Maui, Hawaii

Tag: condo

Sneak peak at our Palms at Wailea remodel

I stopped in at our Palms at Wailea condo which is currently being remodeled. They have the new ensuite shower tile up (we’ve removed the bathtub and are putting in an oversized shower with shower seat). It’s looking great! The condo is scheduled to be ready for our October 30th arriving guests. I can’t wait to see it completed, cleaned and all set up again!

By the way, this condo is still available for someone to vacation Dec 9-19, 2015 (7 night minimum).



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Sneak preview of Kihei Surfside #405

After five months of being closed for rehabilitation Kihei Surfside is on its way… the scaffolding on the lower floors for the 2-13 stacks (the whole building except the ends) is coming down, the scaffolding for the 1 and 14 stacks will still remain until the work there has been completed.

We’ve been busy inside our condo also…. the painter has been busy putting a fresh coat on the walls and trim, new carpets were installed yesterday, today the new windows were measured for new blinds, the new couch is being delivered next week. We’ve been busy, slowly ticking off items on that to-do list.

After five years I still can’t get over this view. The new windows allow us to enjoy it even more!

One more month until Kihei Surfside opens up to guests again! I can’t wait!

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Are you allowed to invite guests to your vacation rental?

Interesting question…. different vacation rental owners have different rules about this one.

From a guest’s perspective… you are on vacation, your friends or family are on Maui at the same time and you want to have dinner or hit the pool and hot tub and enjoy an evening together. I get it. Eating out as a group can be expensive and cumbersome, and potlucking at the condo is much cheaper and easier.

From a neighbor’s perspective… you are looking forward to enjoying the peace and quiet of your condo after a busy day at the beach or sight seeing, when you hear a group of people loaded down with food and beer knocking at the neighbor’s door. They look like they are obviously settling in for a longer visit. Great. How long til quiet hours start? Where’s that number to call security?

From the owner’s perspective… the guest has signed a rental agreement, agreeing to rules and promising to take good care of the condo. The owner has agreed to a certain number of people staying in the condo and has priced the stay accordingly (more people means more wear and tear, increased power and water usage etc). The resort has limits on number of occupants per unit (typically two per bedroom, sometimes two per bedroom plus two on the living room sofa). The resort most certainly also has disturbance/noise regulations. And of course the insurance policy has limits too.

So how do you find a balance between the guest’s wants and owner’s needs?

Here’s my perspective for my condos, but if you are staying at another owner’s condo – please check with them or their rental agency.

1. Overnight guests – You are not allowed extra overnight guests. Only the people listed in the rental agreement at time of booking are allowed to stay overnight in the condo. Small children and infants are included in the head count (from experience with my own, they are usually messier than adults).

2. Daytime guests. I don’t mind if you have guests over once or twice per week of your stay, but subject to the following:

  • You keep a low profile. Keep extra noise to a minimum, don’t disturb the neighbors. One extra family roughly the same size as the family staying in the condo – fine. If the neighbors complain to the resident manager, office or me, extra guests will be asked to leave immediately. How embarrassing! 
  • The person who signed the rental agreement is responsible that everyone follows rental agreement rules and is respectful of our condo. Your security deposit is at stake. Also, please do not leave children unsupervised in our condo.
  • Please clean up after your guests. If they have used every single towel in the condo, please run a load or two. Always take all trash and recycling out. Sweep out or vacuum the sand.
  • If you take things from my condo to another condo or the pool, please make sure you bring them back. When there are several families renting several units at the same resort, things ALWAYS go missing such as cutlery, serving dishes etc. They are impossible to track down.
  • Pool usage with guests. Again – keep a low profile. The resident manager, office and security personnel have the authority to end your gathering, so keep it under control so other guests don’t complain. Make sure everyone in your group is following pool rules regarding noise, splashing, balls, glass in pool area etc.
  • If you are warned and the home owner association issues a fine due to a house rules violation, this fine will be passed on to you. If you are disrespectful and definitely if I get complaints, you will also be placed on my own Do Not Rent list. The majority of our guests are welcome back, but in five years there are a number of guests who have made it onto this list, mainly due to disrespectful behavior or excessive cleaning. (I prefer to avoid the confrontation of telling guests they made this list. But they certainly don’t get to stay again.)

What are some alternatives for getting together with friends?

1. Pack a picnic and meet up at a beach park! Have you seen how the locals have parties of all kinds at Kamaole III beach park? What a great idea! There is no fee, just show up early to get a spot in the shade or with tables. Remember, alcohol and smoking are prohibited at all County beaches and beach parks.

2. Reserve the party area/kitchen at the resort you are staying. Check with the front desk on how to do that.

3. Take turns visiting at your friend’s condo. You host one night, get your friends or family to host another night at their place. It is fun to check out other complexes.

We want you to have a great vacation and the last thing I want to do is be a party-pooper. Please be respectful of our property and have a wonderful vacation!

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Tsunami Watch after Major Chilean Earthquake

****UPDATE: According to MauiNow the tsunami triggered relatively small up to 2.2 ft waves at Kahului harbor that came in approx 18 minutes apart. For more information check out this article. Reminder, please stay out of the ocean for a few days.

****UPDATE: This has been changed to a Tsunami ADVISORY. An advisory means that no major tsunami is expected at this time. There may be some fluctuation in ocean levels. However, the main thing to keep in mind is this: STAY OUT OF THE OCEAN FOR A FEW DAYS. Why is that? Tsunamis mess with ocean currents and get things in the ocean all riled up. There is increased risk of being swept out and also of shark attacks as they are also affected by this change to their environment. STAY SAFE! 🙂 And do keep an eye on the news until tomorrow morning.****

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a TSUNAMI WATCH for the Hawaiian Islands following a major earthquake off the coast of Chile. If memory serves me correctly, the last tsunami to hit Hawaii was also generated by an earthquake off the coast of Chile.

What is a tsunami watch? This is just an alert, stating that tsunami waves MAY have been generated by the earthquake. Since it’s just happened, it is much too early to know for sure. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center will continue to monitor the buoys stationed around the Pacific and update once they know more. Due to the distance between Chile and Hawaii, any potential tsunami waves won’t arrive until after midnight sometime.

What should you do?

Most importantly stay calm. Keep an eye on the news (MauiNow, MauiWatch, HawaiiNewsNow). Check to see if you are in a low-lying area and need to evacuate. If you are staying at our Sugar Beach and Kihei Surfside condos, you are in the evacuation zone. If you are staying at our Maui Kamaole or Palms at Wailea condos, you are in the safe zone.

If you are in the evacuation zone, prepare your ‘go kit’ to evacuate to higher ground. Check with the front desk where the recommended evacuation zones are. I have emergency preparedness information in a binder in each of our condos – read it! Re-fuel your vehicle. Be prepared to evacuate when advised/ordered by Civil Defense.

Check out my blog post from April 2014 for tsunami information.

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Renovation Time – AGAIN!

It’s been one of those years of projects, the entire Kihei Surfside building being shut down for 6 months for a big exterior renovation, both the Palms at Wailea and Maui Kamaole pool decks being refinished with beautiful quartzite-look tile.

Our last Palms at Wailea guest has checked out for the summer. Now we are actually doing some INTERIOR remodeling! Sig and I spent the morning at our condo, emptying bathroom cabinets, pulling out all the bedding, towels, beach gear, removing art from the walls. It will help make things less complicated for the contractor and protect our things from inevitable construction dust.

This is the first of two loads we fit in our pickup truck. Now for finding a temporary home for it at our house!

We bought this condo 4 1/2 years ago. Just prior to purchasing the condo, the previous owner had installed a beautiful white carpet to help the condo sell. Argh. White carpet in a vacation rental??? To be fair, most our guests have loved the soft, cushy (and very clean) carpet – it just makes the whole condo feel so homey. However, I’ve worked hard to keep it clean and stain-free, shampooing it at least four times a year, either with my own carpet cleaner or by calling in ‘the big guns’, my friend Dave from Jordans Services.

But enough is enough, I’m done with the carpet! So tomorrow is its last day! We are replacing it and all floor tile with a beautiful new 20 inch porcelain tile. I am so excited! Of course, where do you draw the line? The bathrooms are still okay though a bit dated, so the bathrooms are being overhauled also. I am excited about the new oversized walk-in shower in the ensuite, replacing an awkward bathtub. I’ve also ordered new window coverings and we’ll be getting new bedroom furniture. Oh yeah, and the large wrap-around lanai is also getting a face-lift with new tile and new lanai furniture.

We are scheduled to complete end of October in time for our repeat guests M & D to arrive. Yes, chi-ching, this is going to be one of the more expensive remodels we’re undertaking. But I can’t wait to see the new look! I will be sure to post pictures and get new professional shots taken once it’s complete!

In the mean time, this condo is pretty booked up this winter. We do still have an opening Dec 9-19, 2015 and March 2-15, 2016 if you are looking for a winter get-away! Reminder, this is a two bedroom two bathroom condo which sleeps up to four guests.

But Cara, haven’t you already renovated this condo? Why yes, yes we have done a fair bit of work at our Palms at Wailea condo already! In 2011 we repainted and replaced the beds and living room furniture. In 2012 we replaced the entire A/C system at the condo (reminder it has split A/C units in both bedrooms and the living room). In 2013 we replaced the rotting glass sliding doors. In 2014 we replaced the ‘lemon’ stainless Kenmore fridge with a new stainless GE. After the current remodel the only thing left will be the kitchen cabinets. But the cabinets are still looking great, the new tile floor will give the kitchen a nice boost, and it has beautiful stainless steel appliances already. Maybe we’ll get lucky and 2016 will be strictly a rental year, with no work needed 🙂

The stainless GE fridge we bought last year. Knock on wood, this one has been great!
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Sleepover Time at our Sugar Beach Condo!

Once a year we try to stay in our condos. It’s a really good practice to stay at your own vacation rental and many owners do this when they come to Hawaii on vacation. It’s a great time to pick up on things that need maintenance, fixing, improving etc. Yes, we go into our condo between each booking, tackling repairs as they are reported/we notice them, and doing things on our regular maintenance schedule, but some things you don’t notice until you actually use it.

In my head I know it’s a good idea, but in practice it is extra work – it means that I have to pack up our family’s stuff, go there, sleep there, then completely clean and prep the condo for the next guest in addition to tackling the new to-do list. It’s the weekend, and I was feeling energetic, so we had a sleepover at our Sugar Beach condo before I changed my mind 🙂

We picked up dinner-to-go from Safeway, some ready-made ribs, fresh bread and a lemon meringue pie for desert and ate at the condo. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as planned time-wise and we ended up eating dinner during sunset in the condo. Ah well. I had hoped to walk the beach at sunset. Then off to the pool we went, first to cool off, then to sit in the hot tub. We met and visited with two couples in the hot tub, one celebrating an anniversary, the other on their honeymoon. We chatted with them for a bit, then Sig went home (he doesn’t appreciate these sleepovers) and the kids and I went back to the condo.

Oh my goodness, the bed we bought last year is so comfortable. I’ve been getting positive reviews from guests on it, but it was nice to try it myself too!

Do I have a hunny-do list for Sig and I? Yes! Nothing big, but a few things I noticed that we will address in the next few weeks between bookings.

By the way, we still have some openings at our Sugar Beach condo this fall! You too can come try that comfortable bed and walk the beach at sunset!

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Check-in and Tree Trimming at our Sugar Beach condo

Yesterday was a check-in day at our Sugar Beach condo. Cindy had already given me the ‘all clear’ after cleaning the day before. Sig had already been in to get the lanai door screen back in its track (the previous guest had knocked it off track – it happens).

So I drove over with my trunk full of goodies. I always carry a big Costco-sized jug of laundry soap and fabric softener in the back of my car so I can refill the condo jugs for our guests. Why have a washer and dryer if you don’t have soap, after all. I also had with me a supply of condo pens and paper, a few guest mac nuts (plain salted, chocolate and garlic & onion – try the garlic & onion, they are really good!), a starter pack of coffee, rags for random wiping, air freshener (sometimes guests fry up the last of their bacon the day they leave – that smell is hard to knock out). I looked around, checked the TVs to make sure they were set to TV mode (nothing like having to figure out how to switch the input right off the bat, though we do have instructions in the instruction manual in the TV cabinet). I checked the guest book (happy guestbook entry, mahalo!), placed the new towels Cindy had asked for in the bathroom cabinet. I double-checked the safe (we once had a guest forget a wedding band in there, oops!).

As I was leaving I snapped a picture of the palms being trimmed in the parking lot. Have you ever wondered why they need trimming and how they do it? Certain palm trees shed their spent palm fronds (they come crashing down on their own, hopefully not hitting a car or person below). These trees need to be manually cut. Also, all coconuts are removed (also for safety reasons – guide books will actually warn you to NOT sit under a coconut palm, those are high up and they pick up speed and power when they fall down and land on your head). One of my kids actually asked for a palms-climbing set a few years ago. It just looks like fun!

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Summer Specials!!

Looking for a getaway? Maui is on sale 🙂

We have some availability at three of our condos. Check it out!

Our 1 bedroom 1 bathroom ground floor Sugar Beach condo is on sale at $139/night plus cleaning and tax for new bookings for all remaining dates from July 6-Sept 30, 2015.

Sugar Beach condo living room

Our 2 bedroom 2 bathroom ground floor Palms at Wailea condo has some availability August 19-31. Ideally I am looking for a 10 night stay, or a one week stay starting August 20th or ending August 30th (so that we can maybe fit two bookings). Discounts will vary depending on how well your booking fits this opening.

Palms at Wailea condo master bedroom

Our hugely popular 1 bedroom 2 bathroom ground floor Maui Kamaole condo has a fair bit of availability this summer and we are renting it out for a record low $145/night plus cleaning and tax for all remaining dates before September 18, 2015.

Maui Kamaole condo living room

Why so much availability you ask? I purposefully didn’t take any bookings for this month as the lower pool which is nearby is getting a new pool deck and I wasn’t sure just how loud it would be. The loudest part (blasting) has been completed, now they are cutting and laying quartzite tile. After spending some time in the condo, I am happy to report you can’t hear the construction noise as long as windows and doors are closed (we have a/c). Construction is taking place 7 days a week 8am-5pm, after which you can open the windows and doors and enjoy the oceanview lanai. And yes – there is a second pool a short 2 minute walk away, so you can still enjoy a pool and hot-tub.

So what do you think? Is a Maui trip in order? Check the availability calendars and give me a call at 808-281-7934.

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Happy Independence Day!

courtesy of Maui’s own Shaka Pops!
handmade gourmet popsicles, for sale in select
grocery stores, at the Swap Meet and Westin
Kaanapali Resort today.

It is here – the Fourth of July! A big day for Americans, the celebration of their independence from Great Britain in 1776. Happy birthday America!

Our family aren’t the ra-ra-America nor the ra-ra-Canada type of people. Don’t get me wrong, we love our countries, both our birth country and our adopted country. But we just don’t get sentimental about it either way. This morning as I was pouring my coffee it struck me as kind of ironic. Today the US celebrates its independence from Great Britain. Canada on the other hand still has significant ties to Great Britain as a member of the British Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth’s picture is on all its money. The two countries are in some ways quite different, and in others quite similar.

How is Independence Day celebrated in Maui? There are those who celebrate it, and there are those are are quite antagonistic about it. The result, a rather subdued affair. Yes, there are activities and fireworks in Lahaina at 8pm. Every year there are questions – aren’t there fireworks in Wailea? I know in years past there have been small displays put on by the hotels, but I haven’t heard of any this year. And yes, Costco and other stores have been busy selling fireworks, I am sure there will be many going off in neighborhoods around the island. BY THE WAY fireworks are not allowed at most (if not all) condo complexes!

Wait a minute, you said people are antagonistic? Towards Independence Day? What’s that all about? Read up on the US overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and annexation of Hawai’i in 1898. To this day it is quite controversial in Hawai’i.

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Pack-up-the-condo Day!

Yesterday we took the final steps of prepping our Kihei Surfside condo for the big building overhaul. The blinds have been taken down – the ones we no longer need are finding a new home at Habitat for Humanity. The funky red couch has found a new home with a local family that didn’t own a couch. Yes, of course we’ll be replacing it in the fall. Linens and towels have been laundered and are being stored under the piano at our house. The carpeted areas have been measured for new flooring. Art-work and breakables have been moved to a safer location. Furniture has been moved from windows and wrapped against damage.

Our pretty kitchen
The view from the kitchen – the ceiling fan blades have been removed from
the ceiling fan so the window people have more room to manoeuvre. I can’t wait
to see what this will look like with floor to ceiling glass windows and railings!

The condo sure looks different. And the grounds are starting to look like a construction site. The parking lot is closed, is being fenced off and filled with construction materials and those ever-present port-o-potties. Yes, there will be security on property.

The sod next to the building is being rolled up and sold. It will be replaced once all the scaffolding has been removed in time for the next guests.

Somewhat fittingly it was an overcast day yesterday. A little sad to be closing up the condo, and yet we are excited for this renovation to start up.

Yesterday’s overcast ocean view from our condo
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