Maui, Hawaii

Tag: Kihei Surfside 405

Kihei Surfside review and recommendations

Kihei Surfside
Another sunset at the Kihei Surfside – love this place!

This past week we had repeat guests who had previously stayed at our Palms at Wailea condo with their family stay at our oceanfront Kihei Surfside condo. They wrote us a lovely Kihei Surfside review in our guestbook, together with some of their experiences while on Maui:

Cara & Sig,

Location Location Location!

This is our third stay at one of your condos. First time at Kihei Surfside. We thought the first two times at the Palms at Wailea were amazing, but WOW! Do we love this condo!

We spent our 30th anniversary here celebrating with the luau at Te Au Moana at the Marriott. Highly recommended.

Our favorite things to do: we bought snorkeling equipment at Snorkel Bob’s at South Kihei Kamaole Center – Corey was fantastic! Kihei Caffe for breakfast, gotta try the cinnamon buns and Mac Nut Banana Pancakes (portions are huge, share). Moose McGillicudy’s, Fabiani’s on Lipoa – awesome Italian and bakery. Cool Cats Cafe in Lahaina – great fries.

Most of all we ate here at the condo, enjoying the beautiful view. Lots of activities to do especially the Glow Bocce Balls at night. Rent them out of the office (office staff is amazing!!). Just loved the community here – meeting people at the BBQ, listening to the men blow the conch shell. Enjoying beautiful sunsets, laying and relaxing on the beautiful green lawn by the ocean. Very peaceful and stress free!

We can hardly wait to come back again!

Snorkeling – Makena Bay, Makena Beach Landing, Kapalua Bay, get there by 8AM.

This condo is a must! Sig and Care once again you’ve outdone yourselves! Thanks so much for everything. God bless you and your family. Mele Kalikimaka, L & G.

~ Mahalo for the Kihei Surfside review. We are so happy you had a great anniversary trip!

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Happy 7 year anniversary to us!

Seven years ago today we purchased our first two condos. Sugar Beach 104 and Kihei Surfside 405. We had just sold our dairy farm and moved to Maui with hopes of getting into the vacation rental business. What a life-changing move that was. As we adjusted to island-living Sig dove headfirst into real estate and spent countless hours researching properties in South Kihei, reading online, checking out open houses, talking with realtors etc. Hard to believe that we are now celebrating our 7 year anniversary!

Sugar Beach 104
Sugar Beach Resort aerial
Sugar Beach Resort aerial

When we bought Sugar Beach 104, it had recently reopened after being closed for an extensive building remodel for a year. There were many distressed properties and the timing was good. As a family with young children we liked the ground floor location (no stairs or elevator to deal with) and that the kids could spill out onto the lawn just off the lanai, giving more living space. We tackled a renovation head-on: new bathroom, new flooring (out with the suspicious carpet and old tile), new sofa and luxurious Averte shades. We removed the popcorn ceiling and repainted all the walls. We took careful inventory of all everything in the condo, replacing sheets and towels, pots and pans, small appliances and TVs as needed. It was fun putting our own stamp on the condo, and then listing it on VRBO to rent it out.

Since then we’ve tackled several additional projects – with any rental property there is always something that needs fixing or replacing.

Kihei Surfside 405
aerial2
Kihei Surfside aerial

Kihei Surfside 405 was an entirely different operation. We were fortunate to purchase that condo from hands-on owners Cynthia and Bill. Unlike our Sugar Beach condo, they passed on a full roster of bookings. They took the time to sit down with us and pass on their condo rental knowledge they had gathered from years of experience. I still remember that lunch at Gannons, furiously taking notes. I appreciate the time they took to teach this newby the ropes. Their condo needed little work – we replaced some of the art work (they took some of their favorites) and checked an inventory list to make sure we had everything needed.

Of course, since purchasing Kihei Surfside 405 in September 2010 we’ve done several remodels. In 2012 we replaced the kitchen cabinets and repainted. Then in 2015 the entire building was shut down for five months for extensive exterior work. We took the opportunity to replace the carpeting, blinds and sofa. Every year we take an inventory and replace items on an as-needed basis. Most recently we’ve added a Vitamix and replaced the TV.

Happy 7 year anniversary to us!

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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 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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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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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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Hurricane Madeline and Hurricane Lester

There are two hurricanes headed towards Hawaii. Hurricane Madeline is scheduled to arrive Wednesday/Thursday while Hurricane Lester will be here for the weekend.

It’s hurricane season in the Central Pacific (June through November). Hey Cara, I thought El Nino was over and this was supposed to be an easier summer. Yeah, I thought so too.

Hurricane Madeline has now been upgraded to a Category Four storm and is headed for Big Island, currently showing to veer off to the South of us. It is scheduled to hit Big Island Wednesday, which means it could be impacting us on Maui then or by Thursday.

hurricane madeline
Hurricane Madeline’s current track

She is closely followed by Hurricane Lester (currently still in the Eastern Pacific), which is currently a Category Three storm and scheduled to arrive in Hawaii Friday/Saturday. Note, this storm is still a ways off and a lot can happen between now and then.

hurricane madeline
Hurricane Lester’s current track

 

What should you expect?
The past few years all our hurricane warnings have ended up being non-events in Kihei area. Yes, we have gotten humidity, but rain and wind have been negligible. The Big Island usually blocks and tears storms apart, with the high mountains messing with their wind patterns. Big Island has been dumped on and seen some damage the past few years. I in no way want to minimize this. But while we feel very badly for them, we are hoping the systems change course or see a similar thing happening again.
In the mean time: be prepared
1. check the hurricane information in the binder in your condo (if you are staying in one of our condos).
2. be prepared by filling the rental car with gas, making sure you have water to last you several days and food supplies. Often in a storm power can get knocked out and in a bad situation, it can take a few days for it to be restored (make sure all devices are charged, check the batteries in the flashlight – bedroom closet, let us know if you need batteries, we have lots). Our water treatment facility on Maui is located in the flood zone, so that can also be an issue. Emergency people say to have at least a gallon of water per person per day for several days on hand, so you can drink and wash. (fill jugs and pots and go buy some gallon jugs if need be). Check that you have enough food to get you through a few days in case you can’t make it to a grocery store (or they are closed). Have some cash on hand (again in case of power outage).
3. stay out of the ocean once the storm hits and for several days after. Not only do we get a lot of run-off from the islands when it rains a lot, but these big storms can change the dynamics within the ocean (currents etc) and it increases the risk of shark attacks. Best to just enjoy the ocean from shore.
4. stay informed. While the main news on TV focuses largely on Oahu, you can get Maui specific news online: MauiNow and MauiWatch on facebook are good sources.
5. just before the hurricane is scheduled to hit, bring in all the lanai furniture and secure (close) the windows.
If you are staying at one of our condos, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.
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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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Just another sunset at Kihei Surfside

A few nights ago we watched sunset and had a lovely catered dinner for the homeowners at our Kihei Surfside building. Dinner was provided by Bayside Catering – it was comfort food: pulled pork sandwiches, gourmet mac and cheese, smoked salmon and my very favorite – Costco’s mango cheese cake. Seriously – if you like cheese cake (and have a few people to help you eat it – it is Costco-sized, after all), pick it up next time you’re at Costco in Kahului.

It had been kind of a big day for me. I’ve spent the past four years volunteering on the Board of Directors at this condo complex, the Kihei Surfside. It’s been an interesting and definitely educational experience. The Board went from planning a major exterior remodel to this 42 year old building, to implementing it and seeing it through. In 2015 the Kihei Surfside went through a 6 month shut-down during which it underwent a major structural overhaul, repairing spalling (rusted rebar which cracks the concrete), in parts replacing rebar, strengthening the building, replacing windows and railings, replacing landscaping etc.

Sound like a big job? It was! The average owner assessment was $52,000 (plus or minus depending on the condo’s layout). That’s in addition to loss of rental income for the 6 months and the cost of additional projects due inside the unit – in our condo we replaced flooring, window covering, a sofa and the fridge in our condo.

Was the renovation worth the cost? Yes! It’s important to maintain a building, and this building is something special! Am I glad it’s over? Yes! It was a busy couple of years.

Last week was the last day of my four year stint as Director (the past two years as Board Secretary).

Here are a few pictures of the beautiful sunset!

Kihei Surfside
look at the halo on the palm tree! You just can’t beat this location – it’s my favorite on Maui!
Kihei Surfside
sunset glow
Kihei Surfside
sunset reflecting in the glass at Kihei Surfside
sunset
sunset afterglow
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How hot is Kihei in the summer and do you need air-conditioning?

One of the questions asked today on the Tripadvisor Maui Travel Forum was – will we melt without air-conditioning in August? Good question.

The warmest months on Maui are definitely August and September. That being said, typically daytime highs in Kihei and Wailea are in the high 80s with evening lows in the low 80s. This is cooler than a lot of other places on the mainland.

However, the past two years we’ve also been affected by the El Nino weather pattern which has given us warmer and more unstable weather. Last summer we had 9+ hurricanes pass by the islands (thankfully they did not make landfall on Maui) and our temperatures hovered in the low 90s with high humidity. While the hurricanes did not cause damage, they did alter the wind patterns.

Maui Kamaole
one of the A/C compressors for the split-system at our Maui Kamaole condo

I personally like my A/C. Three of our condos are air-conditioned, however, our Kihei Surfside condo is not. Don’t even get me started on this – the building has only one electrical meter and A/C is expressly forbidden in the bylaws (something we would love to change). There is a great breeze, we have great ceiling fans and most of the year it is fine, but August and September especially are warm. Having said that, we have several repeat Septembers guests who keep coming back – apparently they like it! But, if you like it cool, please rent a condo with A/C.

As a homeowner, I ask that you please conserve energy when possible. Electricity on Maui is expensive. About 2/3s of our power is diesel generated (the rest is solar and wind which is also expensive). While electricity prices have come down due to the oil slump (from 40 c/kwh to 28 c/kwh currently), they are still multiple times higher than elsewhere in the country.

Here are three easy ways to help:

  • Turn off the A/C when you leave the condo – the condo does cool quite quickly when you turn it back on again.
  • Close all doors and windows when running the A/C so we don’t cool the great outdoors – trust me, this happens more often than you’d think especially with families 🙂
  • Do not turn the A/C below 70F. It will not cool the condo faster, but instead overexerts the compressor, causing it to freeze up and fail – yes, we’ve had this happen a couple times. A/C repair guys are in high demand in summer and it can take a week to get a guy out (supply/demand) leaving you with no A/C in the mean time. Also, with this being an island, it can take a week or two to get parts in.

 

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