Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Review 801: Gloria's Vacation Rentals, Omao Cottage Hideaway
1bed/1bath cottage outside of Koloa, near Poipu, Hawaii
March 2004, 3+ weeks
This is a lovely cottage, located about 10 minutes drive inland from the Poipu beach area. It is on Omao Road, just north from the small town of Koloa. This is a residential road mixed with farming. The cottage is well off the road and at the edge of the valley. On Omao Road, you go over the river in the valley and then the road goes up hill. The cottage is off the road at the point where it is at the top of the valley. You drive along a field of goats and the cottage is hidden behind. There are other houses nearby, but you cannot see them because of all the trees and how the cottage is situated.
The cottage has views out over the small valley and to the fields on the other side. You cannot see the ocean. The property is large, probably an acre, and slopes from the top of the valley, almost to the bottom. The garage and parking area are at the top of the property. You do not park in the garage, but on a large grassy area in front. A sloping path takes you down the house. The house is built on the side of the hill, with "stilts" underneath on the downslope side.
The house is small and all on one level. You enter through a double glass door into the main living / dining / kitchen area. There are lots of windows - the house is very bright and cheerful. The ceilings are high and have fans. From this living area, the bedroom is separated with double sliding wooden doors. The bathroom, also with a sliding door is beyond the bedroom. I would guess the house is about 500 square feet - small but very comfortable for two people. The floors are all wood, with some bamboo mats, except for the bathroom which is tile. The windows facing the valley all open and have screens, but the large windows facing the front, for some reason do not open (the screens were install on the inside and you cannot get at the windows to open them). But you get a good breeze from all the other windows.
Double glass doors from the bedroom lead to the large deck that runs the lenght of the house. The deck is floored with stone. From the deck you look down to the rest of the property (grass and bushes and banana trees) and to the valley and across the valley. The views are lovely. You do not see any houses. The deck has a nice wood table and chairs and there is one lounger. The deck could use a umbrella because it gets strong sun in the afternoon. It would also be fabulous is they put garden furniture or a hammock in the garden are below the house - it is very pretty and peaceful down there.
The kitchen is small but usable. There is no dishwasher; but there is a garberator, microwave, oven, stove, fridge, coffee maker, toaster, etc. The pots and dishes are in good shape.
The dining table is small - just big enough for two people.
The living room has a large comfortable couch and one arm chair. There is also a window seat in the dining area. The TV is located in builtin cabinets in the dining area and is best watched from the window seat. You can't really see it from the living room couch - well, you can, but you are not close. It is a good sized TV and gets a few cable channels but not all of them (no CNN!!). There is a VCR.
The bedroom is very pretty with a comfortable queen sized bed, pretty white bedding, good pillows, a nice armchair and a pretty table that we used as a desk. There is a very small closet for your clothes and the drawers are in the builtin shelving area in the dining room. I thought this was just too strange at first, but we quickly got used to it. The house is small - so you have to walk across the living room to get to your clothes. No big deal.
The bathroom is very nice, all tiled, with one sink and a tub with shower (not a deep tub). A glass door leads from the bathroom to the deck. You never use this, but the glass door lets in nice light. The windows all have those rattan shades, which really do not work well, but they suit the house. I just removed them from the bedroom doors leading to the deck, so we would have more light.
The washer and dryer are outside, under the house.
The first few days we were in this house, we could not identify the strange noise that we heard sometimes during the day, and all night long. It sounded like an electric buzz, but we could not locate it. We could not even tell if it was from closeby or far away. It even sounded like it might be cows - there are cows in the fields across the valley. Finally Steve figured it out - frogs!! The constant buzzing of frogs! Quite a delightful sound once you figure it out. There are a lot of roosters around and you can hear them, but they did not bother us. We found one or two mosquitos, but no more than we found in other places. We had thought the river at the bottom of the valley might produce more bugs, but it doesn't. There can be ants in the cupboard under the sink, so remember to take out the garbage frequently. There are geckos everywhere - but they are very cute and I think they eat some of the annoying bugs.
I really liked this house - we spent 3 weeks here - but I prefer the location of the houses on Hoona Road. I like being right at the ocean. In the Omao Cottage, sometimes it is overcast and raining and you wonder if it is raining at the beach - sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't - but you have to get in the car and drive for 10 minutes to find out. Also, we like to walk along the beach in the morning, so we have to hop in the car and drive to where we walk. We could walk out from this house, but we would be walking along a narrow paved road without a walking path.
This location is good if you want to be away from the noise and people along the beach. We had just spent a month at the Little Grass Shack on Hoona Road (similar price) and the downside of it is the constant stream of people walking by the house. It seems like every person looks in and then says "Little Grass Shack" (reading from the sign). Of course, we walked down the road several times a day and said the names of the cottages we passed, "Turtle Cove Cottage". Also, you get woken up early at the LGS first from the sprinklers, then from the early morning walkers who must cheerfully chat as they walk by. It felt like they were in the bedroom with us! But, you just get up and go out and join them. It feels like a constant party when you are staying at the beach. People walking by, lots of people living nearby, groups of people standing out to watch the sunset. We usually walked out in the morning, then again in the evening just to see the sunset and get the cool breeze.
So, in conclusion, I really liked the Omao Cottage, and it really is the nicest quality of house we have ever stayed in on Kauai, but it would better suit someone who does not mind hopping in the car two or three times a day. We have our routine on Hawaii (walk in the morning for a couple of hours, work until 2pm, out to the beach to hang out and swim, back home to shower, maybe out again to see the sunset, or out for dinner) and it works better for us being right in the heart of things. But the cottages in the heart of things are more expensive, or for a similar price are not as lovely as the Omao Cottage. And, being in the heart of things does get to you after a while - you are in a cottage, but it really feels like being in a condo because the other places are so close. The best thing would be to have one of those mansions right on the water, but what you would pay to rent one of those for a day, would get you a week in a simpler cottage. I would choose the week!!
I am recommending the Omao Cottage, and we would stay here again, but we would try for a house right by the water first. I think, if faced with a more expensive cottage near the water, I would choose the Omao Cottage because of its' good price. Omao Cottage is $770 per week, Little Grass Shack is $750, but other cottages near the beach are $1000 +.
Distances: - Just over a mile to Koloa, with two good grocery stores, tourist shops, a Lapperts ice cream shop. - Two miles to the fruit stand on the road to Poipu (11pm - 4pm) with great local fruit and vegetables. - Four miles to Poipu Beach Park (8 minutes drive); less to the beach in front of the Sheraton where we always swim. - Ten minutes to Hanapepe for a good lunch restaurant and a good Thai restaurant. - 20 miles to the beach past Waimea, go there when it is raining in Koloa/Poipu - it sometimes is sunny there.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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