Maui, Hawaii

Tag: Maui Kamaole I-103

Stay-cation Research trip

Our family went on a little stay-cation this past summer. We drove an hour to west Maui where we had rented a beautiful 2 bedroom condo at the Honua Kai at the end of Ka’anapali. Call it a research trip. This is a five year old building, condos renting at double what our nicest condo at Palms at Wailea rents for (and that in off-season). Sig has drooled over this building for the past year, and I finally insisted we needed to stay there before we got too serious.

the beautiful condo we rented on VRBO at the Honua Kai

From the moment we walked in the door, Sig was walking around, looking at finishings, details, appliances, ‘what do they have that we are missing?’ etc. I was trying to get all the frozen items from our cooler into the freezer, as he was pulling me away to read a label (the type was too small), or ‘check this out!’ Within the first minute upon arrival I realized this trip was going to be a write-off. Condo research supreme. And you know what, that’s fine. They had nice pools for the kids, our condo had a stellar view, and since Sig can’t relax or just sit, he might as well do something for the condos.

So yes, this condo has some beautiful features. And we’ve taken pictures, made notes and will consider if and how we can incorporate some of them in our properties.

our late afternoon view was gorgeous

It also is missing some key things.

Like hooks or a drying rack. As a family of five, we came back from the pools/beach and had no place to hang our wet swim suits and beach towels. You are not allowed to hang them on the lanai (thankfully, it would look incredibly tacky to see everyone else’s beach gear on the lanais), but there are no hooks and too few towel rods in the bathrooms. So we put them in the dryer, which took 2 1/2 hours to dry four towels – it was a fancy condensation dryer since the building does not have proper dryer ventilation. Wow – I groaned inwardly at the thought of the owner’s power bill.

But Cara, what about at your condos, you ask? Our condos have either retractable hotel-style laundry lines in the bathtubs (perfect for hanging dripping swim wear) or collapsible clothes racks (or both). Please be considerate when using them indoors and set them up on tiled areas only (not carpets or laminate flooring).

Looking back from our condo into the courtyard.
This is definitely apartment living with little privacy

We loved the condo, but what would have made it perfect? Something to do in down-time, when you’re taking a break from the beach/pool. Like DVDs, or books, a stereo or some games.

We loved having a restaurant (Duke’s) on site, and having a convenience store and gym in the building were definite perks.

Parking was complicated (in the basement parkade of the other tower) and there was a daily charge for parking (our condos have parking closeby and it’s free). And instead of keyless entry (which our condos have), we had hotel-style cards to enter the building and our condo. A bit of a nuisance and an extra thing to forget.

All in all, it was fun to get away and be a tourist, even if it’s just an hour’s drive away. But, it is an hour’s drive away from South Maui. And while we loved the complex, we have after much consideration decided not to purchase at this property.

Many of our guests appreciate our being hands-on owners, just a short drive away from our properties, able to help when needed. A one hour drive (and that’s without traffic delays) is a little far away to be hands-on.

Ah well. If you are looking for a place on the west-side and have money to spend, do check it out. It was wonderful. If you like a little more privacy, less busy-ness at more reasonable rates, do check out our condos.

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Great Air Canada deals!

Book by December 29th and get 15% off bookings on flights to and from the US with Air Canada. Use promotion code GIFT2014. I just looked up some spring break flights – $506 Canadian return, all in, from Vancouver to Maui in March. That is a crazy good deal!

Incidentally I have a few March dates available at our condos.

Palms at Wailea #503 March 4-15 (8 night minimum stay)

Sugar Beach #104 March 21-April 1

Maui Kamaole I-103 March 25-31

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happy FOUR year anniversary to us!

Wednesday marks four years since we closed escrow on both our Sugar Beach #104 and Kihei Surfside #405 condos. I can’t believe it’s been four years! Within the following four months we also closed on our Maui Kamaole I-103 and Palms at Wailea 503 condos.

As many of you know, we used to be dairy farmers in Chilliwack BC, Canada. Never heard of Chilliwack? It’s an 80,000 person town with a lot of agriculture (dairy, chickens, nursery trees, blueberries etc) along the TransCanada highway, just 5 miles away from the US/Canada border (1 1/2 hour drive east of Vancouver).

our old farm back in Chilliwack!

After doing much paperwork, obtaining green cards and selling our farm, we moved to sunny Kihei where we had discovered Sig was free from his Reynaud’s symptoms. The question became – okay, now that we’re here, now what? You can’t just move to a vacation destination and be on permanent vacation? We needed an income and something to keep us busy!

Sig has for years had a love affair with real estate. His uncle in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) owns rental apartments and taught Sig the value of owning real estate. For years every time we came to Maui Sig would check out vacation rental open houses, researching, talking and dreaming about buying one. But the timing and the market was not right. As we stayed in vacation rentals, we talked about what we would do differently, the many pros and cons to owning a vacation rental property. What – there are cons? Sure there are – how about this one: we are letting complete strangers stay in our rather expensive condos, hoping that they don’t trash the place! So far so lucky (thank you!!!)

When we moved here, this was our chance to get into the business! We had a few objectives:

  • buy ocean view condos (after all, our website says Maui Oceanview Condos)
  • provide renters with a better product than the competition
  • pay the bills and, better yet, make a modest living off the condos

How did we do with our objectives? All four of our condos have an ocean view, Kihei Surfside is a direct ocean front property (oh my goodness, what a view), while Maui Kamaole and Palms at Wailea present an ocean view from a distance. Our Sugar Beach condo is on an ocean front property with a sliver of an ocean view.

walking the 5 mile beach past our Sugar Beach condo

How about providing renters with a better product? We had noticed that having an absentee landlord often means little maintenance and poor cleaning. Have I ever mentioned my husband is a perfectionist? He has a rigorous maintenance program, in fact he has a spreadsheet of all the tasks that need doing monthly/quarterly/semi-annually and follows through with them. We also listen to guest and cleaner comments and personally check the condos, fixing and replacing items as soon as we notice.

Our cleaner Cindy is fantastic. She is incredibly detail-oriented and it shows! Our reviews and guest book entries have a recurring theme: “the condo was so clean!” Why would guests comment on cleanliness? Is this not something that is expected? Well, yes, I would expect a vacation rental condo to be thoroughly cleaned, but sadly that is often not the case. We are very thankful for Cindy and her crew.

I love the beautiful Mediterranean look of Palms at Wailea

How about paying those bills? Well, so far the condos are paying for themselves and yes, providing us with a modest living.

What has been the biggest surprise? For me it has been how much I am enjoying this job. In fact, I love my job. I get to deal with happy people! Think of it – people are planning their vacation! Typically this is an exciting and fun-filled time for them. They are happy when they come, and almost always leave happy. Yes, we’ve had a few cases where things went wrong – such as when the A/C failed or the freezer failed. Thankfully our guests were gracious as we scrambled to fix things. Being on-island landlords has given us the opportunity to jump into action rather than relying on property managers to do the work for us. As I always tell our guests: “we are just a 5-10 minute drive away from the condo. Let us know if there’s a problem and we will deal with it!”

Would we do it again? What would you say if I told you Sig is eyeing another property? Well, it’s somewhere in the future, but for now, it would appear we are in this for the long haul!

gorgeous Keawakapu beach – within walking distance
of our Kihei Surfside, Palms at Wailea and Maui Kamaole condos

To all our wonderful guests and repeat guests who have stayed in our condos the first four years – a big thank you to you! Thank you for booking our condos, trusting us with your vacations, and taking such good care of our condos. As a side note – in the first four years we have not once had to withhold the refundable security deposit, refunding it within a week or two of every guest’s check-out. A big mahalo for that!

Here’s to a fantastic fifth year of vacation renting!

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September deals

gorgeous plumeria blooms

Now that I’ve flown with Alaska Air  (good experience), they figure they need to send me all sorts of specials emails. This morning’s is advertising as low as $398 return flights from San Jose to Kahului in September (Portland prices just a little more for similar dates). That price is of course only for certain dates. But I thought hey – maybe someone is planning a Maui trip!

September is traditionally a slow month on Maui as people enjoy the last days of summer, the beginning of the school year etc back home. From a traveler’s perspective, this is the perfect time of year to check out Maui! Few lineups, no crowds, dinners without reservations, deals on flights and condos… I also still have some availability at our Sugar Beach, Maui Kamaole and Palms at Wailea condos (and sales). Check it out!

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What is a Cal King bed?

I’m mattress shopping today. Our Sugar Beach condo is getting a new mattress! All four of our condos have California (Cal) king beds, and quite frankly, I didn’t know what that meant specifically. I assumed a Cal king bed was larger than a regular king bed, and I did know not to buy regular king sheets for my Cal king beds.

The super comfy BeautyRest Cal King at our Palms at Wailea condo

Today I learned a little trivia.

A regular (‘Eastern’) king bed is 16 inches wider than a queen bed. It is the same length as a queen bed (dimensions 76×80 inches). A Cal King bed is only 12 inches wider than a queen bed, but instead it is 4 inches longer than a queen bed (dimensions 72×84 inches). I personally like the longer mattress, as my feet hang off the end of a regular king/queen mattress (but not with a Cal king). Here is a handy chart with all North American mattress sizes.

we get many compliments on our comfy Cal king bed at our Kihei Surfside condo

My friendly sales man had more trivia for me (I’m not sure about the accuracy, but it’s a good story). In the ’70s water beds were quite popular. However, they weren’t popular with landlords who started forbidding water beds (I imagine because of water leaks). So, according to my sales man, the water bed manufacturers got together with the mattress manufacturers and asked if they would consider making a mattress to fit in a water bed frame. The mattress companies did, and the end result was a new mattress size with the Cal king dimensions, and water bed owners didn’t have to replace their bed frames but could just buy the new mattress. Again, as per my sales man, they sold a lot of these Cal king mattresses in California, and so that’s how the name was born.

So now you know!

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Continuing education for your condo owner!

Wednesday was continuing education day for me. I sit on two Boards of Directors – at both our Maui Kamaole and Kihei Surfside complexes. They like to send us board members to seminars, this week’s was on Disaster Preparedness. It sure was a good one!

Assistant Fire Chief, Maui Civil Defense Emergency Mgmt Officer, Kihei Police Captain

Did you know, there are four different natural disasters we plan for on Maui:
earthquakes/tsunamis, tropical cyclones (hurricanes), flooding and wildfires.

After sitting through this session I am happy to report that it sounds like the County has good plans in place in case of disaster. Each of the properties our condos are located in has its own disaster preparedness plan which varies depending on whether the property is located within the flood zone (Sugar Beach and Kihei Surfside are, Palms at Wailea and Maui Kamaole are not). I also have a plan for our condos, which involves calling our guests and telling them what to expect. Thank goodness in almost all instances (with exception of a local earthquake) we have time to prepare (from a few hours to days). I am now in the process of putting together an information sheet to place in each of our condos.

The two most important things to remember – don’t panic and use common sense.

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New lanai furniture at our Maui Kamaole condo!

What happens to lanai (patio) furniture when exposed to Maui’s warm salty breeze? It will eventually rust. Our 4 year old lanai dining set at our Maui Kamaole condo did just that in the past few months. You would not believe how difficult it can be to find lanai furniture on Maui in the winter. I am told ‘it is not ‘in season’? Apparently people don’t sit on lanais in the winter months? Perhaps temperatures in the low 80s are considered too cool for lanai entertainment? (I am being facetious!!) More likely it’s because on the US mainland it’s too cool for outdoor entertainment, so the big box stores and wholesalers just don’t order/ship patio furniture.

Our beautiful private lanai, ready for your enjoyment!

A few weeks ago, I got lucky! One of the furniture stores had a beautiful light-weight aluminum patio table set in their show room! The best part – it was already assembled (and we were able to fit it into our truck)! As I am the furniture assembly person in our family, this made me doubly excited!

Last week, Sig and I delivered it to the condo and set it up on our private lanai. We also found a new home for the old lanai dining set – the landscapers for the beautiful Maui Kamaole grounds happily took it off our hands.

So, if you have a trip booked at our beautiful oceanview one bedroom two bathroom Maui Kamaole condo – enjoy the new lanai furniture! If you don’t have a trip booked, check out our calendar – we’d love to have you!

I do still have the last two weeks of May open – book at our Spring Special rates, $155/night plus cleaning and tax (works out to $1355.33 for a 7 night stay). **New bookings only for stays in May 2014.

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Tips for Traveling Green on Maui

This morning I received an email from TravelGuard with tips for traveling green. While I can’t find where it is posted online, here are a few that I liked and have partially expanded on:

Fly non-stop. Not only is it more convenient, but airplanes burn the most fuel at take-off (see, there’s a more altruistic reason to pay a little extra for that direct flight! You’re welcome).

Stay in green accommodations. What a great idea! Though our condos are not specifically labelled ‘green’, we do, where possible, make an effort to be more environmentally friendly. Our condos are all equipped with LED light bulbs. When necessary, appliances and TVs are replaced with energy-star counterparts. We have tinted windows which helps reduce heat inside the condo. And all condos have recycling stations (though the Palms at Wailea station is limited). The recycling depot is just off the Piilani Hwy across from Hope Chapel.

Reduce your laundry by staying in a condo. Instead of providing you with daily housekeeping and linen switching which you would find at a hotel, our condos are equipped with washers and dryers, allowing you to do laundry as necessary (we do provide you with an extra set of linens in the closet). Not washing the linens on a daily basis saves energy and water but also saves our high quality linens and towels the extra wear and tear.

Save energy. We know it can be warm and sometimes a bit humid here on Maui, and so three of our condos are equipped with new energy-efficient A/Cs, and all of the condos with ceiling fans. However, 90% of Maui’s electricity is generated with diesel. Please turn the A/Cs and fans off when leaving the condo and pull the curtains to block the sun’s rays. It’s amazing how quickly the condo does cool off when you turn them back on upon your return.

On the energy note, our Sugar Beach and Kihei Surfside condos both have photo-voltaic panels on the roof, harnessing the sun’s energy and reducing our reliance on diesel. In low season, these PV panels generate up to 80% of the electricity used at Kihei Surfside’s 84 condos (in high season it’s more like 50% – these numbers depend on occupancy, the sun’s position in the sky, and also available roof space – we wish we could get to 100%!). As condo owners we are proud to be doing our part to reduce diesel consumption on Maui.

in the forefront, Kihei Surfside with its photo-voltaic panels on the roof. What a great place to stay!

Shop local. Visit local farmers’ markets or eat at restaurants that use local ingredients – you’ll reduce the carbon footprint AND support local farmers. You’d be surprised at the variety of food grown here on Maui! Also, buy souvenirs that have been made locally (rather than elsewhere such as Asia).

Volunteer. What a great way to give back to the community by making a difference in other peoples’ lives. Where can you volunteer on Maui? You can try the Pacific Whale Foundation, the Maui Humane Society, Haleakala National Park. Do you love kids? How about checking with one of the local schools (Kamalii Elementary School, Kihei Elementary School, Lokelani Middle School) if they need a volunteer to help struggling readers (the school would require a background check and TB clearance). Help feed some of Maui’s homeless at Halekaukau (at St Theresa’s Church in Kihei). Let me know if you hear of any good volunteer opportunities and I’ll post them here.

Most of all, enjoy yourself. You have worked hard throughout the year for this vacation!

Here are some more ideas for responsible, sustainable travel from TravelGuard’s website.

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We are having a spring sale on Maui Oceanview Condos!

Are you looking for a spring getaway? We still have April and May openings at our two larger condos.

beautiful Keawakapu beach – you can even build sand ‘snowmen’ if you miss winter that much!

Our Palms at Wailea condo is a beautifully renovated oceanview condo in Maui’s prestigious master-planned Wailea community (South Maui). This is a two bedroom, two bathroom condo, ground floor with an oceanview. Enjoy the private bbq on the lanai or treat yourself to dining at some of Wailea and Kihei’s wonderful restaurants. The complex is quiet and about a 7 minute walk to beautiful Keawakapu Beach, known for its gorgeous sand and great snorkeling! Sleeps 4 guests. $200/night plus cleaning and taxes (5 night minimum) for new bookings for available dates in April and May 2014.

Our Maui Kamaole condo is a nicely renovated oceanview condo in South Kihei, a 3 minute walk from Kamaole III beach park, 7 minute walk to Keawakapu beach. You are in walking distance to numerous restaurants, ice cream and shave ice stores. Enjoy the beautiful park setting of this property, two pools and plenty of bbqs. This is a one bedroom two bathroom condo with a unique queen-sized Murphy bed in the living room. Sleeps 4 guests. $155/night plus cleaning and taxes (5 night minimum) for new bookings for available dates in May 2014.

Please contact us for more information!

How about waking up to this in the morning?
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