If you are looking for the "Boater's Paradise", it is in Hawaii Kai. Choosing which part of the marina to live on is the difficult part. Each neighborhood has its own unique character and personality. I frequently receive emails from people who want to know about the various homes and areas on the marina. How is the neighborhood? Do you like this part of the marina?" Below I provide my quick thoughts on the different single family home neighborhoods and condominium or townhouse complexes on the marina in Hawaii Kai.
Single Family Homes on the Hawaii Kai Marina
Anchorage: Built in the early 80's, these homes are located in the back of Hawaii Kai past the post office. A great neighborhood with larger homes and lots with wide marina frontage. The best part about Anchorage is the marina is very wide and there is a small bird sanctuary island in this part of the marina. Having a location where the marina is wide is a defining characteristic among marina front properties. The wider the marina the better. It will afford you more privacy, openness and room to turn larger boats.
Kealaula Kai - Is more commonly known as "Anchorage" or "Anchorage II". Built in the late 80's, these homes are also very nice and some were built even larger than their predecessors. The marina width is the same as Anchorage, so if you see a house for sale in this neighborhood, you probably have a winner. If you get too far up Makaa st though, it gets more narrow, so you have to know which part of the street you're on.
Luna Kai - The whole strip of marina front homes between Walgreens and the bridge before Keahole st. In other words, all the homes on the marina that are along Kalanianaole Highway. (We call it Kal Highway) I wouldn't say it's a real Highway in the mainland sense, but it is a very busy street, and some of the homes are built pretty close to it. Although the daytime street noise is noticeable in these houses, the good news is that some of the houses have built barriers that help keep out the sound and Kal Highway is very quiet after 9PM. There is also a slight issue with the small inlets off Kal Highway that these houses are located on, which can be hard to get in and out of.
Having said all that, the homes on this stretch of Kal Highway can be very nice. They were all built with nice wide marina frontage, and they face the sunrise, so you don't have the strong afternoon sun in your face. I've seen some large 5000sqft homes in Luna Kai, built with very high end features, but most of them are from the 60's and 70's. If you get a nice remodeled house, or one that has been rebuilt more recently, then you're going to have a nice high end home with great marina frontage. As far as the width of the marina, many of these are a couple hundred yards across. From the back you can see water skiers and bumper tubers, as the course is just in front of Luna Kai, as well a nice view of Koko Head. All this can make for a nice relaxing Hawaii afternoon.
- Marina front in Mariner's Cove means either Niumalu Loop or Kalanipuu Street. Some areas in Niumalu Loop have houses in average to run-down condition, but all of Kalanipuu Street seems to have very nice homes in great shape. These two streets are real similar to Anchorage, except that they face the opposite way - into the setting sun. While most won't get too much sun because of Mariner's Ridge, some are going to get a lot of sun all day. Niumalu Loop can get you facing either direction depending on which part you're on, and all of it has pretty wide marina frontage.
The homes in the middle of Kalanipuu Street that face the bird island are my favorite in this neighborhood. They have very wide frontage, and very wide marina depth. (One measures your house, the other measures how far it is across the water on the marina.) Prices tend to go upwards of $2million for a nice home, and most homes on Kalanipuu are pretty large. The Niumalu homes tend to be smaller unless they've been rebuilt. There is a part of Niumalu that looks straight down the entire marina, basically where Mariner's cove comes to a point, and those homes may have the best location of all marina front homes, period.
Spinnaker Isle - It's more like a street than an actual neighborhood. Kumukahi Place is just one forked street that many people don't know about, shaped like a big "U". Built in the 60's mostly, the original homes were small at about 1500sqft, single story, and very simple. About 1/3 of the homes have been either rebuilt or renovated, with a few of the homes now well over 3000sqft. $2million will get you a nice, newish home with all the upgrades and great marina frontage. The homes on the inner side of the U shaped street are on a very narrow part of the marina, which would make it difficult to turn a boat around. If you can get one on the outside of the "U", then you're going to have wide frontage and good marina depth. The ends of each side of the street and the outside of the left fork are the best locations, looking straight down the water for several hundred yards.
- If it isn't in one of the above neighborhoods, but it's marina front in Hawaii Kai, then it's probably West Marina. I'm not sure where this neighborhood begins and ends, and I've never heard anyone use this term to describe where they live. It encompasses all the little streets of Hawaii Kai that are on the marina, several of the homes that are actually on Hawaii Kai Drive, and a whole bunch of homes off Keahole Street. Since it's kind of broad, it's hard to describe altogether.
There are tiny narrow streets like Awini Place, Awini Way, where the marina becomes more like a tiny canal. Homes tend to be smaller, a little more run down, with narrow streets. However, some people have renovated some homes on these little streets and made them very nice. If you're up for a remodeling project, you can probably save some money by picking up one of the old houses and redoing it yourself.
There are homes on Hawaii Kai Drive and just off of it, that have great marina frontage with great width, and large beautiful homes. Ainahou Street and 9 of the homes on Kaiolohia Place are great examples of marina front living. These rarely come up for sale and when they were built in the 80's, they were nice high end homes. These have some of the best water frontage so if you see one, grab it!
- West Marina also includes the single family homes in the Peninsula, which is confusing to many because the Peninsula is a gated community built mostly in 2004, with it's own association, pools, etc. There are around 50 marina front single family homes in the Peninsula, along with dozens of townhouses too. The homes on the marina here are all very nice at about 2500-3000sqft, and run about $1.6million as of early 2014. Boating has become more popular in recent years, and it's increasingly common to see docks in front of these homes. If you want something new, gated, with a community pool and nicely maintained neighborhood, then the Peninsula might be for you. The homes are more simple than they are grand or unique, but they are still a quality product with some amazing marina-front views.
Condos and Townhomes on the Hawaii Kai Marina
There are so many different complexes on the marina in Hawaii Kai that most people can't keep track. You can choose from high rise, traditional low rise condo, two story townhome, duplex, or even some combination of the above. These are cheaper than single family homes, smaller, with less maintenance (it's done by the association.)
- Not to be confused with the Colony at the Peninsula (none of which are actually on the marina), the Colony Marina was built in 1969, with some of the largest marina front townhouses built to date. Most are about 1700-1900sqft, and some have 4 bedrooms. Almost all the units are right on the marina, though few people have boats. The frontage is as wide as your unit, which is probably around 25-30 feet. They face some of the homes in West Marina, and it's not too narrow. If you want a larger condo/townhouse on the marina, these may be a good option for you. Amenities are scarce, but they have a nice pool. These units feel like they were built better than some of the other, cheaper complexes.
- The Esplanade is the high-rise on the marina directly adjacent to the Peninsula. While none of the units are right on the marina, the ground floor units walk out about 100 feet to the water, and it is possible to rent some dock space. Many of the units have great marina views, and the building has nice amenities including tennis facilities, a huge pool, and security guards that seem to be at every turn. Also they remodeled the meeting room in 2007, so it's looking great. With the current parking lot setup, it can sometimes be be a bit of a walk from your car to your unit. The units here tend to be small 2 bedroom units with windows at each end but not on the sides, unless you get an end unit. It's not true marina front living, but you see the marina, and you can have a dock.
- It's the first complex you see when entering Hawaii Kai from the west. Fairly large for condos, these units can be about 1800sqft, and many are right on the water with a dock right in front. Built in the 70's, the complex is starting to feel old and will probably need a facelift soon. The units that have been remodeled are very nice, and many have a nice view. One problem in Gateway Peninsula is that it's right near the highway. You can see and hear the cars crossing the bridge over the marina. The pool and meeting room are on the smaller side, but more than adequate given the small size of the complex. Every time I've shown the units in here, buyers seem to be deterred by the highway noise. There are a few units that don't face the highway, but those are in a real narrow canal part of the water.
Hawaii Kai Cp
- These are old duplex style units built mostly in the 60's, off Kawaihae Street. This area feels the least "high end" of all marina front Hawaii Kai. Some units are very run down, but those who have renovated them have done a great job making them feel open and modern. They are cheaper than most other townhouses on the marina, and some have wide enough water to feel like a house. Usually around 1400sqft, these townhomes are split level, so they feel kind of narrow inside. If you have about $600k-700k and you want a marina front townhome, these are some of the best opportunities for a remodel.
- The best feature about many of the Kaimala Marina front townhomes is that they have big lanais on the marina side. The units themselves are kind of small at around 1280sqft, but the prices match at about $500k. Only some of the units are on the marina, but the ones that are have great views. The main issues with these units are and the brightness and heat they catch from the setting sun in the afternoon as well as the complex's age (built in 1972) . That being said, I've seen several of these remodeled and done very well. The units don't have a walk-out private dock like Koko Isle or Kuapa Isle, but you can pay for a slip on the giant, shared dock that is right in front of your unit. The units can feel a bit narrow, especially if you get an inside unit with no side window, but get an end unit on the water and you'll have scored some of the best priced marina frontage in Hawaii Kai.
Built in 1993 a high-rise though it's only 4 stories tall, it may be the most well constructed of the marina front condos. It feels like a hotel when you walk in, built out of concrete with high ceilings and a very solid feeling structure. The units in Kalele Kai can be quite large, at about 2000sqft, though none of them have a private walk out dock. You can rent a dock and they seem to be available often. Many of the homes face Keahole Street or Safeway, which is not very desirable, but the units that face the marina can be great. Kalele Kai has some two story townhomes as well as the low rise buildings, and those townhomes sit right up on the marina with great frontage and views. ~$20,000 per boat dock.
You can walk out the gate of Kalele Kai to the Safeway center, where you have great little restaurants and a nice coffee shop right on the water. These condos feel modern, even if some units still need some updating on the inside. You have to be picky in Kalele Kai so you don't end up with a lot of noise or a view of Safeway's roof, but the nice units here are hard to beat. There is a pool but not much else other than the marina. When they were built, they were upper end condos for working professionals, so the whole place feels quite upscale. The nice units tend to be about $1million.
Koko Isle -
One of the few actual islands, Koko Isle is a very unique little neighborhood. The small two-story townhomes might look a bit cheap from outside, but the units can be renovated to very nice condition. They take a bit of getting used to, since they look as if they might fall in the water, with posts that stick up out of the water to support the townhomes. I've seen some very nice townhomes in Koko Isle, but some of my buyers can't get past the exteriors. For some reason the association keeps the place looking very gray, and sort of shabby, but Koko Isle is like the ugly duckling of Hawaii Kai, where what's inside is a lot more attractive than what's outside. And while the buildings are kind of plain Jane, the grounds are kept nice and green. I just hope they choose a new color next time they paint.
Privacy is easily found here, as there is just one little bridge in and out of Koko Isle, and management seems to be good about watching out for the neighbors' safety. The huge advantage that Koko Isle has is that every marina front unit has direct and private dock access. You can get a townhome with your own private lanai leading to your own private dock. Depending on the location, you might be able to get a 40 foot boat in front of your home.
Kuapa Isle - Is kind of like Koko Isle's prettier cousin, a sort of similar private island but with better built, larger townhomes built in 1970. The homes are still pretty narrow, but many have great marina frontage and wide open water views. People tend to like Kuapa Isle because the townhomes are built mostly as duplexes, sharing only one wall. Some of the units are as large as 1800 sqft, but most are about 1500 sqft. I think they need more guest parking, but they do have some nice grassy areas and a pool that overlooks the marina.
- Never heard of Marina Palms? Neither has anyone else in Hawaii Kai. It's across the street from Colony Marina, and they don't often come up for sale. Marina Palms is a group of small townhomes of about 1000 sqft that will cost you just under $500k. If you want a little 2-3 bedroom condo on the marina with just the basics, this is your place. The complex has a small pool and seems like it's well built. You can have a dock in front of your condo, and the marina is about 50 feet across at some parts, wide enough to turn around. You don't have much view other than the condos across the water, but this is pretty basic marina front living. A good choice if you're looking to spend as little money as possible on the marina.
Moorings - Built in 1969, the Moorings are located right off Hawaii Kai Drive, the first complex on the left. Almost every unit is right on the water with a dock right in front. Some of them face Kal Highway, which is noisy as I've already said. There is a small pool, party room and bar-b-que area.
There are beautifully renovated units in the Moorings for about $650k, and most units are about 1300 sqft. Not large, but enough for a few people to enjoy the marina and a boat. They aren't much to look at from the outside, with a lot of brown and beige, and wood shingled roofs that need to be changed to something more modern. What I like about the moorings is that they were built a little wider than other units like Koko Isle and Kaimala Marina, which feel a little more bowling alley-like. If you can get a renovated larger unit at the Moorings on the water, you've got yourself a nice place to enjoy the water.
- In the heart of Hawaii Kai is a nice two story townhouse project built in 1988 called Mawaena Kai. They look nice, and since they're built wide like a house, they feel spacious. People inquire about Mawaena Kai a lot because they often see as Leasehold with the fee available, which means they list cheaper than they sell for. The regular Fee Simple Price is about $600k-$750k.
Views of Koko Head are great, and face away from the setting sun. Most sit on a nice wide part of the water, and though you can't have a private dock out your door, you can rent one of the many docks available. This is a popular complex that faces The Peninsula, and has a pretty nice neighborhood feeling. All the buildings are on the water, so all you have to do is pick the right unit. A lot of them are small, at around 1100-1200 sqft, but the ability to walk out the door to the grass then the marina makes them live larger.
The Peninsula - The Peninsula condos and townhomes were built in 2004 and are the most recent addition to our marina community. They may not be luxurious, but the simply designed complex is clean, contemporary, and well kept. Only a couple of the townhouses have actual docks in front, but there are also a small number of docks you can rent. And if you see the Colony listed as marina front, it's not. None of the Colony units are on the marina.
The Peninsula is a great gated community with 2 pools, walking paths, a workout room, a meeting room, and some very nice landscaping. It's not ideal for boat owners (except for the single family homes with docks) but if you want to live on the water, they are a great option. There hadn't been anything built on the water for 15 years until the Peninsula came along, so if you like newer, this is your best option.
Jake Vaughan Realtor services all of the Hawaii Kai communities including: Anchorage real estate, Lower and Upper Hahaione real estate, Kalama Valley real estate, Kamehame Ridge real estate, Kamiloiki real estate, Kealaula Kai real estate, Koko Head Terrace real estate, Koko Kai real estate, Koko Villas real estate, Laulima real estate, Luna Kai real estate, Marina West real estate, Mariners Cove real estate, Mariners Ridge real estate, Mariners Valley real estate, Napali Haweo real estate, Peninsula real estate, Portlock real estate, Queens Gate real estate, Spinnaker Isle real estate, Triangle real estate, West Marina real estate, and surrounding areas! Barbara Abe services buyers and sellers of real estate in the Hawaii Kai condominiums of Mt. Terrace, Kalele Kai, Colony at the Peninsula, Esplanade, Plaza Hawaii Kai, Naniwa Gardens, Heritage House, Mauna Luan, and Commodore. In addition, she helps buyers and sellers of marinafront townhomes in Hawaii Kai in Gateway Peninsula, Napua Point, Moorings, Colony Marina, Marina Palms, Kuapa Isle, Mawaena Kai, Kaimala Marina, and Koko Isle. Townhomes Barbara Abe services in Hawaii Kai include Kalama Kuu, Kawaihae Crescent East and West, Lalea at Hawaii Kai, Mariners Village I, Mariners Village II, and Mariners Village III, Moana Kai, Nanea Kai, and Village Green. She represents buyers and sellers of all property types in Hawaii Kai, such as: single family homes, investment property, multi-family investment real estate, residential homes, homes for sale, luxury homes, townhouses, townhomes, condos, condo apartments, first time home buyers, homes, lots, acreage, property, investment homes, multi-family homes