Aloha Kauai Fans!
If you are reading this you are likely looking into owning or already own a vacation rental here on Kauai. NICE! It’s such a great way to have a second home here, block some dates out that you want to spend time with your Ohana and enjoy the benefits of cash-flow while you are away. Good on you for investing in Kauai! We are stoked to have you as part of our community.
After years of studying Vacation rentals here on Kauai and staying in many of them myself we’ve decided to put together a list of best practices when getting ready to Vacation Rent here on the garden island.
1. Think about durability.
Ikea furniture might not cut the mustard here on Island… We have lots of moisture and wind and rain so getting furniture that can take a beating through 50-60 groups of guests a year. It’s never fun when we have a guest call us and tell us they need a new couch, like now, because the one they are relaxing on just fell apart ;).
– Da Warehouse and other outlets here on Kauai provide great options for high end art and furniture that was pulled from one of the major hotels. Using a mixture of these materials plus finds from Estate Sales or staple stores like Two Frogs etc can get you a great Hawaiian feel that won’t warp and break apart like some cheaper furniture.
2. Paint the place. With COLOR!
It’s Hawaii! I’m not saying that you should go all out with the pink-pepto walls or shock the guests awake with FLUO Blue Hawaii walls but c’mon! Get a little color in that place to separate you from the pack. It’s cheap and a perfect way to bring a little uniqueness into the picture.
– I’ve heard “Let’s rent the one with the red bar stools” or “I like the one with the green doors. That’s fun”. So don’t be afraid to brighten things up. These guests won’t likely just hang out in the hale all day. They are gonna go out and get muddy or sandy and play! They’ll love coming home to a home that’s got a little character.
3. Wall to wall carpet is a bad idea.
Rip it out! Area rugs and other doormats to wipe off the sand and red dirt over tile or engineered hardwoods is the way to go. Use the area rugs to break up open floorplan spaces and provide a little warmth while keeping the majority of your flooring easy-to-clean. We even took everything up at one of our first floor condos to find sweet concrete floors. With the help of Weston our local concrete genius, he filled the cracks, polished them up and now we have a sustainable and invincible floor that looks cool too!
– Lose the carpet. Your housekeeper will praise you and so will the guests.
4. Go GREEN.
LED’s and maybe even a timer on the hot water tank are solid investments. We have the highest power bills here in the country, so be aware of that. Also need to mention A/C. Some guests “have to have it” but make sure they understand that the power is expensive and they may be spending all of your nightly profits away by keeping them chilled. Having LED bulbs installed will help keep costs down if you have guests that like to leave the lights on all the time.
5. Bed, Pillows and Sheets.
Get good pillows and at least 400 thread count sheets. Pacific Trail pillows are my choice. Spendy but not likely the guests are gonna smuggle them on the plane. Go the extra mile with the bedding all around. It’s one of the most reviewed items online. If you have cheap stuff guests mention it in reviews. Plus you don’t want those guests to wake up grumpy! Heck, even toss a couple of nice light robes in the master bath so they can feel pampered. I personally don’t think that pillow top beds are a great idea here on island due to mold issues, instead get a memory foam atop a regular bed. Also go big with the beds! Don’t skimp on a Queen if you have large rooms. When you are on island everyone wants to go out and have King sized adventures, so they should have King sized sleeping spaces too.
6. Lanai Upgrade.
Get some comfortable stuff for your guests to use outside! We live outside here. Even in the dead of winter is 80’s during the day so let them spread out and relax outdoors. When your guests can watch the birds and feel the trades they use less of your energy inside and seem to be happier. After talking with hundreds of guests the biggest complaint was that the lanai furniture looked like leftover junk from a 1970’s pool scene. They have some pretty nice stuff at Costco that has character and is comfortable too. Add a citronella candle and nice table and BAM. Outdoor happiness abounds!
For more great ideas or to talk with us about managing your Vacation Rental so we can do all of this stuff FOR you, feel free to reach out.
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Licensing and Tax info:
FAQ about life on Kauai