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November 14, 2016

Escape into Luxury with Elite Vacation Rentals

Beach Villas Ocean Tower

It's funny how the world works.

One weekend I was having lunch with a friend, discussing travel plans, and she mentioned looking into vacation rentals. I told her how I never stayed in a vacation rental, and how I was too apprehensive of staying in one because although I've heard great stories, I've also heard really bad stories.

5 days later, I received an email from Munro Murdock, property manager at Elite Vacation Rentals, asking if I'd like to spend a weekend at the Beach Villas at Ko Olina.

I didn't hesitate to accept his offer, but the apprehension was still there.

Thankfully, Munro was awesome and very understanding of my anxieties during the entire process, from setting up the reservation until arrival at the property, answering any and all questions I had promptly to ensure our family would have an amazing staycation.

Upon arrival at the Beach Villas at Ko Olina, a Guest Greeter offered us lei, took our luggage and accompanied my husband to our designated parking stall, while I checked in and received a summary of house rules, which included no smoking, no draping towels and clothing over lanai railings, no glassware in pool/spa, etc.
Lei Greeting
We then received a tour of the property to familiarize ourselves with the area.

The property overlooks a lush garden area, complete with a koi pond (kids can feed the koi during twice-daily feedings!), hot tubs, a fitness center, BBQ grills, and an Owner's Lounge where guests can participate in activities, such as lei-making and ukulele lessons, for a fee.
Lush Gardens
Koi pond with twice-daily feedings!
After the property tour, we then went up the ocean tower for a tour of our villa, O-1506 Hale Honu Ko Olina Beach Villa, aptly named because of all of the honu (green sea turtle) decor sprinkled throughout the villa (coasters, art work, books, etc.)
Lots of honu decor throughout the villa
Almost 1500 square feet of luxury accommodations greeted us in our 15th floor penthouse villa. The villa was absolutely gorgeous, with modern furnishings and island-inspired touches.

In the villa was a living room, dining room, a full kitchen, a master suite with a king bed, a master bath, a second bedroom with a queen bed, and a second bathroom.

The living room included a sofa and ottoman, both which converted into beds!

Living room - with convertible sofa and ottoman
Dining room
The kitchen, complete with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances and granite countertops, was designed by world-renowned Chef Roy Yamaguchi. The kitchen is fully-equipped with a microwave, refrigerator, freezer, coffee maker, water kettle, dishwasher, and oven, as well all the utensils, pots, pans, dishware, and even spices, to whip up a gourmet meal!

State-of-the-art kitchen
A full kitchen with everything you need to cook a gourmet meal!
The room included central air, three flat screen TVs, a DVD player, games, magazines, books, numerous iPod charging stations, and complimentary Wi-Fi!

The bedrooms were comfy and cozy, and the bathrooms were huge!
Master bedroom
Master bath
Master bath

Bedroom

Second bathroom
Second bathroom
The views were just stunning! From the lanai we could see the ocean and three of the four lagoons in Ko Olina.



We spent a lot of time on the lanai enjoying the view
The bedrooms offered pretty views of the golf course and of Diamond Head in the distance.


Golf Course
Sun rising over Diamond Head in the distance
We loved that there is a super fun family lagoon pool that weaves throughout the property, as well as a kiddie wading pool. The Honu Lagoon (lagoon number 2) is just steps away from the Beach Villas. A quiet/lap pool is also on property, but it was being re-tiled during our stay.
Fun at the pool!

Lagoon 2 - palapas (umbrellas) are first-come, first-served
What's great is that the villa is fully stocked with all your beach and pool needs - towels, toys, rafts, totes, coolers, boogie boards - even a beach wagon!
Beach and pool amenities

Excited to play at the lagoon!
There are no restaurants at the Beach Villas, but Makai Hale Beach Bar near the pool offers guests the perfect cocktail to sip on while watching the sunset, and there is live entertainment every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 5pm - 7pm.

Makai Hale Beach Bar
Despite no on-site restaurants, there are numerous eateries just a short walk or drive away, and if you prefer to cook your own meals in your amazing kitchen, a convenience store is nearby in Ko Olina, and grocery and warehouse club stores are just a short drive away in Kapolei, so you can pick up all of your ingredients.
Beach Villas at Ko Olina
We had a short, but fabulous staycation at the Beach Villas at Ko Olina. We spent time at the lagoon and pool, we had a movie night with popcorn provided in a welcome gift basket, and we basically just tried to relax and unwind as much as possible.

I loved that it was extremely quiet at the Beach Villas - no waking up to the sounds of traffic or noisy neighbors, and the location was very convenient, with easy beach access and numerous restaurants and shops nearby.

When it was time to leave, we simply followed the departure instructions (place used towels in designated area, empty trash, etc.), returned our key cards, and said goodbye to the amazing villa.

So what did we think of staying in a vacation rental?

We absolutely loved our experience! 

Yes, I still had my apprehensions. For instance, if an appliance breaks down we can't just call down to the front desk and get a maintenance person right away (although Elite Vacation Rentals will get any issues addressed as quickly as possible). I was also concerned about safety and access, but there is 24-hour security and security cameras in public areas, and you need a key card to access not only the villa, but also the parking garage, elevator, and the property from the lagoon.

There are a few other big differences from staying in a hotel. If you run out of amenities from your starter kit of supplies - shampoo, toilet paper, trash bags, paper towels, etc., you do need to buy your own and you can't just call housekeeping to get them replenished, but as mentioned, the convenience store and numerous other stores are nearby for you to pick up all that you need. You'll also need to launder your own towels and linens during your stay.
Bath amenities
Speaking of housekeeping, cleaning is done after departure (for a fee; mid-stay cleaning can be arranged and may be required depending on length of rental), so during your stay it's important to sweep, vacuum, and wipe down counters and tables - things you don't typically have to deal with when staying in a hotel room.

However, all of that is just a small trade off for what you get - personalized service, a large, luxury rental, and an abundance of amenities - all for less than what you'd pay for a typical standard room at nearby resorts.

The cost-savings are huge!

Cook your own meals in the fully-equipped kitchen, and you'll save hundreds of additional dollars!

Make use of the washer and dryer in your room so you can pack less clothes and save on baggage and laundry fees (you'll end up with more room for souvenirs!).

Split the cost between two families (as long as you do not exceed the maximum number of guests), and you can save even more!

A stay at the Beach Villas at Ko Olina is perfect for families and large groups. Amenities, such as pack-n-plays and highchairs are also available for those traveling with the littlest family members.

Although there are other property managers who oversee units in the Beach Villas at Ko Olina, Elite Vacation Rentals manages exclusive properties, and the service you get is top-notch. An Elite Vacation Rentals rep thoroughly inspects the villa prior to check-in, and will also explain how to use different appliances, the remote, etc. during the tour. Of course, it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the information (and be distracted by just how gorgeous the villa is), so a handy reference guide is in the room which has everything you need (appliance instructions, list of nearby attractions, grocery stores, etc.). Munro and the team also offer assistance with concierge services or grocery delivery services as well.

And once you're on property, you're not just left on your own. We did not have to contact Munro or any of Elite Vacation Rentals' reps during our stay, but they will be there for you. How do I know?

A Guest Book is left in the room where all guests have the option to write notes for the owner of the villa. I briefly skimmed through the book and noticed guests from all over the world signed it, and one message in particular stood out. A guest had written about how the washer and dryer broke down, so Munro and his team picked up the guest's laundry and did it for her!

Talk about amazing service!

Book your luxury vacation rental through Munro and Elite Vacation Rentals, and you will be in good hands!

We had the absolute best luxury vacation rental experience at the Beach Villas at Ko Olina thanks to Munro and Elite Vacation Rentals!

For a list of Elite Vacation Rentals' properties, click here.

Mahalo to Elite Vacation Rentals for an amazing weekend escape.  Cleaning fee and gratuities were paid on my own.

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