Review: Outsite Hawaii Co-Living & Co-Working Space

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from having a remote job for the last five years, it’s that working from home is both a blessing and a curse.

Getting to sit around in my pajamas all day with a commute that’s never longer than from my bedroom to my desk: blessed.

Realizing you haven’t left the house or spoken to another human being in over three days: cursed.

There’s no denying a remote job has far more pros than cons — the ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection is just plain unbeatable. However, when you don’t take advantage of that mobility, it can get pretty lonely.

Which is why co-living and co-working spaces like Outsite are a total gift.

I first found out about Outsite while researching co-living spaces in warm climates. I’m from the New Jersey, and usually around February of each year, after a couple of inevitable snowstorms and days with temperature in the single digits, I start going a little stir-crazy.

I had no idea there were so many options for remote workers all over the world, but Outsite’s locations caught my eye because they had many that were relatively close to home — meaning cheaper flights.

After spending some time choosing between Costa Rica and Hawaii (tough life, I know), I ultimately decided on and booked a 15-night stay at Outsite Hawaii.

Not only have I spent just about my entire life wanting to go to Hawaii, it was a tropical location that didn’t require fluency in another language. Despite my best attempts at learning Spanish (thanks, Duolingo!), I simply felt more comfortable taking a solo trip to Hawaii.

Located in the quiet town of Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu, home to some of the best surf in the world, Outsite Hawaii seemed like it was in a great location. While Oahu is one of the more touristy islands of Hawaii, the North Shore seemed a little more removed from the busyness of Honolulu.

After doing some research on Outsite Hawaii, I admittedly got a little nervous. There weren’t many posts about the Hawaii location on Outsite’s Instagram compared to many of the California and international locations. The lack of apparent popularity of the Hawaii location (at least online) made me feel like I’d be the only one at the house!

Finally, a few weeks before my trip, Outsite shared a photo from a digital nomad who stayed at their Hawaii location. I messaged her to ask about her experience, and she assured me that the house was, in fact, full of people (which I found to be true for myself when I finally arrived). She also suggested I rent a car — which wasn’t part of my original plan, but possibly the best advice I received prior to the trip.

A couple of days before my trip, I received an email from Outsite that provided information about which room I’d be staying in as well as how to get to and gain entry into the house. I kid you not, I read that email at least 30 times and still had trouble with both of those things.

The house is situated at the end of a long dirt road (the email claims the road is well-maintained, but I’m not sure my rental Kia Optima would agree). I think I turned into every driveway trying to find the right house before a kind soul who lived on the dirt road finally helped me out.

You see, along this dirt road is a gate adorned with a sign that reads “No Trespassing.” The email does say there’s a gate, but for some reason, I did not think that this was the gate.

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After getting confirmation from the neighbor that I could go past the gate, I then had to “unlock” the bike lock holding the gate shut. The nice neighbor helped me with that also — you’ll see what I mean when you get there.

The next step was actually getting into the house itself. The Outsite Hawaii house uses the August app for entry on two doors of the house, which is typically convenient. My room was on the third floor so I walked up the outside stairs to the top deck and tried to open the door. Unfortunately that lock was broken (and apparently had been for a while). Luckily, the housemates were inside and helped me in.

Pros of Outsite Hawaii

Workspace

I wanted to get out of the awful, snowy, cold Northeast and immerse myself in the warmth elsewhere in the world, and Outsite Hawaii’s workspace let me do just that. The workspace at the house is actually a screened-in area underneath the house (which is raised because it sits in a flood zone).

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I also spent some time working on the porch upstairs.

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Speaking of the workspace, it was super easy to get work done at the house. Many of my housemates were early to bed and early to rise, and we’d all retreat to the workspace around the same time each morning. Conversation in the workspace ebbed and flowed, but everyone was respectful of one another’s work.

Room

I stayed in the Laniakea room, which was a private room with a shared bathroom. I had no issue with the shared bathroom, and never found myself needing to use it while someone else was in there. The room was great — comfortable bed and huge closet (not many hangers in it, though). What more could you need?

Kitchen

The kitchen at Outsite Hawaii was big and pretty well-equipped. There were actually two kitchens, one upstairs and one downstairs, but everyone used the upstairs kitchen as the one downstairs didn’t have any supplies in it. I never had trouble finding space in the refrigerator and everyone was respectful of each other’s food.

House Manager

I only had the chance to spend time with Outsite Hawaii’s house manager, Trini, for a couple of days before left Hawaii to visit family, but she left a great impression! She was friendly and down-to-earth, and most importantly, quick to respond to messages. She also organized a free morning pilates class for the house before leaving.

Cons of Outsite Hawaii

Location

As far as location goes, I don’t want to say the Outsite Hawaii house was in a bad location — it just wasn’t great. It was a little bit out of the way from town, in an awkward spot where driving to town was kind of unnecessary but walking was too far. Luckily there were a few bikes available, but I did find myself driving to town more often than not.

Like I said earlier, I’m so happy I reached out to the girl who recommended getting a rental car. There is so much to see on Oahu (even if you just stay on the North Shore) and for all of the things I did, the cost of the rental car came out to be much less in both price and convenience than I would’ve spent Ubering around everywhere.

The Gate

You guys I cannot stress enough how annoying this gate was. You have to open and close it every trip away from the house, which means constantly hopping in and out of the car (first-world problems, but problems nonetheless). Let me remind you that the house is off of a dirt road that gets muddy in the rain, so I constantly had mud caked on my feet and legs. I’m still finding dirt under my toenails.

Locks on the House

This may not be Outsite’s fault as much as it is August’s fault, however I’m including it here because it was frustrating. The lock only worked on one door, but was constantly getting jammed. I only used the actual doors a few times — the rest of the time I used a sliding door on the balcony. While it may be the August locks that were broken, Outsite should take the initiative to replace them.

Roosters

Okay, so no one told me Oahu has a ton of wild chickens roaming around everywhere? At first I thought a neighbor had a coop and let his chickens roam around during the day, but nope! They’re wild chickens. I’ll admit it was pretty entertaining to watch them around the yard during the day, but they would crow at all hours of the day and night — so if you stay here, I hope you don’t like sleeping in!

My stay at Outsite played a big part in how incredible my trip to Hawaii was in general. The atmosphere of the house was amazing — I immediately felt comfortable with everyone, we all got along really well, and it honestly felt like we were roommates who’d known each other forever. There were times people went off to do their own things, but someone was usually down to hang out for lunch, a hike, the beach, etc. (and the WhatsApp group chat made it easy to coordinate).

This was my first stay at a co-living / co-working space but I can promise you it won’t be my last, and I look forward to staying at more of the Outsite locations whenever I can — in fact, I tried to extend my stay this time, but couldn’t get the flights to work out.

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