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Father-Daughter Staycation at Kā’anapali Beach Hotel

Kaanapali Beach Hotel

Photo via Kaanapali Beach Hotel Facebook Page

I cherish Father’s day because I get to publicly and shamelessly celebrate being my daughter’s Dad. But most importantly, it’s the one day of the year I get to take all the credit for what my daughter does the other 364 days of the year. This year we decided to take a well-deserved staycation on the Westside of Maui in Kā’anapali.

father-daughterNow that I am approaching 50 and my daughter is no longer amazed by my vast knowledge of the world (she’s no longer impressed by my ability to present teachable moments on the fly), this Father-Daughter time was a welcome escape from the hustle of school and work that we both needed. No school, no random esoteric teachings, no emails, no Facebook rants (well mostly), no homework and few reasons to open a laptop. But there was plenty of free Wifi and I managed to sneak in a couple of “back in the day” wisdom too.

I had never stayed at the Kā’anapali Beach Hotel before, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was much like being welcomed into a traditional Hawaiian home complete with a casual, unpretentious atmosphere, that glowed with a strong sense of Aloha. The backyard had a quaint little whale-shaped pool without the typical tourist feel. The nearby Tiki Bar had exactly the right amount of rum and extra-friendly service to exceed my needs. Admittedly, I really enjoyed the Talkstory at the bar and spent almost no time at the beach because I can do that all year long. I don’t drink often, but it sure was fun this trip because I didn’t have to drive anywhere and I could see my daughter Isabella swimming in the pool 30 feet away.

I’m definitely a coffee drinker, so the first morning at the hotel started out with a mad search for the coveted beverage. It didn’t take long for me to find the breakfast bar right outside of the lobby, where coffee, fruit, and more snacks are available. Also noted was a small restaurant serving breakfast just beyond the lobby and a convenience store as well. The place felt small in a good way, yet everything I needed was right there when i needed it. Isabella was still sleeping because the one thing we don’t share is my internal alarm clock that goes off daily at about 5:30 or 6am. I think Isabella’s must be at like 9am or something.

Plenty for us to explore and experience

The hotel’s courtyard offers many activities. Beach chairs are always accessible, and can be taken just about anywhere on the property, even the beach. I’m a fan of shade to which I was pleasantly surprised there was an abundance of everywhere. I spent some time walking around and discovered a Loʻi (taro patch) with lots of big green leaf Kalo.

There is also giant checker board on the lawn, along with the whale-shaped pool I mentioned earlier, and lots of beautiful flowers. Isabella spent much of her time swimming, talking with friends, lounging around the pool.

rockgameOne element that I found intriguing was a stone square with a pattern of tiny rocks on it in a grid somewhat near the middle of the courtyard between the hotel and the pool. I had never seen this before and discovered that it was called Kōnane, a game invented by the ancient Hawaiians. It’s a two-person game much like checkers where each in-turn hop over the opponent’s pieces to capture them. Once a player cannot hop over an opponent’s pieces they have lost. Seemed mathematical in nature so I did not dare play this game with my daughter because I was unwilling to be defeated repeatedly all weekend.

Just a few steps off the lawn is the beach. Kaanapali Beach, as most everybody that lives here knows, is known for its beautifully clear water, big sandy beaches, views of Black Rock and the island of Lanai.Great place for early morning dad-walks I might add.

Magical Evenings

The evenings on our weekend were filled with Hawaiian music and lots of magic too. On our second night at the hotel, I had the pleasure of attending Kupanaha, a magic show starring Jody Baran and his wife, Kathleen. When my daughter and I first walked into the show, they took our picture, and we were greeted with Mai Tais, Blue Hawaiians, and other drinks (the other drinks is what my 15 years old enjoyed). After getting seated at our table, we were served a delicious salad and four dinner courses, family style. The dessert was a pina colada cheesecake that was to die for (those are Isabella’s exact words). The magic show was not only full of jaw dropping tricks, but it also had a Hawaiian feel to it. There was hula dancing and the audience was shown the history of the seven magicians that came to Hawaii. The show was entirely kid-friendly, so it is a great way for families to spend their night. It was dark so I don’t have any pictures to share. Warning, there is a lot of audience participation. Oh, did I mention the incredible pina colada cheesecake?

Father’s Day Brunch Extravaganza

On father’s day, isabella and I headed down to the Father’s Day Brunch Extravaganza. Kaanapali Beach Hotel is known for their famous Sunday Brunches. The hotel has brunch every Sunday, but their brunch on holidays such as Mother’s day and Father’s day, is impeccable. As we entered the two giant outdoor tents it was like walking into a food festival for serious eaters and fortunately calorie counting is forbidden. My daughter and I piled our plates with all the irresistible food options. I suppose that they chose these exotic brunch selections just because they must know how much we fathers enjoy them; like Chicken Wings, Apple Pie, Orange Chicken, Mac’N’Cheese, and of course mountains of “help yourself” Bacon. We definitely did not leave hungry that day. Some may say, “hey wait a minute, where’s the pictures of the food?” Well to be honest, I had my hands full. Full of food, extra plates, side dishes, cake, pie, um… Bacon!

The brunch entertainment included Halau Hula Malani O Kapehe and Alana Akaka and the Islanders. My daughter, of course, had a friend that performed in the Halau. By the time brunch was over it was an acceptable hour to enjoy yet another tropical beverage from the Tiki Bar which was not far from the music and more pool time for Isabella.

A Fond Farewell

My experience at the Kā’anapali Beach Hotel with Isabella was about memories. The sweet sound of the gentle waves early in the morning and the taste of fresh hot coffee. Clear blue skies and water; birds and Hawaiian music providing a backdrop to a wonderful relaxing time away from the daily grind. Laughter and two solid days of 15-year-old smiles, good food and new friends.

To seal the moment forever we attended what is coined the “farewell ceremony”. Malihini Keahi-Heath carefully orchestrated this meaningful ceremony complete with Aloha and perpetuating respect, love for each other, family and Hawaii. We each received a Kukui Lei at the ceremony.

Apparently each year you return to the hotel and they will replace one of the dark brown Kukui Nuts with a cream-colored one in remembrance of each year you stay at Kā’anapali Beach Hotel. We are certainly looking forward to adding several more cream-colored Kukui nuts to our leis in the years to come.

As we departed the hotel I couldn’t help but share some parting wisdom from the official dad’s bag of wisdom with Isabella; “This weekend I learned about this interesting Hawaiian game called “Kōnane” that you should try someday”.

Note: this article was co-written by Isabella Blair.

Maui Matsuri 2015: Don’t Miss It!

MM festival FOR WEB

    The Maui Matsuri is a 3-day event that is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Japanese culture on Maui. “Matsuri” means “Japanese festival,” and the Maui Matsuri incorporates some of the most notable cultural exhibits, educational activities, entertainment and food in order to bring the community together to celebrate Japanese-American history, heritage and culture on Maui. The event is produced for the public by a volunteer team, and admission is free.
    The official theme of this year’s festival is “on” or debt of gratitude to others. An artistic rendering of the “on” theme is depicted below, which will be the official design on this year’s festival t-shirt. The artwork was designed by Artist Jonathan Yukio Clark. He chose to include the crane in his design, as it is prominently featured in the Japanese story “Tsuru No Onagaeshi,” which tells of a crane weaving cloth from its own feathers as a way to show its gratitude to a man who rescued it.

Maui Matsuri 2015 design

    The 2015 Maui Matsuri festivities will begin on Friday, May 8 for the kickoff event, featuring karate, taiko, bon odori (bon dance) practice, coloring contest, appearance by Hello Kitty, and more from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall center stage. The kickoff event is sponsored in part by Araki-Regan & Associates, LLC.

Hello Kitty FOR WEB

    The festivities continue the following weekend. On Friday, May 15, there will be a movie night from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the University of Hawaii – Maui College student center (Pilina Building). This year for movie night, Kikaida キカイダー the superhero is back! Join us for the Maui premier of the full-length feature film “Kikaider Reboot” that will feature the Maui on-screen debut of the superhero along with his friends and arch-rivals with modern sci-fi action and visual effects. “Kikaider Reboot” is 110 minutes, not rated, and subtitled in English. The movie is distributed by JN Productions, Inc. and brought to you in part by Seki’s Machine Works. Check out the official trailer below!

    On Saturday, May 16 will be the 15th Annual Maui Matsuri festival from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the University of Hawaii – Maui College main courtyard, presented by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui. Thousands of people attend the festival each year, because it is simply THAT good! And we couldn’t do it without our major supporters and sponsors: County of Maui, Hawaii Tourism Authority, IBEW – Local Union 1186, Island Honda, Maui Taiko and UH – Maui College.

Here are my top 5 reasons not to miss this year’s festival:

      • YUMMY FOOD! Yes, really yummy local Japanese food. Just imagine starting off with a delicious musubi, followed by a mouthwatering bento and some of the best chow fun on the island, and then savoring a taste of some nishime, curry stew, and edamame rice. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert: andagi, shave ice and Uncle Lani’s famous poi mochi. Where else can you enjoy all of these delectable dishes conveniently in one place? At the Maui Matsuri!

Bento FOR WEB1

      • LIVE ENTERTAINMENT, DEMONSTRATIONS & DANCING! From taiko to bon dancing (Japanese group dancing), this is one festival attraction you don’t want to miss! You will be awed by performances of Edo Kotobuki Jishi (traditional lion dance from Old Tokyo) by Oahu special guest Kenny Endo and the Taiko Center of the Pacific. Endo is a leading artist in contemporary percussion and rhythm. Endo was even recorded in motion capture suit and featured in the movie “Avatar” as well as in soundtracks for films such as “Picture Bride” and “Apocolypse Now.” You can catch him and his group at the entertainment stage at 4:30 p.m. Then, head over to the demonstration area at 4:50 p.m. to check out the Maui Karate Association, as they thrill the crowd with their skills and mastery of karate. Hold on… during all the excitement, did you miss Kenny Endo and his group perform? No problem! They will be doing an encore of their performance at the entertainment stage again at 6:30 p.m. Then, wind down the night by joining the crowd for a little bon dancing around 7:30 p.m.

Lion Dance FOR WEB


      • EXCITING CONTESTS! Enter our contests… or just watch other people compete for prizes and bragging rights in this year’s contests! This year we will have the following contests: eating (natto and saimin), hanafuda/sakura (Japanese card game), cosplay (costume), video-gaming, and manga (Japanese comic cartoon or anime) and art drawing.


      • MANY WAYS TO KEEP YOUR KIDS OCCUPIED! If you are looking for fun for the entire family, this is the right place! The kids will enjoy a variety of activities, while the adults can join in the fun or simply take a moment to relax while enjoying a cup of refreshing shave ice. You will be happy to hear that we are providing something NEW to entertain your kids this year: kids games! Purchase scrips, so your kids can play games and win prizes! We are also continuing to offer the Kodomo (Children’s) Corner with free arts and crafts.
      • AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUY LOCAL & SUPPORT LOCAL! Meet local artists, crafters and vendors, and cultural exhibitors, many of whom represent local businesses and feature Made in Maui or Made in Hawaii products. Buy some really neat products, or stop by a cultural exhibit table where you can partake in activities such as: arranging your own floral, take-home souvenir using what is found in nature.
            For more information on the Maui Matsuri, please visit our website: We are also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and the official hashtag for the event is #mauimatsuri. There will be 2 Instagram contests this year, and the winners will receive free festival t-shirts, so please be sure to like/follow Maui Matsuri on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get all the contest announcements.
            Kashiko (sincerely yours),
            Traci Giordano Silva

Silva Gang

              About the Guest Blogger: Traci Giordano Silva is a freelance graphic artist, writer & social media strategist. She is the director of public relations, marketing & social media for: Fukumoto Engineering, Maui Matsuri, Soroptimist International of Maui & Soroptimist Founder Region. Silva is also a blogger & the creator of “Life on a Silva Platter,” a whimsical blog focused on finding humor in life’s quirks. She lives on Maui with her husband Mike & their “kids” (pet cats & dogs). She loves making new friends in her many adventures & enjoys giving back to the community.

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