Makaha Beach Cabanas Review
We strenuously recommend that you do not stay here. We wish someone would have warned us. Ignore this review at your peril. The few dollars saved on rent will not be worth all the disappointments. We found the town of Makaha to be very rough, loud, unkept, and extremely inconvenient to travel to and from. We found this particular building to be nothing like a vacation condo timeshare that you may have seen elsewhere on VRBO. It is just like an apartment building with no incentive to invest in upkeep, with all the unattractive sights, obnoxious sounds, and bad smells that you would expect in a high-density low-rent apartment complex. We found this particular unit to be poorly maintained and unsafe—my wife stepped on broken glass left in the unit and contracted an infection from something at the beginning of our stay, ruining our entire vacation. We found the owner Wayne’s correspondence to change from polite to rude and condescending once he had our money and we had a problem. He offered to pay us $300 to not write a review of his condo. Having personal integrity and a desire to warn others from such a bad experience, we refused this. This trip was a nightmare.
Makaha- We were looking to avoid the Waikiki highrises and all that, but would have traded for anything after staying here. It is near the end of the road, and slow moving traffic will waste a good part of your day to access Pearl Harbor, let alone the North Shore, or even Ko Olina where you will find the closest nice beaches. You are looking at an hour + of slow traffic with lots of lights at the beginning and end of your day, and the drive is not picturesque or pleasant. Makaha and the road’s viewscape leading to it has a slummy look to it, with conspicuous lack of pride of ownership. There is junk strewn around people’s property, blowing tattered tarps, litter, barking feral dogs, and a generally slovenly state, which is unfortunate because this would otherwise be a beautiful location. Low-income areas of other islands were not like this. I was told that there are substantial problems with drug use and crime, as well as issues surrounding homeless encampments, which looked right to us. There are lots of loud booming stereos from local cars cruising aimlessly and even more screaming police and ambulance sirens to keep you awake at all hours of the night. We literally counted one every hour one night, until near dawn, when the incessant rooster crowing starts like clockwork continuously throughout the morning. This is the only part of the Islands where we observed that owners had felt the need to post security guards in basic local shops like the grocery and drug stores.
Makaha Beach Cabanas- This is basically an apartment building. I think the units are privately-owned condos, but these are nothing like typical resort vacation condos where the management rents some as hotel rooms and some are privately-owned and subbed out through VRBO. We have stayed in several of those and found them to be nice. This place looks, feels, and acts like cheap apartments. If you ever had to live in one while struggling with tough jobs, you know what I mean. It is high-density living with cinder block walls, and since it is sweltering hot with no AC, you have to have your windows open all the time, and you get to hear people’s booming stereos and TVs, parties, domestic disputes, and all that comes with that (sometimes it was so loud we could not hear our own TV). And you will smell all their gross cooking, chain smoking, manicure chemicals, etc. Most tenants are local residents, not tourists, and no one looked particularly happy to be there. One local couple we met was eagerly moving out soon.
It was so hot while we were there in October that we were constantly sweating, even at night with windows open and ceiling fans on, etc. We had to go and buy our own fan to try to move some more air. “Trade Winds” may come through and then stop whenever they feel like it – we woke up soaked in sweat several times a night. We had to buy our own pillows as the ones provided had a crunchy dried sweat-like thing going on. I recommend a unit with AC if you convince yourself to stay here or the Princess next door, and then you’ll be able to block out some noise too.
You will find many owners touting the “Private Beach” out back. This is patently false. This is a public access beach, with large thoroughfares on both ends where locals roam through. Not a big deal, but be aware of the truth. There does not seem to be anyone charged with cleaning up the beach area, so you will see lots of garbage and bonfire debris left over, and the daily off-leash dog walkers leave turds all over so watch your step. We ended up travelling to Ko Olina a significant journey by vehicle, just to get away from there and use a decent beach. One day we tried to read on the beach out back and someone was doing maintenance at the Princess. They ran a grinder or something for hours on end. It was so loud we could not even concentrate on a book and gave up. I tried to snorkel there and found the water too turbid to seen anything, and dive shops said this side of the island is notorious for currents dragging people out to sea. We read in one review that the nearby sewage plant dumps raw sewage into the ocean when it rains and they saw human feces float by them. Wow.
Specific Unit #A-406 , VRBO 341092
Owner Wayne lives on the mainland and rents this out to make money. It became clear in correspondence that he is not familiar with the state of the unit and had not visited for some time. We had both major and minor problems with the unit, but in every case, Wayne stated, explicitly or implicitly, that what we stated was a lie and/or “beyond his control.” You can’t expect a vacation rental to be flawless, but you can expect issues to be dealt with and owners to take responsibility for the condition of the unit. Don’t expect this here.
The first night there, before we ever got to set foot on a beach, my wife stepped on a shard of broken glass left on the floor (by previous occupant) of this condo while trying to go to the bathroom in bare feet. It got impaled into her foot. I was able to remove a portion of it at the time with tweezers, but some of it was impaled too deeply. She subsequently could not walk without pain, and could not walk barefoot anywhere, including the beach, without fear of infection because of the open wound on her foot. She had spent months planning many vacation activities, and now could not do most of them. She also contracted an infection the next day. We went to an urgent care facility on the island (long drive), and the doctor said that the glass would have to be surgically removed, and the recovery would preclude her from doing just about anything for the whole trip, and so she recommended trying to postpone this until we got home, which we did.
When we brought this up to Wayne, he responded by stating that he heard (third hand) from his buddy who lives on Oahu, who asked the cleaning lady about if she cleans well, who said to Wayne’s buddy that she in fact cleans quite carefully, who passed this on to Wayne, who then told us in sum that therefore, what we described could not have happened. Really? We made that up? We found Wayne to be very cagey and careful to never admit or take responsibility for anything. He then said that he assumed she was injured walking barefoot on the beach, and that we could not prove anything. What reasonable person would not apologize for what occurred and offer to pay your medical expenses, or at least assure that they would take action to prevent recurrence? Nada.
The unit is infested with insects. I don’t mean cute tropical bugs that float on by or flies, geckos, or things we have never minded other places. I mean gross little mini cockroach-like bugs that pour out of every nook and cranny and race around the countertops, stove, and through the cupboards. I smashed dozens every day and it did not make a dent. The granite slab will not look so nice when you find it camouflages a bug swarm. It is obvious they travel through the walls to other floors. BTW Wayne said that you should expect bugs, including bed bugs, in any rental unit, and then blamed it on the previous renter, but then implied that this could not have happened because he heard the building provides pest control.
The toilet filled to overflowing one day while we were away and had not even used it that morning. That means that someone else’s sewage was backfilling our toilet. There was no plunger in the unit, so we could not fix it ourselves. We tried to call Wayne but the numbers left in the unit’s info book had been disconnected and not updated. When we found a good number online, his “Agent” did show up and unclog it before the water reached the top and our neighbor’s toilet water covered the floor.
The next door unit is occupied by some young people that have a party most nights. One night it was so loud that we could not hear our TV and the wall was pounding. One other nearby tenant got in a shouting match with them about it and was run off with threats and curses from a large man. The parking lot security guard did nothing. I went down and asked him if there were rules. He said only after ten, but then proceeded to inform the loud people that our unit had complained about them. This only served to enrage them, and they then pounded on our shared wall and door, and shouted taunts and threats through our window. My wife then felt unsafe for the rest of our stay, and this did not provide for a relaxing environment. We let Wayne know, because we expected he would care. No apology. He said that situations like this are normal here as in any hotel (?!?), and again “beyond his control.”
I could go on, but this should be enough information for you to make a better choice on Oahu.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
I just can't let this review go without a response. This person must have visited the Cabanas in a parallel universe. This is our 3rd stay here. We have been coming to Hawaii for about 12 years, have stayed on Oahu, Kauai, Maui & the Big Island, in Marriott time shares and hotels, so we know well the variety & levels of places to stay.
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First of all, each condo is privately owned, so the style, cleanliness & supplies depend on the individual owner. We have stayed in 102, 106 & 107. 102 & 107 are great, clean, updated & pretty.
106 needs work. So, I strongly suggest that if the reviewer was staying in a dirty, buggy, uncared for unit, it would certainly have negatively colored their entire stay. I have seen units that are entirely updated w/all modern appliances & granite countertops! We love staying on the main floor because we can step off the lanai directly onto the beach! People are not allowed to smoke in the building so smokers go outside. Since people have to eat to live & this is residential building, people cook. Gross cooking smells are in the "nose of the beholder". We've been here winter & summer & have never needed air conditioning. Opening up windows on each side of the condo brings in the trade winds & ocean breezes.
Which brings me to the beach. No beach in Hawaii is entirely private because the law states that no one can own the ocean & that there should be access for all. However, this beach IS virtually private except when locals come on the weekends. I've never seen more than 20 or so people on the beach during the week, maybe double that on weekends. There is one dog walker & he always cleans up after his dogs. The view is fabulous, sunsets incredible, water is crystal clear & snorkeling is great. If you're a surfer, high surf days would be for you. The beach is the biggest draw!
This is a local area mixed w/ocean front homes. The drive in is unattractive but not scary at all. We have never experienced any crime and everyone is very friendly. It is a 20 minute drive to Kapolei for all kinds of restaurants, shops & Costco. As on all the islands, there is the main road that encircles the entire island, next to the ocean. Yes, there is traffic, but nothing compared to the ocean side road in Maui. If you want the fancy shops & expensive restaurants, then by all means, stay in or near Waikiki. If that's where you want to be more than 1x during your stay, you definitely should stay closer to the city traffic & crowded beaches. In about 45 min. you can drive to Chinatown, Pearl Harbor or the North Shore.
I decided to take the time to write such an extensive response because our experience has been so entirely different. At the moment I am sitting on the lanai in 102, whale watching & surfer watching. There's a monk seal in the shallow water & we all hope he comes on the sand to sun bathe.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.