Maui, Hawaii

Tag: Palms at Wailea 503

Costco, Canadians and bank cards

For those of you who don’t know, Costco is a wholesale warehouse store where you can buy everything from food to books to appliances to tires. Many of the items they sell are in large quantities (bulk). If you have never heard of Costco or don’t have a membership, don’t worry about it. It is probably not worth your while to get a membership just for your Maui trip.

But for those who do…. I recently stood in line behind some Canadian tourists. As you know Costco only takes American Express, debit (bank) card or cash for payment. These Canadians were using their bank card to pay… except that the system wouldn’t accept it. They had an HSBC bank card. The cashier told me that while most bank cards are accepted, there are a few Canadian ones that aren’t. You may want to check that before getting in line or have cash, ‘just in case’.
Thankfully for them there is an ATM next to the service desk where they were able to use the very same HSBC card to withdraw cash from their account.

Please note, unlike Canadian Costco, US Costco has NOT switched to Mastercard. You cannot use Mastercard at American Costco stores.

Why does this always happen to me at Costco? Okay, to be fair, the dishes are for our Palms at Wailea condo, the king pillows are to replace some pillows at condos that may be getting a little flat. But still – I never seem to be able to leave Costco without a $400-$500 bill! But it’s all a really good price, so it must be ok, right? 🙂
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What’s being built in Wailea?

If you’ve been in Wailea, you’ll see some construction! What are they up to? I just received the Wailea Community Association’s newsletter…. here’s the scoop….

The Shops at Wailea are expanding! A new Island Country Market (Wailea’s version of a grocery store) is being built at the top of the ‘north’ parking lot. Currently the closest grocery store is Foodland in Kihei. They expect it to be completed late spring 2015.

The Wailea Residence Inn is under construction. This is a Marriott property and is located at the Northwest Corner of Wailea Ike Drive and Wailea Ekolu Place.

The Wailea Blue Course renovations are almost complete. The clubhouse and pro shop will be relocating back to its original site location, just above the Shops at Wailea with Manoli’s being the 19th hole. The new proshop is slated to open soon.

Two additional subdivisions have been approved – one next to the Wailea Gateway Center, another at the northeast corner of Wailea Alanui and Kaukahi Street. They may (or may not) begin later in 2015.

So how does this construction affect your condo at Palms at Wailea? Not at all. It isn’t anywhere near our condo.

I love this pool at the peaceful Palms at Wailea
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You could be shoveling snow! Or not!

Looking for that perfect Christmas gift? Or maybe just wanting to get away from the crazy hustle-and-bustle of December?

I still have two 2014 openings at our lovely two bedroom two bathroom Palms at Wailea condo!

November 30th – December 6th – some happy Albertans are coming to warm up a little and work on their tans!

December 13th – December 20th – ALREADY TAKEN by some Vancouverites getting away from the rain! Hooray!

Priced at $199/night plus cleaning and tax with a three night minimum. The condo sleeps four guests.

This condo is 1300 sq ft large with a wonderful wrap-around lanai (adding another 450 sq ft of living space) that steps down onto a large open lawn. Enjoy an ocean view and lots of privacy!

part of the wrap-around lanai which includes – yes – your own private bbq.
Imagine grilling that freshly caught fish from your deep-sea fishing adventure
(or purchased at Eskimo Candy in Kihei)!

The condo has a fully equipped kitchen, luxuriously plush carpet (that we shampoo quarterly or as needed), an incredibly comfy Cal-king bed in the master bedroom and two twin beds in the second bedroom. Two bathrooms, full-sized washer and dryer, beach chairs, boogie boards, a cooler…. You are a ten minute walk (or one minute drive) from Keawakapu beach which has great snorkeling and stellar sunsets.

beautiful Keawakapu beach

Just think – you could be shoveling snow! Or not. Give me a call at 808-281-7934 or send me an email for more information!

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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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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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Possible Tsunami following the 8.2 Chile earthquake

As you may have seen in the news, Chile had a big earthquake a few hours ago. Experts at the Pacific Tsunami Warnings Center are currently evaluating to see if Hawaii is to expect a tsunami sometime early morning on April 2nd. Please check the local news for up-to-date information.

This is a good time to review what to expect in case of a tsunami and what to do. A year ago I wrote this post on tsunami awareness. I thought this is a good time to refresh our memories…

April is Tsunami Awareness Month

April is Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii. The likelihood of there being a tsunami while you are on holiday is very slim, and yet, it’s a good idea to know what to expect.

Tsunamis are caused by displacement of ocean water, usually by earthquakes. There are two types of tsunamis – those caused by a local earthquake and those caused by earthquakes far away.

If it is a local earthquake and you are at the beach, there will be little time for warning. Here are the signs to look for:

  • sudden pulling back of the water
  • earth moving for at least 20 seconds, possibly knocking people to the ground
  • hearing the ocean roar

If you experience any of these while at the beach, you should move away from the beach to at least 100 feet above sea level (one mile inland or in a pinch at least to the fourth floor of an apartment building). If it is a local earthquake, the tsunami waves could arrive within minutes.

If it is a far away earthquake, there will be more warning time. The NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tracks all earthquakes and monitors their DART buoys for possible tsunamis. Should there be a tsunami headed our way, they issue alerts via local media (radio, local TV stations etc). You can find warnings on facebook and twitter (try hashtag #hitsunami).

The most obvious warning will come from the tsunami sirens located wherever there is danger of flooding (if you are in a remote location, there may not be a siren). When there is a tsunami warning, these will start wailing (steady three minute tone), fortunately not non-stop but at regular intervals (note: there is amonthly emergency systems test the first day of every month at 11:45 – don’t panic!) If the sirens start wailing, listen to the local news and follow their directions. Warnings will always tell you when the first tidal wave is expected to arrive. Please listen to these warnings and obey them.

How do you know if you are in an evacuation area? Here are two evacuation maps for Kihei/Wailea, you can also look on the County of Maui website in the phone book (we have them in all our condos). If you are staying in our Kihei Surfside and Sugar Beach condos, you are in the evacuation area. If you are staying at our Maui Kamaole or Palms at Wailea condo, you are NOT in the evacuation zone (you do not need to evacuate).

If you need to evacuate:

  • pack your valuables and documents.
  • pack food and drink, a flashlight and blanket. Bring some beach chairs along too, evacuations can take a while.
  • close windows and lock the condo behind you.
  • head out of the evacuation zone. There are churches (Kihei Lutheran and Hope Chapel) along the Piilani Hwy that open their parking lots to those who need to evacuate. I’ve also been told the Safeway parking lot becomes a town party. County shelters don’t open until after a tsunami has occurred.
  • do not return into the evacuation area until officials give the go-ahead. Remember, it isn’t just one tidal wave, they come in sets for several hours. If there is damage, it may not be safe to go back – so please wait.

If you are not in the evacuation zone:

  • avoid unnecessary driving (the roads get really clogged).
  • make sure you have working flash lights (there is always the possibility of a power outage).
  • make sure you have lots of drinking water and also water to wash (clean and fill the bathtub for non-drinking water purposes).
  • listen to the local news – before the tsunami wave is expected to arrive, the County shuts down the sanitary sewer system. Avoid using the toilet once that happens – when the sanitary sewer is shut down, all sewer will go directly into the ocean.

    It will be very difficult to find local Maui specific tsunami information. Most of the news will be about Oahu (this is frustrating).

    Please do not put your life and that of others (who may have to save you) at risk by going to the beach to watch!

    Here is a great list of frequently asked questions from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

    Here is a cute and yet informational video from San Diego County explaining about tsunamis (use this link if it doesn’t load).

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