2014 Trip to Kauai

The second third of our après ski season is/was two months in Kauai. We booked a condo for one week in Princeville at the Cliff's Lodge, during which we reconnoitered the island to find our long term accommodation. We like to do it that way--as Dimitri (who is in charge of making sure we are not homeless) described it in this post. BTW, that was not how we found our accommodation in the San Francisco Bay area. It was much more difficult than usual and our usual methods did not work in the bay area. See the post on "2014 Roadtrip: Our Bay Area Accommodations for June" for that saga.

We left our Rockridge house in the afternoon and checked in the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott (250 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030, tel. 650-259-0400). We had booked a king room at $192.79 for one night, including breakfast (senior rate). We were very happy to be upgraded to a king room with sofa (which were greatly prefer and, for more than one night, are typically willing to pay for).

The room was very good. The bed area with a chest of drawers was by the window and climate control/air conditioner. There was a second TV on the chest of drawers and a bench that accommodated our two medium suitcases. The next space over from the window was the closet and the door to the bathroom on the other side of the room. The third area was the sofa, comfortable chair, desk, and a piece of furniture that housed a second TV, a mini frig and a microwave--all of which were near the door. There was a coffee maker too. The only thing Audre didn't like was the plastic cups--typically Marriotts have real glasses. The climate control/air conditioner was the type with the controls on it rather than on a thermostat on the wall. This one actually worked and kept the room cool overnight without getting freezing. On the other hand, the pillows were awful—the type that flatten into pancakes. And, as always, the towels at the Fairfield as well as the others in the Marriott brand, were too thin. The included breakfast was good. Dimitri had eggs, bacon and bagel. Audre had cereal with banana.
 We were happy with our choice.

After we checked in, Dimitri brought the car and our bikes to Mechanically Speaking (1330 Rollins Road, Burlingame, CA 650-347-7666) for their four month stay. The rate for outdoor parking was $65 per month. The people at Mechanically Speaking drove Dimitri back to the Fairfield. This is the parking that had been recommended by Kim and Alan Parness from Vail and California.

That night we had dinner at the new Asian restaurant right next door to the hotel called Tai Wu Restaurant (300 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030, tel. 650-697-7888, www.taiwurestaurant.com). We were very glad that we didn’t trust the bad reviews that this restaurant has gotten. We had a delicious meal with excellent service. At first we were put off by the glossy menu with all of the photos. Then we were put off by the prices—they were high. We also didn’t find any reasonably priced vegetable dishes. We decided to try one appetizer and asked if we could have ½ order of the “Tossed Black Fungus Salad” and ½ order of the “Jelly Fish with Aged Vinegar”. The manager said we could and a large dish arrived with both on it. Each was delicious and the textures were pleasing too. The taste of the combination of sauces was terrific. The price of that dish was $8.50. On the basis of that dish, we decided to stay. We wanted only one other dish and we were having a hard time finding something that had protein and vegetables. We thought we’d get the “House Special Combination Soup Dried Scallop, Oyster and Mixed Fungus” but it was $28.50 and we decided that was too expensive (and we had just had a fungus dish). We ordered the “Pig Knuckle with Plum Clay Pot” for $14.50 and it was excellent. The sauce was not too sweet—just right—and there was plenty of meat on the bones. There was no vegetable in the dish to speak of but we figured, having just eaten the fungus, we had gotten some vegetable. We had one rice ($1.50). There was so much food we couldn’t finish the dish. On the glossy menu there were many desserts that sounded interesting. Unfortunately, they were only served at lunch. The server offered to bring us a taste of the “green bean soup”. He brought us two bowls and didn’t charge us. The green bean soup was interesting, different and good. So we had a very economical meal at $26.71 plus tip and we were stuffed and very satisfied.

Our flight of 5:20 hours left SFO the next day at 9:30 am and the Fairfield provided us with a shuttle to the airport. Our friends, the Brauns (from Hawaii and Vail), picked us up and spent the afternoon with us between our arrival into Honolulu and our departure late in the afternoon for Kauai. Isn't that absolutely wonderful?
With the Brauns at lunch on Waikiki Beach
We had a lovely lunch by the sand and caught up with all of the news. Then the Brauns gave us a mini tour on the way back to the airport.

We decided to fly economy because the difference in price between economy and business was so horrendously huge. We spent about $3000 for two round trip tickets to Seoul, South Korea (on Korean Airlines), via Kauai (on Hawaiian Airlines). We did not regret that decision on the way to Hawaii but may on the trip from Hawaii to South Korea because that leg is over ten hours.

Our flight was on time, we got our luggage and connected with Sheryl at Fun Cars to get our two month rental Mustang convertible at $21.58 per day (Fun Cars, 3480 Paena Loop, Lihue, HI 96766, (808) 652-0322, e-mail: team@funcarshawaii.com, web: funcarshawaii.com)
We turned in the Mustang for this much better Chrysler Sebring convertible (that is the house we rented for our long term accommodation in the background)
Our next stop was the Safeway in Kapaa for provisions for our condo at the Cliffs in Princeville. 
We arrived at the Cliffs (http://www.cliffsatprinceville.com/) before the front desk closed at 10 p.m. Even though we rented our unit at the Cliffs from Ahh Aloha (Ahh Aloha Kauai Vacation Rentals, P.O. Box 13114, El Paso, TX 79913, Phone: +1 (866) 922-5642, Email: ahhhaloha@gmail.com, www.kauai-vacations-ahh.com),  the front desk had all of our information and was hospitable. We were delighted when we saw our unit. This is how Ahh Aloha describes our unit, 5106 (http://www.kauai-vacations-ahh.com/cliffs.htm#anc):

"The Cliffs 5106 - steps from the bluffs edge, this homey ground floor condo, allows you to walk directly from your living room lanai to watch the crashing surf, whales, dolphins and turtles. Take the nearby trail down the bluff to a lava swimming hole. Carry your fresh fish to the oceanfront pavillion. One king bed, one queen sofa sleeper, two bathrooms, Rate*: $125/nt. Cleaning fee: $140."

The living room at the Cliffs
Even though the daily rate was a reasonable $125, the add-ons (cleaning, insurance, taxes, rental charges, etc.) raised the per day rate to $169 per day. The next morning, when we walked out of the bedroom, we were greeted with a lovely ocean view (and a chicken with her 7 chicks on our lanai).
While the chicks might have been cute, the noise of the roosters that accompanied them was definitely not
We liked having two bathrooms at the Cliffs. And the space was great. The Cliffs complex was quiet and we slept well. During our stay we used the Jacuzzi's and rented clunker beach bikes (no gears and braking with our feet) to tour around Princeville. Dimitri however did not want a sanitized Hawaiian stay. He wanted to be on the beach in a bungalow so we did a great search to find him what he wanted. Click here to read about the bungalow we found for our two month stay.

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