Story by Heidi Pool
When Jill and Ken Roost of Hillsborough, California, were shopping for their dream vacation home, they knew what they wanted to avoid. “We have an aversion to elevators, shared walls, and air conditioning,” says Jill. So they purchased a single-family home, right?
Wrong. In April, Jill and Ken became the ecstatic owners of a three-bedroom condo at Honua Kai Resort & Spa in Kā‘anapali.
Location convinced them. The oceanfront, corner unit is on the second floor, so Jill and Ken can ignore the elevator. Floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides take in cross breezes that make air conditioning unnecessary. They also share only a single kitchen wall with a next-door neighbor.
The Roosts are no strangers to vacation-home ownership. In 1987, they purchased a property on the remote island of Qamea in Fiji, and built a rustic dwelling. “We had many happy times there when our kids were little,” Jill says. “But so much work goes along with owning a house, Ken could never rest while we were there. Here at the condo, there’s someone to do everything. It’s very little responsibility.” Jill and Ken also appreciate the shorter flight from the West Coast to Maui, and the proximity to shops and restaurants. “There’s a lot to be said for civilization,” Jill laughs.
Initially, they intended to rent out the condo most of the year. But as Jill immersed herself in readying the unit for renters, she became increasingly unhappy with the thought that she and Ken wouldn’t be able to come and stay whenever they wanted. Two years earlier, Jill had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent six surgeries in four months. That wakeup call reminded her that “Not everyone lives to the age of one hundred and two.” Jill and Ken had a long talk, and agreed to take the condo out of the rental pool.
“We decided we should enjoy life now,” says Ken.
Before their change of plans, Jill had hired Graham Jackson, of Kalahama LLC, to manage the unit as a rental. The condo had come furnished, right down to the dinner plates and utensils. “All of the appointments are lovely,” Jill says. “I couldn’t have done better myself. Graham told us what we needed to do to make it suitable for renters. We had glass tops installed on the tables, protected the fabrics with Scotchgard, and purchased luxurious sheets and towels, beach items like chairs, coolers, and toys.”
She was reluctant to break the news to Graham that the condo wouldn’t be for rent, after all, “but he couldn’t have been nicer about it.”
These days, the Roosts are leisurely putting their individual stamp on their Honua Kai home, purchasing objets d’art that reflect their personal taste. One is an outrigger canoe replica, handcrafted by master canoe builder Keola Sequeira, that sits atop a table in the entryway, greeting visitors. A trio of bronze dolphins by the late artist Ken Shutt graces the living room’s coffee table; the Roosts purchased it in honor of their forty-fourth wedding anniversary. Should they change their minds again about renting out the condo, “We’ll put both pieces in our locked closet,” says Jill. (As owners of a three-bedroom condo, they also have a sizeable storage unit on the building’s ninth floor.)
Their favorite feature is the wraparound lānai overlooking the Kā‘anapali beach walk, the sparkling Pacific, and neighbor islands of Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i. With its identical travertine flooring, the lānai is an easy-flowing extension of the interior. Ken enjoys cooking steaks out there on the built-in gas grill, and they both savor sunset watching from his-and-her lounge chairs. “We’re amazed by the intimacy we feel with the ocean here,” says Ken. “Our unit is also very quiet—we don’t hear any noise from above or below—we’re not used to that in a condo.” (Being situated away from Honua Kai’s three swimming pools, another part of the couple’s buying strategy, also helps keep things quieter.)
On evenings when they opt to dine out, it’s a short walk along the beach to a wealth of restaurants at Kāʻanapali’s hotels and Whalers Village shopping center. Having a designated space in the underground parking garage is also a plus, and Jill appreciates the security a condominium complex provides. “I feel very safe,” she says.
The Roosts spent their honeymoon in Hawai‘i, and had always wanted a place of their own in the Aloha State. “It was on our bucket list,” Jill says. “The setting here is so gorgeous. We can sit back, relax, and enjoy each other’s company.”