Saturday, July 25, 2015

AirBNBeliever - Kauai Day Four

Before going to bed the night before, we made a decision to sleep in. No plans to watch the sunrise, but to sleep in. The kids ended up sleeping with me and Nancy. We all shared the same bed. This was not a first…this tends to happen a lot back home. I actually enjoy it, until I wake up the next day when my body is all in pain. HA!!!

For me, sleeping in meant getting up at 4am local time. As always, that became my time to write and reflect on what happened the day before so I could include it in my blog. However, I was feeling under the weather. Flu symptoms…you name it. Runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, itchy throat. The Mucinex I took the night before didn’t really work. I’m determined to fight this. There’s no way I’m going to let sickness win over me.

Jason/Nancy - 1, Timeshare Update - 0
Since we’re timeshare owners with Shell Vacations, we were invited to join an owner’s update. What does that really mean? If you’re a timeshare owner, you know the drill. They give a presentation, and entice you to purchase more points. They will have ready all the probing questions as to why you should buy points. In exchange, they give gift cards or other deals on the island that you could use during your visit. Well, we thought it was something we could do, I signed up for an 8:30 am session. But when Nancy and I woke up that morning, we just didn’t have it in us to sit through a presentation, and leave the kids with their day care. Plus, we were scheduled to check-out of the hotel before noon, and move on to Kalapaki Beach for the weekend.

Sure enough, by 8:32am, the phone rang. I was asked if I was going to be at the presentation. I respectfully declined given our circumstances. We then hung-up. I got another call after 1 minute, I was asked to attend the 10:45am presentation. Again, I respectfully declined. Within another minute, another call informing me they will increase the value of incentive by another $25, again I declined. I enjoyed our stay at the resort and didn’t want to end it with a haggling session. I’m glad we didn’t attend the presentation.

Leaving Kapa'a
We finally got ourselves out of our room by 10am. It was a fantastic way to end our stay in Kapa’a. We headed towards Lihue. I was still feeling sick and needed comfort food. So
Nancy and I shared a bowl of Oxtail Soup from Tip Top Cafe. *sigh* that hit the spot. Before making it to Kalapaki Beach where our next condo is located, we also stopped by The Fish Express and purchased Kimchi Tako Poke. I planned on eating that once we’re in Kalapaki. The beauty of staying near Lihue? All the good foodie places are on our driving path. As we made our way towards Kalapaki Beach, we noticed the Malasada Lady was already open, and why not? It didn’t take lots of convincing to stop off for some hot, fresh Kauai Malasadas.







I am an AirBNBeliever, yes I am!

Since we planned our trip at the very last minute, Nancy and I decided to break-up our Kauai stays in 2-3 different locations. Timeshares and hotels are somewhat similar
when it comes to charging customers using weekday vs. weekends. While I had enough miles and points to use for hotel stays, I opted to use our timeshare and rented a condo with AirBNB, a rental service that has been getting rave reviews from many of those who have used its service. 

We started using rental services such as AirBNB and VRBO last year. First, it was during our 2014 summer vacation to Maui (here's what I wrote about the 2 bedroom beachfront condo we booked via VRBO).  We had such a great experience that we decided to use their services when we went to Italy and Paris last Spring. We also rented apartments in Milan, Florence, Venice, and Paris (click on the city/country for the link). What an experience! We had all the amenities that would have been normally denied had we stayed in a regular hotel room.

Our two-bedroom condo is located across the street from Kalapaki Beach. It is part of the Banyan Harbor Resorts property. 

So how did I decide which property to rent? While searching, I set my filters to the # of people in my party, chose a budget range, and location. There are plenty of other filters to choose from but I wanted to see a lot of results. Well, since I booked our trip at the very last minute, there were only 3 properties in Kauai that met my needs (size and budget). 

Price Range - I set a budget of no more than $125/night. The one we are staying at charged an amazing rate of $89 per night

Reviews - since there were very limited properties available, my rule of thumb was to make sure we read the reviews provided by previous guests. I kind of broke that rule. This property just came on the market at the end of June 2015, no one has stayed at the property yet, and therefore, there were no reviews. So how did I decide to move forward? I emailed and talked to the owner. I wanted to at least get a sense of comfort level. Yes, the tone of voice is not always the best judge, but I had to use my best judgment. Plus, with a 3-night stay (close to under $400), I told Nancy, if it turns out to be really bad, then we lose the money. However, I felt comfortable that we’d end up in a decent place.

Prior to booking this place, we had an option to treat ourselves at the Kauai Marriott Resort. I had enough points to stay there for 3 nights. But it meant that I had to use 120,000 Marriott points plus pay an additional $612 (in extra fees). So what do I get with that? 1 Ocean view with 1 or 2 beds (4 guests max). Uhhhhh, so I did the math. Wait, I placed my variables on a spreadsheet. YES, I AM A NERD. I gotta see things and had to do a side-by-side comparison.


Clearly, staying in a hotel room wasn’t going to work out for us. I figured I could stay and pay less elsewhere, and save my Marriott points for another future vacation.

What do we really need? Let’s talk about that. Honestly, the basics is all we need - a place with 1-2 bedrooms, a sofa sleeper, a kitchen, 1-2 bathrooms, and Wi-Fi. Everything else I’d call them as “delighters” - meaning, it’s great to have them as well. Here’s a highlight of our $89/night, 2-bedrooms with 2 bathrooms corner unit property in Kalapaki Beach:
  • Dinette and Living Room Area
  • Washer and Dryer
  • Full Kitchen
  • Well-stocked kitchen pantry items for cooking (I’m a big fan since I cook)
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free Parking
  • 3 TVs plus DVD players (including Cable service)
  • Air-conditioned unit
  • Beach accessories (mats, body board, cooler, umbrella, etc)
  • BBQ Lanai access
  • Community Pool/Spa
  • Walk or drive to the beach
  • Costco, Walmart, Kmart, Kukui Grove Mall, Lihue Airport - within 5-10 minutes















I guess you can say that we’re happy with this place. It suits our needs.

Once we got settled in our condo, Nancy treated herself by going to the nearby nail salon and got her nails done. Good for her! This allowed Caitlin and Evan to play with their toys in the living room, Madison watched TV, while I took a power nap. Once Nancy got back, we headed for Kalapaki Beach which was just across the street. It’s the same beach shared with Kauai Marriott. It’s great for body boarding, surfing, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, and swimming. Off to the side, there’s a wash that comes from the ocean that crosses over the sand. It creates a separate safe pool for the kids to play. That’s how we spent our afternoon.








 That evening we ventured off to where else? Mark’s Place and I ordered their special of the day -Togarashi Dusted Ahi topped with cucumber namasu….so spicy good and oh so fresh!!! For dessert, we drove towards Kalaheo, about 15 minutes away, and had chocolate haupia pie. That was our crazy busy Thursday. Thanks for following us.


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