My First Vacation in Years…

Family vacation in Hawaii

 Great Getaways

My First Vacation in Years… Yes, in this Economy

The memories are worth the guilt

-Deborah Perry Piscione

Hello, my name is Deborah, and I took a lovely vacation in the midst of this doomed economy. There. I said it, and you know what, I don’t regret it one bit.

Marriott's Maui Ocean ClubSure, I had TONS of guilt even mentioning our plans to escape to Maui amidst conversations dominated by layoffs, bailouts and foreclosures. But dammit, we needed it–recession or no recession, we needed to get away to reconnect as a family.

We haven’t had a REAL vacation in years. Over the last four years, we’ve been too busy having kids, moving across country–from D.C. to California–starting new jobs, building a company, trying to keep our heads above water, trying to keep a roof above our heads in cost-PROHIBITIVE Northern California, and dealing with a child who suffers from fibril seizures. Did I mention sleep deprivation, or am I just too tired to remember that I am tired?

We are tightening our belts and trying to be fiscally responsible right now just like everyone else, but do we have to forget about LIVING LIFE until things swing back up? Some things are just more important than money, like – MEMORIES …and sanity!

While vacation takes on a new meaning when you’re traveling with 3-year-old twin boys, we knew that it would probably be our only one for quite some time and wanted to make sure we found a place that would actually be relaxing and fun for all of us.

At the recommendation of a stranger (we have not had much luck of recommendations from friends or family over the years, so we thought we’d try the stranger route), we found just that–Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club. Spectacularly nestled between a pristine beachfront in the heart of the spectacular Kaanapali Beach Resort and the vibrant green, volcanic hillside, it was amazingly beautiful, but probably more important at this point in our lives, it was FAMILY FRIENDLY. (End PR-sounding pitch, but we fell in LOVE with this place!)

Marriott's Maui Ocean ClubLots of hotels and resorts claim to be family friendly but fall short of much beyond crayons and a kids’ menu in the restaurants. Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, on the other hand, was really designed with families in mind.

First of all, our suite (with the most spectacular views of the volcanic rolling hills) had three bedrooms and three baths, because the property is partially set up as a timeshare with rooms designed for longer and more accommodating stays. That meant we had space! We didn’t have to turn the lights out when the boys went to bed at 7 p.m. and try to whisper without waking them. Instead, we had the whole rest of the suite in which to relax, watch a movie, order a bottle of wine and reconnect!

By day we basked in the sun, taking in the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and neighboring islands while our boys splashed around in the 3.5-acre super pool with slides, waterfalls and grottos.

What was also refreshing is that although Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club accommodates a tremendous amount of guests, you NEVER felt like you were on top of people because of the way that the pools and grounds are vastly laid out. We never had to haggle for a lounge chair in the BEST milieu because just about every spot had a spectacular view.

My kids loved the sandy beach with a pirate-ship play area, and had a blast participating in the activities that Marriott’s Activity Zone Experience (MAZE) offered – from scavenger hunts to making puka necklaces, to playing bocce ball (yes, 3-year-olds playing bocce ball is really cute!). And, there were some great kid-friendly restaurants on the property, but we were also thrilled to find that there were BBQ areas throughout the resort where we were able to cook our own food. And because our suite came complete with a full kitchen, we were also able to prepare some meals and snacks there – a great money-saving option.

The resort’s location was ideal, and we didn’t need to worry about a rental car. (Not having to strap kids in and out of car seats for 5 days in a row was a vacation in itself!) We were able to walk to an array of shops and restaurants along the beachside boardwalk without having to pay for taxis or figure out other transportation.

While we were there, it was also whale-watching season. What an amazing experience to be just sitting on the beach and catch dramatic scenes of humpback whales.

Memories like those are priceless, recession or not. And any lingering guilt I felt was alleviated when I read this recent study  that says experiences, like vacations, bring people more happiness than buying material things.

So there. If we need to forgo a few “things” for a while in exchange for the wonderful time we had, so be it. While stock prices may come and go, we’ll always have Maui.

Recommended Hotel: Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club
Rates: Check here
Best Thing: It is truly fabulously equipped for families, and a great place for a vacation with extended family as well.

Visit Marriott’s web site for more information about vacation ownership or nightly rentals.


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0 thoughts on “My First Vacation in Years…

  1. Lucky you. We are going on a 5 day vacation starting next weekend. This is the first vacation we have had in years and years. We are just heading to Vegas for Nascar weekend there. My hubby is a die hard race fan and this is his life long dream so as much as I can think of other places I would love to go, the kids and I are going along with this. Shoot the Nascar races for the weekend is more than actually going to Disneyland or something. It is soooo expensive for the tickets. Oh well, we are going on vacation!!!!!!!! Like I said, this is the first time in about 8 yrs. It is long overdue. Your vacation looks alot better than mine will be but a vacation is a vacation, I guess, lol.

  2. I completely agree about going on vacations even if you can’t really afford it. Forget new clothes, forget eating out, but memories made on vacations really do make a difference. We just got back from a ski trip to Vermont and got lots of great deals just because things were not as busy as usual. I say look for great deals, always ask for a discount, and then enjoy!

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