Sheraton Maui: Can’t Put A Price On The Experience
15 September 2012 - Day 1 at the Sheraton Maui off Ka’anapali Beach, and Peter just HAD to go for his obligatory morning swim before breakfast.
“Don’t be too long.”, I said over my shoulder. “Otherwise we’ll have have a long wait before we get a table.”
True to his word, Peter was back within the half hour. Showered and dressed, we were out of the room in 15. Just after 9 am, this was peak hour at breakfast time. We should know; we’ve been coming to the Sheraton Maui every September for the past 6 years.
“Welcome back, you guys! Great to see you!” said Jessica, stationed at the Black Rock Terrace reception. “Just follow me. I’ll show you to your table.”
Peter and I looked at each other in surprise; in past years, it would have been a 10-15 minute wait at this time of the day.
Strolling across a wooden bridge and over a fresh water Koi pond, Jessica led us to a table located at the edge of the lush lawn in the open-air dining room at Black Rock Terrace.
“Hey guys! It must be September!”, said Julius, our favorite Filipino waiter, arms outstretched with a smile from ear to ear. Bear hugs all round, we caught up with each others lives in those first 10 minutes, swapping family updates.
As Julius poured our OJ and coffees, we asked him, “So what’s the story on the hotel occupancy? We’ve never gotten a table at this time so quickly before.”
“Oh the occupancy of the hotel is up. But the numbers at breakfast are down.”, came his response.
Julius was right. There were the same number of bodies around the resort and on the beach, but they just weren’t coming to breakfast. Then I remembered glancing in one of the rooms on our floor just as housekeeping entered it. Lined in a neat row on the bar area above the fridge were packets of cereals. It dawned on me that people were either having breakfast at Starbucks or in their rooms to save a few dollars.
After hitting the breakfast buffet and returning to our table - the first time with a fruit plate and the second with an omelet made by the chef - we sat for a moment to drink in our surroundings. Azure skies, turquoise waters, the island of Lanai at the distance. As gentle trade winds and the morning sunshine caressed our skin, we gazed at the breathtaking view of Pu’u Keka’a in the distance, the legendary Black Rock.
We must have been grinning like Cheshire cats, as a fellow guest tossed a comment our way, “You look happy. I wonder why!”
Yes, indeed, very happy.
“Why come to a place like this if you couldn’t experience all this. For me, breakfasts are the best part of the day at the Sheraton.” Peter observed, gesturing with his arm. “Think of how different our day would be if it didn’t start with a chat with Julius and the other guys, sitting in these peaceful surroundings, watching the other guests go by.”
Tucking into our breakfasts with relish, we realized that travel is about the experience. One can always have cereal at home. N'cest pas?
Travel Tip: Beware The Car Rental Special
Peter had booked our car via Thrifty from Sydney because they had some sort of a “special” going. Not realizing what the “special” was, he made his decision based on the competitive pricing.
Fast forward to the Thrifty Rental Car counter in Maui, Peter found out what the “special” entailed. We had to take a humungous Lincoln Town Car, a V8 gas guzzler that chewed up 18 miles to the gallon in fuel. Not only would we look like pimps cruising through Maui, we’d end up spending on fuel what we saved in car rental - not so good a deal after all. In the end, we paid a premium to change cars to a Ford Focus; easier to park, easier on the eye and on the pocket. Lesson learnt. Check out these car rental rates for your next holiday.