream toy” – a Mustang convertible.
Now, it was love at first sight as we drove into the Four Seasons Resort entrance and got a quick look of the hotel’s patio restaurants and pool area, both of which overlook the breathtaking brilliance that surrounds Maui’s top resort property.
It was time to baby ourselves – long walks at sunset; romantic evening dinners; playful rides aboard Hawaii’s traditional outriggers; and lots of spa treatments, including an Hawaiian Ka Wahine Hapai (pregnancy) massage, which is specially designed to relieve stress in the second and third trimesters and focuses on the comfort of baby and mom-to-be.
The organic apricot oil my therapist used not only left my aching muscles relaxed and buoyant but also left my skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
Dinner at Duo was both delicious and delightful – the Maui onion soup was as sweet as candy and watching the sun turn the sky orange as it dipped into the calm Pacific was true eye candy. The island snapper, caught that morning in local waters, was so fresh Bill swears he saw the tail flip on my plate. He’s still a kid at heart.
The meal ended with our server delivering a giant plate of the fluffiest cotton candy we’ve ever seen – an unexpected and utterly delightful surprise.
Left: Whether it’s lounging around the pool at one of the Four Seasons great Hawaiian properties or sightseeing in a convertible Mustang, you can see a lot
We were up bright and early the next morning to take advantage of the resort’s complimentary outrigger canoe program, which allows guests to witness and appreciate the area’s delicate ecosystem in one of the long, narrow boats used by Hawaiians over the centuries to fish and travel. Muscular Hawaiians do all the rowing while we marvel at the sea turtles coming up for air along Wailea Beach and listen intently to our guide’s wala’au (talking story), which tells of Hawaiians’ respect for the ocean and all that lives in it. Bill, an avid photographer, was in Canon heaven.
Next, we hopped in our Mustang for a scenic drive along the coast to Kihei and Lahaina. My eyes didn’t know where to look – lush mountains, valleys and rainbows to my right; winding coastline and breathtaking Pacific vistas to my left.
The relatively short drive is made long by the fact there’s a Kodak moment around every corner and Bill was determined not to miss any photo opportunity.
Our first two days in Maui put us in a relaxed state of mind – home renovations being made for junior’s arrival, doctor’s appointments and picking out baby furniture were the furthest things from our minds now.
We were ready for the second leg of our Hawaii “babymoon” – the Big Island.
“Wow! The flight was shorter than my drive to work,” Bill exclaimed as our plane touched down on Hilo’s lush landscape just 35 minutes after leaving Maui.
The Big Island is geologically the youngest spot on earth – and still growing, thanks to Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano that has been continuously erupting since 1983.
Seeing Kilauea was first on our to-do list.
The volcano is picture-perfect at sunrise and sunset but just remember to bring a sweater when you visit because the best vantage point is 4,190 feet above sea level and much cooler.
We only had one day to spare in Hilo before piling back into our newly acquired rental car – another Mustang convertible, of course – and heading off to Kona on the opposite coast. The 2.5-hour coastal drive was even more spectacular than the one we experienced on Maui and scenic spots abound – lava deserts and waterfalls everywhere.
As we pass from the tropical coast into the more fertile part of the Big Island, we find ourselves in paniolo (cowboy country) at a spot called Waimea. Little did we know this is home to the largest private cattle ranch in the United States.
We cruise further westward towards Kohala and are awestruck by the kilometres of lava rock that line the highway leading to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.
Architects were careful not to disturb the delicate lava fields that surround the property and the two-storey structures that make up the resort are hidden and hard to see from the highway.
The Hualalai property features a vast but rugged coastal frontage where surfer waves slap against black rocks and create a wonderful lullaby by which to fall asleep each night.
The Four Seasons again pampered us with outdoor massages, afternoon cocktails – “make mine sans alcohol” – designed by a celebrity mixologist, and private beach dinners that left us with a bigger appetite for all things Hawaiian.
As we checked out of the Four Seasons resort before heading to the airport to reluctantly end our five days in paradise, I watched as a mother dipped her newborn baby’s tiny feet into the salty sea for the very first time. The baby giggled and splashed mommy.
“Our baby is going to like Hawaii,” I tell Bill.