Downtown living at Keola Lai

Yesterday, I stopped in to the open house of a two-bedroom, two-bath condo at Keola Lai in Kakaako. The 35th floor unit, which came on the market a week ago, has some of the best views I've seen in Honolulu. You can take in everything from Kewalo Basin and Honolulu Harbor to the Aloha Tower and Iolani Palace.

The current owners bought the 1,022-square-foot condo when the building was built in 2008. They opted for designer upgrades from the developer, and, before moving in, spent $100,000 in further custom renovations throughout the space. Click here for details.

“Every inch was designed to be aesthetically pleasing,” says realtor Leanne Kwock of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. The owners even switched the placement of the grate on the door to the central air conditioning unit, so it wasn’t at eye level.

One of the first things I noticed was a built-in waterfall feature across from the dining area. I can imagine relaxing at the table with a cup of tea, while listening to the soothing sounds.

If you don’t want to sit inside, near the waterfall, you can chill out on the 116-square-foot round lanai and enjoy the ocean views.

The kitchen features a Subzero fridge, cherry-wood cabinets and attractive granite countertops.

The owners, who are retiring to the Mainland, are including all of the furniture in the price, save for a few personal items, such as some of the artwork.

Just off of the living room is the second bedroom, which has been turned into a two-person office, appointed with African mahogany cabinetry. The condo has wireless Internet throughout, including the building’s common areas. If you want to turn the home office back into a bedroom, it won’t break the bank – about $2,500, says Kwock.

The master bedroom is bright and spacious, and has two closets, one of which is a large walk-in. The bathroom has been upgraded with a walk-in shower instead of the standard bathtub, and boasts his-and-hers sinks.

Fuzz factor: Pets are allowed, with no weight limit, so a large dog is OK. Another perk for pet owners: Peruvian travertine flooring throughout makes for easy cleaning.

The price includes two covered parking stalls, and there’s plenty of convenient guest parking directly across from the lobby. No need to drive around the block to enter the garage either; there are three entrances to choose from.

I poked my head into another open house for a pricier, three-bedroom unit on the other side of the building, and I have to say, the upgrades in this one really make a difference.

Amenities include a fitness center, a heated pool and whirlpool and a barbecue area. The building is on a quiet block, and you can easily walk to shopping and restaurants. Chinatown is about 15-minute walk away.

Money talk: $869,000 fee simple
Contact: Leanne Kwock, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, 808-542-0511,
MLS#: 1205437