If you like to stay in air-conditioned Best Westerns, this isn't the place for you. If you want an authentic Hawaiian cottage, the Garden Surf Cottage's charms will grow on you. We stayed here for four nights during a heat wave. The two fans helped a lot. There's a large, well-stocked kitchen (don't be put off by the propane burner stove--it works fine) and a nice charcoal grill. You can walk to the central part of Hanalei, and Tunnels Beach is about four miles north. You can also walk to Hanalei Pavilion Beach, about half a mile away. ( Don't leave any food out on the counter. I forgot to wash a knife with a little butter left on it, and it was swarming with ants the next day.) Our one complaint is that there isn't any comfortable place to sit inside except for the kitchen table and the little patio in front (until the bugs get too numerous). When we were there, we ate delicious avocados that we're falling from the tree.
To tell the truth, when we arrived we were somewhat disappointed... but the cottage definitely grew on us. It seemed smaller and more rustic than we had imagined beforehand, but after taking another look at the pictures posted here, they're fairly accurate - except for the one of the shower - somehow that picture makes the shower look very long and roomy - when, in fact, it's got barely enough room for someone who wants to shave her legs. The first night, we were spooked by an oversized winged insect and a large beetle that were hanging out in the kitchen, but we got them out and in retrospect it was quite comical. The fridge/freezer doors need to be switched to open so that getting stuff out is easier. There are seriously only 2 propane burners and a convection toaster oven, plus a briquette bbq for cooking on. We would also recommend that a better quality coffee maker be provided - but we're coffee junkies, not everyone is... We were also a bit taken aback by the doors that only have screens in the windows and no glass, as well as the fact that doors and windows didn't really have any locks - other than small sliding bolt or hook - making us a little uneasy about leaving our things there when we were out. But - we got used to the Hawai'i way of things quite quickly - and realized that we were in a very nice neighborhood and there was no need to worry about the lack of security. The doors also slam loudly, due to spring hinges or something. The screens make the open air of the cottage wonderful at times, but not so much when we were trying to sleep amidst the loud wind and rain - some actual windows might have been nice. That all being said - I still slept like a baby and I believe my partner did too. The bed and pillows were exceptionally comfortable, in my opinion and I was well rested, regardless of the noise of rain, wind, roosters and other birds, and large seeds falling on the roof from trees above. The bed frame is (I believe) a futon, and the mattress doesn't seem as long, which makes for some bumps in the night if you get out of bed in the dark, because the bed is tucked into a little nook without much room on either side - but that's not really a big deal. The television is opposite the bed, so if you want to watch you'll do so from there. The cottage is truly a short walk to the beach, down the road and around the corner to a path that opens up to the incredible Hanalei Bay. Coffee shops, restaurants, shopping, even rental shops- all also within a few minutes walk. So - in summation - although our first impression wasn't great, I personally find myself looking back at these pictures and reading the write-up and I'm reminiscing and wishing I was back there already - and I just got home 5 days ago!! The phrase "rustic but genteel retreat" used in the description is exactly what this cottage is - you're not really roughing it, but if you're looking for luxury this is not the place for you. I would recommend this place to friends, for sure.
We liked this place a lot, secluded and private, warm and comforting. it is a very short walk to the beach and to Hanalei. If you want the North Shore this is really a great option.
We had everything we needed in the cottage and there was plenty of room for the both of us. Came away refreshed and relaxed, would stay here again, no problem.
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