Whether you're visiting Maui in the Hawaiian Islands or Northern California for your honeymoon, take a look at this couple's advice for where to stay, what to do, where to eat, and more!
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Following their luxurious wedding in Cleveland, Ohio, Eilish Waters and Joseph Khouri traveled to the Hawaiian island of Maui for a magical honeymoon followed by visits to wine country and coastal towns in Northern California before heading back home.
After multiple family members had visited Hawaii for their honeymoons and “convinced us it was a magical place,” Joseph shares, he and Eilish chose to celebrate their first days as newlyweds on the island of Maui. The first six nights were spent at The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, which offers a “gorgeous, relaxing, and quiet” setting, affirms Eilish, adding that the tranquil property was the perfect place to unwind following the wedding. In order to experience multiple areas of the island, the honeymooners also stayed at the lively Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort for four nights before flying back to the mainland.
Photo courtesy of Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
While visiting Maui, Eilish and Joseph jumped right into adventure with an array of exciting excursions. From scenic helicopter tours, to country-, treetop-, and ocean-view ziplining experiences with NorthShore Zipline Co., to an “unforgettable experience” snorkeling in the Molokini Island Preserve with Sail Maui, the couple surely made the most of their visit. They also booked a sunrise tour of Haleakalā National Park through their first hotel, which became a highlight and included a scenic drive through the up-country Kula District, an “absolutely breathtaking” sunrise, and a farm-to-table breakfast at Café O’Lei at the Mill House in Kumu Farms Country Market.
From casual eateries to fine-dining establishments, Eilish and Joseph were thrilled with the variety of cuisines they experienced on the island. “We dined at so many exceptional restaurants,” exclaims Joseph. Some of the pair’s favorites include seafood at Mama’s Fish House in the laid-back town of Paia, Mexican fare with stunning sunset ocean views at Frida’s Beach House, farm-to-table cuisine at the oceanfront Merriman’s Kapalua, Asian-inspired dishes at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea’s Spago, poke and bulgogi pork tacos at Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman, and plant-based Maui Ono Donuts in Kihei on Maui’s sunny southwest shore.
Photo courtesy of Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
Watching the sunrise at Haleakalā. “It was such a surreal experience being above the clouds in complete darkness and watching the sun slowly rise and bring the sky to life.”
Seeing Maui by helicopter. “The helicopter tour by Air Maui gave us a bird’s eye view of various waterfalls and hidden valleys that are inaccessible by land.”
Attending a luau. “During our stay at Andaz we attended the luau, which was performed outside with the sun setting behind the dancers. It was so entertaining and gorgeous!”
Photo courtesy of Eilish and Joseph Khouri
To break up the travel from Hawaii to Ohio, Eilish and Joseph stopped in San Francisco for serene stays in both Napa and Sausalito. “Luckily, we have friends who live in the city, so they showed us a great time with a selection of the finest vineyards and wineries, including Artesa, Duckhorn, Tamber Bey, Orin Swift, Peju, Stags’ Leap, and Merryvale,” confirms Joseph. Sunny days spent wine tasting were followed by evenings unwinding at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, a “relaxing spa retreat in a peaceful setting right in the heart of wine country,” notes Eilish of their lovely accommodations.
Of course, the newlyweds also made sure to enjoy a variety of restaurants while in Napa Valley. Notable stops included breakfast at Boon Fly Café at Carneros Resort and Spa on the way up to wine country, alfresco or fireside Italian fare at Bistro Don Giovanni, tasty burgers between wineries at Gott’s Roadside, French dip sandwiches at Rutherford Grill, fresh and seasonal fare at Auberge du Soleil, and world-class baked goods from the famed Model Bakery.
Photo by Drew Kelly
For the final leg of their journey, Eilish and Joseph stayed in Sausalito. “It was my first time there, and I loved the charm of the town. It reminded me of a Hallmark movie,” smiles Eilish. The seaside destination allowed the pair easy access to San Francisco’s bustling tourist sites by day and cozy waterfront dates at Sausalito’s Bar Bocce and Taste of Rome by night. The Inn Above Tide, which offers panoramic views of San Francisco Bay from private decks in each of the guest rooms, was their home away from home for the last three nights of the memorable trip. “We would definitely recommend it to other couples looking for a cozy and relaxing experience,” says Joseph. “It ended up being the perfect place to wrap up our honeymoon.”
Photo by Felipe Passalacqua
Wine tasting in Napa. “Stags’ Leap is crucial for anyone looking for the quintessential Napa experience with a selection of the finest reds.”
Walking Bridgeway Promenade. “Take time to walk and shop for a day! We went into the Christmas shop and picked out an ornament to always remember our honeymoon.”
Exploring San Francisco. “We walked around Fisherman’s Wharf, took a tour of Alcatraz, and tried the signature Irish coffee at The Buena Vista Café.”
Photo by Aubrey Pick
“If you are going to do the sunrise at Haleakala, pack a jacket because it is very cold at the top of the mountain... This jacket was also useful in San Francisco on chilly days and while taking the ferry to Alcatraz.”
“Secure reservations in Maui well in advance for restaurants as well as excursions because they book up fast!”
“Some people recommended bringing our own snorkeling gear. We packed our own and ended up using the gear provided by the hotel and the Sail Maui tour. In hindsight, we would avoid the extra packing.”
“Make sure to rent a car in Maui. Most excursions and restaurants are far apart from each other throughout the island, and it makes it much easier to explore the island.”
“In Napa, plan ahead and schedule your wine tastings. If you are driving yourself, pick wineries that are close to each other because they can be very spread out throughout wine country. Definitely plan a food stop in between visits.”
This story was originally published as a Travel Diaries feature in the Fall 2022 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. To order a copy of the Fall 2022 issue, visit our library of Inside Weddings back issues available for purchase.