Maui 2014, It Was Amazing

Sep. 07

"At the Sheraton, they treat you like a King," one of my good friends from Stanford once said. Well, this has never been more true than at the Sheraton Maui at Black Rock. Nicole and I just got back from a fabulous 7-night vacation and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. We try to visit Hawaii every year, and this year’s vacation was one of the best. (We actually visited the Big Island of Hawaii last year for an amazing 7-night stay at the Marriott Waikaloa Village. Unfortunately, I was so busy at that time that I never got around to blogging about it. Not this time… It’s time to talk about incomparable Maui, Hawaii…)

Kaanapali Beach, Where It’s At

I love Kaanapali beach. A truly magnificent setting, Kaanapali beach is home to some of the best hotels on Maui. Kaanapali is special for a multitude of reasons:

Sheraton Maui Buffet

Breakfast Buffet at Sheraton Maui

  1. It’s quiet but also offers a lot to do, all within walking distance.
  2. The waters are calm enough for a novice/intermediate swimmer, but also offer some waves for more advanced swimmers (I really enjoyed boogieboarding last time I was on Kaanapali). You experience a diverse array of wave conditions spanning this incredibly long beach. Right near Black Rock, for example, waters are generally calm with amazing snorkeling. Further down, however, waves are large enough for boogieboarding and surfing.
  3. The hotels are literally right on the beach. The ocean is right at your fingertips. Nicole and I enjoyed a few pool and beach days. We’d get a cabana at the pool and rotate between going in the pool and the ocean. (Cabana days are a great way to relax, more on these later…)
  4. The beach boardwalk path allows you to walk the entire beach, connecting all the hotels and attractions. A stroll on this path never gets old. The scenery of the Island of Lanai (just across the water), the incomparable sunsets (unlike any sunset I have ever seen), or simply the waves crashing will truly make your day.
  5. For those that really love shopping (like Nicole and myself), Whaler’s Village Shopping Center is amazing. I enjoyed shopping at one of my favorite stores, Tory Richard. They also offer outstanding restaurants like Leilani’s (more on this later).
  6. For those that like earning loyalty points at their favorite hotel chain, you’ll find many major brands such as Sheraton (where we stayed this time), Westin (where we stayed last time), Marriott, Hyatt, and more. I was delighted to earn Starwood points while relaxing in paradise.
  7. There is so much here and so much to do, but it’s also incredibly relaxed and quiet. I mentioned this back in point number one but want to reiterate because that’s the true magic, in my opinion. And, given the number of hotels and attractions, it’s hard to believe, but incredibly true.

Highlighting Our Favorite Experiences This Time In Maui

As I get older, I have come to realize that it’s all about special experiences. Special moments spent on vacation with your loved ones are worth every last penny, and are the times in life that I truly cherish. Over the years, I have learned that these breaks are mandatory to recharge my batteries, and stay healthy. I encourage you to also take time for yourself! In the spirit of priceless memories, I want to transition into some of my favorite moments from our 2014 Maui, Hawaii vacation.

Cabana Days

PPC Ian Sheraton Maui Cabana

Maui Pool Cabana Day

The Pool at Sheraton Maui offers an array of cabanas for rent. Knowing that the sun in Hawaii is strong, cabanas offer shade while enjoying the pool and ocean. Not to mention, they offer a bit of privacy, better cushions/comfort, and come with great food and drink service. Nicole and I enjoyed two different cabanas on this vacation, one facing the pool and one facing the ocean. We really enjoyed these lazy days of resting at the cabana, swimming in the Sheraton’s "lazy river-style" pool, and enjoying the ocean. The Sheraton offers cool oversized drink containers that can be purchased and refilled with your favorite beverage. I enjoyed my fair share of lava flows, a delicious tropical mix of Pina Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri in one delicious drink. As incredibly busy marketing professionals, I feel like these days allowed us to recharge our batteries. Getting a healthy dose of UV rays was also very welcomed and refreshing.

Surfing Goat Dairy Farm

Surfing Goat Dairy Maui

Ian and Nicole at Surfing Goat Dairy Farm

We have seen so many amazing things on Maui over the years. Each time, we search for new and special attractions. One of this year’s favorites was Surfing Goat Dairy. Maui (and the Hawaiian Islands in general) attract some of the best farmers around. Not only are the conditions pristine for farming, but the talent is unparalleled. This year, we were captivated by this boutique goat dairy farm. We especially enjoyed feeding the goats and sampling the goat cheese. Our tour guide was really great and even took a picture of us with a cute baby goat in our lap, too cool!

Ocean Vodka Tour

Have you enjoyed Vodka on Hawaiian Airlines? Chances are you have had Ocean Vodka, the official vodka of the airline. While this Vodka producer has been around a while, they only started doing tours a few years back. I was incredibly impressed with the vodka (delicious), the facility, and more than anything the vision. Ocean Vodka was started by the son of a long-time construction family on Maui. He had a unique vision: Create the best vodka around from hand-harvested cane sugar, while leveraging his family’s construction background in building a world-class facility. He found a way to create a special product, build a dazzling facility/operation, incorporate his entire family into the business (even his mom was working there), and achieve true success. These are the types of businesses that impress me the most; Ones that develop top-notch products, and live the dream while doing it.

Dinner At Leilani’s and their Hula Pie

Leilanis Maui Hawaii

Dinner at Leilani’s Maui

The food on Maui is unparalleled. Nicole and I enjoyed dining out at a variety of restaurants. We enjoyed following Yelp which took us to Paia Fish Market in the surfer town of Paia. We enjoyed casual dining at the Sheraton pool while watching the sun set. We enjoyed Kimo’s, an old favorite in downtown Lahaina. We enjoyed the lavish breakfast buffet each morning, offering everything you could ever hope for. Most of all, we enjoyed Leilani’s, a staple of Whaler’s Village. The fish at Leilani’s was so good we want back twice! Tip for those going: Bring back your receipt from the first night and you may be eligible for a free Hula Pie, one of the best deserts I have ever had. The fish and fresh fruit/vegetables on Hawaii are the best in the world, in my opinion.

Chilling In The Ocean

I recently wrote a blog post about the calming power of running called Running Is Clarity. Well, there is an equally calming force out there, the ocean. I enjoyed swimming in the ocean at the end of many days. I’d go out, swim around, tread water for a bit, and see the sights. All the hotels on Kaanapali beach look so incredible from the ocean. It’s so calming in the ocean, and a wonderful way to relax and unwind. If I lived in Hawaii you’d probably find me starting and/or ending each day with some chilling and thinking out in the ocean.

The Road To Hana

There were so many delightful highlights on this year’s Maui trip that I could go on for a long time. However, I’ll continue with just one more, The Road To Hana. if you’ve been to Maui or heard about Maui, you’ve probably heard about The Road To Hana. It’s famous! This incredible road is truly windy and breathtaking. You better bring your best driving skills to The Road To Hana, as its very windy, with many one-lane bridges. We had so much fun seeing the picturesque landscape, stopping to hike and see the sights, and enjoying the beautiful nature that is Maui. We especially enjoyed stopping to hike to waterfalls, and also exploring a beautiful tropical botanical garden.

Sheraton vs. Westin, Two Special Kaanapali Beach Hotels

PPC Ian Banyan Tree Maui

Chilling At The Banyan Tree In Lahaina

Are you thinking about taking a trip to Kaanapali beach? Are you a fan of Starwood properties but unsure which to choose? Having stayed at both the Westin and the Sheraton, I’m here to say that you really can’t go wrong with either, although we slightly prefer the Sheraton. They are both tremendous properties. The Westin offers a super fun waterside (it’s really fast and tall), the Westin name, a central location towards the middle of Kaanapali, proximity to Whalers Village (it’s literally right next door), cool birds (especially flamingos) right in the lobby, and more. However, it’s more of a high rise feel, rooms seem smaller, and self-parking can be incredibly competitive. The Sheraton (the original/first hotel built on Kaanapali) offers a relaxed lower rise feel, very expansive grounds, the best beach on all of Kaanapali, an open feel to the buildings, better/newer rooms, and location near picturesque Black Rock. I only have two areas where the Sheraton could improve: We didn’t get a preview of our hotel bill under the door the night before checkout and they didn’t restock the bottled water in our room. Overall, we slightly prefer the Sheraton, and hope to visit again very soon. Please note that Starwood also offers the Westin Villas further up the coastline (you need a shuttle to get there), but we have not yet visited (other than for dinner) so I’m unable to compare the Villas in this post, but hope to visit one day in the future.

Thanks for reading! Do you enjoy Hawaii? Any unique experiences in Maui?

Want to read about some of our other Hawaii adventures? Make sure to check out some of these blog posts:

More Pictures From Maui, Hawaii

Sugar Cane Maui

Ian and Nicole Maui

PPC Ian Sheraton Maui

PPC Ian Maui Hawaii Tropical Plantation

Maui Sheraton Beach

Maui Hawaii Waterfall

Maui Hawaii Sunset

All images in this this post © PPCIan.com

Major Fun Times In Maui Hawaii

Sep. 04

My beautiful wife and I just returned from our 8 day long vacation to Maui, Hawaii. We had an outstanding time, the perfect combination of exciting activities (such as zip-lining and body boarding) and relaxation (days at the Westin Maui pool and beach). Each year, we try to visit Hawaii as it’s one of our favorite places in the world. Just last year, I blogged about our Maui 2010 vacation. Today, I’m thrilled to share some pictures and experiences from our Maui 2011 vacation.

We Visited Maui Thanks To Online Marketing

Dinner Hard Rock

Ian and Nicole at the Hard Rock Cafe Lahaina

Before doing so, however, I wanted to make sure to tie this post back to online marketing. It’s really because of online marketing (the corporate route and also my affiliate marketing activities) that make these types of vacations possible. If you’re a smart, hard working individual you can make it big in online marketing. Moreover, online marketing can be your road to a more mobile lifestyle which makes these types of vacations possible. While I didn’t do a ton of work from Maui, I was able to monitor my stats and also publish a blog post about PPC checks (all from my iPad). Now, without further ado, let’s get into the specifics of our vacation!

PPC Ian’s 2011 Maui Vacation Details

Maui Zipline Team

Ian, Nicole, and Maui Zipline Team

This year, we really had some major fun times! Following is a day-by-day outline of our trip.

Day 1: We arrive at our hotel, the Westin Maui on beautiful Kaanapali beach. We’re absolutely thrilled with the hotel, and especially our ocean front room. The reason we originally picked this hotel is its proximity to the ocean (the beach is literally steps from the hotel), the amenities (it’s quite the nice place), and also the proximity to shopping (the Westin Maui is right next to Whalers Village, some of the best shopping around). On our first day, we decide to take it easy and eat lunch at Westin poolside. We also enjoy the flamingos at the hotel, it’s really amazing that that they have a lagoon when you walk in filled with tropical birds such as flamingos.

Day 2: After we’re all caught up on sleep, we start day two with a workout at the Westin gym and then the amazing Westin Maui breakfast buffet. This buffet is no joke, we’re talking about waffles, grilled mahi mahi, pancakes, papaya, pineapple, and basically any kind of breakfast food you’d want to enjoy ocean side in Hawaii. In an effort to eat healthy, get up early, and enjoy the hotel, we actually had the breakfast buffet each day of our vacation. Later in the day, we hang out at the Westin pool, work on our tans, and enjoy the water slide at the hotel. For dinner, we head over to the town of Lahaina, enjoy some shopping, and eat dinner at the Lahaina Prime Rib and Fish Company.

Maui Sunset

Enjoying a Beautiful Maui Sunset

Day 3: After starting out the day with a nice run along the Kaanapali beach, we want to experience some sea life and do just that at the Maui Ocean Center. We really enjoy the fish, sea turtles, octopus, and sharks at this aquarium. Also, their gift shop is simply divine, voted the best in Maui. Later, we head over to Buzz’s Warf for lunch (highly recommended, great fish sandwiches), followed by some amazing shaved ice at a local place. After our big day at the aquarium, we go back to the hotel, enjoy the beach, and then head over to the Hula Grill for dinner.

Day 4: On our fourth day, we want to seek some adventure and did just that with Maui Zipline at the Maui Tropical Plantation. After ziplining, we head over to “Beach Bums” for lunch, a really great Hawaiian BBQ (but can’t find their website). Later, we hike at Iao Valley, go miniature golfing, and end the day with an Italian dinner at Pulehu. This was quite the busy day, but I was also amazed at how much energy Hawaii brought to us. For some reason, we had more energy than ever on this trip. I think it’s the relaxing environment, great weather, unparalleled food, and overall lifestyle. Definitely want to find ways to spend even more time in Hawaii over the coming years!

Maui Body Board

PPC Ian Body Boarding and Enjoying The Waves

Day 5: Continuing our adventure, we snorkel at black rock after breakfast. The waves at Kannapali start getting a little bigger so I also enjoy some body boarding. Day five ends with an amazing dinner at Sea House restaurant on Napili beach. This is our favorite restaurant in Hawaii, a restaurant we first discovered in our prior trip. The Fisherman’s Stew is incredible if you like seafood. Napili is very quiet and relaxing area, the perfect setting for a Hawaiian dinner.

Day 6: The diverse nature of Maui’s landscape is really evident when you start going to Maui’s upcountry. On Day six, we venture to Alii Kula Lavender Farm for a tour, then to Ulupalakulu Ranch for lunch (the elk burger was among the best I have had), and then onto Maui Winery at Tedeschi Vineyards for wine tasting. The Maui Splash wine was so good that we had some shipped home!

Lunch Leilanis

Lunch at Leilanis, Whalers Village

Day 7: We were ready for a bit of relaxation again on day seven so we start the day off with a gym workout, but then take it easy. We do some serious shopping at Whalers Village and purchase a variety of great souvenirs (my favorites being ceramic koi fish, Hawaiian angels, and of course clothes). Later in the day, the waves are picking up so I enjoy a bit more body boarding. We eat lunch at Leilanis, enjoy the Ulalena show in Lahaina, and have a wonderful dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe Maui.

Day 8: Our final day is all about enjoying one last breakfast at the enjoyable Westin breakfast buffet, followed by a little relaxation, and then the plane flight back home. Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better vacation and have memories that will last a lifetime. Until next time, Hawaii. PPC Ian readers, remember online marketing is lucrative and enjoyable but it’s important to take a break. It’s all about the work hard, play hard way of life!

More Pictures From Our Maui Vacation

Westin Maui

Westin Maui, A Great Place To Stay

Maui Zipline

We Had So Much Fun Ziplining At Maui Zipline

Westin Breakfast Buffet

The Breakfast Buffett At The Westin Is Great

Westin Flamingos

The Flamingos At The Westin Are Great

Maui Lavender Farm

The Maui Lavender Farm, Spectacular Views

Maui Octopus

Octopus At The Maui Ocean Center

All images in this post © PPCIan.com

PPC Ian Visits Maui

Sep. 12

Pay per click can be a crazy career at times. Why? Just think of it as the NYSE trading floor, only it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. That’s also part of what makes it so much fun in my opinion! At the same time, it’s imperative to take vacations and recharge. After all, career longevity is the real key to making it big in online marketing. Today, I’d like to talk about my recent trip to the Ritz Carlton, Maui, my first "real" week long vacation of the year!

My First Real Vacation of 2010, It’s About Time!

PPC Ian and Nicole In Maui

2010 Has been a crazy year. I have been making stellar progress against my 2010 goals but have hardly had any time off. In fact, I’ve only taken one official day of PTO (paid time off) all year. That’s a good thing in that I’ve truly accomplished a lot. However, it’s a bad thing in that it’s not super healthy to work that hard with no break. As such, I’m extremely happy that my wife and I spent an amazing week relaxing at the Ritz Carlton, Maui.

The crazy thing about PPC: It’s really addictive and you can get stuck in a mode where you really don’t even want to take time off. It’s this strange state that’s brought about by the instant feedback loop of PPC. I was most definitely in that mode. My advice to you: Force yourself to take a vacation! You are in this for the long term.

My First Vacation With My iPad

I’m PPC Ian so you know I didn’t check out completely! I actually wrote and published two blog posts while on vacation: Inflection.com and Commission Junction. The fun part of it all: I didn’t even bring a laptop to Hawaii. I wrote and published these posts on my new 32 GB iPad with 3G. Moreover, I kept up with important work email and campaign management, all on my iPad! It’s important stuff: When your’re a Director, you can’t just abandon your team while on vacation. It sure was refreshing to have long battery life and less weight in my carry-on.

The only downside: Things took a little longer, especially considering I was having troubles pairing my wireless keyboard even though it worked just fine at home. Oh well, I was on "island time" anyway!

Hawaii Is Ideal For PPC

My wife and I love Hawaii. I also love the pay per click career path. The natural conclusion: Find a way to spend more time in Hawaii (maybe a few weeks each year) while working remotely. This may be even easier to swing if I can split the time up into a few separate blocks. This goal is something that will continue to motivate me well into the future! One thing is for sure: I’m blessed to be a leader in an industry that theoretically has no geographical boundaries!

Image In This Post © PPCIan.com