Whale soup. No, it’s not a trendy replacement for bone broth or a prized elixir to fight the signs of aging. It’s actually the nickname for the waters around Maui, where opportunities for spotting humpback whale are unbelievably frequent and plentiful.
The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, which recently completed a $26.5 million renovation and is located on 23 oceanfront acres at the famous Pu’u Keka’a (Black Rock), offers a brand-new package for guests to explore these gorgeous creatures, which range from 39–52 feet as adults and weigh upwards of 66,000 pounds. These whales sport long pectoral fins and knobbly heads and are known for breaching and other surface activities, while males produce a repeating, complex song that can last up to 20 minutes. All of these showy activities means they are the perfect species for whale watching, best enjoyed every November through April as these massive mammals migrate to the islands to breed and nurse their young.
The new package, Kohola in Ka’anapali (“kohola” is the Hawai’ian word for humpback whale), is offered for travel through April 12. It includes newly renovated, deluxe oceanfront accommodations in the refurbished Hale Moana building, which features aqua and lush green hues as well as expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and green Molokai. From the lanai, adults and kids can play I-Spy and look for whales on the horizon and much closer. Guests will receive a welcome amenity of two sets of Sheraton Maui binoculars to spot them up close, a 3-ounce tin of Raw Elements reef-safe sunscreen and snacks. Once everyone is settled in they can attend a fascinating educational talk about whale habits, reef etiquette and beach safety led by a marine naturalist from Maui Ocean Center at the resort’s Hawaiian Marine Life Hale, then head to the hotel’s Cliff Dive bar for Mai Tais in souvenir cups. The package also includes a Maui Whale Watch experience for two guests on a 65-foot catamaran (additional guests can be accommodated for a fee) with Teralani Sailing Adventures; select from an early bird or mid-day excursion. Either includes snacks, beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and the chance to see, snap, Boomerang and Instagram breaches and whale tail slaps and use of an underwater hydrophone to hear their gorgeous songs. It all makes for an unforgettable vacation.
“Whale season is a magical time of year on Maui,” explains Tetsuji Yamazaki, general manager, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. “Every year, we look forward to providing new opportunities for our guests to learn about the humpback whale and observe them in their natural habitat across Maui Nui Basin, where their population is among the highest.” Daily rates for this package start at $489 with a minimum three-night stay. For reservations, visit the website or call 866 716 8140 and mention rate code YX1.
During your stay, be sure to take part in other family-friendly activities like s’mores done Hawaii’an style (think Maui cookies, macadamia nuts, coconut flakes and li hing mui sugar). A ukulele lending program lets anyone hone their music skills, while kids can learn about marine biology including sea turtles, shell identification and the role reefs play in a healthy ocean at the Hawaiian Marine Life Hale. A meandering lazy river makes for hours of floating, splashing and soaking up the sun. And families will love spreading out in the Ohana Suites with two double beds, deluxe pull-down wall bed and spacious, well-equipped bathroom.
While most travelers know Lake George to be a bustling lakeside beach town in the summer, it’s actually a true stunner in the fall and winter also. With warm-weather seekers and summer crowds heading home, Lake George stays open for business well into the fall and offers even better deals for traveling families looking for a budget — without having to compromise.
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