Hurricane Hopping: From the One&Only Ocean Club to the Four Seasons Maui
After one of the craziest weeks of my life, I’ve been having a hard time putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) on where to start with what an adventure this trip has already been. So, I’ll start at the very beginning – when we encountered our first of two hurricanes this past week. While most people get to Maui fairly easily, just a couple of flights at most, we had to go about it the long way. The original plan was to fly to Ft. Lauderdale and spend half of the week on the Allure of the Seas, where I was hosting an incentive trip that I work with every year. My mom and I were to get off of the cruise in St. Thomas on Wednesday, fly back to Atlanta, spend the night and catch our flight to Maui via LAX the next day.
Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans. We boarded the Allure of the Seas on Sunday morning and were informed by the Captain that evening that the ship would be rerouting due to Hurricane Gonzalo, which was heading straight toward the Virgin Islands. Instead, we’d be going to Jamaica and Cozumel, which eventually wound up benefitting the group as they had beautiful weather for the duration of the trip. As for me: my first and only night onboard the Allure of the Seas was spent on the phone with Delta, hashing out a game plan to get us back to the US in time to catch our Maui flight. The flight out of Jamaica left too early, so we had no other option but to get off the ship in Nassau the very next day. I spent just enough time on the Allure of the Seas to know where my muster station is and how to assemble my life vest in case of emergency.
Since we had a day full of site inspections scheduled in Nassau, we had to overnight to fly out of NAS on Tuesday. While we were using the site inspections to shop for the incentive group’s trip for 2015, my family and I were also using them to scout out or hotel room for the night – we had our bags packed in the back of the private transfer and were fortunate enough to stay a night at the gorgeous One&Only Ocean Club.
We decompressed that evening, I fell asleep in a hammock for most of the day, and we enjoyed the oceanfront location of our gorgeous Crescent Wing Room, which was my personal preference. The Hartford Wing is a much more traditional, older room category while the Crescent Wing is newer and more modern in the decor and fixtures, so it depends on your preference as to which room category is the better fit.
I also absolutely loved the Cloister, a gorgeous wedding venue flanked by a Grecian-influenced garden and statues, it was one of the few places in the world I’d ever want to get married (if I ever wanted to get married. Just kidding…maybe one day).
The next morning, while sitting on the patio and killing time until our flight, I was informed by a trusted weatherman that, even though we thought we were out of the clear from hurricanes, Tropical Storm Ana had suddenly formed in the Pacific with a trajectory heading straight toward the Hawaiian islands. A few things to note here, as I consider this stroke of un-luck something really miraculous: I have been in the travel business for over five years now and have only ever had two couples impacted by a hurricane over their travel dates. In a matter of five days, I was lucky enough to be impacted by TWO in TWO different oceans! Also, I always preach on travel insurance and I always buy it for myself and my family, no matter where we are going. Except for this trip. The travel agent is the worst at planning their own trips and I thought – meh, we’ll be in the States most of the time, we could probably pass on the travel insurance for this. WRONG. Learn from me, clients, as I have now tested out the pros and cons of using travel insurance personally, and I for one will never go without purchasing it again.
Upon our return to Atlanta, we spent the next two days fretting over the strengthening storm heading straight for Hawaii, waiting for updates from the Journese team about whether or not our events were still on. Attending this year’s Journese Curator’s Celebration has been the highlight of my year – after attending last year’s event in Cabo, where I was one of the top producers who just barely made the cut, I made it a goal to climb to the top of that list – I wanted to become Journese Top Producer. Because of the heart behind the company and the level of dedication they have to taking care of my clients, I could not imagine a better company to work with and I trust them completely with every trip I send their way – and this year, that was a lot of trips. After hearing the news that I had achieved that goal, I marked my calendar for the Curator’s Experience and planned an entire trip around the trip, to island hop from Maui to the Big Island to Kauai to Oahu, all with my mother for our long-overdue girls’ getaway.
Miracle of all miracles, Tropical-Storm-Turned-Hurricane-Ana began to change course and weaken, not even hitting the islands (although we did feel the effects with a couple of rainy days in Maui). We made it Maui after a long travel day and arrived at the Four Seasons Maui around 4 AM Eastern Time, at which point we checked into our upgraded room and I devoured the chocolate fondue amenity sent by my lovely FS reps (thanks Debbie & Jodie!).
It was the perfect midnight snack to prelude an early wake up to a sun-lit Four Seasons Maui, one of the most stunning properties I have ever stayed at. Stay tuned for more about the property, along with the other experiences we enjoyed in Maui!