FAQs are curtesy of my property manager, Jim Dahlberg edited for our home by permission. Didnt see a need to reivent the wheel so to speak. You can see the original here: KonaComfort.com
A/C, No A/C, right - just ceiling fans?
There is no a/c, few homes in our area would install air conditioning because it is considered unnecessary. Another consideration is that you come to Hawaii to experience the whole Hawaii. Being closed in a room with air vents is not the same as having your windows open, getting fresh air and being able to listen to the birds and crickets outside. To each their own, but for a home that would be lived in like a local would live in it, this is authentic.
AIR TRAVEL, Here are some links to obtain air travel and car rentals.
You are in luck that the same person (Jim) that books you also can often find you value for your travel needs. Also, local attraction tickets call to discuss. Jim Dahlberg, land lines call toll free +1 (203)-998-KONA. For inter-island flights between the Hawaiian islands, the most locals seem to prefer Hawaiian airlines. Check Aloha Airlines for their latest deals. Go Airlines is the newest player on the block with cheap inter-island flights.AIRPORT, How far away are you from the airport? We used Google Maps for this.
ALII DRIVE, How far away are you from Alii Drive?
The popular Alii Drive is just stepsaway (Alii Drive is a long street so sort of depends on where) ” that area is more crowded and touristy, hotter and more humid. During most times of the day you would be about 10-15 minutes away.
Ants, bugs and critters? Anything to do about them?
Ants do come in waves and then they go again part of Island Life, I think associated with rains. If we used pesticides in the amounts enough to keep them totally out it would also kill the geckos. However, basically just being in the tropics as we are the colonies of ants come in pretty strong and then dwindle down to nothing on their own cycles and we tend to not pay much attention (we get used to them coming and then disappearing just as fast). Here on the Island, keeping foods up off the surface of the counter (like suspended over a barrier of water, or if something like a jar of honey put in the middle of a small bowl of water) or just put all foods away into the refrigerator (or tightly sealed container with a snap lid) that seems to work and just be a part of the routine here.
ARRIVAL and DEPARTURE DATES, How do I know my arrival and departure days?
Our normal check in is after 3PM on the day you arrive and our normal check out is before 10:00 AM on the day you depart. For example, if you want to stay Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu, you arrive on the first day you stay but you depart the day after the last night you stay (for this example you depart the morning of Friday). If you need to check in earlier you would need to book the prior day and if you need to check out later you would need to book the following day. The reason is that if other parties have arrivals the same day you depart or departures the same day you arrive we cannot get the space ready between guests if arrivals are early or departures are late. Please do not assume you can come in early or depart late we have people who book months in advance but we also have people who call and book for the next day or in some instances for the same afternoon!
BASE RATE, What is a base rate?
The home has a base rate which is for a set number of people for one night. We call it a base rate because the rate changes depending on the season. Our extra person charge is $35 a person a day but we would prefer that the maximum of twekve people stay. As one example: The home may have or had a base rate of $495 and that base rate is for twelve people. This does not include the local taxs and cleaning fee of $395. TA Tax @ 9.14%, the GE Tax @ 4.17%. We take the extra steps to send a complete and easy to understand invoice with the breakdowns so that everything is clear before you commit and you can ask questions. We include all the information you need to make your payment and secure your booking, and we do it the FIRST step not the third or fourth email or contact that.s how we would want to be treated and that’s how we treat our potential guests.
BEACH, How far? Can you recommend a beach that has showers where you can clean up?
Two to three minutes tops! If you go north along Ali'i Drive to White Sands Beach, AKA Magic Sands you can body surf and they have a nice outdoor shower next to the beach and as well a nice main bathroom with hot water showers on the location. The ocean water is nice and often you can swim out and swim with the dolphins. You can get more information here: White Sands Beach
BEACH, TOWELS, I know you furnish linens and towels, but are there towels for the beach? Should we bring some? The bathroom towels for the house are not beach sized. We do dprovide beach towels for the house. You can find them in every room or above the washer and dryer in the laundry room. Please return them after each use.
BUS FROM RENTAL?
You catch Ali'i Drive trolley. Kailua is naturally hilly and spread out. For the best experience renting a car would be advisable. Many of our roads do not have sidewalks. If you find lodging downtown you can walk but are restricted to the tourist section and would miss a great deal of what there is to see. We have scores of beaches, parks, independent shops but they are spread out and it would not be practical to walk back and forth. For those who arrive at the airport, there are car rental facilities right at the airport. For those who get to the rental, Enterprise Rent A Car will come to you with a rental if you use their service. You can find more information atthis website on transportiion: Big Island Transportation Options
BUSINESSES, Where do I look on-line for businesses and directions? Try the local on-line yellow pages, check out their maps as well: YellowPagesHawaii
CAMPING, PARK PERMITS (FOR OVERNIGHT STAYS)
We are thinking of staying at some camps in combination with staying at your vacation rental. Can you point me to information about how much it would cost, where they are? Any information would be really appreciated. Sure, we've had several guests who came from or went to parks where they would camp for a period of time. If you are geared to the outdoors it can certainly be an inexpensive way to spend your nights. There is another discussion on this FAQ about BEACH, Can you recommend a beach that has showers where you can clean up? ¯ which would compliment this topic, so check it out as well. Hawaii has done a good job of pulling a lot of information and giving you clickable links to learn and explore more about the many opportunities to camp overnight. Last time I visited the graphic (above) all the RED text you could click on and it would give important information such as the hours of the park and how much it would cost for a permit to stay after hours. So, just remember that our Kona Comfort Vacation house is in Kailua-Kona, and then go to the website and drill down the information: CLICK HERE to go to Big Island Beach Parks and Camping Information Site http://co.hawaii.hi.us/parks/parks.htm
CAR RENTAL, any hints on the best values for renting a car? You are in luck that the same person (Jim) that books you also can often find you value for your travel needs. Also, local attraction tickets call to discus. Jim Dahlberg, land lines call toll free +1 (203)-998-KONA. Want to explore for yourself? If you have AAA membership, a Costco wholesale card, an AARP card membership, AHEAD OF TIME check with those sources first. We have been told that travelocity.com is worth checking out.
Check out special travel packages at allabouthawaii.com. AHEAD of time checking the on-line reservations (try avis.com, budget.com) will always be a better way to go for the investment of a few clicks. For last minute walk-ups to the counter at the Kona Airport we have been told that Budget and Avis are reasonable. When I asked this question to a guest who frequently rented cars (often long term), this is what he had to say: The best deals Ive been able to find have come by asking for their cheapest 30 day rate and to tell them I am shopping rates.
Another guest had this to say about his experience. If you have the patience and time you can watch some of the sites as the rates go up and down. This particular guest used PriceLine (http://www.priceline.com ) and HotWire ( http://www.hotwire.com ) [in this case he said PriceLine was $100 less expensive] to get a car rental for $19 a day ” which is pretty good he said he saved over $60% by looking at these sites. He also said the last day he could not get the rate ” so nothing is perfect I guess. I do believe locking in your car rental ahead of time is a good idea. Last minutes can be very tricky they do not seem to have enough cars to go around when we have a lot of Island visitors. We have also been told if you ask: Sometimes if you get an economy car, You can get a free upgrade to the next car size. Now if you really want to pay for the extra gas consumption that is another consideration? ?
Recently I've been told Enterprise Car in town (not at the airport) has the deals. They are at 74-5583 Luhia Street, B-14 (808) 331-2509 I finally made my reservation for a car and I found out it is cheaper to rent from the Enterprise location in town rather than the one at the airport. For 1 month and 1 day stay it costs 758 total in town versus 862 at the airport for an intermediate (Corolla size) car. Of course you have to get from the airport to the in town location on your own. I wanted to let you know in case anyone else asked you about renting a car. Enterprise in town says they will pick you up within 10 miles but they do not serve the airport. (I surmise that is some kind of agreement with the airport location.) I asked how Id get from the airport to their location and they said they had an agreement with Lauras Taxi to make the trip one way for $20. Lauras Taxi phone number is: 326-5466.
CHILD RATES? We do not have a separate rate based on age as each guest takes about the same amount of resources.
CLEANING FEE, What is the cleaning fee? We do charge a cleaning fee of $395, it's a big house with alot of bathrooms.
CLEANING, Do I have to clean before I leave?
Regarding cleaning, we just ask that you do not leave a mess ” normal courtesy. For example: Remove trash to the bins outside, don't leave it for us to empty or carry away. Make sure silverware, pans, dishes are clean (and put away if possible). Don't leave spills and splatters inside the oven, on the cooking surfaces or in the microwave. Remove partially eaten or leftover¯ food from the refrigerator or freezer into the trash before you take the final load out. All the bedding and linens can be left on the bed/s or in a pile on the floor we come in and do all the laundry between guests. Many guests hang up their wet towels or put them into the bath tub and we appreciate that type of consideration it makes our day to have guests like that. When you go the extra step it just gives us more time to do more things to make the place better, and it adds up to what makes these rentals a very nice experience for many people!
COFFEE FARMS, What if I want to go see a coffee farm while I am here? There are several farms not far from the house that welcome guests to come and tour. One that comes to mind is Ueshima Coffee (UCC Hawaii Website). Another that recently started giving tours also on this same drive thru Holualoa is Buddha's Cup Coffee Buddhas Cup Coffee Website , I.ve met these folks at coffee exhibitions before and they are very personable and not at all pushy when you visit. There are others as well in Holualoa and that area is just above us from the house! If you head toward Ueshima you will probably pass some others with signs on the same road offering free coffee samples and tours ” and that drive up on Mamalohoa Highway is one of the prettiest and gets you off the highway and the fast path ” best to do it after rush hour in the morning and before rush hour in the afternoon as lots of locals take that path as a shortcut to avoid the main highway. Most coffee farms are further south than Kailua (which is considered North Kona) ” around Captain Cook or Honaunau.
Every island grows some coffee but the most famous is known as Kona Coffee and most of that comes from South Kona. Lion's Gate is South and they give tours with an appointment and I think you would like that kind of authentic coffee farm experience (here is her blog: KONAFARMGIRL BLOG. On the way to Lion’s Gate you will pass a rather large establishment called Royal Kona Coffee, and they have at least a dozen coffees to sample ” I am not a big promoter of flavored coffees but they do have good ol Kona Coffee samples as well and it is worth the stop, and you can sit and relax and look at the coast from their location while you sip the coffee; they are a bit pricey but the samples are free and it is a nice experience.
One of the most famous and long established is Greenwell Farms, and they have a small museum/store ” but call they were renovating it I’m not sure it is still open. You will also pass Manago Hotel. If you have the time go in and look around, and if you are hungry this is one of the few places left that serves food family style. They are known for their pork chops, but in my opinion they have fallen down on those these days they are somewhat puny ” but any of the plates will be good, as well as breakfast if you get there that early. On the way to the South Kona area or from stop at The Coffee Shack ” the food is very good and the view is to die for they are perched on a cliffvery nice when the sky divers are floating around ” the place gets packed so early birds get the best seats. Take a look here for some choices and links and addresses to all these places ” also seeing the map may make the cities make more sense COFFEEFEST DRIVING TOUR Although our coffee farm is in vicinity of Lion's Gate, we are way up the mountain on a coffee land road (much is dirt, one lane, 4 wheel drive) and we just got the farm last April so it is not really ready for tours ” but with all the choices you have you will definitely find what you are looking for.
COSTCO, How far away are you from Costco?
We used Google Maps for this This question comes up more than you might think. For one thing, Costco is the least expensive place in North Kona to get gas. It is well worth having a membership just for that you can save at times 30 cents a gallon from regular neighborhood gas station prices. Not just local people but snowbirds and vacationers stock up at Costco. And while you are there don't forget they have refillable 69 cent large sodas or combo hot dog or polish sausage with refillable large soda for $1.99, most people shop and have something to eat! You will find suntan oil, beach towels, snorkel gear, swim wear, many local ready to eat foods as well as typical supplies you.d find at most any Costco. Check it out!
DISCOUNTS, Are there 'local people' discounts? What you see on the website is what we actually quote and follow for everyone. Our rates are intentionally reasonable and they are the same for everyone. It is less hassle for everybody we think. Our objective is to maintain a house like a regular Hawaiian family would own and live in, furnished with unique furniture and lots of local art that you are not likely to find at the typical hotel or the box condo rentals.
DIVING CERTIFICATION, Any Pointers or Leads where to start, who to go to for instruction? Scuba certification is a popular subject You can do a search with scuba certification kailua kona hawaii¯ and from that list you should see Jack's which has been around many years, and also FairWind.
If you like big groups and lots of attention, Jack's is a good choice. If you are more self starting and like small groups, Sandwich Islehttp://www.sandwichisledivers.com/ would be a good fit. He also said there is a good week of study (at least 20 hours) that can probably be done at home before you come ” contact a couple of these companies and find out if you can do the learning at home so you can just pass the written part when you get here. You will still have to spend at least two days on diving trips probably two trips each over two days to get all the hands on experience. If you allot for taking the knowledge test, some time spent in going to and from classes, some time to get started, you could blow through 7 days and not have any vacation left if you only come here for a week.
He also said there is now a current trend where you can go on supervised dives without getting fully certified ” that is an option if you don't have sufficient time during this trip to get fully certified. The dive shops are happy to promote this option as they obviously get paid well to supervise but it does work for those who want to dive but really can't take the time to get certified so they can get their own tanks filled with air.
He said to start at padi.com http://www.padi.com/scuba/ and that most all resources you need should be there
GETTING IN, Will someone be there to let me in or give me a key?
We have adopted the use of key lockboxes with great success. If you arrive late, if your flight is delayed or early, if you want to pick up a car or shop for groceries you have flexibility without worrying someone is waiting for you to give you a key. The lockboxes work very easy, just punch the numbers in any order and the mechanism opens, you pull it open and the keys are inside. If you mess up press clear and start over. They work flawlessly from what we can tell. When you depart from your trip lock the doors to the rental, open the lockbox, put the key in, close the cover (it locks automatically), thats it.
We provide you the code when your rental is paid for and also at that time we give some simple neighborhood driving directions and suggestions where to park, unload, etc. The lock box, if for some reason it has too many keys pressed it can sometimes not work, you just press down¯ the reset button (marked CLEAR¯) in the middle bottom portion it is sort of triangular shaped, that starts it fresh or clears¯ it. When you press the code in (any order works) you push down (and keep it pushed down) the top middle button (marked OPEN¯) and it releases the lock bolt. This can be tricky if you release the button it will set the bolt again so just hold that button as you let the front fall back and out of the box (into your hand). When you have removed your key, if you did not hold the top middle button it will have set the bolt as locked. If that happens, just dial the code, hold the top middle button, insert the front into the box and release the top middle button and it is locked again. Sounds complicated but it is like anything else, if you break a simple action into steps it will sound complex when it actually is not. But of course before you have experienced how it works it can be intimidating.
GPS (global positioning system) ? Yes we got the GPS for our location, and here it is: 19°35'21.4"N 155°58'10.8"W
GROCERIES ON WAY TO HOUSE -- Costco off Hina Lani Street. Unless you are pooped, you will be driving right by one of the best places to stock up as you come from the airport and first go to the house [assuming you take our recommended directions]. We recommend that you exit the airport (turning right toward Kailua on Highway 10 or Queen Kaahumanu Highway) and take the SECOND street turn on your left which is Hina Lani. As you go up Hina Lani, take the SECOND turn on your right which is Kamanu Street. Toward the end of Kamanu Street there is a right turn onto Maiau Street but you should see Costco even before turning onto Maiau Street their massive parking lot, the tire and battery install department and the gas pumps are right there as Costco is set down from the height of Kamanu and should be very obvious. You can pick up suntan oil, steaks, salad mixes, vegetables, snacks, trail mix, beach towels, sodas, beer and liquor, local foods, Hawaii related books, film, digital memory cards, snorkel masks and fins, etc. They also have film processing, pharmacy and we keep saying it: the cheapest gas this side of the island!
GROCERIES, BEST Places for PRICE?
I believe a lot of visitors end up at Wal-Mart, and if you have the time that might be a good starting point. They will not have everything, it is likely you will need to go to a regular grocery store¯ or Costco. They do have an extensive selection of souvenirs, but much is just imports or fakes but they are cheap if you just want something to take back home. Our Wal-Mart is at 75-1015 Henry Street.
Costco is a very good plan and should be made a priority if you are going to be here for more than a few days or if your party is large. They have many attractive prices but packages tend to be in bigger sizes or packed in multiples. However their prices for suntan oil, swimming gear, and some basic foods is really hard to beat. If you want videos, music, books from Hawaii it is hard to beat their selection and prices. You can get a rotisserie chicken for $6 bucks, a very large cooked pizza from the food court for $10 or also at their food court a hot dog with refillable soft drink for $1.50. If you like hot dogs and consider that a filling lunch, or if you like pizza and consider their pizza a filling supper I think you could justify the $50 membership solely on that.
Costco is familiar to most people visiting but if you have not heard of them they require a membership fee and you can join on-line. Their website (Costco on-line) says you can get a membership card in your mail in about a week, and the cost is $50 for a business or Gold Star member. Anyone can join as a Gold Star, a Business member card requires a copy of your business license, or a copy of your resale license or three pieces of business ID. If you purchase for re-sale, definitely you will need your re-sale certificate. Our Costco is at 73-5600 Maiau Street. Also see in these FAQ pages another entry or topic about costco Costco How far away are you from Costco? ¯
Hint, if you have the time, you can get day old bread¯ from the Love's Bread Outlet at 74-5563 Kaiwi Street, they are closed Sunday's and Wednesdays. If you buy enough, ask for a discount card, and when you fill it up you can get a loaf of bread free. They discount you for not taking a bag so bring your own or just take them without a bag to your car! As an example, wefrequently find bread for $1.69 a loaf here that would be near or over $3.00 a loaf at other grocery stores. Buy what you need, take it back home, just freeze what you can't eat at the present point in time, works good! The regular supermarkets. A lot of our vacation renters seem to end up at SafeWay probably because they drive down from the house and it is easy to spot. Probably not the least expensive place. You can get a Club Card¯ by asking to get some items at reduced prices, but do that before you shop. Our Safeway is at 75-1027 Henry StreetKTA is probably a better choice for lower prices. They have a website: KTA Kona Hawaii WebsiteOur KTA is at 74-5594 Palani Road Foodland or Sack N Save is popular. You can obtain a discount Maika’i Rewards¯ card just by asking but do it before you shop to take advantage of it.
Our Sack N Save is in the Lanihau Shopping Center (think next to the main Post Office or where the Bank of Hawaii or First Hawaiian Bank is) at 75-5595 Palani Road.
Long's Drugs used to be considered too pricey for locals but recently they have become more competitive and often have sales on beer and other liquors. However for food, they won’t have everything but if you happen to have the time or know you’ll be by one, maybe worth your time. They do have an extensive selection of souvenirs.
Our Long''s is at 75-5595 Palani Road, same as above in the Lanihau Shopping Center (think next to the main Post Office or where the Bank of Hawaii or First Hawaiian Bank is).
HAPUNA BEACH, How far are you from Hapuna Beach? This area is about 34 miles or 45 minutes away from the house going north west.
If you take the highway that goes past the airport going away from the city toward the airport that is Highway 19 (or Queen Kaahumanu Highway) going north from Kona. You will travel quite a distance so watch the mile markers. Turn left at the access road just before Mile Marker #69. Go to the end of the road, turn left and then take an immediate right. Follow this road to the parking. This is the main beach.
A little further and you are at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
HILTON WAIKOLA VILLAGE, HOW FAR AWAY IS THAT FROM YOU?
The Hilton is north of us, about 33 miles according to yahoo maps.
If you came in from the Kona International Airport, instead of going south into town (or to come up to our house) you would turn north.
INTERNET -- Ethernet wire? I don't have a wireless card, can I have an ethernet connection? We have wireless internet that covers all the rentals. If you needed a wired ethernet connection, please request it ahead of time, it is possible with a wireless bridge that provides an ethernet port to plug into.
INTERNET -- Secure Connection, is that possible? It is possible with advanced notice. We would give you a direct feed¯ that is wired and not going thru the wireless router. Your connection would go directly into the internet not via our wireless feed.
KAHALUU BEACH PARK, How close are you to? That is located down Alii drive, next to St. Peter's Catholic Churh right in the same vicinity as White Sands.
So it is the same, about 7 miles or 16 minutes away.
You can see detailed map guide under the topic: WHITE SANDS, How Far Are Your From White Sands (Disappearing Sands)¯
KONA COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, How far are you away?
We used Google Maps for this
According to them it is about 13 miles and 24 minutes in normal traffic I’d say this about right. Of course during slow traffic times nothing moves much anywhere on Highway 11 (Hawaii Belt Road), so it can depend. If you have an appointment or job at the hospital best to plan and go ahead of time rather than time it close.
LAUNDRY SOAP, Can I Use what is there?
The short answer is yes¯. We have avoided putting in pay machines because about half our guests voluntarily bring soap and leave it for those who come after. We appreciate those who think to contribute. Many rentals do not have soap and want you to pony up $1.50 a load just to access the machines themselves that seems a lot of trouble and expense to us so we will continue on this way for the time being. If you have the time and think about it please do bring some soap but dont go away with dirty clothes if you did not happen to. And thank you for thinking to ask! The laundry on the property is made available to all our guests.
LAUNDRY, any pointers on where to do laundry? The laundry on the property is not pay type machines and is made available to all guests. Laundry most people seem to mention Tykes, 74-5483 Kaiwi, Bay 135, 326-1515. Tykes is next to Kimos Tropical Interiors and Killer Tacos. At the intersection across from that shopping strip is a pet store and bar. On the opposite side of this shopping center is a pet grooming shop and Import Shop. The directions may seem complex but it is not really.
LINENS, Linens are provided, correct? and does this include towels? Linens and towels are all there and we try our best to provide you with enough for the number of guests for the nights you will be there. When you are booked a week or longer you are given free access to the laundry on the property of course when we come in to clean we need priority as some times we only have 3 hours to work in! We do not provide things like beach towels.
LOCATION, May I request a more specific location (i.e. Kona Palisades, Holualoa, Kealakekua, Kailua View Estates or Honaunau). I understand for security purposes you may be reluctant to offer the exact street address so a general location would suffice.
LONG TERM RATES, What if I wanted to stay for a long term? We can reduce rates when we know the occupancy is going to be 100% for a length of time. Best thing is to CONTACT US BY EMAIL and discuss what you have in mind (are you here for a summer position, are you here while you build your house, etc.? ). Taxes are still required to be collected even tho you stay longer. The TA tax is removed after a stay of six months, which is considered long term instead of transient.
LONG TERM, like two months, like four months? We actually have quite a few people who come for several months at a time some on vacations but others working such as on whale sighting ships or installing solar systems at places like Costco Any continuous rental duration over 21 days is negotiable.
MATCHING OTHER RATES, I found another rental for $$$.$$, can you match or go lower? If you are looking at competing rentals, make sure they are in South Kona, similar bedrooms and bathrooms, the private pool, close to the beach and snorkeling. Remember we are close to all attractions, the Kona International Airport, and all major highways to outbound destinations. Local people come back and local people know how to shop for bargains! Be sure and look at a map of the various cities, we have had people fly into Hilo thinking Kailua Kona was next to Hilo! We are in Kailua-Kona, South Kona.
MOPED or MOTORCYCLE, Where can I get a motorcycle or moped?
If you follow this search link: SEARCH LINK you will see several companies listed with phone numbers probably the best thing to do is call and compare what they have and their prices.
One that comes up is Kiser Motorcycle at 74-5622 Alapa Street in Kailua-Kona. Their phone number is 808-329-9100 and their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another that comes up is West Coast Scooter at 74-5616 Alapa Street in Kailua-Kona. Their phone number is 808-329-1188.
Another that comes up is Kona Harley Davidson at 74-5615 Luhia St # E in Kailua-Kona. Their phone number is 808-326-9887.
Recently while driving, happened to notice that there was a sign advertising motorcycles for rent¯ at Affordable Rent-A-Car on Palani RD. This appears when I just did an internet search to be at 75-5614 Palani Road with phone number 808-329-7766
Also new to me (4/6/09) as you drive on King K highway past Costco there is a banner advertising about motorcycle rentals. We also found a flyer distributed and think this relates to Kona Cost Custom (Kona Coast Custom Website), 73-4776 Kanalani Street, 808-325-2500. Their flyer says they are open 9AM-5PM Monday thru Saturday. Also says some requirements you will need to rent are: be 21, have a valid motorcycle operator's license, have the skill and ability to operate a heavyweight motorcycle, and have a major credit card.
Last I checked the above, the age is now 25 or over and it is $135 a day.
NOISE, This is one house, what should we expect about noise from our house neighbors?
Very good question, and something many people don't think about. We've done our fair share of traveling. You'd be surprised at the name brand hotels where we have stayed that seemed like little cattle bins. And it was not just they were very small spaces to stay in; if you were brave enough to look in the corners or under the bed you’d see many dust bunnies from sheer neglect to swipe that out of the way location, and more times than would make it just accidental and not neglect we would find someone’s sock or worse (under the bed, behind the chest of drawers) Even name brand hotels, motels often are built with floors and walls that conduct noise.
Hawaii has the practice for building fairly simple wood framed homes they don’t normally put in multiple levels of materials between floors or walls. The houses over here are very often built in stages. Add on rooms and concepts happen to even the newest homes. The point being, most structures over here are built simple and were not particularly well sound proofed. They would not have seen a need most Hawaiian homes are lived in by multiple occupants and they are considerate and get along.
You can come one time and have neighbors and hardly know it. Come another time and someone has hard soled shoes on and you can hear it muffled but you can hear it. Come on this is Hawaii remember we expect shoes to be removed the floors were never intended to have high heels and other types of shoes worn to make noise in the first place. But these houses also were intended originally for one big family that knew each other. So a lot is down to simple consideration of one guest group toward another guest group Remember if you are above there are people below. You don’t need your TV like a theatre to enjoy it, you don’t need to run your dishwasher at 10PM, you don’t need to be dancing a jig at night, etc. Take off your shoes or use soft soled shoes in the house, please. If you are below, remember that you should also keep your TV sound reasonable. The walls between rentals is conductive of sound so respect any sound source like a TV that is around the inside wall perimeter. You may hear sounds from above for short durations, usually some water that may flow or a motor from the dishwasher. These are momentary and muffled and most people could care less. Just basic common sense. There is so much cement and lava rock and stone in our construction I think many people think houses are built like rock castles, but they are just regular homes for regular people.
If you are unusually sensitive to noise, you should take particular note of the pictures and layouts, and perhaps avoid any rental that is near any other rental. Perhaps you pay attention or ask about things like wind chimes, dishwashers, etc.? We are happy to answer any questions. Otherwise, there is a small library of information on our site (we have many pictures that show how rentals relate to each other, etc.) and it is a choice only to be made by each person. If you are in charge of selecting a rental for a group, why not let each person view our site and ask each person what they think before you finalize your plans?
Our experience is that we feel that more than 95% of the time the house is occupied by very considerate people, and the few times someone has forgotten or not given a hoot the incident did not last very long. I’m not convinced most any place can guarantee a version of quiet because that will be a moving target since so many people have different thoughts or sensitivities. Our experience is that most guests feel the rentals were well layed out and had no issues with noise at the house.
Same for neighborhood noise. We have an acre of land and the house is approximately I’d guess half way inside the acre. We are not on the street but you can hear the cars pass especially if you try to pay attention. Some people might think the turkeys flying into the trees is a noise, most would not. Some may thing the geckos calling their mates with their throats is noise, most would not. About the same as above I would estimate 95% or more of the time the neighborhood is nice and tranquil. There are times when someone will drive by with their boom box car speakers on high, there are times some dogs will bark for 5 or 10 minutes, there are times someone is weed eating or power blowing, there are times the church up the street from us has choir practice or you can hear some of the preacher’s sermons, there are times when our wind chimes will chime a bit more than normal in a gust of wind, there are times when someone in the neighborhood is having a party and you can hear laughing or some fireworks
For the most part tho you will hear soft muffled sounds from neighbors. The occasional swoosh of cars passing. Almost constant sound of many types of birds singing, and the outside crickets seem to never stop but for most it is a nice background sound found to be very relaxing and very much a signature of where we live.
NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN A RENTAL, Looks like we could have had more?
It is difficult to say in descriptions and advertising how many can sleep at a rental and be accurate
Best thing is to really look over the pictures and think it thru like creating a dream. Create a scenario where everyone in your party is at that point they want to go and retire for the night. Is anyone going to be uncomfortable with the arrangements? Perhaps best to let everyone in the group look at the many pictures we have for each unit on our site and speak up for themselves.
I will say we have had many families and many groups that were non related couples, sometimes three couples, and everyone so far has seemed to appreciate and find the rentals very comfortable (Kona Comfort¯!) and that our place fit well with their vacation, business trip, family reunion, weekend getaway, etc.
Please remember that this is one big house. You have to be considerate of your neighbors both at the house and around you. With a spirit of aloha practiced everyone gets along well. We have put the nuts and bolts together, put on the decor themes for each space, put in many extra touches like we would live there ourselves (isn’t that the point that you have a real Hawaiian living space? ) but everyone has to respect the needs of everyone else. So, extra people can bring more concerns with noise remember to enjoy yourselves but you can let others around you enjoy their space at the same time.
We list the 6br house as capable of 12 because most typical guests will want to put two in a queen bed and one on the futon/sleeper; however not each group is typical, and there is definitely more floor space with mats.
Basically we are open to reasonable requests as long as you are upfront in why you need more people to be there and that you claim them and pay for those extra persons when you book.
If we determine you have brought people in under your reservation but not claimed or paid for them, we will take that portion from your Damage Deposit, bill you if there is a balance, and your record will be marked not to accept you back. We charge $35 for each person added to the base rate.
We would still calculate discounts based on length of term the same, based on the new daily rate.
Although we charge $35 for each person added to the base rate, that is for being honest and claiming those people up front. If you bring people in and we have to add them to your statement, we will charge $40 for each person added to the base rate. This is already stated in our POLICIES, but seems relevant to repeat here since the subject is very close.
OCEAN VIEW, Do you have an ocean view? There is a perfect sunset ocean view from the large lanai at the house.
Also, you can take a walk just out our driveway and heading down the street of the neighborhood and see more glimpses of ocean.
We are literally surrounded by ocean most everywhere you go so you are not going to miss looking at ocean.
OTHER FEES, What fee or charges are there besides the rent? We are required to collect two taxes, one is the General Excise Tax which you will find is charged on any service or product in Hawaii, that is 4.166%. The other tax is the Transient Accommodations Tax (short term rentals), and that is 9.25%. These rates are controlled by the State of Hawaii and are subject to change.
There is a Damage Deposit we collect (waived for repeat customers) which is refunded assuming you dont leave your bags of trash, take the towels or TV, stay way late past your check out just common sense and courtesy :). Damage Deposits are subject to discussion, so please do call us and let’s talk!
When we take cards to process your rental fees, it costs us to use the credit card gateways even debit cards are processed via the credit card gateways. We may pass on these extra costs, which is 3% for those who prefer to use a card instead of send a check.
PARKING DOWN TOWN, Is parking hard to find in Kona Town? Any tips?
Where do I park downtown Kailua Kona?
Along the main drag going South thru down town (Alli Drive), past the seawall and pier on the right and the little shops and restaurants on the left, then past the Palace on your right then right after Kona Inn still on your right but still in front of the Kona Inn Shopping Plaza, then notice that you are coming to a cross street but still in front of the Kona Inn Shopping Plaza with Uncle Billy’s Hotel and Restaurant on your left across from the Kona Inn Shopping Plaza (if you continued you would go past Bubba Gump Restaurant on the right, if further Huggo’s and Lulus on the right) and just before you get to the outdoor Farmer’s Market you will see a thru street (Hualalai Rd) that you should turn left onto ” if you continue it connects to Kuakini Highway. There are three parking lots. The one closest to the street on your right after you turn onto Hualalai Rd is a pay lot BUT the one after that on the right side is free. After that free lot is the library. Then across from the free lot on the right next to the library and farmer’s market, across on the left side which is behind Uncle Billy’s is another free lot. Those are good places because you can walk up and down and all around town. Otherwise there is usually parking in front of some of the stores as well on a first come basis. There are other lots which you may discover but more difficult to describe and also usually fuller. Most of our malls¯, outdoor markets¯ and other shopping centers have parking that is adequate, just downtown grew more than anyone would have anticipated to provide parking for way back when.
Depending how busy it is down there you may have to drive around and wait for a space.
On some days you may find a space directly in front of Kona Inn Restaurant (there are four or five depending on whether they have them blocked that day for deliveries) but don’t park on the strip in front of the parking spaces (that is an emergency fire zone) people do but they also occasionally get $60 tickets.
PAYMENT GATEWAY (or PAYPAL), The Website Won't take my Country, my Province...
If you have been instructed to go to a payment page that is likely the PayPal gateway, and it can be confusing at first.
When you reach a page where the gateway will be asking for your credit card and address details, toward the very top of that form should be a choice to select either COUNTRY or CURRENCY. The default is United States or American Dollars.
Some people interpret this to be the currency or country you are paying into, but they actually want you to select your own currency or your own country.
When you have this selection made appropriate to your country/currency, then the choice beneath for specifics that relate to your country will be available. For example if you select CANADIAN above, you will see Province instead of State.
PIER, How far away are you from the pier (where IronMan starts)The pier is at the edge of town on Alli Drive. We are approximately 4 miles from Kona Inn which is about two blocks from the pier, so a bit less than 4 miles.
See the related question TOWN, How far away are you from downtown/town (Kailua)?
Reservation, I made an inquiry and you sent me a reservation. Why? Don’t worry, we have not blocked the time and you don’t need to send money or anything. If you wanted the reservation, you would pay as the confirmation detailed to you, then at the point that you have paid your full balance we send you the local driving directions and the code to the key box for that rental. Our software generates the requested dates and unit you want in a document that it labels as a reservation¯. We can find you with that reservation number (and other criteria) if you do inquire back and this way we have information already stored. Although it may seem presumptuous to send a reservation¯ it does give all the details up front in one step rather than three or four contacts later. Since reservations are not solid until payment is received, on our side we can process multiple inquiries for the same days. We can see that a period has more than one party making an inquiry but we don’t block days until someone actually completes.
ROACHES -- Is that really a roach (that big thing!)?
Yes these are also part of tropical life all the islands have some sort of critters, the big roaches are one.
The small roaches like youd see on MainLand (German Roaches) are the kinds I worry more about because they tend to be because of cleanliness issues, but we have no issue with them the regular spraying and the cleaning of units between guests (and we eliminate collections of paper bags if left where German roaches like to breed in) keep us out of that problem. The big ones if you have not been on the Islands before definitely make an impression lots of locals call them B52s because of their large size. Recently Ive heard a new term applied to them 747s. The roaches will probably be coming through the entry doors or gaps in a door screen not shut all the way. They fly for quite a distance at night they go toward lights, and if a door or screen is open that’s how they get in. Once they get in you need to remove them or they just stay. As with any other insect they would be attracted to any crumbs or foods and water they can find. They may not come out to be noticed once they get in except when there is less light, during day they hide away.
Locals will take a slipper or fly swatter and smash them and remove to the trash. We do spray regularly but they are too numerous to eliminate as they are all outside and outside is massive; if you used so much poison to treat all the outside around the property it would kill the good animals as well. The prevention is closing your door and window screens tight and not leaving doors open, and if you do get one, remove it. We do not normally see too many but they are all over all the tropics, and since we have no winter they have no season they are just all the time.
ROAD CONSITIONS, What is the road condition like from your property to Kona? No one has ever asked about our local area road conditions before but we are just a suburb of the main town all paved main roads, most streets in this area are paved as well. Definitely as you go out further some streets to homes might not be paved but most all main connecting roads between places is paved and maintained.
SHERATON KEAHOU, How far away are you?
A number of people mention having weddings or convention functions at the Sheraton Keahou Hotel when they email to inquire about staying at our vacation rentals. I looked up these directions on mapquest. This would be similar to targeting Alii Drive which is also in this topic list [ALLI DRIVE, How far away are you..], but we only went as far the Alii Gardens Marketplace in that set of directions. In this instruction you would drive a bit further south. According to this, you would be about 10 minutes or ABOUT 4 miles away from the house. Alli Drive can get busy, add some extra time especially if you go during busy day hours.
SHOULD WE STAY IN SEVERAL LOCATIONS OVER THE ISLAND TO 'SEE IT ALL?
Are we well located?
I believe so. Unless you want to spend an extended amount of time at volcano (to me a day trip there is enough) or the same for Hilo (again, to me you can see what you want and will want to come back with a full day there) we are perfect. Hilo people come over here to get away ” if that is any indication. A few people who are considering moving will migrate back and forth to get a feel.
We used to fly back and forth from the Mainland to Hawaii, and we were more in the tourist¯ mood back then. We got to see everything all over the Island. Usually we would leave if the location were extreme South or North early in the morning and then wind ourselves back to home. They would be long trips only because we do not have high speed interstates here. What for us on the mainland would be a 20 or 30 minute interstate drive can be 2 hours here. So just allow travel time. And allow time to be spontaneous there are so many things to see along the way. A nice trip to Hilo can take a full day lots of waterfalls, they have a zoo, etc.
Maybe allow some days that are go back¯ or make it up¯ days.
Allow a day for only the beach ” you don’t appreciate it until you spend the whole day there. Maybe a beach with barbecue ” take hot dogs, steaks, lots of water and whatever you like to drink and make it a day. Kailua-Kona is wonderful just to walk around and shop. We have a farmers market (Hilo does as well), we have many nice little shops. Totally different from the high end and pricey hotel complexes. Some people go to those complexes and never leave ” artificial Hawaii in my opinion, I guess better than not ever having any Hawaii but there is much more that is just there for everyone no matter if they have $50 or $5000 in their wallet.
We have designated the whole house INSIDE AND OUT as No Smoking¯.
Secondary effects of smoking may not be understood by those who don’t experience them. They can range from mild to severe, such as an itching irritation of the eyes to more serious lung and allergic reactions that feel like a cold, allergy or flu. When someone is sensitive to cigarette smoke it can make their breathing labored and contribute to ashma, colds, ear infections, etc. We realize that people will book and occupy the rentals and still may smoke or have a guest that will come to visit that will smoke. There is no practical way to police¯ the policy. So as a practical alternative we would ask that if you or someone in your group must smoke that they take great care to go a far enough distance from the premises and be watchful that none of the smoke is blowing back to reach the house or into any windows. We have a great amount of outdoor space and you can walk toward the street entrance or go toward the back yard.
If you are using one of the lower level spaces, please exit and smoke only far away from the house.
Thank you for you understanding and thank you for cooperating in advance.
If you do smoke you can go outside as long as the smoke will not blow back into any part of the house.
Actually Hawaii has prohibited smoking in any public area (including restaurants, stores, balconies of rentals) now for several years (November 2006) and I believe the rule is you need to go 20 feet away from windows, doorways, common areas ” easy enough to do on our property. Our property is safe so if you do smoke this should not present a safety issue ” and if you don’t smoke you’ll appreciate that the insides don’t have smoke leftovers and smell.
SNORKELING, Where to Snorkel?
We probably get asked about this more than anything else.
Probably your best option:
Kahalu'u Beach park where as you one can enjoy some of the Big Island's best snorkeling. It's just south along Ali'i Drive and only about 10-15 minute walk fron the house or just about a three minute drive. We do have snokeling gear at the house that can be used. Please let us know if you plan on snorkeling and we can give you the code to the storage unit. Please be respectful of all the gear and return whe ndone. If you lose or break it, then please let us know that also. An additional fee may apply to replace it.
TAXIS -- any cheaper
We have come across this a couple of times, especially if you need to get a taxi from the airport.
Laura’s Taxi will be $20 versus $30+ from the airport, call them at 808-326-5466
This is what one vacation renter found. I just called Kona Airport Taxi to get their rate. He said about 30 dollars. (It still amazes me how easy it is to call Hawaii. I remember when to NY on Christmas. I went to the telephone office where they placed the call. It took them about 10 minutes to do that. I remember a 3 minute call cost about $5 which was a lot of money in 65.) I just called Lauras and confirmed the price of 20 each way. She said if you call the day before, they will have a taxi at the airport waiting for you. So, it seems like Lauras Taxi is the best deal. If I find out anything more of interest, Ill let you know.
TOWN, How far away are you from downtown/town (Kailua)?
We used Google Maps for this
VOG, AIR QUALITY, HOW CAN I MONITOR IT?
Our Department of Health has a webpage that is updated frequently.
When I have looked at it, it is very apparent that most of the effects are toward the South of the Island.
Please check it out for yourself here: <<CLICK to see Actual Air Quality Data for all the Islands. VOG, Any local medications. They do sell some local homeopathic sprays at the health stores that some people claim work very well sort of like an antihistamine but specific to the Hawaiian vog and also they have one for Hawaiian Allergy.
VOG, What is the status, will it affect me?
Yes the vog was a hot issue some months back but now it is not new news and I think many are just used to it and go on about their daily businessI myself have tried to check sites like the volcano website once or twice and ran into no clear cut information that can be understandable because everything changes all the time. How it will affect an individual depends on the conditions of the day, where you are and your personal sensitivities or health. We have been having a lot of rain during the summer of 2008 which tends to wash the vog down out of the sky.
The volcano is way South so areas like Hilo, and especially Puna can have more density. The winds vary and the density varies so it sometimes gets blown to Oahu. There is no clear cut answer. The Kailua-Kona area certainly can see the vog but the air quality is not anywhere as seriously affected as Puna, which has had evacuation alerts. It will also depend on many factors like elevation (more likely the vog will settle lower) and if there is wind and how much gust there is. When we come into town we notice pockets between Honaunau and Kailua that are more noticeable as we drive thru. In town (Kailua-Kona) we do not notice any vog issues from breathing. Up where we live same thing, the air quality is very good.
A recommendation would be to avoid Puna, and if you think you can detect vog as you drive thru some areas, roll your windows up and air condition for that time period. It might be worth considering asking about filter systems in a car before you rent. I know our Honda CRV does have a filter system when the air is switched to recirculate¯. Our area where you would be staying in Kailua-Kona at our home is currently not in a bad air quality area and when we are there it seems fine. It can be the connections between areas as you travel that could affect you if at all. People vary so much it is hard to predict. What effect is there? If you breathe dense vog it can cause you to get flem (mucus) in your throat I guess a natural reaction of the body to collect and remove the particles. Some people report they can feel it in their eyes and need to wash it with eye drops. Some people report it gives them a headache and take an aspirin. Solution is to avoid the dense areas, if you do drive thru an area and think you are in some vog, close windows and air condition for that stretch, perhaps take eye drops and have some aspirin with you.
Perhaps consider staying away from low elevations when Vog is more apparent? Certainly avoid far South locations like Puna when the Vog is apparent? I would suspect if you have COPD or other lung/breathing issues you might be much more sensitive. What you might want to do is go to the visiting Kona Forum at http://konaweb.com/forums/visiting.cgi and read or ask/interact for more opinions. I glanced (July 2008) and there does not seem to be a lot of talk about vog but people are talking about seeing lava flow.
Current and recent guests have not mentioned issues to me about air quality, most are more interested in the high gas prices and their ticket prices. We have had vog around Kailua-Kona and the Big Island now for quite a few years. The main thing it does is limits the distance you can see the landscape and the sharpness of what you can see. For us living here, our solution is to air condition thru sections we may need to drive thru, and otherwise it is inconvenient in that we cannot see as much of our ocean and sunsets as we used to. But then I can remember 26 years ago before the volcanoes started erupting that you could see much further into the mountains and see more clouds, etc. So I guess if you compared now to 26 years ago there would be a much more drastic change, more nostalgic the good old days stuff than anything else. There is still a lot to do and see and good things like more services, big discount stores like Costco and Wal-Mart, cell phone towers all over we did not have 26 years ago, so it is a tradeoff in that respect.
The volcanoes could calm down to hardly nothing any time, then they could go on for 20 years (like my 26 years ago example). Ive heard they are not pumping as much as a month or so ago but rarely do I keep up on it when we do watch TV it is our regular shows or movies not the news.
WIFI, How does the WIFI work -- do I need a password? Yes. it's posted on the beam in the upstairs kitchen.