Maui, Hawaii

Blog: A taste of what you may find on Maui

Treats from Komoda’s Bakery

Yesterday my son had another cross country race. This one was at an upcountry high school. As we drove up Haleakala Hwy, he asked – Mom, can you pick up Komoda’s for the team?

Komoda’s is a family run bakery in Makawao that celebrated its 100th anniversary a few years ago. Yes, it’s a hole in the wall. But it is one of our family’s favorite treat places. In particular the kids like the stick donuts. Five sugar glazed mini donuts on a stick. What’s not to love?

The thing with Komoda’s is – they open at 7AM. For best selection, you have to be there at 7AM or even earlier to get a parking spot and get in line. Mornings there is a line out the door and if you arrive much later, they won’t have much left. Komoda’s closes once they’re sold out (sometimes by 2pm). And they are closed Wednesdays and Sundays and sometimes in September when the family takes time off.

They are best known for their cream puffs and cocoa puffs. I however prefer their Coconut Danish.

Yes, I caved, I picked up 20 stick donuts for the team, a bag of dinner rolls for company we had last night. And a Coconut Danish for me.

Surprise

The best part was surprising my son with a shopping bag of stick donuts when he was only expecting a few for him and his friends. They ran 3 miles (plus their warm up miles). They worked for it.

upcountry
and they’re off – Mauis’ high school boys’ track and field event

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Upcoming Maui Events

I keep seeing advertisements for upcoming Maui events, and I keep thinking – oh, I should post about that…. so here you go.

36th Annual Kula Festival ~ Sept 21, 2019, 9AM-4PM. It’s roasting hot in Kihei this summer. Head upcountry and check out this one day event hosted by St John’s Episcopalian church.

14th Annual Maui Ukulele Festival ~ Sept 28, 2019, 1PM-6PM at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. This is another fun FREE event. Bring a blanket or beach chairs and some games and enjoy a free ukulele concert. Food for purchase at local food trucks.

Annual Maui Fair ~ October 3-6, 2019 at the War Memorial Complex. This is the only fair with rides on Maui, a favorite among locals. I always hear about the amazing local food here!

Maui Marathon and Half Marathon ~ October 10, 5AM-2PM. There are people who come to Maui just for this event! Careful if you are driving from Kihei to Lahaina that day as there will be runners on the road!

6th Annual Maui in Maui County Festival ~ November 1&2 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. This is an amazing place to stock up on Christmas presents and souvenirs. Everything is made locally. This year there are 140 local vendors signed up, plus food trucks and live music. If you’re on Maui, don’t miss this!

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Kamaole Sands 2-206 Progress

Here’s an update on our Kamaole Sands 2-206 progress: our renovations are progressing a little slower than I was wishing. I had hoped we’d be finishing this weekend and then have a few days to clean and set everything up. We are planning on September 22, 2019.

Here is where we are at. The appliances have all arrived and been installed. We ended up purchasing a full-size washer and dryer, as opposed to the apartment-size washer/dryer that was in the condo. This will make doing laundry a lot better for guests and the cleaners.

Kamaole Sands renovation
This kitchen is nice and roomy. Love the glass tile back splash

Paul the shutter installer came by today to install the big plantation-style shutters. He will need to do a little tweaking as the window isn’t entirely square. Paul has a plan! I can’t wait. In the mean time the headboard (a matching barn door) is hung. I have a comfy Casper California King mattress for the bedroom.

Kamaole Sands renovation
the bedroom – waiting for the plantation shutters

We are expecting Brad and team to come and install the split A/C handlers next week.

Armando and his crew have a few small things to take care of yet, but they are basically done.

Kamaole Sands remodel
the entry cabinet, barn door into the main bath and living area in the back

Lifestyle Maui will deliver the sofa Wednesday morning. Once the shutters are installed, my teenagers will help me bring and set up the rest of the furniture. I look forward to parking the vehicle in the garage again, rather than using it as a temporary furniture warehouse!

Here are a few pictures from this evening. My oldest and I brought the hallway and TV cabinets to the condo and set them up.

Kamaole Sands 2-206
main bathroom with new washer and dryer, waiting on the custom glass shower enclosure
Kamole Sands remodel
the view from the lanai – love that the tile from the living room continues onto the lanai

Availability at our Kamaole Sands 2-206 condo

Our website isn’t quite updated yet, however if you do an availability search, it will show you if our Kamaole Sands condo is available for your dates. To date we have 3 bookings for fall 2019, with Christmas and high season completely open.

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A few Kamaole Sands renovation pictures

I stopped by our new Kamaole Sands 2-206 condo this afternoon. I had picked up another bathroom and hallway mirror at Lowes. Here are some updated pictures! Enjoy!

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RENOVATION photo 8/30/2019, looking into the living area
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RENOVATION photo 8/30/2019 kitchen and look down the hallway
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RENOVATION photo 8/30/2019 kitchen sink with backsplash tile
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RENOVATION photo 8/30/2019 peeking into the bedroom (the plantation shutters will be installed next week)
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RENOVATION PHOTO 8/30/2019 the bedroom with peek into the master bath
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RENOVATION photo 8/30/2019 bedroom with peek into the master bath
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RENOVATION photo 8/30/2019 the hallway nook
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Is my vacation rental legal and should I care

Vacation rentals are gaining in popularity world-wide as vacationers discover the advantages to renting a condo vs staying in a hotel. However with this increased popularity there is also an increased amount of concern regarding vacation rentals and the impact they have on communities and neighborhoods.

Disclaimer: ALL five of our vacation rentals are legal. They are located in designated resort zones surrounded mainly by other vacation rentals. Each one is classified as a short-term rental by the County of Maui based on their zoning. These condos are located in areas frequented by tourists, the buildings generally too expensive to buy and maintain for long-term rentals. We pay the short-term rental property tax rate to County of Maui and collect and submit transient accommodations and general excise tax to the State of Hawaii as is required by law.

Does Maui have legal vacation rentals?

Maui County has two types of legal vacation rentals. Those in approved zones (hotel/business/historic) and then those that are outside of the designated zone and have applied for and received a special bed & breakfast (or TVR – transient vacation rental) permit. There are 400 of these permits available in Maui County. When you are renting one of these properties, they should be displaying both their permit# and their tax ID on all advertising. (Source: Maui County website and here)

How do I determine if my Maui vacation rental is legal?

If you are renting a place that is NOT in an apartment building, ask for the Maui County permit number. If they can’t produce one, don’t rent it.

If your vacation rental is in an apartment building or larger resort, there is a very handy website called MauiPropertyTax.com. On it you can search by address or owner’s name. Make sure you select the correct unit number. In the assessment page it will show you what the condo is classified as – it should say ‘short term rental’. Note, short term rentals pay a significantly higher property tax than owner-occupied or even long-term rentals (zoned ‘apartment’).

What happens if I rent an illegal vacation rental?

Best case scenario – nothing. You come on vacation, everything is fine.

Worst case scenario – you arrive and realize your vacation rental has been shut down and you have no place to stay. You are out thousands of dollars and scramble to find another rental. If this happens during high season (Christmas through early April, you may end up camping in your rental car).

What are other things owners need to do to have a legal vacation rental?

Besides zoning, there are other requirements by the State of Hawaii. Owners/property managers must collect a total of 14.4167% tax from their guests and submit to the State of Hawaii. Their GE/TA tax ID numbers must be listed on all advertising and rental agreements.

Legally we also must have an on-island contact person and our guests must have this person’s phone and email address so they can reach them when there is a problem. In our case, that on-island contact is me (Cara). When you rent with us, my email and cell phone number is included in both the rental agreement and check-in information. It is also posted in each condo. When we do travel, we always provide you with an alternate contact person (the cleaning company manager).

Current real-life State of Hawaii example of what can happen when you rent an illegal vacation rental

Let me preface this news story: each County in the State of Hawaii has its own vacation rental legislation. There are numerous counties: Maui County (encompasses Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe), Hawaii County (also known as ‘Big Island’), City of Honolulu (this is the island Oahu – home to Honolulu, Waikiki Beach etc), Kauai County.

The City of Honolulu (Island of Oahu) is currently in the news for clamping down on illegal vacation rentals. Part of the problem is that they have not issued vacation rental permits since 1989. Since then many illegal vacation rentals have proliferated unchecked as the island’s government has purposely ignored the problem. Effective August 2019 the City of Honolulu has decided to clamp down on illegal vacation rentals and issue fines. This is causing a lot of vacation rental chaos ON OAHU as owners, threatened by steep fines for rentals of less than 30 days, cancel existing bookings and pull listings.

Note, this enforcement action does NOT affect Maui vacation rentals. Different county, different rules. However, as the owner of five LEGALLY operated vacation rentals on Maui, I do support Counties’ enforcement of current rules. Illegal operators put legal operators at a disadvantage. I pay the higher property tax rate, insurance costs, collect and submit the 10.25% transient accommodation tax and 4.167% general excise tax as required to the State of Hawaii. Illegal operators do not do these things and have an unfair competitive advantage.

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Kamaole Sands Renovation

As reported in June, we are proud new owners of Kamaole Sands 2-206. We bought a one bedroom two bathroom condo with a beautiful ocean view. The inside of the condo was in pretty original condition and this meant – renovation time!

Everything must go. We told our well-connected realtor to please pass the word that everything in the condo must go, and so it seems some hard-working housekeepers came and helped themselves to furniture, appliances, dishes, linens etc. Yes, I suppose I could have hauled it home and done a garage sale, but I just didn’t have the time or energy.

We went on our own family vacation in June and then once we got back, our contractor Armando got started on the renovation. Armando was our contractor at both our Palms at Wailea and Maui Kamaole renovations and he is awesome. Great with communication, on schedule, on top of things. We are honored to have him on our project again.

They tore out the tile flooring and cheap laminate, the shower/tubs, toilets and cabinetry. They’ve covered over the popcorn ceiling, dropped the kitchen ceiling to accommodate can lights, added some in the bathrooms and hallway nook. They’ve put in new plumbing, a new walk-in shower and a new corner stall shower in the two bathrooms. The A/C people have ducted and re-insulated the wall for the two split-system A/C units (one in the living room and one in the bedroom). The painters have primed the condo, now just waiting for the chosen paint color to be applied.

Late this week they’ve been installing the new white cabinets. I can’t wait for the cabinets to be finished so I can better visualize the living room space. It’s hard to plan furniture when you’re not entirely sure where the kitchen/bar ends and the living room begins. Is there space for a dining table and chairs, or will we just go with the bar area? This is a question yet to be solved! Yesterday my son and I measured everything extensively and I think I have a better picture of what will work.

We are planning to have our Kamaole Sands renovation to be completed within the next few weeks and the condo ready to rent after Labor Day weekend. How about it? We’d love to have you! The condo isn’t listed on our website – yet – but you can shoot me an email and I’ll get you information. To date ALL dates are available. Rent September/October 2019 for the bargain rate of $159/night plus cleaning ($150) and 14.417% tax.

Why Kamaole Sands?

We have been looking at this condo for several years now. It is a popular resort across from Kamaole 3 beach, just 2 complexes away from our Maui Kamaole condo.

Kamaole Sands is located in sunny South Kihei, across the street from Kamaole 3 Beach Park. This is a 15 acre property with water fountains, a common pool/hot tub, gym, 4 tennis courts and Hawaii’s largest living orchid wall. It comes complete with a 24 hour desk, on-site concierge, and a complimentary Wednesday mai-tai party.

We hope to welcome you here soon!!

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This year’s best Maui coffee

Last weekend I attended the 12th Annual Maui Seed to Cup event at the Maui Tropical Plantation. I enjoy drinking coffee, but admittedly I am not very knowledgeable on the subject. It was a beautiful though very hot day and my main goal was to find this year’s best Maui coffee.

Surprisingly – or maybe not – this year’s best Maui coffee turned out to be one I’ve seen and drank before. This year’s winner (from Maui coffee growers) is Olinda Organic Farms with their Red Catuai variety. They came in 3rd in the Hawaii State-wide cupping competition. Do give their beans a try if you find them! According to their Facebook page they are sometimes at Pukalani’s Saturday farmers market.

In second place for Maui (8th overall for the State of Hawaii) was a new to me coffee – Maui Mountain Homegrown Coffee. As it turned out, this was the first coffee stand my friend and I had approached for a sample. After the owner had been presented her award, I returned to her booth and asked which coffee roast had come in second place for the cupping competition. As mentioned, I don’t know much about this. She told me for the cupping competition all growers submit unroasted (green) beans which are then all roasted the exact same way (a very light roast) and then tested. Interesting. Her submission was 65% Red Catuai, 35% Typica beans.

best Maui coffee
Maui’s second place grower – Maui Mountain Grown Coffee. Congratulations!

I picked up a bag of her beans and am presently enjoying them at home! Very delicious! I highly recommend!

best Maui coffee
smells so good

Here is a list of the top ten winners from the 2019 State of Hawaii Cupping Competition.

Another of my favorite roasters was also at the festival, Maui Grown Coffee. Their roaster, I’m told, is one of the most knowledgeable in the business. They have a store in Lahaina, under the old sugar cane factory smoke stack. My favorite there is the Lava Flow. They allow you to sample their coffees prior to buying.

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12th Annual Maui Seed to Cup Event

It’s that time of year again – the 12th annual Maui Seed to Cup Event. If you are scratching your head, wondering what this may be – it is a coffee event! It’s free, open to the public, and held tomorrow Sunday August 4th at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu.

If you are at all interested in Maui grown coffee – check it out! Talk with different coffee growers and roasters and learn more about than you thought there was to know 🙂

The following info is from the promotional email I received from the Mill House at the Maui Tropical Plantation! See you there!

Free Admission + Open to the Public!
at the Maui Tropical Plantation

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

  • 9:00 am Opening Blessing and Event Begins
  • 9:30 am Coffee Sensory Evaluation
  • 10:30 am Taste the Roast Workshop
  • 11:30 am Coffee Inspired Food Available for Purchase at Maui Chef’s Table
  • 12:00 pm Zenshin Daiko Drummers
  • 1:00 pm Baking with Coffee Demonstration by The Mill House Restaurant
  • 1:30 pm Barista “Throwdown” sponsored by Old Lahaina Coffee
  • 3:00 pm Na Hoku Winner – Barry Flanigan and Eric Gilliom “HAPA”

Trade show booths throughout the village at the Plantation. 
Bring friends, family, and keiki. See you there! 

EVENT HIGHLIGHT
9:30 am – 10:30 am: Coffee Sensory Evaluation

Join us for a demonstration of how to professionally evaluate coffee! Quality Grader David Hall will help you explore the industry-standard approach to tasting coffee! Leave with free samples and a greater understanding of how specialty coffees are determined.

EVENT HIGHLIGHT
1:30 am – 3:00 pm: Barista “Throwdown” sponsored by Old Lahaina Coffee

An event for all baristas in Maui to come together and celebrate their craft. Baristas show their skills in this lively competition. We can’t wait to see what works of latte art are created this year!

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Hurricane Season 2019

It’s that time of year again – hurricane season. In the Central Pacific (as in the Caribbean) hurricane season runs from June to November. However our most active months are definitely July – September.

With that in mind, we have two hurricanes currently on their way to visit Hawaii. We’re just such a popular vacation destination. I kid.

Hurricane Erick looks like it’s set to miss hitting us and is forecast to pass to the South of the State of Hawaii. However, they are forecasting dangerous surf, some wind and possibly rain.

Hurricane Flossie is on Erick’s tail, possibly arriving Sunday or Monday. She was recently downgraded to a tropical storm. has a much more direct forecasted path which currently looks like it will pass across the Hawaiian Islands, or at least very close. However, as at last night’s new forecast model, it looks like she may cut to the North of us.

hurricane season 2019
Hurricane Flossie as at as at 7/31/2019

What does this mean for Maui?

In 9 years of living on Maui, we have been very fortunate and have not experienced a direct hurricane hit. Numerous hurricanes have been obliterated by Big Island’s two large shield volcanoes (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa). Also, hurricanes have in the past typically slowed down and dissipated prior to actually arriving. Of course, every storm is different and so you do need to watch and monitor them and be prepared.

Possible rain: to be honest, we are praying for rain. Rain would be wonderful as Maui is so dry (hence the fires we’ve been having recently). However be aware that rain can cause run-off into the ocean, creating murky water conditions at the beach. If the water is murky, stay out! There is an increased risk of getting an infection should you have any cuts/abrasions (who knows what is in the water) and sharks come closer to land to check out the run-off.

Expect storm surge and changed ocean currents. Besides getting pummeled by unpredictable wave action, ocean currents can drag you unexpectedly out to sea. Best to stay out of the water. If you must, go to a beach with life guards present and ask them for their advice PRIOR to going into the water. If in doubt, please don’t go out.

Definitely expect humidity. Storms passing Hawaii block our wonderful trade winds which often keep the worst of the humidity at bay. Without those winds, the humidity can be here in full force.

Should you change your travel plans?

Not necessarily. However, do monitor the local news. I recommend MauiNow and their Maui-based weather specialist Malika Dudley (you can follow her directly on Facebook and/or Instagram. For specific Maui-based coverage, check out Maui24/7 on Facebook, they are fantastic for reporting up-to-date coverage of what’s going on here on Maui. HawaiiNewsNow is also good, but they are more Oahu based. And for the very most up-to-date forecasts, check the Central Pacific Hurricane Center website. They update several times a day.

Additionally, stay in touch with your airline just in case a storm changes path and flights are being cancelled.

Disaster Preparedness

A few years ago I wrote a blog post on disaster preparedness. Do check it out. Also, if you are staying in one of our condos, check out the Emergency Preparedness write-up in our condo binders. You are welcome to call/email or text me with specific questions. I respond best to email and text.

Stay safe!

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July 10 brush fire

A week ago we had a pretty bad brush fire here on Maui. It started on Wednesday July 10th near Waikapu and spread rapidly across the Central Valley coming very close to North Kihei (and our Sugar Beach condo). The fire ended up burning 9000 acres of brush land. This is mostly former sugar cane land.

As you may recall, A&B finished their sugar cane operations on Maui with their final harvest in December 2016. Since then the land has mostly been fallow, with sugar cane regrowth, weeds and of course kiawe trees growing wild. During their sugar cane operation A&B would irrigate the fields regularly, keeping them nice and green until about 2 years in, when they would have controlled burns and then harvest the sugar cane. These controlled burns would of course generate their fair share of ash particularly in North Kihei. Locals called it ‘Maui Snow’, black ash on cars and roads in the morning. However, A&B would then work up the fields within a few days and things would settle down again.

Last year A&B sold 41,000 acres of sugar cane land to Mahi Pono, a joint venture between a California agricultural group and ironically one of Canada’s largest pension funds. They have very slowly been starting to work up some acres and planting. Unfortunately it’s been an incredibly slow process. We were so used to the green central valley. It’s been brown and dry ever since cessation of the sugar cane operation now. In fact, there have been brush fires the past few summers, prompting the landowners to work up or disk buffer zones near roads as a form of fire break.

On July 10 the fire came so close to North Kihei, our guests at our Sugar Beach condo were evacuated. The Mokulele Hwy (now known as Veterans Hwy) and North Kihei Road to Ma’alaea were both closed due to the fire and heavy smoke and people missed their flights (including me – we had an inter-island flight to Oahu for a hockey tournament). The community pulled together, opened shelters and eventually everyone got to where they needed to go.

Driving from North Kihei towards Kahului on the Mokulele Hwy (also known as Veterans Hwy)

In wonderful news, there was no damage to inhabited buildings at all. To our knowledge, noone died in the fire. The police have an ongoing arson investigation for both this fire and a smaller fire which was started between the new Kahului Safeway and Target and the Sugar Cane factory on July 11.

What to expect when you come to Maui?

You’ll noticed the burned area in the central valley as you fly in – in fact, I would love to see your pictures! You’ll see the burned area as you drive across the central valley. You will see the dust blowing badly in the central valley and into North Kihei during certain times of the day. Here in South Kihei we are still getting some ash on our lanai.

However, fire fighters brought the fire under control within two days and are working to put out any flare ups that occur. We are so thankful for these men and women!

Our Sugar Beach condo is fine – no damage. There is still a lot of dust, we apologize. Join us in praying for rain. I’m not sure what else to do to help calm the dust down.

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