This post is all about my recent family vacation to Maui, Hawaii! I’m sharing all the details on where we stayed and what we ate. As you know, traveling with celiac disease can be challenging… but totally doable! It’s all about planning and preparing ahead of time, and Maui is no different. I have to warn you I have lots of pictures, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
This trip was a family vacation that my mom had planned for a while for my parents, my brother/ his girlfriend and Erik and I. Unfortunately, at the last minute my brother and his girlfriend couldn’t come due to work obligations, but we (my parents. Erik and I) still went!
Before we even booked a hotel, I researched gluten free restaurants on the island and can you believe there is only ONE! Well, technically there are two dedicated gluten free facilities, but one is a bakery. Even though I heard from others that some places took gluten free serious, I really didn’t want to take a chance of getting sick (especially since I’ve been dealing with some health issues- I’ll share about this another time). So, that’s when we decided to stay somewhere with a kitchen. This is the first time I’ve traveled and had a full kitchen (besides when staying at someone’s house) and let me tell you… it was a lifesaver! A MUST!
Honua Kai Resort and Spa
When I typically think of places with kitchens in Hawaii, I think of renting condos but Honua Kai is an actual resort with studios, 2 bedrooms, and 3 bedroom villas with full kitchens! I love how this hotel had the feel of a condo but all of the amenities of a resort. I highly recommend it!
We literally saw at least one rainbow a day!
The resort had direct beach access and also a boardwalk that went past other resorts. We would wake up each morning and go for a 2-mile walk down the beach (Ka’anapali) in front of our hotel.
Our view one morning!
The kitchen in our room!
Right across the street from the airport there is a Costco, Target, and Walmart. As soon as we got our rental car we headed straight to Costco to stock up on food for the week. We also went to Walmart and bought a new (cheap) pan since I didn’t know if the resort had non-stick (and gluten stays on those) pans, spatula, and wooden spoons. All of that came out to less than $20 and really gave me peace of mind. There is also a grocery store right accross the street from Honua Kai Resort!
I did not use the toaster in the kitchen since I’m sure lots of gluten was in it! I also only used the wooden spoons and spatula we bought.
Here are a few things we made:
We ate breakfast and dinner in our room every day (besides two times) and we would pack lunch with us each day to take to the beach or pool.
Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice
I heard so much about having to try Hawaiian shave ice before we went, so I researched if any were gluten free. All of Ululani’s fruit flavor syrups are gluten free… and made with 100% pure cane sugar and fruit juices. It was SO good! We went multiple times while on our trip!
Maui Sugar Shop
Maui Sugar Shop is a really cute dedicated gluten free bakery right off the main street in Lahaina.
I got the veggie quiche and tested it with my Nima Sensor… and YES, it was gluten free!
The cinnamon roll passed the Nima test too!
Lemon bar with passion fruit glaze
Overall, I enjoyed Maui Sugar Shop. The flavor and texture of everything was great, however, the portions were really small for the price. Erik and my dad both got the breakfast sandwich and they were still really hungry when we left. It was the size of a small muffin with probably one egg in it!
Maui Brick Oven
This is a place that many people recommended to me on social media when I asked about eating out in Maui. In fact, Maui Brick Oven was recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!
Here Guy is on their wall!
We all ordered different things and I tried a little bit of everyone’s meal!
I love seeing those words!
Apparently they’re known for their pizza and yes, it was good!
Erik ordered the Chicken Breast stuffed with Mango & Goat Cheese and it was delicious! In my opion that was the best thing I tried!
I order the Chicken Parmesan and enjoyed it.
I tested my meal with the Nima and it passed! I took a small piece of chicken, cheese, and spaghetti and rubbed it all over my plate. I limit the amount of dairy I eat, so I took off all the cheese before I ate it (that’s why it’s not in the pic!).
My mom and Erik love cheesecake and our server recommended this raspberry cheesecake with a macadnia nut crust, so we had to try it! Since I don’t really eat much dairy I only took one bite but it was delicious!
We also ordered the Apple Pie filling topped with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. Served with Homemade Shortbread Cookies. I didn’t eat the ice cream, but let me tell you… the rest was incredible!
Overall, we really enjoyed Maui Brick Oven. Our server was incredibly personable and knowledgeable, and the food was great! I know that everything in Hawaii tends to be on the pricer side, but in all honesty, it was pricey considering how casual it was. The price was more in line with a “fine dining” establishment.
Normally when I travel I have a certain level of anxiety since I eat out for most meals and no matter how much I plan ahead… eating out is always a risk when you have celiac. This trip was SO different since we had a kitchen and cooked/packed meals with us! I highly recommend if you’re in Maui you get a condo or hotel with a full kitchen!
Be sure to get a copy of my detailed Gluten Free Travel Guide where I provide you:
- Basic Travel Tips
- Road Trip Tips
- How to Stay at Someone’s House
- Airport and Airline Travel Tips
- How to take a Cruise
- Have you been to Maui? What was your experience regarding food?
- When you travel, do you try to stay somewhere with a kitchen?
How cool that you have the Nima! I’ve always wondered how well they work.
Self catering accommodation is definitely a smart way to go when you’re a celiac!
Oh Yes, the Nima has saved me from getting glutened many times!
Great guide, thank you!
Thanks! Glad you found it helpful!
Just found your guide. We planning a vacation with our daughter who has celiac disease. Did you try the restaurant at the hotel? Did you talk to them about making a GF meal?
Hi Marina, happy you found me! In Maui, the hotel we stayed had a full kitchen so I cooked the whole time (besides eating out at the gluten free restaurants I mentioned). Typically though, if I need to eat somewhere that also has gluten in their restaurant I do call beforehand and speak with the manager regarding their precautions for cross-contamination.
It will be our first time in Maui. I am trying to figure out if we can do Haleakala crater hike and Pools of Oheo on our own if we rent a car or we would be safer with an organized tours.
What activities did you do?
We rented a car and explored on our own. We did the Road to Hana (stopped along the way for hikes and to explore) and snorkeled a lot!
Time to book our Hawaii trip. Our daughter is 20 years old (celiac). She wants to know if there are any activities for young people at the hotel at night. Thank you.
It really depends on the hotel you’re staying at. I recommend you contact the concierge ahead of time and find out! Have a wonderful trip!! 🙂
Hi! This was a very helpful list, thank you! Sadly, the bakery had closed as of this summer (2019).
Oh really?! Aww that’s such a bummer!