My mom sent us to Maui as her wedding present, awesome!!! So here's my review. First, if you're used to the Caribbean/Florida with white beaches, warm water, drinks, and sunbathing, this is very different. I'm throwing this out there for people who might not know, the water is cold, the sand ranges from gritty to straight up rocks, and the beaches in front of the resorts say no alcohol!!! Of course that didn't stop us...Also there are tons of kids. That being said it is absolutely beautiful, most beautiful I've ever seen, with tons to do, but I wish I had packed a little differently. All I brought was bikinis, sundresses and nighties:)
So we stayed at Sheraton Black Rock based on many recommendations. The view was incredible. That being said, we hardly spent more than a few hours there all week other than sleeping, so definitely staying at a resort isn't necessary IMO. Anywhere you go in Maui practically, even driving to and from, you have a view. The food is so crazy expensive at the resorts but the local spots aren't too bad. Also, every beach in Hawaii is public, it's a law, as I found out the one day we tried to lay out at resort but there were tons of locals, ESPECIALLY teenagers. So the resort just gets you a view from bed and a pool.
Activities: if you don't like dinner theater, museums, tourist traps etc at home you won't like them here either, and there is soooo much to do, so don't feel like you have to do the touristy stuff. Honestly, the luau thing is lame, food not good, long, and cheesy. My hubby leaned over about halfway through to whisper in my ear, romantic right? He said is this almost over because if not I'll shoot myself. This is just my opinion of course, so I mean no offense to anyone. They have full houses every night and charge a pretty penny, so obviously people out there like it. I'm just saying, if you're like us you might prefer to do something else instead. The submarine rides are cool but you can see all the same stuff snorkeling, so if you snorkel skip the sub ride. The road to hana is touted as a tourist must do, but it takes a full day of your vacation and we didn't think it was worth it. It's an all day drive to see waterfalls and views. Skip the drive, get awesome waterfall views and then some from a short helicopter ride (we even saw whales!), and spend the day doing other stuff. Again just our opinion;) Top two activities were dinner at Mama's Fish House - reserve ahead to get a table with a view - and horseback riding at the Mendes Ranch. One last heads up, lots of activities revolve around sunset and you only have one per day so choose wisely. An activity listed as sunset such and such doesn't necessarily mean you get a view of the sunset...it can be difficult to see, hidden behind other islands, etc...we skipped the sunset cruise because Lahaina town near the resorts has tons of sunset view and waterfront restaurants so we pretty much hung out there everyday.
My biggest tip I wish I got, among many other tourists I overheard, is to have proper footwear. We were all out there in flip flops and you really need rafting sandals or at the very least water shoes for a lot of the areas. I had sneakers but wearing them into the waterfalls sucked lol! But it was better than when I tried to brave it barefoot.
There's so much to say so if there are any questions feel free, I've already posted too long for now!