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Reviewed December 1, 2011

In Hawaii, we are brought up to learn and live the 'Aloha Spirit' as children, and I'm pleased to say it is alive and well in the little quaint neighborhood of Lanikai, located next to the lazy beach town of Kailua on the windward side of Oahu. Highly regarded as having one of the best beaches worldwide, Lanikai is by no means a high activity area; in fact, it is the opposite. It is in Lanikai where Rick and Nini Maxey are the owners of the Lanikai Bed & Breakfast, and it is truly one of Oahu's hidden gems to those who are looking for the Aloha Spirit.

I grew up as a child in Kailua and had the awesome opportunity to bring my girlfriend to see where I spent my childhood and where much of my family still calls home. This was her first trip to Hawaii and I wanted to make it super special. We knew the trip would be short due to our schedules -- five days -- so an internet search led me to the Lanikai Bed & Breakfast, specifically the Garden Studio. The pictures and videos were the selling point originally, but after talking to Rick on the phone while setting up reservations, I knew I had found the place for us to stay. Rick was warm, affable, and highly interested in what our needs would be, and he answered my questions and was very friendly on the phone. I had a good feeling about this place, and I was right!

We arrived late at night, and Rick had left me detailed instructions as to how to let ourselves in at our convenience and so we would not have to wait on anyone in case our flight was late. We walked into the studio and were greeted with soft lights and music, fresh flowers, and a welcome note on the table. The studio was immaculately clean, and very representative of what we saw online. My girlfriend was immediately impressed, and we quickly unpacked and felt at ease in what would be home for the next five days.

The next morning, we had the pleasure of meeting Rick and we told him of our plans to kayak around Kailua and Lanikai beach, but Rick cautioned us to reschedule due to some rough surf that had come in early that morning. Once he found out we had reservations to rent kayaks, he made a quick phone call and got the reservations changed to another day when the surf would be more placid and forgiving. That, to us, was amazing customer care. Not only did Rick tell us not to go for our safety, but he personally revised our reservations so we could enjoy ourselves on the water another day. Kayaking was one of the highlights my girlfriend wanted to experience, and Rick made sure it happened safely for us. I was impressed to say the least.

Over the course of our stay, we found the Garden Studio to be perfect for our needs. It was clean and well maintained and stocked with everything from boogie boards and beach mats to fresh fruit in the refrigerator. Never once did we feel unnerved or disturbed; it was just that good. Three days into our stay, we decided to stay in for the evening and make dinner. A quick call to Rick on our way home from the North Shore and when we pulled into the driveway, we saw he had the barbecue out front and fired up for us to use. Amazing! Once I was done grilling our shrimp kabobs and fresh pineapple, Rick came out and told me to enjoy my dinner as he cleaned up the grill and put it away. Aloha Spirit at it's finest.

As our vacation came to a close, we were graciously thanked by Rick and Nini for our stay and they spent some time on our last day visiting with us both as we prepared to head for the airport. They were personal, genuine, and friendly as they made sure everything was to our liking. To us, it felt like we weren't just guests of theirs, but more like friends who we'd known longer than five days. Rick and Nini were exactly what we'd expected as proprietors of the bed and breakfast in that they were relaxed, non-intrusive yet avaiable for our needs, and amazingly friendly. We could not have asked for better accomodations and more importantly, better people to have met during our stay.

Is it downtown Waikiki? No. Is it in the heart of the city? Absolutely not. Is it a little niche of heaven on Earth? Why yes, yes it is. If you're in the mood for a relaxing place in what I consider to be one of the most serene spots in all of Hawaii, then look no further than the Lanikai Bed & Breakfast. If it tells you anything, I intend to return to see Rick and Nini on future trips to Hawaii. They're not just folks from whom we rented a place for five days; they're who I would consider friends who know exactly what the Aloha Spirit is. Mahalo nui loa for a wonderful time. You guys are the best!!

The Garden Studio

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank riceboy72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2011

We stayed in the "Lanikai Garden Studio," which is attached to the owners' home on the first story of the property. Note: The "Lanikai Tree House" is the second story over the owners' home. All three lodgings share a long, wide driveway.

Good:

- After studying prices of other Kailua beds and breakfasts, as well as Waikiki high rises, we felt that prices here were at least inline with the amenities provided and the location.
- A very well-stocked kitchenette helped us prepare simple breakfasts and lunches to keep down costs during our stay.
- The private, hedge-screened back yard was a pleasant spot to enjoy a drink or meal.
- The studio was well-sized and matched photos on their web site. We felt like a local.
- During our September stay, breezes made the studio comfortable for sleeping, given there is no AC.
- The owners met us in the driveway the first morning to chat, give island advice, etc. They are very friendly and Rick - both by phone and in person - goes out of his way to help with logistics, sightseeing, security, etc. Much appreciated, without being intrusive, as other B&B hosts can be.
- While there are certainly mosquitos, ants and other bugs outside, the owners seem to do a good job of keeping them from taking over the studio.
- A bottle of wine, fresh-cut flowers, and a nice note welcomed us for our honeymoon.
- Although you technically can walk across the street to the beach, we found it better to drive down a couple blocks with the provided umbrella, beach chairs and towels and access the much-wider, prettier beach there.
- Kailua is a great, low-key base from which to launch a day trip to the North Shore, as well as to the South to see Makapuu Point, Waikiki, and more. The airport is less than a half hour away. The local beach scene is among the best on the island, so there isn't a need to leave anywhere.

Could be better:

- We're light sleepers, so we were guaranteed early awakenings by birds chirping and geckos jostling in the nearby greenery.
- Although the studio seems very private, with all the windows open, we could hear voices from either or both the main house next door and the "Tree House" lodging, leaving us a bit careful in our own talking and activities.
- The web site for these properties could use an update; the "request" for accommodations should be upgraded to real-time availability checking. We found out a day later by phone that our preferred lodging was offline for repairs.
- Although clean and comfortable, some of the furnishings are starting to look a bit dated, and we found multiple levers for the frosted-glass window blinds to be broken.
- Everywhere on Oahu, and Kailua was no exception, we were repeatedly warned about thieves looking to break into our rental car. We had no such issue, but appreciated the warnings; it did leave us feeling constantly on edge.
- Unique to our stay and not a huge issue, the owners left on a short trip after our first night, leaving their 20-year-old daughter in charge. We were told she was very responsible, but never saw her, even despite multiple calls to the provided number to ask questions.
- The cleaning fee stings a bit for short stays, and housekeeping is not provided free daily.

Overall, a pleasant stay and we're happy to recommend, with the caveats noted above.

Room Tip: Bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper and/or wish to sleep in late. Use mosquito repellant outside if you are prone to bites.
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank finickytripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2011

We are just ending a 5 day visit to Lanikai, staying at the garden studio apartmentt. It has been a wonderful spectacular sleepy visit. The studio is just right for a couple, very private, with its own little back garden to laze around in. It is at the back of the house, so almost no road noise just birds. The apartment itself was absolutely spotless, eat off the floor spotless when we moved in and super well equipped (including fruit muffins etc that others have noted). I have no idea what the ant story mentioned earlier is about... we didn't see a single insect inside the apartment our whole stay.
We have stayed in Hawaii many times before on many islands, and in a mix of houses and hotels. This location is in the middle of an upmarket housing area (houses are multimillion $$s), in turn the surroundings are clean, well maintained and very private. There is a beach access path right across from the house, but honestly even at low tide its hard to walk on the beach there, you either walk down and walk in the water to the beach or take the road to the beach... a lazy 3-5 minute stroll.
I honestly dont think we have anything negative to say about the place, or about Lanakai. I guess a few more upmarket restaurants would help... There are only a couple worth visiting, on the other hand the craziness of Honolulu is only a 20-30 minute drive away.
This is a lovely very special romantic and beautiiful place and this little apartment was a very special place to enjoy it from.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Simon W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2011

We very much so enjoyed our little bungalow! It was beautiful, right near the beach, and wonderfully quiet. The landlord made a point to stop by and make sure we were doing well - he was delightful and sweet, and made us feel very much at home. I would absolutely recommend this location for travelers.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with friends
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4  Thank ElBeKay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2011

This is our third trip to Lanikai. We have stayed at Rick Maxey's properties before and have been very happy. This time is no different. We rented the Lanikai Garden Studio this time, and it is perfect. The studio is very clean and well equiped. Everything we needed was waiting for us upon arrival. Everything for the beach: chairs, towels, sun umbrella, cooler, etc. We were pleased to find the kitchen well-equiped. Everything from coffee pot and grinder to rice-cooker was there. There was even a fresh bag of kona coffee, a pinapple, POG juice, and some muffins waiting, which was very much appreciated since we arrived late and did not have time to shop until the next day.

There is internet access; I am writing this review from the very private lanai (that's what they call a private patio/garden here in Hawaii). The studio has lots of louvered windows and a nice cross breeze. also plentiful ceiling fans. No need for AC - very pleasent temperature.

The beach is right across the street. This is sandy beach a low tide, which for us this trip is in the morning. At high tide (afternoon) we walk 5 minutes down the road to the wide sand beach. Rick left us a tide chart in the info book, along with other useful information. You can also check the internet for low and high tide times during your trip, or ask Rick. Lanikai is the best beach on Oahu in our opinion. The water is calm and peaceful here due to reef protection. beautiful view of the Mokulua islands, which you will see on every Hawaiian calendar. You can rent a double kayak for less than 200/week and paddle out to them.

Don't pay any attention to the review below complaining of ants. We have had no such issues. Like any tropical location there will be ants outside. With everything being open they will come in if you don't put your food away. Just put any open food into zip-lock bags (provided) or into the frig and all will be fine.

Lots of great places to eat right here in Kailua. But our all-time favorite restaurant is to drive into Hawaii Kai (30 minutes) to go to the original Roy's- it is worth the trip. We avoid Waikiki like the plague.

Walk the ridge above Lanikai if you have the time. Beautiful view for a very reasonable hike.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank e-bob2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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