#KidsNTrips Twitter Party July 10 – Dining with Kids, Maui Style!


The Grennan kids come to Maui every year. Here they are participating in Hyatt Maui’s passport game.

Say it with me, “ALOHA!” We’ve got another amazing #KidsNTrips Twitter party for you this week and it’s jam packed with fun-filled prizes for you and your family including a 2-night stay at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa! All you have to do is join us this Thursday on Twitter as we share tips on how to travel food first with kids in tow. If you haven’t taken part in a #KidsNTrips Twitter party yet—don’t worry—it’s easy. Here are some simple instructions.

#KidsNTrips Dining with Kids Twitter Party

Date: This Thursday, July 10, 2014
Time: 10:30 am Pacific Time (1:30 pm Eastern Time)
Hashtag: #KidsNTrips
Theme: Dining on the go with kids, with Hawaiian flair!
Hosts: Be sure to follow @JenLeo @LaJollaMom @TravelMamas @KaanapaliMaui
Special guest host: Ruth with Viva Veltoro blog@vivaveltoro


Maui’s only Magical Dinner Theater Experience. Located at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel.



KBR BeachShot-Looking South

The Kaanapali Beach Resort is a three mile stretch of beach with 5 luxury resorts and 6 condo properties.

Top 10 Reasons Kaanapali Beach Resort is Perfect for Families

1. There are 5 Luxury Resorts and 6 Condo and Vacation Club Resorts to choose from. Need a kitchen and laundry facilities or room to spread out? No problem.

2. Award winning kids pools vs. award winning beaches—take your pick!

3. Many of the hotels have keiki (child) programs daily, and some offer evening activities for the little ones so that adults can enjoy a night out!

4. Luau. Enjoy the Aloha spirit with the whole family at a Hawaiian Luau. There is the Maui Nui Luau, Drums of the Pacific, and Royal Lahaina Resort Luau to choose from.

shearaton maui luau border

Fire dancer at the Maui Nui Luau at Black Rock – Sheraton Maui

5. Whalers Village is the gathering place for many teens with live music, open courtyards and a historic whaling museum attracting the bunch while mom tends to the shopping.

6. Skyline’s Kaanapali Maui Zipline Tour

7. A nightly magic show!

8. So many water activities to choose from: Go snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, scuba diving, windsurfing, parasailing, body boarding and more.

corahulalesson_westin border

Cora takes a free hula lesson at Westin Maui

9. Many of the hotels and resorts offer free cultural events for kids to participate in. Just a few examples are ukulele and hula lessons and lei making at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel to Penguin and Koi fish feeding at Hyatt Maui.

10. Close to the Sugar Cane Train.

Have you been to Maui? What are your kids’ favorite —whether hanging out at the pool or taking a day trip to the Maui Ocean Center?



#KidsNTrips Twitter Party May 22 – Kaanapali, Maui with Kids

maui2012_jencora_arriveHyattMauiColleen (@TravelMamas), Katie (@LaJollaMom), and I (@jenleo) were so thrilled with the enthusiasm we received for our first #KidsNTrips Twitter Party – that we’re rolling out more! This Thursday we have Kaanapali Beach Resort in Maui as our host. You’re going to want to roll up your sleeves and start hash-tagging #KidsNTrips because we’ve got heaps of family travel tips and fantastic prizes for all of you travelers that are dreaming about or planning a trip to glorious Maui. 

The photo above shows me delirious with excitement to arrive at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali.


#KidsNTrips Twitter Party Details

When: Thursday May 22, 2014
Time: 7:30 a.m. Hawaii/10:30 a.m. Pacific/11:30 a.m. Mountain /1:30 p.m. East
Duration: 1 hour
*Twitter Handles to follow:  @travelmamas @lajollamom @jenleo @kaanapalimaui
Hashtag: #KidsNTrips

Restrictions: Must be 18+ to win. Open to U.S. residents only. No purchase necessary to win. Read all terms and conditions.



Thursday May 22, 2014 #KidsNTrips Prizes:


1. 2-night Stay in a Ocean Front Room at Kaanapali Beach Hotel

That’s right travelers, you could be #HawaiiBound! Hawaii’s Most Hawaiian Hotel has offered to give two nights in an ocean front room to one of the #KidsNTrips participants. KBH has been named to the National Geographic Travelers magazine “Stay List” of the 150 most authentic and sustainable resorts in North America, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. But why has the Kaanapali Beach Hotel been given named Hawaii’s Most Hawaiian Hotel? Because they’ve worked hard at it. Hawaiian culture is important here. They have a list of 110 reasons. Here are some of the things that I would love to experience include:

  • Hawaiian songs at our Ohana Welcome Breakfast to greet new guests on their first day, and every Friday in the Lobby
  • 30 fun Hawaiian cultural activities with different options every day. All complimentary
  • The hotel has sponsored and hosted Hula O Na Keiki, a signature youth solo hula competition that hosts halau (hula schools) from all over the world.
  • An opportunity to teach your children the KBH philosophy that sharing and giving is a Hawaiian philosophy of life.



  • 2. Gift certificate for $50 for Hula Grill Kaanapali (family-friendly, oceanfront restaurant at Whalers Village Shopping Center).As with most photos, the picture doesn’t do the Hula Grill justice. Cora and I went to the Hula Grill in Kaanapali in 2012 and it is absolutely one of the most vibrant places in the world to have dinner.  Head straight to the Barefoot Bar for pupus. Grab your cocktails (they even have Keiki cocktails for the kids!) and sink your toes in to the sand. Now, gorge yourself on poke tacos, charred short ribs and Macadamia Nut Crusted fish! Chef Bobby Masters and Peter Merriman use traditional island cooking techniques to cook regional specialties. I’m dying to try the “Localicious Salad” which contributes to the Growing Future Farmers of Maui. 

    3. $255 Gift Card for Drums of the Pacific Lu’au at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
    (Adults: $95; Children (ages 6-12) $65.00; Children 5 and under free)

    Kids love Lu’aus. There’s something about island music, traditional costumes, the rhythm of the drums and fire that enchant children. Ok maybe it’s me who’s constantly enchanted by luaus, and Mai Tais, but I couldn’t take a trip to Maui without a night at the Lu’au. The fact that the Hyatt has Drums of the Pacific on property makes it even easier to experience it with the whole family.



    About Kaanapali, Maui and Kaanapali Beach Resorts

    Kaanapali is a three-mile stretch of award-winning beaches, hotels and condos, golf courses, restaurants and more on the western shores of Maui. Kaanapali Beach took first place in TripAdvisor’s 2013 Travelers’ Choice Beach Awards among the Top 10 Beaches in the United States.

    Kannapali Beach Resort has everything you could ever need or want from a Hawaiian vacation. It’s centrally located, only 10 minutes from Lahaina Town and 45 minutes from the Kahului Airport. You’ve got your pick of six hotels (Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Sheraton Maui Resort, Maui Marriott Resort & Ocean Club and Royal Lahaina Resort) and five condos (Kaanapali Alii, The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, Outrigger Maui Eldorado, Aston Maui Kaanapali Villas, and The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas).

    Sheraton Maui Snorkeling

    Did someone say sports?

    There are two 18-hole champion golf courses and 35 tennis courts. Shopping, 40 restaurants and beachside cafes, and all the outdoor and cultural activities you could ever dream of. Whether you’re here to relax at a spa, attend a Lu’au, or attempt paddle boarding for the first time—Kaanapali is the perfect amount of Aloha. Sign me up for the snorkeling!

    *Thanks to Kaanapali Beach Resort for sponsoring this Twitter Party. No purchase is necessary to win a prize. See Twitter party prize terms and conditions.
    **Photos provided courtesy of Kaanapali Beach Resort.




Fodor’s Hotel Awards

fodors 100

Fodor’s Travel recently named the 2013 Fodor’s Hotel Award Winners, which included hotels from around the world. According to Arabella Bowen, Fodor’s Travel executive editorial director, “To compile the Fodor’s 100, we look for properties within emerging destinations, trends our editors have been seeing throughout the year, new and noteworthy openings, and enduring favorites to create a list that will inspire all types of travel and traveler.”

This year’s list has been broken up into eight categories: Enduring Classics, Creative Conversions, Culinary Gems, Home Suite Homes, Sleek City Addresses, Local Characters, Exotic Hideaways and Blissful Beach Retreats. While you can access the full list here, the editors at JenLeoDals.com have carefully chosen one hotel from each category to feature.

Enduring Classics
“Enduring” is the perfect term for The Peninsula Hong Kong, which is described by Fodor’s as “an oasis of old-world glamour—opened in 1928.” As the island’s only historical five-star luxury hotel, this oasis of calm amidst the bustling city sits on the harbor, with outstanding views, outstanding service, and the perfect blend of east-meets-west.

Creative Conversions
According to the Travel Channel, Croatia has become the fastest growing Mediterranean tourist destination, and the Hotel Vestibul Palace could be one of the reasons. This creative conversion is made up of three palaces from three different eras in the Old Town of Split. It marries the new with the old, with modern touches interspersed with that of the Romanic, Gothic and Renaissance periods of the castles.

Culinary Gems
The lone Las Vegas entry in Fodor’s 100 is the new Nobu Hotel, a boutique hotel located within the Caesers Palace property. This hotel within a hotel sports 181 rooms and suites, has its own check-in lobby and dedicated concierge, as well as the largest Nobu restaurant in the world (hence it being named a culinary gem). The rooms, envisioned by Chef Nobu and partner Robert DeNiro, provide guests with complimentary valet service, priority access to Nobu, and free access to both PURE nightclub and the Qua Fitness Center.

Home Suite Homes
This category pays tribute to small boutique hotels with fewer than 40 rooms, and while there is a wide range of locations among the honorees, we were most impressed by Fazenda Nova in Tavira, Portugal. Sitting among 25 acres of olive groves and fruit orchards, this converted farm has a wide array of amenities and is located near both beaches and the country’s Algarve vineyards. Described as “affordable chic,” Fazenda Nova has a mere 10 suites along with a restaurant that serves seasonal dishes, inspired by the kitchen garden and orchards on the property, as well as the nearby ocean.

Sleek City Addresses
In contrast to the rural Fazenda Nova mentioned above is the ME London, an upscale, avant-garde hotel centrally located along the Strand. Part of the Melia Hotel Group, the ME London is a high-tech modern masterpiece, boasting 157 rooms, two New York-based restaurants, and a location that puts you near theaters, shopping, trendy nightclubs, as well as a bevy of tourist destinations.

Local Characters
The Volcano House on the Big Island of Hawaii nailed this category, which features “one-of-a-kind properties [that] specialize in immersive experiences that push beyond the typical hospitality formula.” Sitting on the rim of the Kilauea caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volcano House may be the oldest hotel on the list, with its first incarnation beginning in 1846. The hotel, with only 33 rooms, recently underwent a major rehabilitation  and reconstruction implementing sustainability initiatives and providing simple luxury with gorgeous crater views.

Exotic Hideaways
The exotic locales in this category run the gamut from Bali to Zambia but our attention strayed to a retreat in the Kingdom of Bhutan, a tiny little country located in the eastern Himalayas. Uma by Como is located in Punakha, a less-traveled area of the country that only has 750,000 residents. Twenty-nine luxury rooms and private villas occupy the property, set amongst the forested mountains, all with stunning views of the Punakha Valley.

Blissful Beach Retreats
To round out the eighth category is an entry from Central America, El Secreto in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Opened just last year, El Secreto has only 13 private villas combining a rustic exterior with a luxurious interior. The opportunity for adventure abounds here, with the Caribbean outside your door where you can kayak, dive, snorkel, fish and swim. Nearby nature preserves and archeological ruins await exploration on foot or by bike. Relaxation can also be yours, lounging on the white-sand beach or partaking in a massage or spa ritual at their Ikal Spa.

HAWAII: Kauai Festival of Lights


Celebrate the holidays with a twist on the island of Kauai during the upcoming Festival of Lights. This annual event is in its 17th season and runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from December 6th through December 24th. Hundreds of thousands of lights ring Historic Park and the interior of the Historic County Building is turned into a winter wonderland, with Kauai-themed decorated trees and forty years of holiday folk art.

Began by Hawaii native Jose Chansky over 40 years ago, this one-of-a-kind event features holiday décor made by local artists, all from recycled materials. Where else will you get to see a Christmas tree made from 7,500 green toothpicks, a tree decorated entirely from ornaments made of aluminum cans, or a SPAM-themed Christmas tree?

Along with the spectacular show of lights comes holiday music and caroling by the Kauai Chorale and visits from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Opening night will also feature the Rice Parade, considered “an unique showcase of island lighted floats.”

17th Annual Festival of Lights
Where: Historic County Bldg., 4396 Rice Street, Lihue, Kauai
When: December 6-24, Friday – Sunday, 6-8 p.m.
Cost: Free

HAWAII: Kona Coffee Festival

coffee and beans

Java junkies won’t want to miss the Kona Coffee Festival, a weeklong celebration beginning November 1st. This is the oldest Hawaiian food festival and is dedicated to coffee beans grown exclusively in the Kona District on the slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai, prime ground due to the porous and mineral rich soil. The coffee grown and roasted on this island is among the most prized in the world and this festival gives you a peek into the estates and mills that produce the esteemed bean.

The event kicks off with an art show and competition at the Donkey Mill Art Center, a restored Kona coffee mill. On Sunday, there will be a coffee picking contest at the UCC Ueshima Coffee Company, where contestants will have three minutes to prove their mettle. Sunday also features a culinary contest, where both amateur and professional chefs will showcase their favorite foods that feature coffee as an ingredient. During the week, visitors will have a chance to go on a Kona Coffee Living History Farm Tour, a Farm & Mill Tour, and watch the coffee cupping competition. The competition winners will be announced at the Kona Coffee Council Dinner & Benefit Auction, which is open to visitors and natives alike.

Additional events include the KBXtreme Scholarship Bowling Tournament, Kona Coffee 101 Seminar, and the Aloha Makahiki Concert at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa. The full schedule of events with links to purchase tickets can be found here.

Kona Coffee Festival
Where: The Big Island
When: November 1-10

HAWAII: Hilton to Open All-Suite Hokulani Waikiki


Hilton Grand Vacation Club is putting the finishing touches on its new all-suite hotel in the heart of Waikiki. The Hokulani Waikiki will feature 143 suites, each complete with private balcony, fully-equipped kitchen, living and dining space, and separate bedroom.

Enjoy the Hawaiian sunshine on the rooftop deck, which sports plunge pool, bar, private cabanas with flat-screen TVs and panoramic view, or head to renowned white sand Waikiki Beach—with its full complement of outdoor amenities—just steps away.

A café bistro is located in the lobby and upscale restaurants are a short walk away on Kalakaua Avenue, the heart of Waikiki’s urban retail district.

The Hokulani Waikiki, on the island of Oahu, is slated to open December 11th, and is now taking reservations. For more information, or to book your stay, call 800-420-6769.

 Hokulani Waikiki
2181 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, USA


HAWAII: Kauai Farm-to-Fork Culinary Experience


Dive into local culture and experience a full day of the best Kauai’s farms have to offer. Tasting Kauai: Seed to Table offers “A Culinary Romp Through Paradise” once per month. You will get to go behind the scenes at an exotic fruit orchard, get a private tour of either Nani Moon Meadery (made with local honey and fruit) or Koloa Rum Company, attend a cooking demonstration utilizing locally sourced ingredients, and sit down to a four-course gourmet lunch.

Time: The tour departs at 9:30 am and is complete by 3:30pm.

Cost: Reservations are required and the fee is $140.

Remaining dates in 2013: August 16, September 13, October 11, November 15, and December 13.

Kilohana Plantation
3-2087 Kaumualii Highway
Lihue, Hawaii  96766

Fun in the Sun at Waikiki OceanFest


It’s not every day you get to see surfboard water polo or a sand soccer championship tournament, but you’ll be in luck if you’re on Oahu between August 17 and 25. The 12th Annual Duke’s OceanFest, held in Waikiki, offers fun in the sun for 9 straight days while honoring one of Hawaii’s famous sons, Duke Paoa Kahanamoku. Duke was an Olympic gold medalist, surfer, canoe steersman and all-around great guy. The OceanFest includes sand volleyball competitions, warrior canoe regatta, paddleboard championship, lifeguard competition, and both the Hawaiian Airlines Legends Surf Classic and the Duke Kahanamoku Kane/Wahine Longboard Pro Am. Great fun for the whole family. You can find the full schedule and location of each event here.