Tag: covid-19

Another great Kamaole Sands 2-206 review

It’s been a year…. we’ve been thankful to have a steadier flow of guests since October’s reopening of tourism with the introduction of the pre-travel Covid test.

Our most recent guests at our Kamaole Sands 2-206 condo left us a really nice review on the booking platform (we advertise on Airbnb and VRBO) and guest book entry at the condo.

We realize travel during Covid-19 is more complicated than it used to be. We appreciate those willing to travel and are so happy to have you stay at our condos!

Mahalo!

“Wonderful space, clean and bright! The condo upgrade/remodel was well done, so comfortable in the space & location was very safe! The two (2) bathrooms is this one-bedroom is definitely nice to have, earns this place extra points! The space was well equipped with all the necessary items you’d need from kitchen tools to boogie boards and beach chairs.

The complex itself was impressively very well maintained, so clean from the gym to the swimming pool area & the grounds are beautifully manicured.

You are directly across from Kamaole Beach III, literally you walk across the street, too easy to catch the sun rise or set. Compared to Kamaole Beach I and II, Kamaole Beach III was so much nicer, a no crowds beach with plenty of room to social distance, sand so soft + clean and the ocean swimming will not disappoint and the best part – there’s a life-guard who actually pays attention!

The host/s were always quick to reply and ready to assist when I had questions! I would absolutely recommend this condo without reservation.”

Dec 2020 guestbook entry
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The Canadians are back!

Late March 2020 the border between Canada and the US was closed and Canadian airlines Westjet and AirCanada cancelled all Hawaii flights. Covid was upon us all and noone knew what to expect next.

The airlines have been teasing customers with flights this fall, only to cancel them due to the persistent 14 day mandatory quarantine upon arrival to Hawaii. Mid-October the State started the pre-travel test exemption, but the approved tests were only available on the US mainland. As of December 17 there are now Canadian testing options and we are thrilled! Hawaii is after all the closest warm-weather destination for Canadians on the West Coast (though still a 6+ hour flight away).

For much more pre-travel test information please FIRST check the official State of Hawaii Covid Travel website (note, things change regularly, so check back often). Then (if you are traveling from Canada), check with your airline for further testing information. At this time AirCanada and Westjet both run the official pre-travel test program for Canadians traveling to Hawaii.

We were driving to Kahului yesterday afternoon as I saw a Westjet flight come in. I double checked my flight tracker app (I use the free Flightradar24 app on my phone) and sure enough – it was coming from Vancouver. I then googled more information, turns out it was the FIRST Westjet flight arriving on Maui since late March! Welcome back!

About half hour later I saw another plane arriving – Flightradar showed me it was Air Canada – their very first Covid-era direct flight from Calgary.

Mandatory Quarantine on return to Canada

As Canadians will know, there is currently a mandatory 14 day quarantine for all arrivals to Canada. However, Alberta currently has a pilot-program to avoid the mandatory quarantine. I am hoping BC will follow suit. Sure would be nice to go see our Canadian family again! It’s been a long year….

State of Hawaii Mandatory Quarantine Change

As I mentioned, things change from time to time. This week the State of Hawaii officially shortened the mandatory quarantine from 14 to ten days. This applies to all arrivals who do not have a Hawaii State approved negative Covid test in hand on arrival in Hawaii. Please check their website for much more information.

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Upcountry Christmas Shopping

Last weekend my neighbor and I headed upcountry to a pop-up Christmas market at Kula Farms. In days of Covid we weren’t sure what to expect, but we both had some shopping to do, wanted to support local and needed some girl-time. We had a great day!

Kula Country Farms and the pop-up Christmas Market

the flower stand

We started off at Kula Country Farms. There is some road parking, but you could also park in the pumpkin patch field if you trust your vehicle’s off-roading capabilities. There were 25+ vendors on property. Everyone (business owners and customers) wore masks, hand sanitizers everywhere, everyone making the best of the new normal. I picked up some hand-made soaps, locally made masks, some veggies at the farm stand and the best coffee – one with honey and coconut syrup. I’m normally a ‘black coffee gal’, but this was a worth-while exception!

Kula Botanical Gardens

Kula Botanical Gardens coffee
Coffee grown at the US’ highest elevation (3600 ft above sea level)

We headed back to our car, sanitized, and headed to our second stop – the Kula Botanical Gardens. Originally the plan had been to buy freshly cut Maui Christmas trees, however we knew they had completely sold out the weekend before (their first weekend open).

We checked out their gift shop and I picked up a pack of their home grown/roasted coffee. A few years ago the owner of Kula Botanical Gardens told me their coffee was grown at the highest elevation within the US. I remember from last time, it is great coffee!

We will save a walk through the 10 acre gardens for another day.

Kula Market Place

Next on the agenda, we drove up to Kula Market Place (located at the Kula Lodge). This is a neat gift shop featuring local artisans. Art, crafts, clothing, jewelry, quilts, food etc. If you’re upcountry, do check it out! My neighbor found the missing items on her Christmas shopping list and then it was time for lunch…

Kula Bistro

my mahi mahi sandwich! So delicious!

We headed back down Haleakala and back-tracked a bit to Kula Bistro. They are known especially for their desert case. The restaurant had indoor and outdoor seating, all subject to the social distancing guidelines. Maui County has new restaurant rules. Even when seated you have to keep your mask on until you eat or drink, replacing it when finished.

On a side note, bars are currently closed through December 26 to help contain the increase in positive case numbers on Maui.

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Important – Maui County Covid rules

We are one week into having the pre-travel test option for arrivals in the State of Hawaii (check here for more info). There have been hiccups and bumps along the road, however, it is wonderful to have this as an option to avoid the mandatory 14 day quarantine. Of course, this doesn’t mean anyone is exempt from the Covid rules.

What are the rules?

The Maui County Covid rules aren’t that hard.

  • Wear a mask when in public (ages 5 and up) – unless you are doing strenuous activity or in the water. Yes, we have to wear a mask on the beach and when walking. Many have not been doing this – the State is stepping up enforcement.
  • Social Distance six feet or more.
  • Wash your hands and/or sanitize often.
  • Indoor/outdoor gatherings of up to ten people allowed subject to social distancing.
  • Stay home and isolate if you are sick. Get tested.

Check out this graphic from Maui County with their new Arrive Healthy, Stay Healthy campaign. Maui County is offering complimentary post-arrival tests (only to those who did the pre-travel test). You cannot do an on-island test to opt out of quarantine.

How is it going?

We are starting to see a few more people on island. Sig and I walked the Wailea beach walk again yesterday (we do this twice a week) and saw a few visitors at the beaches. There were a few people in lounge chairs on the Four Seasons property and we have seen a little activity at the Grand Wailea, but unclear if they are open yet.

Wailea Beach fronting the Grand Wailea

We saw a few people across the street from Fred’s Mexican (Kamaole 2 beach), sitting on the wall watching sunset. It has been 7 months since we last saw that.

Some residents remain skeptical about allowing visitors back. Others are hugely relieved as they hope to be able to work again after all this time. We are hopeful people will obey the Covid rules and that Maui County can avoid an outbreak. On that note, Lanai is currently struggling with an outbreak. It appears it may have been a traveling construction worker at one of the hotels.

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Sale of Kihei Surfside 405

In July 2010 we moved to Maui with the intention of buying a few vacation rentals. We’d stayed in vacation rentals on Maui before. We had owned long-term rentals before. Surely this would be doable.

On September 26, 2010 we became the proud owners of Kihei Surfside 405 and Sugar Beach 104. This was the beginning of a rather steep learning curve of vacation renting.

I remember taking the previous owners (the Pontinens) out to lunch at Gannons and soaking in as much information about vacation renting as I could. They had so much good information to pass on. We got our wonderful cleaner Cindy through them. Cindy cleaned our condos from 2010-2019 when she retired. Check here for a blog post I wrote a few years back on Four things that will make or break your vacation rental business.

We’ve seen a lot of change in the past ten years. We remodeled the kitchen and bathrooms, I sat on the Kihei Surfside HOA’s Board of Directors for four years (two terms) and helped oversee the huge exterior remodel. We’ve hosted hundreds of guests, many of them repeat guests. We’ve enjoyed Valentine’s Day parties and eaten our Christmas dinner on the Kihei Surfside lawn.

And so it is with mixed feelings that we announce that we have sold our Kihei Surfside 405 condo as of October 15, 2020. The decision was not lightly made. However, seven months of Covid and the complete standstill of tourism on Maui have necessitated the sale of one of our condos to keep the others strong.

Many of our Kihei Surfside guests have become repeat guests, a handful have been staying at our condo for ten or more years. We will miss you. We will continue to vacation rent our remaining four condos at Maui Oceanview Condos. I will continue to blog about life on Maui right here on this page.

We wish our Kihei Surfside guests aloha and a hui ho! We would love to host you at one of our Maui Oceanview Condos soon!

Final picture of the view from our Kihei Surfside lanai
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Lunch at Ami Ami

Prior to Covid our family frequently ate out for lunch or dinner to celebrate special occasions. Covid has changed that, but this past week we had cause for celebration and I insisted. After much deliberation, we agreed to try ‘Ami Ami’ for lunch.

Ami Ami is located along South Kihei Road and is part of the Maui Coast Hotel complex. It is part of the Cafe o Lei family of restaurants (Cafe o Lei in Kihei, The Dunes at Maui Lani in Kahului and Ami Ami in Kihei). I’ve always admired the dining room from the road while walking or driving past, but they didn’t used to be open for lunch. On Maui the cost of dinner is almost always more than the cost of a similar meal for lunch. We have though frequently had dinner at the Kamaole Poolside Cafe behind Ami Ami, pre-Covid that is. The two locations share a kitchen, and the poolside cafe has live music in the evening (and cats).

Our lunch was fantastic. The menu has some similarities to that of Cafe o Lei. The boys enjoyed the burgers, Sig had the fish special and I found a poke bowl on the menu! Yum!

Sig’s lunch special – panko crusted ono
my tuna poke bowl with sriracha – delicious

Of course there are Covid rules. There very few tables and chairs set up, all appropriately spaced out. Hand sanitizer both at the host desk and bar. The wait staff all wore masks, and yes, you wear a mask at any time NOT seated at a table. They also took my name and phone number for contact tracing purposes.

What other restaurants were we considering?

In an ideal world, we would have gone to Gannons. However, Gannons is still closed. We hope one day soon that will change.

Mulligans on the Blue was a serious contender for an early dinner to enjoy sunset. And I was favoring the Maui Brewing Company for happy hour. Both solid choices.

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Hawaii’s Grand Reopening

Can you believe it – after nearly 7 months of Covid, our politicians are going ahead with Hawaii’s grand reopening! Kinda. Sorta.

Nearly a month ago the Governor announced October 15, 2020 as the official date when travelers can take a pre-travel Covid test to avoid the mandatory 14 day quarantine. Then a few weeks later the individual County mayors piped up with their own ideas. Nothing like waiting until last minute to add more confusion to the mess.

The long and short of it is, many of Hawaii’s residents are worried about the reopening. Those not personally affected by the disappearance of tourism would rather just keep things as they are and wait out the pandemic. Maui and Kauai are offering voluntary secondary Covid tests to be taken 3 days after arrival. There are additional rules for inter-island travel.

EVERYTHING IS STILL IN FLUX. PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THE STATE’S RULES REPEATEDLY IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO YOUR ARRIVAL TO ENSURE YOU HAVE THE UPDATED INFORMATION.

Maui’s economy thanks our politicians. Kinda. We could have done without the added drama.

Hawaii's grand reopening
Kahului airport – where is everyone?

How will this reopening work?

Great question. The mandatory 14 day quarantine will continue for all who do not take a pre-travel Covid test.

  1. Please purchase a trip cancellation insurance policy which covers Covid-19 cancellations.
  2. Read up on the Hawaii Travel Covid website for much more information including frequently asked questions.
  3. All travelers will need to sign up on the Safe Travels website/app prior to travel.
  4. Figure out where and how to take your pre-travel Covid test at your expense. Note you need to take this test within 72 hours of your scheduled flight (or the scheduled last leg of your flight to Hawaii). The State of Hawaii requires very specific tests (make sure you get the right one) and you will want your results back PRIOR to arriving on Maui. All traveling in your group will need to take the test including children 5+ years old.
  5. Upload your negative test results to the Safe Travels website/app.
  6. Keep a copy of your results on hand to provide to your condo/hotel provider. The rental car people may need them also (they are currently not able to rent to those in quarantine, so you will need proof of test results).
  7. If you are staying at one of our Maui Oceanview Condos, you will not be able to stay in our condos should you or anyone in your travel group have a POSITIVE test. Again, as noted in all of your rental agreements, PLEASE PURCHASE CANCELLATION INSURANCE. We can be fined if one of our guests break their quarantine. We are not able to take that risk.

Please note, everything has been changing frequently. If you have an upcoming trip, please keep a close eye on the official government websites for changes.

Hawaii's Grand Reopening
the current pre-travel flow chart

What can you expect on Maui?

Hawaii's grand reopening
Welcome to Maui

As with everywhere, Maui also has Covid rules. Here are some of the highlights. Read here for much more detail.

  • Indoor/outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted.
  • Everyone must wear face coverings/masks when away from your place of residence. All ages 5 and up must wear masks with exception of when swimming or when engaging in strenuous physical activity (with proper social distancing). Note, to date enforcement has been rather lax. We expect with the arrival of more visitors, enforcement will pick up. Hey – this is your chance to add some Hawaii-themed face masks to your collection.
  • People who are sick are to stay in their residences except to seek medical help.
  • Try to maintain social distancing of 6 feet from those not within your immediate group.
  • As of right now, if traveling inter-island (except to Oahu), you will need to quarantine on that island for 14 days. The Governor and mayors are hoping to have a pre-travel test option, but this is NOT confirmed at this time.

Many shops and restaurants have shuttered in the past 7 months, some temporarily, some permanently. Some are on limited hours, while others are waiting to reopen once tourism restarts. We are all waiting for Hawaii’s Grand Reopening. Yes, we are a little worried but also very relieved.

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How can I get a pre-travel Covid test?

As you may know, Governor Ige recently announced that starting October 15 travelers can avoid mandatory quarantine by taking a pre-travel Covid test up to 72 hours prior to arrival. This sounds great, until you start thinking about how to get that test.

In the past few days United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have stepped up and announced they will be offering pre-travel tests for a fee. Of course, we will need to see if the tests meet the State of Hawaii’s guidelines, but I would certainly hope they do. Airlines have been suffering severe financial losses throughout this Covid period. It seems to me they would be highly motivated to get people flying again. Hopefully we will be seeing more of these announcements in coming days.

Oakland airport (California) announced yesterday they will be offering FREE rapid tests to Hawaii travelers – more details to come. Free. Really? Free?

I am hopeful in the next few weeks we will see more airlines and airports come up with pre-travel test options to simplify the process for Hawaii-bound travelers. I also hope the cost of the tests comes down (although free would be best, of course).

How are bookings going?

In the past month or two we had lost most of our fall and Christmas bookings due to the uncertainty of when the State would reopen, health concerns, financial difficulties, job losses etc.

Enjoying our beach walk

Since the October 15th reopening announcement we have been taking a few bookings and our schedules have been filling up again. No worries, if you are still thinking of a fall Maui trip, we still have some openings. In fact, we have a sale! 20% off all bookings of one week or longer between now and February 2021. And for fall we also have a monthly discount (Christmas excluded). Please send me an inquiry or give me a call and I’d be happy to give you more information!

We can’t wait to welcome visitors back to our condos!

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Sports are back!

If you love sports, I assume you’ve been enjoying the NHL Stanley cup playoffs, basketball, baseball and the now restarted NFL season. We were of course cheering for the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley cup playoffs. Sadly they are out, but it sure was fun to watch hockey again. It is really strange to watch games without fans and with piped in cheering.

Thankfully Hawaii’s Covid numbers are improving again. Maui’s numbers are steady at 0-5 cases/day after the earlier spike among staff at Maui Memorial Hospital. We are thankful.

As a result, things are starting to loosen up again and guess what – Maui sports are back! Kinda. Covid-style.

Public tennis courts reopened a few months ago, but not for group lessons. The tennis courts are our Kamaole Sands and Maui Kamaole condos are open, but with restrictions.

Soccer has resumed, but for practices only. There are no games – which means that our weekends belong to us! No soccer tournaments (I know I should display less enthusiasm, but those of you who know, know).

Kids’ hockey practices resumed this past month and last week the rec/adult hockey league jumped through enough hoops to be allowed to have practice/scrimmage time. There are of course a lot of extra rules and there is a lot of cleaning involved, but – yeah after 6 months #HockeyNightInKihei is back!

sports
the rink, with a sand dune between the ocean and South Kihei Road

Last night I went to watch one of our kids play a scrimmage at Kihei’s oceanfront inline hockey rink in Kalama Park. Actually it is Maui’s only skate rink and it is open air. Pre-Covid the rec league and adult league games were always played at night. Now that per County rules they have to be out of the park by 7pm, rec league practice is late afternoon Friday afternoons. This conveniently coincides with sunset.

Here are a few pictures from last night. I wasn’t allowed into the bleachers area (for sanitation reasons), but I had rink-side standing room next to the fence! It was fun watching my goalie son in action again. And it’s really nice to see the familiar faces and visit with hockey acquaintances again. We’ve been part of this tight-knit community for eight years now. Love the Maui Inline Hockey Association!

sports
hockey is played on inline skates and in board shorts
sports
ready for action
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Pre-travel testing News!

We got some good news today! The State of Hawaii is rolling out it’s pre-travel testing program which would allow visitors to avoid the mandatory 14 day quarantine.

Don’t get too excited too quickly. There are still many things to figure out – but at least there is a plan! I’m telling you, as a vacation rental owner, it’s been pretty bleak the past six months. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

morning

Please read all about it here at Hawaii News Now and if you are planning a trip to Hawaii, please do keep a close eye on the news for further announcements.

So far I see a few problems:

  • You have to be able to get pre-travel testing 72 hours before travel (I’m told often you need to be showing symptoms to get a test).
  • You need to get your negative test results back prior to your trip (this also could be a problem).
  • If you don’t get your test results back on time, you will need to quarantine upon arrival until you get your negative test results.
  • Per County of Maui rules, you cannot at this time quarantine in a vacation rental but would need to stay in accommodation on the ‘approved list’.

Here is a pre-travel testing flow chart issued by the State of Hawaii that shows some answers.

Also, check the Frequently Asked Questions on the State of Hawaii’s Covid page for many answers.

Let’s wait a little and see what else the State comes up with. I for one am encouraged – at least they are finally talking about having a plan…. six months after the pandemic shut down Hawaii tourism.

Is this the answer to Hawaii’s economic woes?

No, let’s face it. I don’t see visitors streaming back en masse with the current Covid uncertainty. However, at least those who want to travel will have an easier time doing it. I foresee visitors taking advantage of discounted prices to stay for longer periods of time and working remotely (hottest travel trend?).

What about our Canadian visitors?

Good question. At this time the Canadian government has not eased their 14 day mandatory quarantine requirements for travelers returning to Canada. (Trust me, I am watching for this – I would love to go visit family again).

Sig went to Costco today and look what he found…. while not Canadians per se, he did buy some Canadian bell peppers.

pre-travel testing
it may not be you, but Canadian bell peppers have made it to Hawaii!
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