Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Why renting a condo on Maui makes good sense (Video)

Cool condo rentals rock Maui

Patti Pietschmann with photos by Richard Pietschman

For the last five years or so my husband Richard and I have been renting vacation condos on Maui from Kaanapali to Kihei and loving all the conveniences such as huge savings on meals, privacy and price. (The video is of our favorite Mana Kai condo #215 which we recently bought a share in because we like it that much read on to see why).

Vacation condo rentals are booming on Maui where rates at top hotels (Four Seasons, Andaz, Fairmont Kea Lani, Grand Wailea) can bust the budgets especially for families. Restaurant prices seem to be increasing constantly costing sometimes $75 just for lunch (the tab at Cafe O'Lei in Kihei last month).  Condos come with kitchens which means you can fix your own meals and drinks (prices for wine ans cocktails except at happy hour are steep at bars) and save on  snacks. We do go out for meals occasionally. 

The first thing we do when we get off the plane in Maui is pick up a rental car and drive over to nearby Costco to stock up on  food, wine and booze (much cheaper there than in town (with a few exceptions). Fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, even prime beef cost much less than Maui supermarkets.

Three of the best condo rentals on Maui 
Beach at Mana Kai

Mana Kai,  which we fell in love with three years ago when we went with another couple (besties). The well-kept property sits smack on a spectacular beach and offers all the comforts of a hotel and much more. You can have maid service, or not. There's free WiFi, replenished beach towels, a large pool, 5 Palms Restaurant (with a great 6-hour-long happy hour), 2 bedroom units with lanais, barbecues on the grounds and free parking. 
Just downstairs from the units of Mana Kai

Kam Beach 

Happy hour food at 5 Palms

MagicalMaui sunset on Kamaole Beach

Chef Richard in condo kitchen 
Another favorite is MauiEldorado Kaanapali by Outrigger at the westernmost tip of the island. It is a short walk from what locals call Airport Beach, which is part of the renowned Kaanapali Beach but less crowded and usually with calmer seas. The ambiance is casual, laid-backed, really relaxed. There are no elevators, room service, mini bars and such. You can book maid service for an added fee or just rough it for a few days. There is a big beach cabana where guests get towels, take an after-swim shower and relax in chaises. If you don’t want to rent a car there’s a Kaanapali shuttle to take you to Lahaina and resort restaurants. You can also walk to the Sheraton Maui and Whaler’s Village (an upscale mall with shops and eateries such as Hula Grill). The Maui Eldorado has three swimming pools (2 heated). There is also an on-site sundry store and activity desk.

A very reasonably-priced condo option is Maui Banyan which comes with lots of amenities (beach towels, pool, bbq's,  WiFi, and more and is a short stroll to one of Kihei's best Kam Beaches as well as fun eateries such at Fred's, Moose's, 808 Bistro and Cafe O'Lei.

We just tried Hale Kamaole left) for the first time. This property is not far from Maui Banyan and has nice units with lanais. Our unit 311 had AC on a timer which was a little inconvenient. It also came with free fast WiFi. We didn't care for the plastic plates and lack of some cooking needs (coffee grinder, bread knife, rice cooker) but we bought our own at a yard sale, Thrift shop and Target. There is also a  well-used pool and barbecues.

Each of these properties have well landscaped grounds, full kitchens, linens and supplies, and can be rented directly or through Maui Condo and Car or VRBO. We have used both companies and been mostly satisfied. A perk of renting condos is they are often stocked with water toys, beach chairs, umbrellas, mats and games for your use. But do stock up on sunscreen.

Patti poses in front of Maui Banyan
 Eating a Fred's Kihei

Kihei, which is located on the south side of Maui, has a lot going for it. It's sightly off the tourist track, has a lively, non Wailea-pretentious vibe, great beaches and a feel good ambiance.