Maui, Hawaii

Tag: condo

June 2-9 Cancellation Special!

I just had a call from a guest who needs to cancel his June 2-9, 2017 booking at our beautiful Maui Kamaole I-103 condo!

Maui Kamaole
Welcome to Maui Kamaole I-103

How about a Maui getaway? We just renovated this condo this past fall. It is an over-sized one bedroom, two bathroom condo. California king bed in the bedroom and a queen Murphy bed (the kind that hides in the cabinet) in the over-sized living. No need to sleep on a pull-out couch!

Sleeps 4 guests.

$160/night plus $135 cleaning and 13.417% tax. Minimum stay is 4 nights.

Call 808-281-7934 to book, or send me an email!

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What should be on your Maui packing list

Currently there’s an interesting discussion thread on Tripadvisor’s Maui forum that I thought I’d expand on. When you book a vacation rental condo on Maui, what can you expect to find and what should you bring from home? What should be on your Maui packing list?Maui packing list

Vacation rentals and what is provided can vary greatly across the US and Canada. On Maui you can generally expect to find the following in a fully furnished vacation rental condo:

  • bedding
  • towels
  • beach towels
  • a starter pack of paper towel, toilet paper, trash bags and soap
  • dishes, pots and pans, small kitchen appliances

Beyond that it really depends on the owner, management company and cleaner. Some have a bare cupboard policy, others allow certain things to be left behind by guests. It’s a good idea to ask the owner/management company.

If you are staying at one of our Maui Oceanview Condos’ apartments, you will also find the following:

  • beach chairs, boogie boards, cooler (no umbrella unless left by a guest)
  • laundry soap/fabric softener
  • dish washer pods
  • tin foil, plastic wrap
  • fully stocked spice rack, salt & pepper
  • small DVD library (and a dedicated condo netflix account)
  • hair dryer
  • small book library
  • Maui guide book
  • power bar (to charge electronics)
  • laundry drying rack
  • basic cleaning supplies

Our policy is to evaluate things left behind by guests – we will leave some cooking oil and condiments if they look to be in good shape. If you are a guest and think something is questionable, please throw it out.

Your Maui packing list

Things you may consider bringing if you have room in your luggage:

  • a few ziploc baggies (for leftovers, snacks, your cell phone at the beach, to pack that wet swim suit on your last day)
  • extra trash bags (we provide 3-4)
  • your favorite bar of soap, shampoo/conditioner
  • sunscreen and after-sun care product
  • your favorite spices (a couple spoonfuls in a ziploc bag in checked luggage)
  • a few extra rolls of toilet paper (we supply 2 rolls/toilet)
  • a swim suit or two and a favorite beach cover-up if desired
  • casual clothing and shoes (even at the fancy restaurants all you need is a pair of khakis and Hawaiian-style top or a cute sundress).

But guess what? If you forget anything, we have stores here! You can just easily run out and buy it!

Maui packing list
Are you missing the beach?
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The Grand Wailea Luau

We have had family visiting which is always fun! They wanted to go to a luau, so I put my research cap on to figure out which of Maui’s luaus we should attend.

There are several – in Wailea there are two, offered at the Wailea Marriott and Grand Wailea. On the West side there are several in Lahaina and Kaanapali: the Old Lahaina Luau, Feast of Lele, Drums of the Pacific and Royal Lahaina Luau (Hyatt).

Another option, if you are looking for the cultural story (and not the dinner), is the Ulalena – which is like a musical and indoors in a theatre. I highly recommend it – it is very good.

luau
sunset at the Grand Wailea luau

According to Tripadvisor, the Old Lahaina Luau ranks best. However, if you are staying in Kihei or Wailea, that’s a good 45-60 minute drive away if traffic is moving. That highway between Maalaea and Lahaina can get really backed up, and it’s just one lane each direction, so if there’s an accident, you could be a lot longer. Add the drive to the fact that drinks are included in the ticket price, you’ve got to figure that many drivers will have been drinking as you drive back to your condo (Maui County has strict don’t drink and drive rules, btw).

Grand Wailea luau

We let our visiting family choose, and they chose the Grand Wailea luau. Perfect. We got our tickets online at Costco.com (just do a luau search and it comes up). They email you confirmation numbers for each ticket, then you call the Grand Wailea and make the reservations. Children tickets (12 and under) you get a discounted rate directly at the Grand Wailea when you make reservations.

The food was good, show was fun, yes, there’s an imu pit with a pig roasting in it. Is it the most authentic experience? No. But in truth, none of the luaus are authentic. Authentic would be a feast with friends and family, not a commercial event. But, it’s fun and a nice way to spend an evening.

luau
Uncovering the imu pit with the roast pig

 

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The new Coconuts restaurant in Kihei

Coconuts
one of the amazing fish tacos at Coconuts

If you’ve been to Maui before, you may have been to the small (but good) Coconuts Fish Cafe in Azeka plaza. They have the best fish tacos – at least in my humble opinion. I think what really makes it is the mango on top. Yum.

A few months ago they opened a second location in South Kihei’s Kamaole Plaza. This is a strip mall across from Kamaole II beach. The old Denny’s used to be in here. This shopping plaza also has a Whaler’s Village, the Cinnamon bun place (yum), Maui Ocean Arts (a really neat artisan souvenir shop), the Nail Bar, an ice cream store etc. etc. This strip mall is next to Rainbow Plaza (home of Cafe o Lei).

Coconuts
Inside the new restaurant

Yesterday we had two condo check-ins. After doing some land-lordy things at our Palms at Wailea condo (involving a screw driver and the shower drain – I’ll leave it at that), I treated my son to lunch at Coconuts. He’s not much of a fish lover and had the burger (meh). I of course had the fish tacos which were fabulous (you get two).

Unlike the Azeka location, this new Coconuts is huge with lots of its cool surfboard tables. While Azeka is usually packed and you have to wait for and share a table, this location was half empty. So if you’re craving Coconuts fish flavors, come here! They are also open for breakfast (with a separate breakfast menu).

After lunch we stopped at the Cinnamon bun fair (downstairs) for desert straight out of the oven (cash only store)!

Coconuts
cinnamon buns fresh out of the oven
Recognize this guy?

Then over to our Kihei Surfside condo to change out some towels and prep it for our arriving guests. Guests at Kihei Surfside will recognize the turtle statue next to the oceanfront pool. He’s prepped and ready for the St Patty’s Day party on the 17th. Tickets and signups are at the Kihei Surfside office. By the way – this isn’t the only turtle at Kihei Surfside. You can often see turtles swimming just off the rocks at this location (access the water at Keawakapu beach in front of the Mana Kai if you want to go snorkeling).

Coconuts
the turtle at Kihei Surfside is dressed for St Patty’s day
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Three money-saving tips when booking a vacation rental

We all know that Maui isn’t the cheapest vacation destination. And yet it seems many of those who come are bitten by the Maui-bug. Here are some tips on how you can save money booking a vacation rental.

 

Book directly with the owner and avoid the middle-man.

I really cannot stress this enough. VRBO/Homeaway now charges a service fee to guests of anywhere from 5-12% (this is in addition to the owner paying a listing fee). The guest does not actually receive a service for this fee (ironically), the fee goes directly to the parent company Expedia. This service fee was implemented in February 2016 (initially at 4-9% but has recently increased). AirBnB is no better, they also charge guests a service fee, theirs is anywhere between 6-12%, however the owner does not pay a listing fee – rather just a 3% credit card transaction charge.

Hesitant to book directly because you don’t want to be scammed? No problem, check out MauiOwnerCondos. This is a listing site that verifies the condo’s ownership. Owners pay a flat rate to advertise their condos on the site with no additional fees payable by the guest.

Disclaimer: when booking a vacation rental it is always important to do some additional research to make sure you do not fall victim to a scam.

 

Kihei Surfside
Another sunset at the Kihei Surfside – love this place!
Book off-season

As you know, there are different seasons here on Maui. High season typically runs from mid-December through mid-April. This coincides with Christmas, whale season and generally winter on the mainland. Different owners have different season schedules as supply and demand varies even between complexes (complexes more popular with families will have an increased summer rate also for instance). There are definite savings to be found for instance by booking early December vs mid-December.

 

Ask about cash payment discounts

The majority of guests want to pay by credit card which provides an added layer of security and often gives them points or cash-back. But, especially if the condo has been recommended by a friend or you know the owner, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they’d consider a cash discount since they’d be saving on the credit card fees.

 

How can you book one of our condos?
Our beautiful Maui Kamaole condo

The cheapest way to book our condos is to book directly or through MauiOwnerCondos. Yes, I also advertise on VRBO and AirBnb.

Unfortunately if you initiate the booking process through VRBO or AirBnB, I cannot offer you to book directly. I’m sorry. Though I would love to, both VRBO and AirBnB have severe penalties for owners who try to direct potential renters off their sites (as they then lose revenue). What you can do, is click onto my website and email me directly off VRBO or AirBnB.

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How to eat at Ruth Chris’ steak house for less

If you like steak, you may want to check out Ruth Chris’ steak house while on Maui. There are two – one at the Shops at Wailea, the second in Lahaina at the Old Lahaina Center (on Front Street).

However, you may be a little shocked at how expensive Ruth Chris’ is. You order your meat (avg $50), the sides are all extra.

shops at wailea
Ruth Chris’ at the Shops at Wailea location

We recently decided to take one of our steak-loving family members as a very special birthday treat. Here’s what we found:

There is an early-bird Prime Time menu. Make reservations and arrive between 5-6pm and you can select from a 3 course prix-fixe menu for $49 or $59. Considering the meat alone usually averages upwards of $50, plus $12 or so per side, this is a great deal. You get a choice of two salads, three entrees (filet, chicken and fish of the day), one side (potato, creamed spinach etc), and desert.

Also, there is a happy hour menu. For this I believe you have to arrive at 5pm and it appears it may be first-come first-serve. I recommend you call and ask for details.

For further savings, go to Costco. The Kahului Costco currently has $100 Ruth Chris gift cards on sale for $80. This gives you an additional 20% discount.

If you prefer to eat later and are staying at one of our condos, be sure to take along the Pueo discount card from the condo (this one is for the Wailea location only). We have these in all our condos for our guests to use, but they are also available for purchase at Kihei’s Kamalii Elementary School for $10. The 2016/17 discount card gives you a 15% discount, though not on the Prime Time menu and not on holidays.

How was dinner?

The steak was great, the atmosphere upscale and nice. Our steak-lover loved his steak (apparently it’s better than my cooking). It was a fun treat.

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Frequently asked security questions

I thought it might be helpful to address some of your security questions. If you have any others you’d like me to address, or if you have first hand experience with any of these (and better answers), please let me know.

This post is not to scare you. Maui is a very safe place to visit. But, please use common sense, just as you would at home.

What do you do with your phone and keys when you go to the beach?
keawakapu
I love sunset at the beach!

Is it safe to just leave them with your towel? Honestly, don’t take anything of value to the beach. If you must bring your phone (I know, it doubles as our camera, book, etc), make sure someone stays with your stuff when you go in the water. Or, pick up a water proof case, either at home or at the ABC store. I know of people who have used ziploc bags to protect their phones when going paddle boarding. Would I? Probably not… If you are staying at one of our condos, we have keyless entry, so it’s just the car key you need to worry about.

Is it safe to leave valuables in the rental car?

Would you leave valuables in the car where you live? Probably not. If you must, maybe because you can’t check into the condo til 3 or 4pm or because you have a late flight and couldn’t get a late check-out, place everything in the trunk of the car and do not open the trunk to get things out (in case anyone is casing your vehicle). If you are renting a jeep, there is no trunk, everything is visible (and accessible if it’s a soft-top). In six years of living here, we haven’t had a vehicle break-in, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

A few years ago I wrote this post on ‘What to do about late check-out at your condo?‘ Have a read. Did you know, most flights to Canada and a surprising number of flights back to the mainland leave in the evening? Check-out at our condos is at 11 AM.

Is it safe to leave valuables in the condo?

Generally yes. But, know that there are others who by necessity have access to the condo. The owner, the property manager (in the case of our condos, we are the owner and property manager), the cleaning lady and the manager of the complex you are staying at (they need to have access in case of emergencies and for the quarterly pest-control treatments). If you are staying at our condos, we have personal safes for you to use (I have an override key should you forget the code or the battery randomly dies). Otherwise, I recommend just placing your valuables in a drawer or at least out of sight. It’s happened a few times where I’ve had to go into one of our ground-floor condos (with guest consent) to repair something, and seen the blinds wide open and laptops, ipads, phones and once even a wallet just laying out. When staying in a ground floor condo especially, please don’t do that. It’s asking for a break-in. At minimum close the blinds when you leave.

Is it safe to walk at night?

You may have noticed, it is really dark on Maui at night. Why is this? Power is super expensive here and street lighting isn’t cheap. On the plus side, it makes for some great star viewing. Generally the tourist areas especially are quite safe to be walking at night. But use common sense. I also strongly recommend taking a flashlight. A few years ago I didn’t see the edge of the sidewalk – ouch. I was walking with crutches for over a month.

All in all, Maui is a pretty safe place to be. But like most places, we also have drug and homeless problems and crimes of opportunity do happen. A little common sense will help you have a great vacation – I’d hate for you to have a negative experience because of something preventable.

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Almost finished with our Maui Kamaole reno!

We are getting there! The Maui Kamaole reno is almost done! The kitchen is basically finished, the new stainless Frigidaire fridge and dishwasher installed…

maui kamaole reno

I do love how the cabinets and quartz counter turned out. The kitchen feels larger. There used to be a wall at the end of what is now the island. We took out that wall and pushed the island out by about 8 inches, so the kitchen is roomier. I can’t wait to clean and reorganize the kitchen on Thursday. Even more exciting – to have all the kitchenware leave our home office! Our office has been a bit of a war zone since starting the Maui Kamaole reno.

The new bedroom furniture has arrived – not visible in the picture is the new dresser. This mahogany bedroom set has a stalk of bamboo carved into it. Unique.

maui kamaole reno

I’ve purchased bedroom art for above the bed. Recognize this?

maui kamaole reno

I picked up three prints from the Rachael Ray gallery on Dairy Road in Kahului. Rachael, no not the famous chef, is one of my favorite local artists (closely tied with Beth Cooper who has fun colorful paintings – and helps Cindy clean our condos!). I love this ti leaf series, and Rachael helped me choose which ones to buy. The plan is to hang these above the bed. Color-wise they will tie in nicely with another art piece that we already had in the bedroom.

Once the contractors finish tomorrow, I’ll re-arrange everything and have a clearer picture of what goes where. I also picked up a throw pillow to give the lazy Ikea chair a splash of color.

The bathroom has been expanded, having removed a storage room, we now have a huge walkin shower and so much more room! I don’t have a wide-angle camera lens, but this picture gives you a hint.

maui kamaole reno
I honestly can’t wait to see this condo put together again! No more remodels for me! Well…. actually there is some work I’d like to get done around our house. Maybe next year!

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What’s the update on the Maui Kamaole remodel?

As you may remember, we are working on our Maui Kamaole remodel. We bought this condo in October 2010 and did some work during the summer of 2011. At the time we had stripped the old popcorn ceiling, expanded and re-tiled the lanais, installed a split-system A/C, replaced all doors and trim, bought new mattresses, replaced the master bath tub and re-tiled.

Maui Kamaole remodel
The kitchen without cabinets and with the end wall taken out!

This summer we had another agenda – the kitchen and bathroom cabinets have been pulled out and are being replaced. We also took out the storage room wall and expanded the main bathroom. It used to be tight and cramped, now we have a giant walk-in shower.

How is the remodel going? Great! Our contractor Armando tells us we are on schedule to finish September 19th. The new cabinets, quartz counter tops and sinks are installed. The main bathroom is tiled (waiting for grout).

Maui Kamaole remodel
The kitchen with its new cabinets at our Maui Kamaole remodel!
Maui Kamaole remodel
The new quartz counters and kitchen sink are in place!
Maui Kamaole remodel
New empty kitchen cabinets – waiting to be cleaned and filled!

We’ve been shopping this week. We bought:

  • a new stainless steel fridge and dishwasher
  • a new bedroom suite
  • new dishes, glass ware and some additional cutlery (some pieces had gone missing).

The post-construction clean has been scheduled for September 23rd. Sig and I will spend a lot of time setting things up, organizing and buying last minute items (like a few new area rugs). I have to talk with Dave about shampooing the living room furniture and cleaning the blinds. And then of course I’ll have to schedule Steve to take new pictures for the website. I can’t wait! It’ll be great and ready for our first guests end of September!

Maui Kamaole remodel
bird or paradise blooming outside our Maui Kamaole condo I-103

 

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Coupons and that kama’aina rate!

Have you ever wondered how you can get a kama’aina rate? Wondering what a kama’aina rate is? It’s a discount some shops and restaurants will give to local customers, hoping they will be repeat customers.

Generally you need to have a State of Hawaii driver’s license or other State of Hawaii ID to qualify for that local discount. By the way, did you know Hawaii driver’s licenses have a rainbow on them? I would show you a picture of mine, but…. well…. as with most IDs the picture turned out ‘just great’.

If you are staying at one of our four condos, we have the next best thing to a kama’aina rate: the Pueo Premier Card – a discount card for our guests to use! This is a fundraiser put on by one of the local elementary schools. No worries, you do not need to buy one – we always buy them and leave them in the condos for our guests to use. The discounts are similar to what some of these businesses offer as a kama’aina rate, and some of these businesses don’t actually offer a kama’aina rate, so this is as good as it gets!

In case you can’t zoom in on the picture here are some of the businesses participating in this year’s Pueo Premier Card:

5 Palms Restaurant (at our Kihei Surfside condo) – 20% off

808 Wellness 10% off

Aloha School of Massage Therapy – $5 off

Amigo’s 15% off

Cow Pig Bun 15% off

Cupie’s Drive-in 10% off

Dina’s Sandwitch (at our Sugar Beach condo) 15% off

Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse 15% off

Fork & Salad $1 off

Duo Steak & Seafood 10% off

Four Sisters Bakery – buy 1 doz, get 1 free

Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods 10% discount

IHOP 10% off

Java Cafe 15% off

L&L Hawaiian BBQ – free soda

Maui Brick Oven – free soda

Maui Sandwich Shack 15% off

Panda Express 3 for 2

Peggy Sue’s 15% off

Round Table 20% off

Ruth Chris Steak House 15% off

Sanrio 10% off

Taqueria Cruz 50% off 2nd entree

Tutti Frutti 50% off 2nd cup

Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade 10% off

Where can you find this card? If you are staying at one of our condos, look for it in the condo (near the business cards, at our Palms at Wailea condo it’s next to the kitchen phone). You are welcome to use the card, please just remember to leave it in the condo when you leave so our next guests can take advantage too.

If you are not staying at one of our condos, swing by Kamalii Elementary School on the corner of the Piilani Hwy and Alanui Ke Alii (just up the road from Kamaole I beach) in Kihei. They have them for sale in the school office (by the flag pole). Thanks for supporting the kids!

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