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Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

United States
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Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

Aloha,

We got married in Maui a few years ago and are eagerly planning a return for our anniversary.

In the past we've always booked our own airfare and then booked a condo direct from the owner which worked out great.

However, this time around, I was poking around expedia, travelocity and other 'package deal' sites and saw that I could get a MUCH greater savings booking it that way rather than condo/air/car individually. it makes the trip much more affordable from us (we are coming from the east coast of the US).

The only thing I'm having trouble with is the fact that when booking this way, you're at the mercy of the management company when it comes to the unit you're assigned. You don't know the condition until you open that door (and after 16 hours of traveling you probably want to just throw your bags down and relax).

We were looking at Kihei Akahi, Maui Parkshore, and Palms at wailea since we were able to get them at a pretty reasonable price through a package deal - but it seems like room conditions can vary very widely.

Does anyone have any feedback on whether it's worth the gamble? Any experiences to share, or recommendations?

We're looking for a low-season studio or 1BR with AC and across the street from the beach (if we find something in Wailea we're ok with foregoing beach proximity)

United States
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1. Re: Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

....and a followup question.

which would you pick if prices were similar?

Hale Pau Hana

Grand Champions

Wailea Ekolu

Wailea Ekahi

The important thing is being able to walk to a beach, and have AC in at least the bedroom.

These are all coming up within my budget in a vacation package search (for some reason, I am able to afford more higher-end properties in a package search rather than renting from a condo owner directly). Normally wailea and beachfront would NOT be in my budget but these popped up so I was wondering.

Maui
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146 posts
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2. Re: Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

Thank you for pointing out that you can get a better deal by booking a package rather than booking directly from an owner, especially when you consider the total cost of your vacation. That's why it always pays to do your homework and not always assume that the way you did it last time is still the best way. In the event that you don't like the condo to which you've been assigned, reputable management companies will answer the phone promptly and will do what it takes to find a condo that suits you. IMHO, the great thing about booking through the management company is that you can always change units if you don't like the bedding, location or decor. Some properties will even move your packed bags and groceries while you're out, so you don't have to wait around. Again, IMHO, you're really at the mercy of a condo owner (who may or may not have local representation) should you be unhappy with any aspect of the unit when you book directly from him/her.

Napa, California
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3. Re: Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

I like Wailea Ekahi, always request lower village if you can. You can walk to the beach easily from the upper villiage, but walking back up the hill is a chore.

Chicagoland
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4. Re: Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

Another vote for Wailea Ekahi.

The 'Change My Condo' route should work for you because you are coming in low season. In high season...you're stuck because the agency inventory s all booked up. No agency HAS to move you, but they should try to please clients if they want to stay in business very long.

BTW, I know you can choose your condo at Hale Pau Hana when booking direct with them. The agency we employ to look after our condo and our guests now also allows guests to scroll through the photos and choose. (That's CRH in Kihei.

Milwaukie, Oregon
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5. Re: Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

Hale Pau Hana wins hand down for close, easy beach access. Grand Champions and Ekolu are a very long walk to the beach, and even longer walking uphill on the return. I have stayed at Hale Pau Hana (loved it) and checked out the other 3 as potential "someday" lodging. I did not care for the grounds, location, and density of Grand Champions or Ekolu, where the buildings seemed very close together. Ekahi much better choice of these 3 Wailea properties.

For the packages you mention, I would pick Palms at Wailea above the other two. I stayed at Maui Parkshore many years ago and would not recommend. Lots of road noise, and the location of the pool is poor...beside the parking lot and road.

United States
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6. Re: Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies. They were very helpful.

BillRees,

I was really surprised to see that my money could go a bit farther with a package deal. I've never purchased a vacation this way.

If I were to buy a package deal for Hale Pau Hana, through, say Travelocity/Expedia/Orbitz, what would be the best thing to request to ensure I get a nice unit when I get there? Just "an upgraded unit please"?

Edited: 28 January 2011, 14:45
United States
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7. Re: Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

BTW, I always assumed it was cheaper booking direct from owner since they weren't paying a management company to make the reservation. I assumed you could negotiate with the owner a bit in the low season, but on a package you're stuck with whatever the price is. I guess not!

United States
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8. Re: Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

BTW - (yes me again - lots of questions!)

For anyone who has stayed at Hale Pau Hana - how efficient is the AC? We are going in mid-late sept and the last time we were there (in early Oct) we were sweltering in our Kihei Kai Nani condo that only had bedroom AC.

Sultan, Washington
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9. Re: Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

Well, I'm going in April, and I began by not only comparing all parts of the trip (air, hotel, auto) on the package sites, and then compared the rates they gave for the particular hotel, airline, etc with the actual airline, hotel, or whatever website. I did that over the course of a month, to see if promos changed anything.

In the end I got a moderate savings doing it myself, but considering how much time and paper I used, many might not find it worth it. I ended up renting from a condo owner off VRBO, at a slight savings over the hotel or package site, but the primary reason to go that route was seeing the actual unit I was renting. The owner even had a facebook site with additional pictures of the unit, and some had videos or panoramas.

Maui
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10. Re: Need a little help - giving up control over choosing condo?

"Upgraded unit" means something different to everyone, so the more specific you can be, the better. I would ask for a unit with a kitchen and bathroom that had been remodeled in the last 5 years or so. Usually, if the owners have put money into the unit's infrastructure, the soft goods, ie furniture, carpet, and drapes, have been done, too. A good management company should take note of your request. You may want to call Hale Pau Hana and talk to the front office manager before you make your booking to judge how they react to your questions. Ask how many units have been fully or partially remodeled. Ask if the have a minimum standard to which the units are expected to adhere. If you're comfortable with the responses, book on line and then call them back in a day or two to add your requests. I would try to time my calls between 9 and 10 am and between 1 amd 3 pm - that's usually when the front desk is slowest. Also, I see they have a blog - you may want to ask to speak to the blog's author to get your questions answered as bloggers are usually people who like to talk!

When you opt for a package deal, you can indeed get better pricing on your total vacation then booking each component separately. The nightly rate for an individually managed unit generally does not include a cleaning fee (if you're staying 5 nights and the cleaning fee is $150, that's an additional $30 per night) or a check-in at the front desk (if applicable). A package is not always cheaper, but many times it is.

Edited: 29 January 2011, 03:00