The Hyatt Maui Resort & Spa was recently named the top hotel in the world for stargazing by CNN Travel and after our experience last night, I can definitely see why.
The one-hour Tour of the Stars happens on the ninth floor roof of one of the hotel buildings. We met on the lobby floor, in front of the activities desk, and were escorted up to the roof where a small area is set up with two fancy high-tech telescopes and astronomy binoculars. The 16-inch reflector telescope is named “Great White” and is Hawaii’s only recreational telescope.
Did you know that Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. where you can see the entire Southern Cross?
Our guide, Eddie Mahoney, has been leading the program for over 20 years as the in-house Director of Astronomy. Toss Eddie a question about anything in the universe and he’ll answer in detail that kids can understand with contagious enthusiasm.
The telescopes and binoculars were positioned three times each for viewing of nine different stars, planets, galaxies and nebulae including Saturn with its moon and rings in view, Mars, Sagittarius, a galaxy of 10 million stars and more.
Eddie set an alarm for 8:21 p.m. as the International Space Station was scheduled to pass by at exactly 8:22 p.m. And, it did. The sun’s reflection off of the space station allowed us to watch it pass from one edge of the horizon to the other at a speed of something like 22,000 mph. He said it orbits Earth roughly every 90 minutes and we saw it with our naked eyes.
The sky was incredibly clear and Maui’s location 20 degrees above the equator allows viewing of 80 of the 88 constellations throughout the year.
Reserve Hyatt Maui’s Tour of the Stars
Hyatt Maui’s Tour of the Stars happens nightly at 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on the hotel rooftop, subject to weather. Prices are $25 per adult, $15 per child, and $30 for non-guests. Only fourteen people are permitted on each tour. Or, you can book a Romantic Tour of the Stars and share champagne and chocolate covered strawberries during this “couples only” experience.
Though the weather was incredibly pleasant during our tour, it’s recommended that you wear flat shoes and bring a windbreaker jacket.
I am all about special experiences when we travel and this is certainly one that I’m positive my daughter will never forget. To say the kids on the tour were in awe is probably an understatement… they LOVED it.
Photo courtesy of Hyatt Hotels. Our stay is compliments of Hyatt Maui Resort & Spa.