Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hanalei Beach house -- review

So several folks have asked me about the house, and I want to review it here. In thinking about this, I'm afraid it will come across as more negative than it should. There were some drawbacks to the house, but for the most part we really liked it, and I would recommend it to someone. Its just good to know some of the issues. They really are minor.

The house's website is here. Funny, I never took any pictures of it myself, so you have to go the site to see what it looks like. Not sure why I didn't take any...just didn't find the time somehow.

Anyways, first the good stuff...

The location was excellent. We loved being right on Hanalei Beach. It was a short walk down a path to the beach, so it was easy to go for a swim first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. We also liked stargazing on the beach, its quite dark and the sky was gorgeous. Its also close to town. Probably about a mile from the main road. One could walk it in 20 minutes, I imagine, although we didn't try. It was really hot and humid, and not nice walking weather. We never had trouble finding a parking place in the shopping plazas, so it was no problem to drive into Hanalei.

The master bedroom was very comfortable, and had high quality linens. The porch off of the master bedroom (on the upper level) had a nice view of the water and the pier. Bathrooms were fine, the master bath was actually quite spacious and had a big walk-in shower and a small tub. The outdoor shower was even better, as no one had ever put a flow restrictor on it, so we had much better water pressure outside.

Kitchen was small, but well equipped. We had everything we needed, even a coffee grinder (something or previous rentals were missing). There was a charcoal grill outside which we used often.

The house seemed very private, although I think if the main house on the lot were occupied, I might have felt differently. I believe the owners have a rental permit for the main house, which is directly between this smaller house and the beach, but I do not know if they rent it out. I believe they keep it for their own use, but they were not there when we were.

So what were the drawbacks? The first one is the noise. Okay, I knew about the feral chickens on Kauai. I knew there would be roosters early in the morning. its pretty bad though. But they weren't the bigger problem (although perhaps Todd will disagree with me). The house is very close to the road, and this road is just a few feet from the public boat access. Also there is a speed bump right out side the house. So in the wee hours of the morning, when the fisherman are driving in to put their boats in the water, they would hit that bump and it was VERY loud. That would wake up the roosters, who would start to crow. This could sometimes go on for hours, from about 3AM till 7AM, easy. It could be very hard to sleep at times. Now, we kept the windows open for the breezes. There was an air conditioner in the bedroom, and perhaps we could have shut the house up and used it. Certainly the noise was less with the windows closed. But it seemed much worse early in the week, and by mid week it bothered us less.

The second issue is the size. The house is really tiny. It was not practical to make this a 2 bedroom house, in my opinion. You'd be crazy to stay there with 4 people, even if your kids were pretty little. With just 2 of us, we were tripping over each other. There is nowhere to put stuff, so we used the 2nd bedroom for storage. There was not enough room to unpack our clothes, or put away our suitcases (the master closet is small, and thats where the single dresser is located, with not enough space for MY clothes, much less 2 persons). The living area has a big screen TV, but the seating is much too close for the size of the television. The seating is also uncomfortable for anyone taller than about 5'4". The only place to set up my laptop was at the dining table, and if I sat at the end of the table to work, one couldn't open the door to the house. get the's really very small. I think I would have been fine with it, if there was one comfortable place in the whole house to sit up and read a book...there wasn't, at least not for me.

One more thing, and this isn't really a problem so much as a slight disappointment. There is a lovely sitting area at the end of the beach path, with adirondack chairs, and shade from some palm trees. This really is a nice place to sit, and one can easily pull a chair down onto the beach. But the time I most expected to use this area is in the late afternoon. We generally sightsee during the day, and try to get home 3-4PM, so we have a couple of hours to relax before dinner. This is when I wanted to sit down there. Only the angle of the property, this time of year, means from about 3PM until the sun sets at 6:30, there is direct sun and glare through the trees on that spot, as well as on the upper porch on the house. It was too hot to sit there, and too much glare to use either spot as my reading spot. So we ended up not taking advantage of either of these features as much as I thought we would. I really thought those were the best spots in the house, so to be unable to use them at my favorite time of day was a bummer.

So like I said, overall we did like the house, but no it wasn't perfect. I might stay there again, but I'd probably look at other properties as well, I didn't fall in love with the place, as I had expected to.

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