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VRBO Bear Stay property reviews

Read about vacation rentals where VRBO employees have stayed.

At HomeAway and VRBO, we love vacation rentals—and we love to stay in them, too! Since 2003, our employees have been enjoying the amazing properties listed on our site with their families, friends--and the VRBO bear. When they get back from their vacations, they love to tell us all about their stay. Read on to get the inside scoop from employees who share your love of travel.

How to invite me to stay

# 69999 Kapalua Golf Villas, Kapalua, West Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA, 1 BR, 2 BA, CONDO

Hale Aikane: Luxury Inside Accents Beauty Outside, See Video!

Somewhere under the rainbow....dreams come true!

Somewhere under the rainbow....dreams come true!

04/02/2015 - When I saw the photos and reviews for the Kapalua Golf Villas condo, I knew I had found my next vacation rental. I wanted a home base near a golf course with an ocean view. What an amazing view it turned out to be!

The property manager, Dave, greeted me with a gracious welcome and tour of the property. The interior and amenities are just as they appear in the listing photos: clean, bright and modern with an attention to detail. Both the lanai and master bedroom have a perfect view of the ocean over lush green fairways with tall, majestic pine trees framing the view. The downstairs soaking tub is the perfect size for a bear, and the upstairs rain shower is a refreshing way to start and end the day. New, soft towels were one of the many small touches that combined to make the stay not only as good as a premium hotel, but much better. When I was in the mood to cook, I found a fully stocked kitchen with pots, pans, spices, and dishes. Even though I have been to Maui before, I found excellent advice in the Information Binder and guide books on the bookshelf.

In addition to the swimming pools at the condo complex, I also found a note that guests at the Golf Villas have access to the Ritz-Carlton swimming pool down the road! Beach parking goes fast, so definitely take advantage of the free shuttle when heading to Whaler's Village or Front Street for shopping, Napili beach for snorkeling, and of course Kaanapali for the sunshine and amazing beach.

Just bring yourself. The condo comes stocked with snorkeling gear, beach towels, beach and pool chairs, and sunscreen. When I was away from the water and couldn't fish for myself, I enjoyed fresh Ahi, Mahi Mahi, and Ono at Sansei restaurant close by. The condo includes all the modern amenities that I needed to stay connected. Wifi worked great and the late model flat screen TVs were a perfect match for the Scenic Hawaii channel. Hale Aikane is much more than a vacation rental. Connie and Ken have graciously shared their island home away from home with us, so book it if you can!


# 306408 Laguna Beach, Orange County, California, USA, 1 BR, 1 BA, VILLA

Take advantage of our lowest rates currently being offered.

Just steps from the ocean and what a view!

Just steps from the ocean and what a view!

03/29/2015 - When you travel as much as I do you stay in quite a few places. Eventually they can start to all feel the same. This place, however, is different. Whether that difference is the breathtaking ocean view or the simple, clean, elegant décor of accommodations,this is a great place to relax and recharge your batteries. The relaxing sound of the ocean's waves will help you get some of the best sleep you've had in your life. In the morning you will awaken from your hibernation to be greeted by the rejuvenating sea air.

With its central location in Laguna Beach, you can walk to pretty much anywhere you want to go. There is a grocery store right across the street and Laguna Canyon Road (the hub of activity in Laguna) is only about half a mile away. There is so much to do and see here that I wish I could have stayed longer. From surfing, sailing, whale watching, beach bumming, golfing, bicycling, or just plain walking, if you're looking to get out and do something you'll have plenty of options. There are many charming local stores nearby with unique wares that make shopping a delight. The diversity and quality of the nearby dining options is superb. Whether it was eating burgers and salads at Tommy Bahama's Grill, pizza and pasta at Alessa's, or making our own dinner using the incredible kitchen and barbecue in your unit and having a picnic on the beach while watching the sunset, every dining experience is top-notch. So what are you looking for in a vacation? Is it nature, is it sports, is it quality time with your honey & cubs? Whatever it is you can probably find it here.

# 475371 Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, Wine Country, California, USA, 3 BR, 2 BA, COTTAGE

Beautiful, Historic Guest Ranch with Modern Amenities

I found heaven on earth on Somoma Mountain!

I found heaven on earth on Somoma Mountain!

03/29/2015 - This property is absolutely stunning inside and out. With wrap-around porches, the views from every angle are to die for. We woke up every morning and enjoyed coffee on the porch overlooking the beautiful scenery.

The house is gorgeously decorated inside as well. The beds were outfitted with the finest linens and were very comfortable. The bathrooms both have luxury bathtubs and stand up showers. The kitchen was stocked with all of the essential appliances.

There is plenty to do at the ranch guest house. There are lots of different sitting/entertaining areas, a hot tub, chicken coop, pool, a zip line, fire pits, lush gardens and the list goes on! The pool is just a short walk from the house and offers even more stunning views. It felt like being transported to Italy! The zip line is also a fun addition to the house.

If you’re looking to visit wineries, there are several nearby and it was only a short drive to Sonoma, Napa and Yountville. I highly recommend the Guest Ranch on Sonoma Mountain for anyone looking for an unforgettable vacation.

# 248901 Isla Verde, San Juan Area, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, Caribbean, 2 BR, 1 BA, CONDO

A Tropical Jewel - Luxurious Beach & Oceanfront Two-Bedroom

Rest and relax before hitting the nearby beach!

Rest and relax before hitting the nearby beach!

03/25/2015 - This was one of the best vacations I’ve been on and it all started with the amazing owner. She kept an open line of communication, had great recommendations, and made sure we were happy at all times. The property manager met us the minute we arrived and helped us get acquainted with the condo and amenities.

The condo was clean and well laid out with an amazing view of Isla Verde beach. It was fully stocked with everything we could need. The bathroom was perfect as it was shared between the master bedroom and guest room with separate shower/toilet, which was super convenient. The bedrooms were a great size and were fully stocked with towels, pillows, blankets and beach towels. The kitchen had everything necessary to produce a family meal. The view of the beach from the living room was to die for and hard to leave behind.

The location couldn’t have been better; located 10 minutes from the airport, right on the beach and close to shopping and restaurants. The beach was perfect, just steps away. I could have spent the whole vacation there but we decided to explore nearby Old San Juan, El Yunque Rainforest, and the Caves at Rio de Camuy. All of these were easy to get to and great day trips.

Everything about this property is well thought out. We could really tell that Yvonne loves the condo and wants her guests to love it as much as she does. She had plenty of information to help any traveler stay comfortably in Puerto Rico. Francisco, the property manager, was also great and attentive.

Overall, I would highly recommend staying at this Tropical Jewel! It offers the perfect location, amazing views, and great owner/property manager. What more could you ask for?

# 318628 North Beach, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA, 3 BR, 2 BA, APARTMENT

Remodeled Edwardian in an Amazing location with Bay Views!

A perfect location in San Francisco.

A perfect location in San Francisco.

03/22/2015 - This flat perched on the top of Telegraph Hill had amazing views and was in a perfect location. All the bedrooms had comfortable beds and bay views, well lit bedrooms with nice TVs and lots of closet space. The kitchen was well stocked with everything you would need to feel at home. Upon arrival everything was extremely clean and ready to go, towels laid out, and there were even a few snacks left for us!

Just two blocks from the historic Grant & Green Street Pub, and a quick walk to all the North Beach restaurants, a very quick walk down to the financial district as well. Anyone that is trying to experience San Francisco should book this apartment! Easy access to lots of neighborhood by foot, or a quick cab/bus ride away from other parts of the city.

The owner was easy to get a hold of at all times, and was very helpful and accommodating with check-in and check-out. I highly recommend this clean and comfortable North Beach apartment!

# 218598 Splash, Gulf Resort Beach, Panama City Beach Area, Florida North West, Florida, USA, 2 BR, 2 BA, CONDO

Splash! BABY-PROOFED + FREE Beach Chairs, Wii & Netflix! Luxe Condo Sleeps 8

Fun times in Panama City Beach!

Fun times in Panama City Beach!

03/21/2015 - Our family had a fantastic vacation at this lovely condo in Panama City Beach, Florida. Jennifer, the owner, was not only extremely responsive, she did a great job of explaining the property in detail, providing lots of information and instructions ahead of time.

We arrived late in the evening, and Jennifer’s instructions were clear and easy to follow. We easily found the parking, and unloaded our gear using the convenient carts that were right in the parking lot. The building was well lit, but very quiet, as we made our way to the top floor of this tall tower. Jennifer had provided us with a keycode to open the door, which was great, since we wouldn’t have to worry about keys throughout the trip. I loved not having to carry a set of keys to the beach or the pool.

When we opened the door we could see the attention to detail in decorating every room. Bright colors, photos, beach signs, shells, starfish, and green plants definitely let us know we were at the beach. My daughter’s bedroom was perfectly decorated in whimsical nautical themes. The room was spacious, and the closet was well stocked with all the things a family with young children would need, even a removable safety bed rail for the bottom bunk. The spacious bathroom was right next to the bedroom. My daughter uses a wheelchair, and she was able to maneuver beautifully in both rooms, as well as the rest of the condo.

The main living area easily accommodated our family, with a full eating area, comfy couches, and a big chair that my husband claimed as his own. We LOVED the huge balcony! There were three seating areas, and we could watch sunsets every night with a glass of wine. We also had an eating area with table and chairs.

The master bedroom adjoined the main living area and had a large sliding door. We were able to fall asleep with the sound of the ocean waves crashing just beneath us. The large king size bed was excellent, and there was also a couch that converted to a sleeper bed in case your kiddos want to sleep in the same room with you. The extra-large ensuite bathroom had double vanities, and a deep tub for evening baths. Both bathrooms had plenty of towels that were soft and fluffy.

For those of you who like to cook when traveling, you will really be very happy with the well-stocked kitchen. It had every utensil, pot and pan size that I could think of and plenty of tableware. Everything was of high quality. Not interested in cooking? There are plenty of restaurants just a few minutes away. We enjoyed Mike’s Café, Salty Sue’s, and The Back Porch.

The whole family will love the resort. There are plenty of water activities with two pools, a wading area for the little ones, a lazy river, the large water feature, and of course, a hot tub for the grown-ups. There was a spacious workout center that had plenty of equipment. The kids will love the arcade, too! We spent much of our time walking the white sandy beaches, and laying in the complimentary beach chairs under an umbrella. If you are interested in more activities, there is a tiki hut at the resort that offers parasailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or jet-ski tours. Everything was so convenient!

This vacation was an absolute dream. I can definitely say that we will be back, and have already told many of our friends!

# 364426 Destiny-By-The-Sea, Scenic Gulf Drive Central West, Destin Area, Florida North West, Florida, USA, 4 BR, 5 BA, HOUSE

4BR/5BA Perfect Family Rental-95 STEPS TO BEACH!! Late Summer and Fall specials!

Private beach in Destin. Life is sooooo good!

Private beach in Destin. Life is sooooo good!

03/21/2015 - This property in Destin was even better than advertised. My family, 2 adults and 5 kids (ages 8-14), thoroughly enjoyed this house. It was a great base of operations with easy access to the pool & hot tub 30 yards away and the private beach access 80 yards away. We were able to flow between the two places as well as hang out in the house with ease. The kids also loved all of the outdoor equipment (boogie boards, bikes, paddle ball, etc.) that they could use. The neighborhood was very nice with little traffic even though it was a spring break week.

In the house the space was lovely with beautiful tiled rooms and great balconies on two levels. The kitchen was spacious and convenient. The adults enjoyed the two master suites on the top floor while ‘kid’ rooms were on the first floor. Every bedroom had a full bath and there was an additional full bath on the kitchen/living room floor. With 5 kids we always felt there was room for everyone to have time to him/herself or engage in games or movie watching.

Our family loved this house. It would work great for two families coming together as well. Overall, I would give a 5 star rating and highly recommend this property!

# 388654 Timber Wolf, The Canyons, Park City, Utah, USA, 2 BR, 2 BA, CONDO

Luxury Townhome, walking distance to Canyons Cabriolet

Ahhh, Home away from home!

Ahhh, Home away from home!

03/20/2015 - The condo felt instantly like home away from home. It was beautifully decorated and had everything we needed to make our stay comfortable. We especially enjoyed the hot tub after a fun day skiing! And my boys loved the comfy bedroom where they could also wind down with a little TV. This condo is perfectly located to the Canyons and shopping center. The property owner’s mobile site has all the information you need to schedule your vacation. I also appreciated the property owner’s prompt reply to my questions. My family and I enjoyed our stay and would definitely recommend this condo to anyone. Thank you so much for sharing your home with us!

# 139112 Bungalos, Sandestin Area, Destin Area, Florida North West, Florida, USA, 3 BR, 3 BA, HOUSE

Beautiful Beach Bungalo -- Fins & Family Bungalo

Enjoy some ice cream on the porch!

Enjoy some ice cream on the porch!

03/20/2015 - I just had a fantastic trip to Destin, Florida! I stayed at the Fins and Family Bungalo at the Sandestin Resort, and it was amazing.

The bungalow itself was perfect for the family I travelled with. It was two stories, three bedrooms, with a screened in front porch. The house was nicely stocked with comfy sheets, fluffy towels, amazing beds, a fully equipped kitchen (including an ice cream maker,) games, books, beach chairs, bikes, a grill, cable TV, a computer with internet access, wifi, a washer and dryer, a travel crib, and more. It had everything you could possibly need for a wonderful trip with kids.

The bungalow’s location was also perfect. It’s in the Sandestin Resort, a large resort with all kinds of fun things to do. The bungalow is right across the street from a wonderful swimming pool. There’s a free shuttle that takes you to all areas of the resort, including the beach, a high end shopping center, and the Baytowne Wharf area with wonderful restaurants, shops, and activities. The young girls I was travelling with loved Baytowne Wharf almost as much as the beach!

The bungalow comes with access to Sandestin’s private beach, which was spectacular. But it’s also a short drive to wonderful, less urban and more rural beaches down Highway 30A.

I had a terrific time at the Fins and Family Bungalo, and I hope to make it an annual trip. I highly recommend it!

# 91050 Playa Grande, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Central America, 3 BR, 2 BA, HOUSE

Best Appointed Beach Front Home on Playa Grande: December & January Weeks Avail.

Enjoying the tropical breeze!

Enjoying the tropical breeze!

03/16/2015 - I had a phenomenal time in Costa Rica at Casa Baula!

Where to begin? The beach is big, beautiful and pristine; a quiet beach where it feels like you have it all to yourself. The home is close to several restaurant options, ranging from fine dining to tasty local fare. The beach is big, beautiful and pristine; a quiet beach where it feels like you have it all to yourself. The home is close to several restaurant options, ranging from fine dining to tasty local fare.

The house was spacious and comfortable. The kitchen had everything we needed. The living area opens out to a beautiful patio. Annette and Dennis (who were super helpful in getting us set up)and the property manager (a phenomenal chef whose services are available for at-home dining)

We loved the days where we just stayed near the house, but also found that the area is perfect for exploring. Adventure tour with horseback riding and whitewater tubing? Yes, please. Hot springs with mud bath? Certainly! Surfing lessons? You bet. And the great thing is that all of these options can be arranged for you – just ask.

# 330638 Private Homes, Seaside, Oceanside, San Diego County, California, USA, 4 BR, 5 BA, HOUSE

Location Location location. Must see pics & reviews

Just steps from the ocean!

Just steps from the ocean!

03/08/2015 - The moment I stepped into the Oceanside Dolphin Villa, I knew I would find peace and relaxation. I was greeted with the gentle breeze of the ocean as it wafted through the expansive downstairs. With a large dining table, and a quaint breakfast nook, I envisioned myself preparing a delicious breakfast for all my bear friends. I knew the downstairs master bedroom would be perfect for my parents. With a large 4-poster bed and a 3-piece bath set, I knew they would be comfy.

I found my space in the large master bedroom on the second floor. With his and her baths, a built in fireplace, king size bed and large balcony that looks over the ocean, I knew I could find time to relax in the modern day comforts. Just down the hall, I found a cute bedroom built just for the bear cubs. It had built-in bunk beds, video games, and a bathroom just across the hall.

A large door at the end of the hall opened onto a small patio with another door on the other side. Curious, I discovered an entire apartment (or casita) as they like to call it around here. Complete with a living room, futon, breakfast table, wet bar and a separate bedroom, (including a queen size bed and 3- piece bathroom) one could disappear back here for some peace and quiet.

Back in the main house, I marveled at the immense space we would occupy. It was then that I discovered yet another flight of stairs. Being the bear that I am, I explored a little bit more. Opening the door at the top of the stairs, I was nearly knocked off my paws. The entire roof was a rooftop oasis, complete with a state of the art gas stove, Jacuzzi tub, fire-pit and seating for the whole family! The gentle sea breeze blew through my fur. With expansive views of the beach and the Oceanside pier, I knew I would enjoy sipping coffee and watching the waves roll in for hours.

Just a short walk across the street and I found myself dipping my toes in the warm sands of Oceanside Beach. I strolled along the beach for hours, looking for seashells, and went down to the pier where I enjoyed delicious food at Ruby’s Diner. With all the amenities of a modern day town, and just a quick drive to big cities like San Diego, I was quite pleased with my selected locale.

It was wonderful to be so close to the water, and we took advantage of the boogie boards and beach chairs. When the nights cooled down, we moved to the roof to sit around the fire and listen to the waves. The Oceanside Dolphin Villa was everything I imagined and more.

# 31843 Mountain House, Liftside, Keystone, Northwest, Colorado, USA, 2 BR, 2 BA, CONDO

2 Bedroom - Ground Level - Free Wifi, Walk to Lifts

You can walk to the ski lifts.

You can walk to the ski lifts.

02/26/2015 - It was time to grow a thicker winter bear coat, so I decided to go on an alpine ski adventure to Keystone, Colorado. Imagine my luck at finding Gary, who is an incredibly attentive, responsive, and helpful vacation rental owner with a spacious condo within walking distance to the ski-lift. Gary responded to my request to stay at his condo within 30 minutes, and was very helpful throughout the booking process.

Once I arrived in Keystone, I used the Mobile Hospitality cellphone application that Gary provided to find the key pickup location and directions to the condo. When we drove up to the condo it was blanketed in sparkling snow, and it felt like a winter wonderland. There was plenty of parking available and we were able to unload our car using both the condo entrance, and the outside entrance to the condo. When we walked into the condo we immediately noticed how large the condo was, and it was the perfect setup for either a family or 2 couples as each bedroom has its own adjacent bathroom. The vaulted ceilings and wood fireplace were our favorite aspect of the central living area.

The next morning we headed to the ski hill and picked up our skis at the conveniently located ski-locker outside the door. We took a short walk to the chair lift on shoveled sidewalks and over a little bridge that crosses a freshwater spring—it was beautiful and enjoyable. After a day of skiing we headed back to the condo, and were happy that the hot tub is literally right across the sidewalk from the condo, 5 seconds from door to door. For dinner, the kitchen was well stocked for us to make a hearty meal after a long day of skiing. Meanwhile the wood fireplace added warmth and coziness.

# 352344 Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Central America, 2 BR, 2 BA, HOUSE

Incredibly Romantic Villa - Private Pool, Guarded Community

Sitting next to the refreshing pool!

Sitting next to the refreshing pool!

02/14/2015 - Do I start with the beautiful swimming pool, the amazing location, or the thoughtful property manager, Kelie?

I’ll go ahead and announce to the world that this was the best vacation I have ever been on, and it all starts with this beautiful, well-appointed property. We arrived to an amazingly clean, very well lit and welcoming home situated at the foothills of some of the prettiest country you’ll ever see.

Looking around the house, your eyes are first drawn to the beautiful local craftsmanship of the property. The ceilings had us mesmerized throughout the trip. The house is set up in a way to let the air flow freely. Every window opens, as does every door. The bedrooms are HUGE, with comfy beds and nice linens. Each bedroom has its own bathroom with high ceilings and rain tyle shower heads. If the ceilings are not high enough, step outside, there is an outdoor shower with no ceiling! The living room was very comfortable with leather love seats. Although we didn’t watch any TV, there was a nice flat screen available. The living room really was comfortable, and we had no need to run the air conditioner. We kept the house open with the ceiling fans on, and were just fine.

The kitchen was stocked with everything necessary to produce a fabulous meal. Pots, pans, and some sharp knives were plentiful, as were dishes and drink ware. In addition, the tap water was exquisite. Honestly, it was some of the best water I have ever had. We wanted to bottle it up and bring it home with us.

We probably swam in the pool 3 times a day! The water is clean and the perfect temperature to cool off. We would come home from a morning hike or an afternoon beach trip, rinse off in the outdoor shower and ease in to the refreshing pool!

Everything about this property is well thought out. We could really tell that Kelie loves the house and wants her guests to love it as much as she does. Kelie is pretty much the best property manager ever. Kelie showed up about 30 minutes after we got settled in and went over some of the house details. She also provided us with a very handy map along with some great tips on where to buy things (Auto Mercado is a must) and pointed us in the direction of really good ceviche and a place to buy fresh fish to put on the grill. My recommendation to you, the reader of this review, is to pay attention to the glorious list Kelie provides. EVERYTHING we did on the list lived up to its review and then some. We were very impressed.

# 169762 Other Park City Properties, Park City, Utah, USA, 4 BR, 4 BA, HOUSE

Stay in Luxury and Walk to the Lifts

Amazing kitchen with pine cabinets!

Amazing kitchen with pine cabinets!

02/10/2015 - I decided to take a trip with some friends out to friendly Park City, Utah for some much needed time on the slopes. The empire house was the perfect place for us to stay on our trip! It was such an easy walk from our front door to the lifts at Park City Mountain Resort, from the time we put on our jackets and boots to the riding up a chair took less than 10 minutes!

The house had everything we could ask for and more. All of the bedrooms were nicely appointed, the kitchen was fresh and modern, and there was plenty of seating space for all of us to kick back and relax after a tiring day. The brand new spa in the back of the house was icing on the cake that made this house a perfect place to retire after the last run down the mountain. Once we were all refreshed, the kitchen was plenty large enough to cook up some tasty food for 8-10 people without any issues. The nights I was too tired to whip up a meal for everyone, the main Park City downtown full of shops and restaurants was only a ten minute walk away.

I wish I could have stayed at this vacation rental in Park City longer, and would highly suggest anyone visiting to book this house. You won't be disappointed!

# 347804 Racquet Club Estates, Palm Springs, North, Palm Springs, Deserts, California, USA, 3 BR, 0 BA, HOUSE

Your own private boutique Hotel with to die for Pool/Spa

The perfect place to stay on vacation.

The perfect place to stay on vacation.

02/01/2015 - This beautiful mid-century modern home is perfect for a getaway with friends! It has wonderful common areas, both inside and outside the home. The open floor plan makes it perfect for hanging out in the kitchen, dining room or living room. The outdoor space is simply amazing with its saltwater pool, spa, fire pits and dining area (including grill). The kitchen was well stocked and all three bedrooms were very comfortable.

The house was near downtown where we were able to enjoy shopping, dining and strolling. It is a 45 minute drive to Joshua Tree National Park. This house is just minutes from the airport, easy to find and sits in a lovely, quiet neighborhood.

We had a wonderful, relaxing weekend with old friends in this beautiful home and couldn’t have found a more perfect spot for our group!

# 44224 Base 9 Condos, Warrior's Mark, Warrior's Mark West, Breckenridge, Northwest, Colorado, USA, 2 BR, 2 BA, CONDO

Breck 2 Bedroom - Walk to Lifts/Town.

Enjoy the hot tub after a day of skiing!

Enjoy the hot tub after a day of skiing!

01/31/2015 - This January, four friends and I had a blast during our stay in Breckenridge. The location of Base 9 is perfect for experiencing all that Breckenridge has to offer. Every morning we took a quick, 5 minute walk down to Quicksilver and were up the mountain before we knew it. At the end of the day, we would regroup for an après-ski at the brand new outdoor hot tub just around the corner from the condo. In the evening, we would all head out to enjoy the entertainment and shopping on Main Street. Some of Breck’s best bars and restaurants (Mi Casa, Ollie’s, Breckenridge Brewery, La Francaise, and Crepes a la Cart to name a few) are within a leisurely 10 minute walk. It was really nice to be able to explore the town on foot.

We also were lucky enough to see the International Snow Sculpture Championship during our stay. It was fascinating to track the progress that the competitors made on their sculptures during our daily walks around town. Events like this are happening in Breckenridge all the time, and staying at Base 9 made it easy to be a part of the festivities.

On the nights that we stayed in, the condo had everything we needed to prepare our meals and entertain ourselves. The oven, grill, and stove were great for cooking breakfast and dinner. We watched movies on the big-screen TV, played games in the dining room, and lounged in the living room when we were too tired to go out. The floor plan was great because the two bedrooms were across the condo from each other. This gave us all plenty of privacy, and I didn’t have to worry about waking everyone up on the mornings that I got up early.

One of the best parts of our trip was working with the property’s owner, Gary. I had no trouble reaching Gary by email or phone whenever I had a question about the property. In addition to being available for questions, Gary set up the HomeAway mobile app with all of the information that we needed during our stay.

If you are looking for a relaxing vacation in Breckenridge, I highly recommend booking with Gary at Base 9!

# 373284 Mt. Crested Butte, Crested Butte Area, Southwest, Colorado, USA, 4 BR, 4 BA, HOUSE

Lux. 4B/4.5BA Home-Sleeps 12+ Fab Views-Great Family Retreats

Blue sky and great skiing in Colorado!

Blue sky and great skiing in Colorado!

01/28/2015 - This spacious 4 bed 4.5 bath home far exceeded my expectations. The home is located at the bottom of Prospect Lift on Mount Crested Butte, perfect for our six day ski trip.

The home was stocked with more than enough beds, extra mattresses, and bedding to accommodate my guests. In total we were able to host fifteen people! Each day started early, waking up to a gorgeous Colorado sunrise provided through the oversized east facing windows. We cooked nearly every meal in the spacious upstairs kitchen and dining area. There were plenty of serving dishes, utensils, and cooking accessories to prepare various meals for all fifteen guests: chili beans, meatballs, salads, spiked apple cider, fajitas, the works! For my friends who skied, we took less than a five minute hike to the slopes. The home was close enough to the lift that we could even ski home to make a sandwich for lunch.

For my friends who did not ski, they enjoyed watching movies on the big screen TV and catching up on a little R&R. They played games and built a puzzle provided in the home. A few of them took the shuttle that’s located at the end of the drive into the town of Crested Butte and enjoyed pizza from a local restaurant, and an oxygen treatment at an oxygen bar. The shuttle service ran every hour from morning until late night, making it perfect for all of my friends to come and leave as they pleased.

This home couldn’t have been more perfect. The town of Crested Butte is a true mountain town, and was the perfect getaway. Dorothee, the property owner was more than accommodating. She quickly responded to any questions we had before, during, and after the trip.

I highly recommend this spacious mountain home in Crested Butte, CO, the various activities are endless!

# 404123 Ruidoso, New Mexico, USA, 3 BR, 2 BA, HOUSE

Retreat to the Mountains!

Enjoying the spacious deck from this wonderful mountain getaway!

Enjoying the spacious deck from this wonderful mountain getaway!

01/16/2015 - The Happy House was everything I had hoped for and more. Every amenity you could think of was included - even salt and pepper! We loved the bumper pool in the loft and had multiple nights of fun with that. Everything was clean, organized and ready to go when we walked in. Bev was great with offering suggestions for food, as well as being extremely responsive!

It was a quick 15 minute drive up to Apache skiing and the ski rentals were within 5 minutes of the house. Ruidoso (and a grocery store) were a short 10 minutes away and we even went to the Inn of the Mountain Gods to gamble!

The Happy House gets a 10 out of 10 from me. Anyone looking for a great mountain getaway should definitely book the Happy House in Alto!

# 136165 Meyers, South Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe South Shore CA, Lake Tahoe California, California, USA, 4 BR, 2 BA, HOUSE

New 5*****Star Luxury Cabin W/Mountain View

Everything you could want and more in Lake Tahoe!

Everything you could want and more in Lake Tahoe!

01/12/2015 - I cannot say enough wonderful things about this location, home, and the owner!

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful, scenic area with many outdoor activities. The home is just 15 minutes away from Heavenly Valley which offers skiing and snowboarding, 20 minutes from the casino, and just a couple minutes from the grocery store and good local dining.

The home is very spacious, and it easily accommodated a large group of 11. There are games, supplies, and extras (hot tub, bicycles, pool table, etc.) galore! Everything we could possibly need is available – towels, extra bedding/blankets, kitchen items, toiletries, and entertainment. The atmosphere is very warm, welcoming, and cozy. It is a great place for family and friends to stay together.

The owner, Lora, is extremely responsive and helpful. She provided quick answers and made sure we were doing well during our stay. I highly recommend this home for anyone traveling to South Lake Tahoe. You won’t regret it!

# 293931 Kingsland, Lake LBJ, Hill Country, Texas, USA, 5 BR, 3 BA, HOUSE

15% Off Fall Rates - Llano Vista Lake LBJ Vacation Rental With 5 Star Views

A great place to stay with friends and family!

A great place to stay with friends and family!

12/30/2014 - This waterfront home on Lake LBJ was the perfect get-away for our extended family. There were plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms for all 10 of us to stay comfortably and spread out, while the great room and living room provided space for us to all spend time together, too. In the evenings, we enjoyed preparing dinner in the well-equipped kitchen.

When we arrived, the house was warmly set with music playing to greet us, and everything was spotless and ready for us. We each took a turn on the bongo drums! They also gave us a fun way to rouse the sleepyheads in the mornings.

The waterfront view of the lake and the wooded area across was truly breathtaking. The large windows all along the back of the house enabled us to enjoy the lake from the cozy inside on days when it was too cold to spend a lot of time out on the deck. When the sun did come out, the kids enjoyed canoeing and kayaking on the still, clear water while mom and grandma watched from the back patio.

This house would be a great place for a couples' or ladies' retreat. Next time, we'll try out the huge tub built for two and the wet bar!

# 580045 West Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Area, Central Coast, California, USA, 1 BR, 1 BA, CONDO

3 Blocks to beach- luxury, award winning, environmentally friendly home!

Close to everything in Santa Barbara

Close to everything in Santa Barbara

12/29/2014 - I felt right at home when I first entered this modern Santa Barbara condo. The Property Manager was extremely helpful and the phone app they had me download gave me all of the information that I needed to know about my stay including garage and door access codes.

I was welcomed with a basket of goodies when I first arrived (bears like goodies). The large rooms with high ceilings, wide balcony and private outdoor patio with gas grille were lovely, and gave the condo a spacious and homey feeling. The property was spotless and well maintained and the modern kitchen was stocked with all of the basics I needed.

I was only 4 blocks to the Funk Zone for art, wine and restaurants and 3 blocks to the Warf and Yacht Harbor. It was great to be able to walk to the yacht harbor and buy fresh fish (bears like fish!) and complete the meal with fresh vegetables from the local Farmers’ Market. I enjoyed evening walks around the quiet neighborhood and walking to State Street for the best shopping and many fine restaurants. Visiting wineries in Santa Inez and Solvang were easy day trips.

This is a beautiful home and a great location for anyone wanting to see Santa Barbara and enjoy its beauty and culture.

# 293953 Marble Falls, Lake Marble Falls, Hill Country, Texas, USA, 3 BR, 2 BA, HOUSE

Come Relax the Day Away at the Summer Breeze Lake House

Ahhhh, enjoying the views from the deck.

Ahhhh, enjoying the views from the deck.

12/28/2014 - The pictures had me sold! A cozy lake house overlooking the water with all of the amenities you will ever need. I made myself at home as soon as I arrived. Big comfy bed? Check. Clean bathrooms? Check. Large kitchen? CHECK! I quickly unpacked my things and got right to cooking. All the cooking utensils I could think of were already there in the house. With my choice of THREE barbeque grills, I was able to cook up some fajita and sides in no time. Once dinner was served, I retreated to the small balcony overlooking the cool, calm, water as the sun went down.

Instead of a taking a nap on the large king bed, I went to the living room where a large TV with satellite awaited me. I figured I could chill on these beautiful leather couches before exploring the town, just right across the river. Since the lake house is centrally located within Marble Falls, I was able to enjoy the city and the surrounding area with ease. I decided to take in the sights and enjoy wine from the local wineries, none further than 20 minutes from the house. After that, a delicious meal at Francesco’s Italian Restaurant where I was able to bring in the wine I brought from nearby wineries. What could be better?

During my stay, the host kept in touch with me to ensure the home had everything I needed. It sure did! I enjoyed every bit of my stay. Thanks to the host for allowing me to stay in your home!

# 411913 Oxnard, Central Coast, California, USA, 3 BR, 1 BA, HOUSE

The Charming 'Windy Gables' on Hollywood Beach: Dream Get-Away

Incredible Beachfront Location!

Incredible Beachfront Location!

12/27/2014 - This winter, the VRBO Bear & family decided to forgo hibernation in favor of the stunning Windy Gables and its incredible beachfront location. All of the family agrees: it was the best decision ever!

Upon entering the property, we were welcomed with a note and a crate of locally grown strawberries left by the owners, Jay & Ceci. Their thoughtful gesture, coupled with the cozy, yet beautiful decor of the house, made my family feel right at home. The kitchen was fully stocked with everything we needed to prepare meals, the rooms were spacious enough to sleep our group of 15, and the views of the California coast from the kitchen, living room, and dining room were absolutely breathtaking.

Santa Barbara is less than an hour away, but Oxnard's beautiful weather (65°F and sunny in December!) and Hollywood Beach makes it hard to leave. It's hard to stick to planned activities when the beach is your back yard. The seemingly private beach allowed my family and I to enjoy a variety of simple, but fun, activities (wave watching, beach volleyball, etc) together. We dined at a local restaurant down the street, Moqueca Brazilian Cuisine, which we highly recommend to anyone who has an appetite for generous portions of traditional Brazilian food.

Windy Gables is the ideal beach getaway for families. The VRBO Bear & family thanks Jay & Ceci for having us in their home, responding to all of our questions in a timely manner, and providing us with an opportunity to share a wonderful experience that will forever be cemented in our memories.

# 125304 Pacific Beach, San Diego County, California, USA, 2 BR, 1 BA, CONDO

*Steps to the bay and boardwalk! +Bikes, Beach chairs, BBQ, Parking space*

Close to Sea World, the Zoo and Legoland.

Close to Sea World, the Zoo and Legoland.

12/22/2014 - We had a wonderful stay in this house located in Pacific Beach. The house was very clean and well-arranged. For our stay in December, we found a lush Christmas red poinsettia plant on the table -a perfect way to celebrate our holiday vacation. A bay playground is a couple of blocks away, so great for those traveling with kids. The owner provided bikes and sand toys which my daughters used with their niece and nephew. The owner were very kind and responsive to all our requests. We asked for a pack n play and additional blankets, which they provided. The house is so close to Sea World and not too far away from the San Diego Zoo and Legoland.

This home is a great place to spend your vacation!

# 373831 Jaco, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Central America, 4 BR, 4 BA, CONDO

Oceanfront Penthouse, Million $$ View - Luxury 4BR/4.5BA with pool table

Breathtaking views from the penthouse paradise.

Breathtaking views from the penthouse paradise.

12/21/2014 - The Bear feels lucky to have stayed in this fabulous penthouse condo in Jaco, Costa Rica, and provides a 10 out of 10 rating on both the experience and location. The Bear arrived late at night after flying and driving from San Jose airport, and was greeted by the security guard as well as a kitchen stocked for a quick snack. The Bear and friends then slept comfortably in each of the four private bedrooms, all of which have their own bathroom. It wasn’t until the the next morning that he realized how “BEARY” special this place is indeed – the views literally took the Bear’s breath away, from EVERY room and on EVERY balcony of this 9th floor “palace”.

The Bear loved walking down to the beach, dining in open air ocean-front restaurants, riding waves on boogie boards and surfboards, and strolling and shopping through Jaco. When the Bear wanted to just relax in the condo, there was no shortage of fun to be had there either – playing dominoes on the balcony, shooting pool, eating a private chef-cooked meal, watching movies on the big flat screen TV, and catching sunsets. It was also a special treat to visit nearby attractions like the Manuel Antonio National Park and nearby Playa Hermosa’s surfing competition.

Lastly, part of a great vacation is knowing what to do and being able to tap into resources that can help facilitate activities if you need it; the concierge office on the same street provides just that and more. Many many thanks to Phil, Evelyn, and the DayStar property management group for a stay to remember – Pura Vida!

# 145930 Carnelian Bay, Lake Tahoe North Shore CA, Lake Tahoe California, California, USA, 4 BR, 3 BA, HOUSE

Stunning Luxury Lodge - Close to Squaw and Northstar!

A restful, relaxing place in Lake Tahoe!

A restful, relaxing place in Lake Tahoe!

12/20/2014 - This cabin was perfect for our ski vacation! Nestled in the woods of north Lake Tahoe, this beautiful property had everything we needed for a great stay.
When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was the spacious living area with high ceilings. The fireplace was right there, very easy to light a fire at the push of a button and spend time with loved ones.

We all found ourselves in love with the kitchen here! A wonderful space for us to make meals together and dine as one happy family. Gas stoves were perfect for whipping up dinner in a jiffy, and this property had everything we needed for that. Coffee in the morning is a personal favorite, and this particular property had a coffee maker and filters ready and waiting for us.

After a long day of skiing, it’s especially awesome to have a great bed to sleep in. The beds were amazingly warm and comfortable. If any of us had a request to change the temperature… it was easy! This property had a Nest thermostat, really easy to use when things got a bit chilly. Also, the garage was perfect for storing our gear and loading it up in the car before heading up to the mountain.

We couldn’t say enough about the location. The trees outside the property were plentiful, which provided us with a picturesque view. Getting to the slopes was a pretty snappy drive, just a trip around the lake. We also heard this area was wonderful in the summertime. This property has a grill and everything you’d need to have a great summer getaway.

We had a wonderful time visiting Lake Tahoe and staying at this property. We’d love to come back in the summertime!

# 108399 Aina Nalu, Lahaina, West Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA, 2 BR, 2 BA, CONDO

Fall in love with our low rates this Fall! $131/nt Aina Nalu J107

Great location, great amenities, & perfect for families.

Great location, great amenities, & perfect for families.

12/19/2014 - The booking experience with Coconut Condos was top notch. They laid out the timeline of communications during the booking process. I had the access code to the condo well before our trip and they sent me several emails during my stay to make sure we had everything we needed.

The pictures reflect exactly what you are getting in the condo. Yes, the bathrooms are just as nice as they look in the pictures. The slate tiles in the shower make you feel like you are at a 5 star hotel.

The condo is in the center of everything at Lahaina. Front street and the water is a short two block walk. Anything else in Lahaina is within blocks and is an enjoyable walk. You won’t need a car unless you want to explore the island or go to the baby beach (about a 1 mile walk).

The complex has two pools, two gas BBQ’s and one hot tub. There is a nice outdoor space with a TV next to the main pool. This was a favorite spot for us to hang out in the afternoon and we met several families with kids in the same age group from around the world. We used the onsite concierge to book a dinner cruise, helicopter tour, and whale watching excursion. You get all of the amenities you would expect at a luxury resort with a fraction of the cost.

I met fellow vacationers that have been coming to the same complex for 5+ years and I certainly understand why. I will be coming back here again the next time we come to Maui.

# 450120 Keystone Village, Homestead, Keystone, Northwest, Colorado, USA, 2 BR, 2 BA, CONDO

Huge Mountain Views, Quiet & Relaxing, King Bed, Fireplace, Patio

Get ready to hit the slopes!

Get ready to hit the slopes!

12/18/2014 - This condo was perfect! When I arrived, I walked into this condo, plopped down and felt right at home. The entire condo was spacious and cozy. When I awoke in the morning and finally got out of bed (talk about a comfy bed), I walked into the living room to find the big windows facing the picturesque winter mountains. The condo faces the side of the mountains where the Keystone Ski Resort is located. At night the resort actually lights up the silhouette of the mountains around. It was nice and very peaceful.

The condo itself was great. The beds were perfectly made and very comfortable. The kitchen was roomy and stocked with everything I needed. Getting connected to the internet was easy as pie. Upon my return from a long day riding my board, the fireplace kept me warm and the big screen TV kept me entertained.

The location was great! The condo sits right on the route for the free shuttle, so my trip to the ski slope was really quick, and really easy. The shuttle runs late into the night so I did not have to drive anywhere.

The condo's owner came by and left me a nice care package while I hit the slopes at Keystone that day. She could not have been nicer! If I needed her, she was there without hesitation. Before my arrival she was very on point with any information I needed. I definitely plan on staying here again the next time I decide to forego my hibernation and hit the slopes at Keystone!

# 165586 Duomo, Florence, Firenze (Florence) Province, Tuscany, Italy, Europe, 3 BR, 1 BA, APARTMENT

wonderful flat. free wi/fi, see also listing 92298, cooking class, Chianti tour.

Stay right in the heart of Florence!!!

Stay right in the heart of Florence!!!

12/12/2014 - I cannot say enough about how thoughtful our host, Claudia, and her staff were. When we arrived, we were greeted with a welcome basket of treats. We were greeted with other surprises as well, but I won’t give away all of their secrets.

The layout of this apartment was more spacious than we had anticipated. It was decorated with festive, tasteful holiday fare (Christmas season), which was a nice touch. The apartment and each room seemed larger than the online pictures. The gem for us was the hidden, upstairs loft-style sunroom. We spent a lot of our down time there relaxing and talking about the day’s sights and adventures, as well as reading and doing some online activities. The loft was cozy, but still had plenty of space for us to relax and unwind.

During our stay, our hosts loaned us a cell phone to use for local calls. A Europe converter plus was available for our electronics to charge, so we didn’t have to bring or purchase a converter. The wi-fi connection in the apartment was strong.

The apartment is located exactly in the heart of everything that we wanted to experience in Florence. There is an excellent restaurant across the street, and a local mart literally right next door. This apartment was close to the shopping district, as well as several restaurants, bakeries, gelato shops and other eateries. Museums, water canals, and the awesome Il Duomo di Firenze were nearby, all within a 10-15 minute walk from the apartment. A low-fee credit union ATM was 3 minutes away, too, which was a huge value add for us. The train station was in walking distance, which allowed us to avoid taxi fees.

All in all, we completely enjoyed this stay. Our hosts could not have been more helpful -thank you so much!

# 484410 Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands, Caribbean, 2 BR, 2 BA, BUNGALOW

Picturesque And Private Beachside Bungalow

Having a grand time on Grand Turk!!!

Having a grand time on Grand Turk!!!

12/10/2014 - Beachside Bungalow on Grand Turk is the perfect place for an idyllic tropical getaway. The house sits directly on a secluded beach with the Caribbean as a backyard. As soon as we walked into the house, we knew this would be the perfect pre-Christmas vacation.

We enjoyed watching the sunset each evening while lying in the hammock or sipping cocktails on the patio couch. The spacious master bedroom opens directly out onto the patio with perfect views of the beach. I can't think of a more relaxing way to fall asleep each night, listening to the waves, or to wake up each morning greeted by the sun and crystal blue water.

The large, well-appointed kitchen and market within walking distance made preparing meals easy. There are also a number of local spots for daily meals and drinks. The two cruiser bikes that came with the house made getting around the island even more enjoyable.

The house also has beach chairs, games and snorkel gear. The reef is just out the back door and is full of interesting sea life. The island is fairly quiet and the locals are very friendly and accommodating. The cruise ship port is at the other end of the island so you can choose to mingle with the passengers or enjoy the peace and quiet.

Drew was easy to work with and booking the house was a breeze. Arelys, the local property manager was very helpful and answered any questions that arose. There is plenty of information about the island in an easily accessible binder and the local cell phone provided was pre-loaded with minutes.

If you are looking for a quiet, relaxing beach vacation, this is a great spot to get away and unwind.

# 222730 Waterside Village, Steamboat Springs, Northwest, Colorado, USA, 3 BR, 2 BA, TOWNHOME

Downtown Overlooking River, Unmatched, Luxury, Quiet, Private Garage, Fantastic

Shops, restaurants and slopes are just minutes away.

Shops, restaurants and slopes are just minutes away.

12/05/2014 - A great mountain getaway! The condo is ideally situated in the downtown area and the first stop on the shuttle from the airport. The unit was fully stocked as a home away from home. The views of the mountains and river are accessible from every room. All shops and restaurants are just a few steps away and it is great to have a natural food store in the same building. The slopes are a short 10 minute free bus ride away without having to park a car. The springs pool is within walking distance and a great way to relax at the end of the day. The owners have paid a great deal of attention in providing a comfortable stay.

# 122290 San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, Caribbean, 6 BR, 5 BA, VILLA

Villa Incommunicada Luxury Home Large Private Pool 2015/16 New Year Cancellation

Ready for an adventure!

Ready for an adventure!

12/02/2014 - It’s true that some bears hibernate for the winter, but the VRBO bear enjoyed his December vacation in the western Caribbean at Villa Incommunicada, snorkeling and swimming off the coast of Ambergis Caye.

This villa is amazing. Three floors of very comfortable and well appointed rooms, with full kitchens stocked on request with all sorts of delicious foods. Sunrise views from patios, porches, and especially the roof top deck will greet you every morning. Watching the sunset from the cabana at the end of the dock over local rum with friends is one of the best ways to spend the beginning of an evening.

Each day brought another adventure, all organized by the concierge who lives on the property. Waking up in the morning to a delicious, prepared breakfast followed by walking the 70 or so feet to a private boat dock and immediately being able to board for snorkeling at the Hol Chan marine reserve or Shark Ray Alley is simply amazing. While bears prefer snorkeling with tropical fish, some of their friends enjoyed spending a day boating out to the Great Blue Hole for some advanced scuba diving. When you return, you’ll have your own pool to wash off the salt and sea.

While the concierge and his wife can provide you excellent meals (I recommend the Belizian stewed chicken) I also suggest making use of the outdoor grill or the three full kitchens you’ll find. With the ocean so close, it’s an easy day trip to fish or perhaps dive for lobster and conch and prepare yourself an excellent meal. Sandy beaches with picnics of fresh ceviche and fruit juices and rum are all within a short boat ride.

When you travel into town for evening fun, shopping, or the boat festival, please stop by Waruguma and enjoy some of the best pupusas this bear has ever enjoyed.

# 321790 Lift Condos, Warrior's Mark, Warrior's Mark West, Breckenridge, Northwest, Colorado, USA, 1 BR, 1 BA, CONDO

THE LIFT CONDO-Summer Secial-only $99 thru Oct. 15. Walk to Lifts & Downtown

Peak 9 paradise in Breckenridge!

Peak 9 paradise in Breckenridge!

11/30/2014 - While some Bears prefer to eat Turkey with their families on Thanksgiving, the VRBO Bear prefers to hit the ski slopes in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. This condo at the base of Peak 9 was close enough to walk to the chair lift with all of our ski gear. Skiing was convenient because we did not have to deal with parking at the ski resort.

The inside of the rental was adorable! It was clean, charming, cozy, and well decorated. We immediately felt right at home and began relaxing in front of the large screen TV after a long day of travel. The living room was extremely comfortable and had all of the amenities we needed to have great time. We got so comfortable on the couch we almost went into Bear hibernation for the winter!

Upon exploring the rest of the condo we quickly realized that the owners take a great deal of pride in providing their guests with a 5 star accommodation. The condo offered everything promised in the listing and then some! The kitchen was well equipped and the bedroom was extremely comfortable. It was so cozy that we had a difficult time leaving the rental to see the beautiful sights of Breckenridge.

We spent most of our days on the slopes skiing and snowboarding at one of the best resorts in Colorado. At the end of the day we would walk back to the condo and put on our bathing suits to relax in the large hot tub. The hot tub was just a stone’s throw away from the unit. It was very clean, warm, and well maintained. There was also an amazing heated pool right next to it.

While the condo had everything we needed to cook great meals in the fully equipped kitchen, we preferred to venture to downtown Breckenridge for dinner each night. There were plenty of great dining options to choose from and we highly recommend Blue River Bistro which was one of our favorites. Downtown is only a short walk from the condo and we appreciated the nice scenery along the way.

The owners of the condo were extremely friendly and easy to communicate with. They were very quick to respond to our questions and they provided a helpful notebook inside the rental that offered a ton of great suggestions for local restaurants and activities. We would definitely stay at this condo again in the future, and cannot wait for our next trip to Breck!

# 4127 Xaman-Ha, Playacar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Mayan Riviera, Mexico, 3 BR, 2 BA, CONDO

Deluxe Beachfront Condo Xaman-ha 7121 Breathtaking Oceanview!

Enjoying the breathtaking views!

Enjoying the breathtaking views!

11/29/2014 - Xaman Ha was the perfect condo in Playa del Carmen for my friends and me. We arrived at the condo to find luxury at our footsteps. The views of the white sand beach, crystal blue water and impeccable grounds are breathtaking.

Xaman Ha condos are located right on the beach with a fantastic pool and grounds area to enjoy. The beach in front of the condo is fully equipped with comfortable beach chairs and umbrellas making it easy to enjoy the beautiful beach.

The condo was well stocked and comfortable for the 6 of us. We enjoyed the views from the balcony and the ease of getting to 5th street to hit up all the fantastic restaurants and shopping.

Xaman Ha is a fantastic place to get away with friends or family and enjoy the beaches and restaurants of Playa del Carmen. My friends and I will be back!

# 337680 Long Bay, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands, Caribbean, 2 BR, 1 BA, COTTAGE

Cozy Beach House on Kite Boarding Beach,W/Private Pool and kayak.

Enjoying the lounge bed on the secluded beach!

Enjoying the lounge bed on the secluded beach!

11/27/2014 - This Thanksgiving, the VRBO Bear decided the best place to spend the holiday was on a quiet, secluded beach on Providenciales, rather than watching football while stuffed with desserts. What a terrific decision!! As soon as we arrived, we were overtaken by the serenity and beauty of Long Bay. The house sits on a lot directly on the beach. There is another house next door, but still plenty of privacy.

We walked into a very clean, comfortable, and tasteful home. The first thing we did was kick off our shoes and walk out the patio door right to the beach. The beach was very clean and manicured nearly every day. There are many amenities available on the beach including kayaks, beach chairs, fire pit, and our favorite, the lounge bed. We brought our own snorkeling gear and had great diving. It’s a gentle beach, shallow, but still teeming with fish and wildlife. Many hours each day were filled by lounging beachside at Silver Palms, especially in the lounge bed!

The house has a kitchen which enabled us to cook most of our meals. We brought our own food and spices/seasonings, which is highly recommended. We bought fresh fish and cooked it on the grill located beachside as we sat next to our bonfire. Paradise!

Another huge benefit of Silver Palms Cottage is the location. This truly is a property for those that want to get away and have seclusion. That being said, it’s just a short drive to the tourist part of the island, Grace Bay, and all the restaurants and shops located on that side of the island. Because the house is on Long Bay, there is not any traffic and it’s very quiet, making it easy to melt away into full-on relaxation.

The owners are very friendly and easy to work with. If you are looking for a quiet and quaint cottage on the beach that is away from the tourists, this is a great spot for you. If you’re typically the ‘resort type’, consider this home if you want seclusion with peace and privacy. We found Silver Palms to be inviting and romantic, which was exactly what we wanted.

# 84068 Palmas del Mar, Humacao, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, Caribbean, 2 BR, 2 BA, CONDO


Enjoy the grounds or walk to the beach.

Enjoy the grounds or walk to the beach.

11/19/2014 - We loved our stay at this spacious property with stunning ocean views from the balcony and master bedroom. The community is very kid-friendly with lots of onsite activities (the swimming pool, children’s park, turtle-watching, and beach toys were all hits with our kids). The condo is walking distance from the beach, although the dragon swimming pool (with an ocean view) is where we spent most of our time.

Ramon was very welcoming, and met us at the car rental office so he could lead us on the 1-hour drive to the property. That was helpful, since driving directions in that area can be confusing. Throughout our stay, Ramon and Evelyn were very responsive to our questions. They even came by one evening (at our request) to show us how to work the electronic/electrical appliances as we were settling in. Evelyn provided all the information that was necessary, including information about a baby-sitter.

The location, Humacao, is an hour’s driving distance from all the popular tourist destinations (El Yunque, San Juan, ferry ride to Flamenco Beach). So if you are looking to be away from the crowds, this is the place for you. The community is gated and very safe.

Groceries are available at a WalMart supercenter that is 4 exits away from the property. We chose to cook at home often. The kitchen was clean and well equipped with all the appliances we needed. It also saved a lot of money for us.

The condo is in fabulous condition. The basket of treats and snacks was very useful and thoughtful, and the coloring activity books were a hit. The views from the bedroom and balcony are awesome. We saw the sunrise each day from our bed. Vieques Island can be seen on the horizon, along with a beach chock-full of coconut palms.

All amenities/appliances are available, beds comfortable, beautiful interior décor (modern themed.) Thank you Evelyn and Ramon for an excellent vacation home. We couldn’t have asked for more, 5 stars!

# 29796 Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, Caribbean, 3 BR, 2 BA, HOUSE

Hidden Paradise Near Beaches, Rainforest & Neighboring Islands

A Puerto Rican vacation paradise.

A Puerto Rican vacation paradise.

11/18/2014 - I decided a tropical Puerto Rican vacation was just what this Bear needed most in November. When I arrived at this hidden paradise I knew it would be difficult for me to ever want to leave. The drive from the San Juan airport to the house was as easy as could be and as I pulled up to the gated driveway I was anxious to explore the well-manicured grounds and take a dip in the luxurious, pristine pool.

The expansive, incredibly gorgeous views from the house took my breath away. It felt like I was on top of the world with such a spectacular panorama of the ocean. I could even see many of the smaller islands off in the distance. At night I was spoiled by bright stars and twinkling lights from the nearby towns. Being away from the hustle and bustle, but still just a short drive away to beaches and activities (such as El Yunque National Rain Forest,) this home had the best of both worlds.

The house itself was lovely with plenty of room for me and my Bear friends. The bedrooms were spacious and we all hibernated for many hours every night in the very comfortable beds. During much of our stay we took advantage of the gourmet kitchen amenities. I sure wish all my meals could have such a magnificent ocean backdrop!

The balcony was where we spent most of our time enjoying mugs of Puerto Rican coffee in the mornings and tropical cocktails in the evenings. We loved listening to the delightful songs of the coquis welcoming us to the island.
I can’t say enough how much this Bear enjoyed his stay on the island and we want to give a Big Bear Hug to Monica. Thank you for opening up your wonderful home to us. It truly was paradise!

# 278745 Mission Bay, San Diego County, California, USA, 3 BR, 1 BA, BUNGALOW

Bungalow by the Bay: Warm Sunny Sands and Cool Breezes

Beautiful views and weather to match.

Beautiful views and weather to match.

11/10/2014 - What a wonderful getaway weekend we had at Bungalow by the Bay! Terri was a pleasure to work with, and the home was perfect. From the moment we pulled up to see the mini beach with chairs in the front yard overlooking the bay, to the time we left, we had a great experience.

The home was stocked with everything one could need and more. The weather was beautiful, and the home lent itself nicely to enjoying the breezes with plenty of windows and doors overlooking the bay or backyard hideaway. We enjoyed several sunsets from the comfort of the front yard utilizing the mini beach setup and chairs. There is such an amazing view of the bay, cars traveling on the street frequently slow down or stop to take photos! Just a few steps away from the front door are stairs to experience the beautiful views directly on the beach.

We chose exploring by foot rather than renting a car. There were a ton of great restaurants and beach activities within a mile or two of the home. When we wanted to relax, we were able to enjoy the home amenities such as the cozy hot tub when the evening temperatures were just right. We also loved sitting on the back porch soaking in the amazing weather. Downtown was a short 15 minute cab ride. The beds were very comfortable, and the shower always had plenty of hot water. The bathroom was also well supplied with essentials.

I fell in love with San Diego and this lovely home.

# 425608 Nashville, Middle, Tennessee, USA, 3 BR, 2 BA, HOUSE

Contemporary Designer Home in Nashville Free Wi-Fi

Enjoying the morning air from the porch.

Enjoying the morning air from the porch.

11/09/2014 - My buddies and I spent our vacation in Nashville. We selected this house based on its location and size. We received all of the information in advance and the keyless locks worked like a charm. Once inside it was a great setup. Each of us had our own bedroom and all were equally nice. The house was nicely decorated nicely with a warm, comfortable feel. The home was spotlessly clean.

The owners had some personal, welcoming touches. They left my buddies and I a note on the fridge as well as suggestions for activities in the area. The kitchen was stocked with more than the basics – sodas, beer, water, snacks – all in addition to more standard food items like coffee and milk. There were also games and easy directions for wifi, tv and other amenities.

The location was near Edwin Warner and Percy Warner Parks; we had great morning runs and beautiful fall views. We enjoyed the fact that we could get to the heart of Nashville in 20 minutes as well as enjoy the bucolic area.

I highly recommend staying at this house when you’re in Nashville. This place worked well for a “guy’s weekend” and I could see it work even better for a family or a few couples that wanted to travel together.

# 209238 Hale Ili Ili, South Kihei (Kamaole I & II Beaches Area), Kihei, South Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA, 2 BR, 2 BA, CONDO

Hale Ili Ili #C Kamaole Beach 1 Oceanfront 2/2

Steps away from the ocean and what a view!

Steps away from the ocean and what a view!

11/08/2014 - While some bears hibernate in the winter, this VRBO Bear goes to Hawaii! Upon arrival, we were greeted by Kathy, the owner of this unit and business owner of Rentals Maui, Inc. She gave us a personal tour of the unit, the surrounding property, and all of the amenities. After the usual stress of air travel, it was so nice to receive such individual attention!

So.... where to begin?! The unit itself is on the second/top floor of this small, 4-unit property. It is very quiet as it's on a small side street (Ili Ili Rd.) off of the main S. Kihei Rd., and of course, right on the ocean. The building must be fairly new because it is in very good shape, both inside and out. You can see beautiful sunsets from the lanai and hear the soft surf at night. It's perfectly situated to see the green flash, which this bear has seen several times! Hint: an elevated position (not the ocean's edge) has a better advantage!

Leaving a towel and flip-flops ("slippers" in Hawaiian!) by the pool each morning, Mrs. Bear and I walked the short distance across grass and sand to the beach with mask, snorkel, and fins in hand. Within moments, we were at the reef in front of this unit swimming with tropical fish and turtles. Yes, you can drive to lots of beautiful beaches on this island, but it sure is nice to have one right in your backyard! In fact, you can see turtles poke their heads up to breathe from the lanai! And after a swim, what's more convenient than an outdoor shower just outside the gate to the pool! Not just a showerhead, but two additional faucets to rinse your gear and feet!

The list of amenities is long for this unit (see main description) and there's not one thing we found missing or needed. Only fresh or personal items (e.g. food and the aforementioned snorkel gear) are things that you will want to get on your first day. After breakfast and morning swim, get out and see this lovely island. If you need suggestions for places to go, restaurants, or services, just ask Kathy or any of the helpful staff at Rentals Maui! Thanks to all of them, we had the perfect vacation! Mahalo!

# 308262 Lake Bob Sandlin, Piney Woods, Texas, USA, 3 BR, 2 BA, CABIN

Beautiful Lakefront Log Home, Huge Dock, Hot Tub, Decks, +++

Enjoying the Fall beauty from the porch.

Enjoying the Fall beauty from the porch.

11/07/2014 - When my travel companions and I arrived at the cabin on the lake, we were amazed by its natural beauty. Our first moments were spent walking out to the pier and enjoying a drink on the deck, watching the moon play on the calm lake waters, enjoying the stars and sounds of nature.

The bedrooms were comfortable and inviting. The heavy quilts were perfect to keep us warm on the cool nights. We fell into a peaceful sleep to the sounds of nature. We awoke early to watch the sunrise over the lake and even spotted some turtles swimming in the water. The comfy beds did allow us to sleep in a number of mornings, but the first one was special and we wanted to get started on enjoying our amazing property.

Late in the fall for East Texas, the trees were changing color still and beautifully stood out against the lake. We enjoyed watching the birds from the house decks and the hot tub. Late at night, we even spotted a raccoon! It was a treat to see so many animals we don’t typically find in the city.

On the few rainy days we kept ourselves entertained with the board game collection and watching old movies on the couch.

The cabin is very well kept and treasured. We found special touches throughout the cabin, small touches which made it truly feel like a home away from home.

# 378091 Belltown, Downtown, Seattle, Puget Sound, Washington State, USA, 2 BR, 2 BA, CONDO

Stay Alfred Priceless Waterviews at Pike Place HSW

Beautiful condo with a beautiful view!

Beautiful condo with a beautiful view!

10/27/2014 - When my travel companions and I arrived at the entrance to the Harbor Steps, we were taken aback by the beautiful modern design and luxurious allure of the building’s façade. We knew immediately that we had made the right choice in selecting this condo for our stay in downtown Seattle. Upon entering the lobby, we were greeted by a friendly concierge who provided the keys to our unit. We made our way to the elevator where I eagerly hit the button for our floor, waiting in anticipation to feast my eyes on what would be our new home for the next week. As we reached the door, I slid the key into the lock, turned it quickly and swung the door open wide (with some help from my companions, of course). They say first impressions are everything, and let me tell you, this property made quite the impression indeed.

The entry way alone made it clear that we had stumbled into something special. A few steps into the living area revealed a breathtaking, unobstructed view of Elliot Bay through the huge corner window. Ferries and barges floated by purposefully, unaware of their new admirers. The spacious room was flanked by a cozy bedroom and large bathroom (complete with washer and dryer) on the left and a grand dining area on the right. The table was set for six with exquisite dinnerware and a centerpiece that exuded elegance. Just past the dining area was a door leading out onto the patio where a cool, crisp breeze could be felt coming off the water. My companions excitedly made their way to the kitchen to investigate what they believe to be the most important room in a home. It was fully equipped with various appliances, utensils, dishes and sundries that would make short work of preparing a satisfying vacation dinner. They were ecstatic to also find a gift bag with assorted treats to help ease the tension from a long day of traveling.

The next stop was the master bedroom. I threw myself onto the giant bed and knew right away that this would be the best night’s sleep I had ever gotten away from home (which would later prove to be entirely accurate). The large dresser and closets on the opposite wall provided plenty of room for unpacking, leading to a feeling of belonging not afforded by living out of a suitcase. The attached master bathroom was equally large and the standing shower provided the perfect temperature and water pressure for a truly relaxing experience. I returned to the living room and curled up on the couch with my companions as we sat contented and comfortable, contemplating the courteous and creative custodians that concocted these conditions. We planned the following day’s excursions to Pike’s Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum and the Aquarium, all reachable with a 5 minute walk. This was a vacation we would not soon forget…

# 339330 San Luis Pass, Gulf Coast, Texas, USA, 4 BR, 3 BA, HOUSE

Luxury Beach house directly on the beach. Views of both the ocean and the bay!

Just steps from the ocean!

Just steps from the ocean!

10/27/2014 - What a relaxing beach getaway! As soon as I arrived, I walked up the stairs to take in the incredible views of the beach at sunset. The sound of the ocean waves, the setting sun across the ocean, and a drink in hand, this was the life for me!

The beach house was roomy, with more than enough space for our family of 8 (it could have easily accommodated 4 more bears). We enjoyed the huge family room and ample sized kitchen with views of the ocean; it was like being on a ship. We cooked a lovely meal with family all gathered around and even had a drink station set up without anyone stepping on any paws. We never felt crowded. After dinner, we gathered outside on the wrap around balcony to admire the stars glistening in the night sky. We even saw a few bears night fishing and hunting for crabs on the beach.

The bedrooms were roomy, with comfortable, inviting beds. I loved the fireplace and balcony off the upstairs bedroom. There was even a chiminea on the balcony for cool breezy evenings. I awoke to a beautiful sunrise and after a breakfast I ran right out onto the secluded beach, very clean and full of little shells to gather. I saw dolphins jumping, pelicans soaring, and fisherman casting their lines into the ocean. The little cubs joined me on the beach and we all played and sat for hours with hardly a soul around. The cubs loved running along the clean, sandy beach and wading in the shallow waters. It was perfect!

After a day on the beach, we came back to our great entertaining house, where we had fun sitting at the game table, playing one of the many games. We even got to brush up on our pool shark skills with the billard table upstairs.

# 387959 Rockport, Gulf Coast, Texas, USA, 3 BR, 1 BA, HOUSE

Rockport is an exciting destination...and "Zelma's Place" is close to it all!

Enjoying time outdoors!

Enjoying time outdoors!

10/20/2014 - The sound of the ocean waves, the setting sun across the ocean, and a drink in hand, this was the life for us!

The beach house was roomy, with more than enough space for two of us (it could have easily accommodated 6 more bears). The Bear and his new wife stayed at Zelma's place for their honeymoon. This house is amazing, perfect to relax and unwind. We were truly fortunate because the new bride always felt that she needed to do something, but Zelma's place beckoned her to sleep in and take it easy. After the second day we were soothed into a state of honeymoon bliss.

The bedrooms were roomy, with comfortable, inviting beds. We loved the living room and the outdoor hammock and porch. The kitchen had lots of plates, cups, accessories and even a blender which made daiquiris a breeze. After our days on the beach, we came back to our great entertaining house, where we had fun sitting outside on the beautiful porch, playing one of the many games. We enjoyed watching television on a big flat screen with loads of channels.

Zelma's place is walking distance from tons of wonderful Rockport shopping and a skip from the beach. We went to the beach every day where the bear taught his new wife to fly a kite! We saw dolphins jumping, pelicans soaring, and fisherman casting their lines into the ocean. We passed the hours at many of the close restaurants and local bars. The lady bear loved running along the clean, sandy beach and wading in the shallow waters. This was the perfect getaway.

Thank you for allowing us to stay at your amazing house, we will definitely stay again!

# 52692 Harpswell (N,S,E&W), Portland & Casco Bay, Maine, USA, 2 BR, 1 BA, HOUSE

Oceanfront Classic Beach, Kayaks, and Mooring

Just steps from the ocean.

Just steps from the ocean.

10/06/2014 - Eager to return to New England with fall colors setting in, this bear was rewarded ten-fold with this Oceanside cottage on Potts Point, finally finding a relaxing retreat to view nature’s splendid beauty.
The house is amazing - situated only a few steps away from the ocean. With provided kayaks and canoes, the water front became a paradise for beachcombing, allowing access to the sometimes peninsula that appears during low tide.
Ardell greeted me with a special handwritten note, a move I found to be most touching, an invitation to enjoy the house and the full comfort of the amenities provided. The kitchen pantry was amply supplied for this amateur chef’s needs.
The sunroom provided unparalleled views for watching the sunset over the ocean and for the adventurous folks in our party, the map room and well-curated guide book provided all the staging tools needed for discovering the additional beauties of the surrounding area.
I was able to witness the history of the house by viewing photos from days gone by at the lobster pound just a few hundred feet across the causeway. Needless to say, this bear is ready to make a return to this oceanside wonder and explore more of the natural wonders that await!

# 353194 Uptown-Carrollton, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 4 BR, 3 BA, HOUSE


Enjoy beautiful landscaping right from the porch!

Enjoy beautiful landscaping right from the porch!

09/29/2014 - The Oulala House in the Garden District of New Orleans is absolutely magnificent. Michelle, the host, was equally great. We were greeted by her upon our arrival and given a tour of the historic house, which was beautiful and spotlessly clean. We had 12 travelers on our trip and everyone stayed comfortably. There are plenty of bathrooms and beds to be able to sleep a large number of people.

The backyard is incredibly well kept with beautiful landscaping and the pool was clean and inviting. It was a great relief from the humidity and nice to come home to each day. Michelle has provided several binders with a great amount of information on local restaurants, bars and attractions in the city, which made it easy to figure out exactly where we wanted to eat and find interesting places in the city to check out.

The house is very conveniently located, right by the trolley tracks. For around $1, you can take a 30 minute trolley ride to Canal Street, which puts you near all of the big attractions and famous restaurants in the city.

# 404136 Downtown, Austin, Hill Country, Texas, USA, 1 BR, 1 BA, CONDO

Adorable Downtown 6th Steet Condo - Walk to Everything

Relax in this quiet cozy condo after a busy Austin fun-filled day!

Relax in this quiet cozy condo after a busy Austin fun-filled day!

09/25/2014 - Comfy Oasis in a Vibrant Downtown!

I, VRBO Bear, arrived tired from a long flight into Austin and was thrilled to find this hip, modern condo with such comfy beds waiting for me– even the sofa bed was comfy – Nice! I choose my own entry code for the front door security, so that was easy. There was a personal note from Trey and Brandy on the kitchen bar welcoming me. I felt like a celebrity – and I guess I sort of am. Awakening refreshed, I found everything I needed to start my day, from a large shower and fluffy towels to a coffee maker with filters to a fabulous bakery only a block away.

The location is ideal for experiencing Austin’s vibrant downtown. Though I had a car, I didn’t use it. I was able to walk and pedi-cab – now that’s a cool way to get around – everywhere I wanted to go. With such a nicely equipped kitchen, my friends and I stopped at Whole Foods for fresh grouper, greens, and fingerling potatoes that we prepared ourselves. Then it was a 10-minute pedi-cab ride to Austin City Limits for some live music – Austin style. We relaxed back at the condo on the upper balcony, facing the lights of downtown, with a glass of wine (I’m older than I look), and it was magical.
The next day, I discovered a “Pecan Street” festival in downtown. We saw great art, ate at amazing food trailers, heard live music, of course, and took a stroll around Lady Bird Johnson Lake. That night we choose a restaurant from the list provided by our hosts, and took in the Austin Ballet performance of Firebird! In a word, Spectacular!

Sunday, we all slept in – comfy beds, remember? Even though we were staying downtown, it was so quiet in that condo! It was hard to leave because we had hardly begun to visit all the fun places within walking distance, but we will be back! Thanks for making a great time so easy … VRBO BEAR

# 147152 Near North Side, Near North, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 3 BR, 2 BA, CONDO


Warm and cozy!!!

Warm and cozy!!!

09/18/2014 - What a treat it was to stay at this spacious yet cozy Chicago condo! As soon as my paw stepped inside the front door and left the hustle and bustle of the street, I felt relaxed and at home.

I was greeted by the lovely woman who owns the place, Andrea. She was very helpful and hospitable and gave me some great restaurant recommendations. As she showed me around I started getting more and more excited about my stay. The master bedroom was comfortable with plenty of closet space. The attached master bathroom was well lit with a big jacuzzi bath in between his and her sinks! The two other bedrooms had plenty of space and each had a queen size bed. The second bathroom had a large double sink vanity and a great shower. As she showed me the main living area I was pleased by how spacious it felt! I was delighted by the wall-to-wall windows and large comfortable wrap around couch. All of which was overlooked by a clean, modern kitchen stocked with free coffee and tea, and good enough for any chef looking to make a meal.

Each day when I went I went out to explore the city, it was a breeze to get downtown because the condo is right next to Lake Shore Drive. I had many great adventures shopping on the Magnificent Mile, sunning in Millennium Park, throwing pennies into Buckingham Fountain, walking along the lake, riding the ferris wheel at Navy Peer and so much more. But every day I looked forward to heading home, taking a hot shower in my clean bathroom and making some tea in the tea kettle before plopping down on the comfortable sofa in my Chicago oasis. Every morning I woke up so refreshed that I thought I had been hibernating! The beds were comfortable, and the rooms were quiet and peaceful, they were just right.

I can't say enough good things about my experience here. It was clean, well stocked, well lit and really felt like a home away from home. I'm definitely going to stay here next time I visit the windy city. Thanks Andrea!

# 326077 Padova, Veneto, Italy, Europe, 4 BR, 3 BA, VILLA

Exclusive Venice and Veneto Villa with Hilltop Panoramic View

Enjoying the panoramic view!

Enjoying the panoramic view!

09/13/2014 - Ca’Contea is an impeccably designed countryside villa amidst the picturesque backdrop of the tranquil Veneto Region. I recommend booking Ca’Contea if you are interested in living like a local bear of Teolo nestled in the dramatic yet serene Euganean Hills, but want a relaxing sanctuary that’s still in paw’s reach from the more popular and busy destinations like Venice, Verona, Padova, Montegrotto and Abano Terme Hot Springs, and Vicenza.

Upon arriving at our private gated property, we found ourselves in awe of the blooming rose bushes, the fruit trees (fig, pomegranate, apple, plum, etc.) and the 12 acres of vineyards. The panoramic view from the villa allowed us to escape from our hustle-bustle city lifestyle and get immersed with the calming Euganean scenery. There was even an outdoor brick oven that overwhelmed us with the sense that we were in the true heart of rustic Italy.

The historic countryside villa was completely modernized inside with a fully functioning kitchen, complete with local spices and cooking necessities. Next to the kitchen, a dramatic formal dining room was dressed to comfortably seat up to 14 bears – great for family gatherings or holiday meals.

On the lower level, there were 2 spacious living rooms full of eye-catching décor and all the comforts of home. Books, guides, maps, recommendations, comfortable sitting areas, wifi, games, and a big flat screen TV were all easily accessible.

Upon walking up the large brick stairs to the second floor, we noticed all the eclectic artwork and tastefully decorated interior as we approached 4 large bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a huge office – all with gorgeous views of the land.

Altogether, we are applauding Ca’Contea and we want to give Cristina a big bear hug for such a memorable lifetime experience. Thank you so much. We would love to return!

# 381655 Waipio, Hamakua Coast, Big Island, Hawaii, USA, 5 BR, 4 BA, HOUSE

Oceanfront, Magical, Breathtaking

Awesome view from the dining table on the lanai.

Awesome view from the dining table on the lanai.

09/06/2014 - The sun was setting on Waipio Bay in a hundred different shades of pink and purple. Tree frogs were singing to one another all around us as a cool breeze blew through the house from a multitude of screened windows and doors as the VRBO Bear and his family arrived at our vacation rental Hale Io. The house was filled with traditional Hawaiian music.

Of course, since we are a family of bears, we immediately had to check out the beds! We roved excitedly all around the house and found that every room has a queen bed or bigger, each with plump pillows and a gorgeous view to wake up to. This house sleeps 10 in comfort and splendor. You have no idea how stunned you will be when you wake up in the middle of the night and see thousands of stars twinkling in the night sky!

We found the kitchen amply stocked with high quality pots, pans, utensils, dishes and knives. The pantry was stuffed with spices and the big butcher block counter invited us to make meals there. As a bonus, the grounds will provide (when in season) fresh guava, lilikoi, coconut, and grapefruit to add local flavor to your meals. But if you’re not the cook-it-yourself type, no worries! Honokaa is a 10-minute drive away and offers some great little restaurants. Whether it’s the peaceful lanai and organic ingredients at Green Market and Café or karaoke by talented locals at The Landing, the town has a little something for everyone.

The house sits on sprawling grounds with amazing views of the Waipio Bay, the black sand beach at the foot of the Waipio Valley, and Maui in the distance. Since bears are nature lovers, we hiked down to the Waipio Valley and spent a gorgeous morning on the beach. You can enjoy sitting on the beach listening to the surf, or you can go clambering over rocks to secluded overlooks. If you’re not a strong enough swimmer to brave the complex current where the river meets the ocean, you can just soak in the cool river a little upstream. It looks swifter than it is, and I can attest that sitting up to your neck in the cool river water and laying your head back on the sand is absolute bliss. The hike back to the top was tough, but there are paid shuttle vans that do the round-trip down and up from a little art gallery near Hale Io.

Hale Io genuinely feels like a home, with art on the walls and good books on the shelves and everything you could possibly need in the kitchen. The house has books and board games, a comfy pune’ to nap on, a luxurious pool and a hot tub to soak in. There are towels to take with you to the beach, bocce balls and beanbag toss games to play in the back yard, a waterslide, and outdoor showers.

Honokaa town has everything you need - a supermarket, a farmer’s market, a butcher shop, a friendly pharmacy, and a handful each of bars, restaurants and shops. We were impressed with how friendly everyone in town is, and how they all know each other by name. This town is the true essence of Aloha. It’s an hour or less to Hilo, Akaka Falls, or Kona! The Big Island is not that big, really, so Hale Io is just far enough away that you’re not living in the tourist mainstream bustle, but close enough that you can still easily get to all the sights and activities.

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