Marinafront Condos

There are so many different marinafront condominiums in Hawaii Kai.  You can choose from high/low rise, one/two/three 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).  Some have amazing, resort-like amenities and others have nothing at all.  Be careful of escalating maintenance fees as some of the older buildings are replacing costly elevator systems.
Built in 1969, the Moorings are the first complex located right off Hawaii Kai Drive on the left.  Of the 62 units, 54 are right on the water with a dock in front.  Some of them face Kal Highway, which is noisy and there is a resident manager.  There is a small pool, basketball court, 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. 

Kaimala Marina
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.  One problem is that they face right into the setting sun, making them hot and bright in the afternoon.  I've seen several of these remodeled and done very well, but since they were built in 1972, there are several that need to be gutted.  You can have a dock right in front of your unit, but not really a walk out private dock like Koko Isle or Kuapa Isle.  It's more like a big shared dock, and you have to pay for one.  The units can feel a bit narrow, especially if you get an inside unit with no side window.  Get an end unit on the water and you've just gotten some of the lowest priced marina frontage in Hawaii Kai. 
Kalele Kai

Built in 1993 a highrise 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 them face Keahole st or Safeway, which is not very desirable.  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 but 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.  Small two story townhomes that look a bit cheap from outside, these 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.  

Marina Palms
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.  

Mawaena Kai
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 ur marina  community.  They are quite simple, but feel very nice.  I wouldn't say luxurious, but I would say clean, contemporary, and well kept.  Only a couple of the townhouses have actual docks in front, and there are 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.
Colony Marina - 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.  

Esplanade - It's the highrise 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 you can have a dock (for rent.)  Many of the units have great marina views, and the building has nice amenities.  Tennis, 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.  One drawback of the Esplanade is that it can be a long 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.  

Gateway Peninsula - 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 higway.  You can see and hear the cars crossing the bridge over the marina.  There is a very small pool and meeting room, but since it's a small complex, they are big enough.  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 st.  This area feels the least "high end" of all marina front Hawaii Kai.  Some are very run down and feel like you would need to burn them down just to renovate them.  But other people who 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.  
Subpages (2): Kalele Kai Moorings