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The Hyatt Regency Maui: Don’t let the penguins fool you…

2012_04_12_18_10It was 2007 and our ten-year wedding anniversary rapidly approached. The past seven years had been a blur of diapers, baby wipes, and cracker strewn strollers, with family visits to Canada dominating our travel itinerary. The thought of trying to plan (and live up to) the perfect anniversary vacation left us a bit weary. We took the plunge anyway and booked our family a week at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa on Kaanapali Beach.

What did we love about the resort? It was kid-friendly, but in sort of a covert way. It’s the kind of place where parents can feel like grown-ups without having to brace for a barrage of ‘I’m bored’s. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? The main swimming pool is very large with plenty of lounge chairs and a fun swim-up bar. Nearby ‘Ūmalu serves yummy sandwiches and smoothies poolside, an indulgence that delighted the kids.
Although our family spent most of our time swimming in (and lounging by) the big pool, there is a smaller shallow pool for younger kids with a water playground, slide, and rope bridge. Although very accessible, this area is tucked away a little, lending to the grown-up feel of the resort. A few steps from the pool area sits the private beach, and although we were visiting during the high season, it was always very quiet whenever we were there.

The lobby remains tastefully decorated despite showcasing African Black Footed Penguins, large parrots, and a koi pond. Bring kids down on weekday mornings, and staff will let them feed the koi. The grounds? Stunning. Winding paths lead to a low bridge spanning a glassy fresh water pond, where swans and ducks circle serenely. Peacocks and African Crowned Cranes roam its grassy banks. Our kids were awestruck by the wildlife, and yet it was all very peaceful. At no point does the Hyatt Regency Maui cross over into theme park territory.
Previous travel attempts with kids had left me, well, haggard. This vacation was different. On our flight home, I felt shockingly rested. Our trip to Maui was a turning point for our family. It triggered the series of fantastic trips that has cultivated our love for traveling together. Best. Anniversary. Ever.
What’s your favorite spot in Hawaii?

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