Tag: Sugar Beach 104

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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New art work at Sugar Beach!

This summer we replaced the cal king bed and mattress at our Sugar Beach condo. It is so nice… I also have new art work, but to hang pictures I needed someone with a concrete drill…

Yesterday we finally got those new pictures hung. Looking beautiful. I love these prints by local artist Rachel Ray. I bought them at my friend’s store, Maui Memories at Wailea Gateway Center (below the Monkeypod Restaurant). She carries Rachel Ray’s prints in different sizes, and even as greeting cards! Why send a Hallmark card when you can send a beautiful unique Maui card?
our Sugar Beach condo bedroom with new furniture and art

sweet dreams!
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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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Hooray our Sugar Beach condo is back in business!

We are so excited! After some work these past few months our Sugar Beach condo is ready for our next guests! Besides some unglamorous landlord stuff, we have also added a beautiful new cal king bed frame and as an added bonus, a brand new Serta Perfect Sleeper Highfield Plush mattress! It’s not super-plush, but more a middle-of-the-road firmness. I must admit, I really enjoyed test-sleeping it in the mattress store!

We hope you enjoy your stay!

sweet dreams!
a picture of the mattress before encasing it in the mattress protector
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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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Webcam – what’s it looking like on Maui?

Check out the Sugar Beach Resort webcam for a nice oceanview – just looking at it now, I see three people walking along the beach…. it looks so peaceful, why am I sitting at my computer instead of walking the beach myself?

Are you looking for a vacation getaway this summer? Check out our ground floor condo at Sugar Beach! It is nicely renovated with a fully stocked kitchen, sleeps up to four guests, perfectly located for a week of relaxation (great massage place on site) or as a base for your daily adventures! The oceanfront pool is our kids’ favorite! It’s a heated saltwater pool with a gorgeous view of the ocean. Meet other vacationers and some owners in the big hot tub, perfect place to swap stories and get recommendations for things to do, restaurants to try etc.

Mention this blog entry and get a 10% rent discount on a new booking for a stay at our Sugar Beach condo #104 in July-September 2014.


early evening at Sugar Beach Resort
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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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