Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Review 4932: Owner, Maui Tea House Cottage
1bed/1bath house in Huelo, Hawaii
March 2011, 7 nights
The Tea House is located in Huelo, Maui -- 45 minutes from Kahului airport on the road to Hana. It's very much off the beaten path, nestled in a dense jungle. The property is surrounded by forest, making it feel like a very private retreat.
Pa'ia is the nearest big town at about 15 miles away. The town of Haiku is about 10 miles away and Kahului 23 miles. The Twin Falls Fruit stand is very close to the property and offers locally grown produce and smoothies. We got our groceries from Mana Foods in Paia.
The Tea House cottage is highly suitable for those looking for a quiet place to unwind and experience a simpler way of living.
The cottage's quiet, cool location makes it an inviting retreat, and if the thought of being crammed in amongst throngs of tourists makes you uneasy, it's an excellent spot from which to enjoy the splendors of the island.
After about a half-hour drive from the airport, you'll turn onto a bumpy country road heading towards the ocean. The Tea House is located a little more than a mile from the main road, but it feels much further removed.
The cabin is simply constructed. There is a screened porch and deck at the front, a small kitchen and sitting area, and a decent-sized bedroom, with closet, writing desk, and a deck of its own. There is a gorgeous view of jungle and ocean from the cottage, with large windows for taking in the view and letting light in.
The kitchen has a fair amount of counter space, a sink, a small refrigerator, and a two-burner gas stove. There is a charcoal grill outside, outdoor seating, a hammock, a large grassy area, and even a Buddhist stupa.
The bathhouse sits across the deck from the cabin. It's a round, roomy structure with a stone floor, sink, counter, toilet and shower with plenty of hot water.
The cottage is off the grid -- powered by solar energy. There is not enough juice to run hair dryers or irons, but plenty to provide light in the darkest hours. The property owner warns that on very cloudy days the power may run short, and she keeps a back-up supply of lanterns on hand for such occasions. We had several cloudy days and we never experienced a power shortage.
The property is well-stocked with provisions. There are comfy beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, boogie boards, a cooler, and we even found an extra snorkel set tucked away in the closet. There are plenty of extra pillows, blankets and towels, cutlery, pots and pans, and dishes.
The cabin is suitable for two, although if there are more in your party there is a companion cabin located a short distance from the Tea House. The Tiare Cottage is smaller, slightly more rustic and requires a climb into its sleeping loft, but if you're able-bodied and have an adventurous spirit, it's a fun place to stay.
The property is surrounded by lush gardens and forest with many palms and tropical plants, and an expansive lawn area with a hammock. There is a deck with a charcoal grill and plentiful outdoor seating.
The owner has obviously taken special care to create a tranquil space with an abundance of beautiful flora.
The furnishings were attractive, comfortable, and clean. The cottage is rustic and its decor is very tasteful and uncluttered.
The Tea House bedroom was lovely, with lots of space, good light, a deck, and plentiful storage. And I loved the bathhouse -- it was spacious, airy and had everything I needed.
The kitchen was a good size, stocked with plenty of pots, pans, dishes, and cutlery for making meals.
Problems or Bonuses
This is the jungle and there are creatures to contend with. A robust ant population quickly descended on any food we left out, and we each left our stay here with a couple of mosquito bites. There are spiders, lizards, and toads galore. The spiders and toads were kind enough to stay outside and keep to themselves. A few geckos came out at night inside the Tiare Cottage. Our five-year-old son had a fantastic time searching for them, but they too kept to themselves and we didn't mind their presence.
The only other downside is the distance of the cottage(s) from Maui's main attractions. While we were there, the days and nights on our side of the island were cool, windy and periodically wet. Things on the south side of the island were consistently sunny and warm. It was about a 45-minute drive to get to the sunny-day beach experience we were craving. We didn't mind, but if you want to walk out your front door into instant warmth, the Tea House may not be for you. It requires a bit of planning to pack the car with everything you might need for a day at the beach, for it's a long drive back to the cottage if you've forgotten something.
Bonuses include a cooler climate that was a relief after a long, hot day at the beach, a quiet, meditative space free from the bustle of city living, and an array of accessories for a fun day at the beach -- including boogie boards, beach chairs, umbrellas, a cooler, and a snorkel.
There is also a Buddhist stupa located on the property -- in a beautiful spot overlooking the sea.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Ann is the property owner and was a lovely hostess. She made us breakfast our first morning, and took us on a tour of the property. She always made sure there was a light on for us when we returned after dark, and overall she made us feel very welcome to be on her beautiful property. The price for the Tea House is $150/night, with a 10% discount for six nights or more. The Tiare rents for $500/week. We paid $1400 for both cottages for seven nights.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would highly recommend this rental for those looking for a quiet retreat while on Maui, and who don't mind a drive to get to major amenities or tourist attractions.
Things to do in this area
Highlights for us include a snorkeling trip to Molokini with the Pacific Whale Foundation, which, though watching whales was not specifically on the agenda, ended up being the best whale-watching trip I've ever been on. We also visited the Maui Ocean Center, which was a great way for our young son to get up close to the sea life of Maui, though it is a bit pricey. We thoroughly enjoyed our beach time at the nearby Baldwin Beach, and at Maluaka Beach on the south side of the island. We splurged on dinner at Mama's Fish House in Paia, and enjoyed meals at Cafe des Amis in Paia, Milagros in Paia, the Maui Fish Taco Stand just beyond the turnoff for Maluaka Beach, Eskimo Candy in Kihei, and Da Kitchen Express in Kihei. We tried several times to eat at the Paia Fish Market but the line was always too long.
Mana Foods in Paia was a great place to stock up on foods -- with an emphasis on organic, island-grown and bulk foods.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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