Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection
What We Love
- The location right on the beach
- Hawaiian-inspired spa treatments using red sea salt and black volcanic clay
- Two golf courses offer different challenges but equally stunning views
What To Know
- About a 30-minute drive from the Kona airport
- Within walking distance of the Shops at Mauna Lani (or a quick bike ride using the hotel’s free bicycles)
- Pool is small
- The property accommodates children 5 to 12 with daylong activities as part of the children’s program (for a fee), and kids 17 and under stay free when using existing bedding
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Big resort perks with a small resort heart, including two golf courses, a turtle sanctuary, and a Hawaiian-inspired spa
With 341 rooms, the Mauna Lani (part of the Auberge Resorts Collection) is a full-service beach resort that manages to retain an independent spirit. You’re as likely to see locals staying here as A-listers from the mainland. The six-story building, shaped like an arrowhead to maximize the number of rooms facing the ocean, has a retro-modern feel, mixing islandy textures such as rattan and wicker with a sunset-hued color scheme.
Bed & Bath
Open, airy rooms start at 500 square feet, with a white and sand palette punctuated by mosaic-print pillows and rugs reminiscent of turtle shells (a nod to the on-site sea turtle sanctuary, perhaps). There are no sprawling spa bathrooms, no Zen-inspired teak-paneled walls here, but the simplicity allows you to focus on the views of Mauna Kea, the lush tropical gardens, the tranquil fish ponds or the turquoise ocean visible from louvred doors that slide open onto each room’s private balcony or porch. Bathrooms can be on the small side, but they make good use of space with shower-tub combos.
Just a few steps away, the beach is the resort’s focal point, with hammocks, cabanas and chairs aplenty. It’s a little rocky, though, so some guests prefer the serene pool. Feed the sea turtles in their sanctuary pond, play tennis, swing through two golf courses, hit the beach volleyball court or learn how to hula or make leis. Then unwind at the spa, where small paths lead to a meditation garden, watsu water massage pool and lava rock saunas. At night the open-air Canoe House restaurant, lit by tiki torches, is a great place to drink a little too much wine, eat a little too much fresh grilled mahi mahi and top it all off with a little bit too much dessert (banana brown butter tart, to be exact).
How to Get There
After having stayed at the Muana Lani Beach Hotel and Resort for several years, Auberge Resorts bought this property about 18 months ago and closed the property for remodeling. It is not yet open for visitors. It is scheduled to reopen November or December of 2019. The ratings shown are from the old hotel. I can say that the prices that are advertised on the Auberge Collection website are significantly higher than the old hotel (almost double in some cases) and seem to offer less (e.g., the old hotel charged a $25/day resort fee which got you valet parking, free upgraded wifi,a beach chaise lounge with cover, and use of snorkel equipment.) I'm think Auberge will not be that generous, because their website is not explicit enough to tell exactly what's going on (e.g. they offer packages with resort credit but don't tell you what costs for items are, so $100/day could easily be burned by a chaise lounge.) II would wait until after the new year to trust any reviews you might see for this property.
We’ve gone to Mauna Lani for 12 years. Our kids have the fondest memories of this place. Just reviewed the post-remodel pricing for summer 2020. At $999/night per room ( the previously-named Ocean View rooms, it would seem ) I suspect they’ll lose the types of families that once loved this resort. It’s what we all feared, that the classic elements of this resort would be forever changed, as would the type of people who come here. I’m sure the remodel looks great and that all the updates are top-notch. But the corporate-hotelier-driven pricing will forever change this place. In truth I knew this was coming when I saw that Auberge had photographed professional models strolling the beach to add to their Instagram feed suggesting a new clientele is expected. A historic property got a great update but kind of sad that those who have spent many years coming here are likely priced out. Change happens, I suppose. Sad, though.
Three night stay in mid 2018.
The good: nice room, good view of beach / ocean. Air conditioning was very functional, and staff were helpful and pleasant on arrival. This is a 'nice' place, and the architecture and landscaping reflect it. The common areas outside of the lobby show some wear, but nothing too egregious.
We like to explore, and self parking was not an issue as it can be at some resorts.
Unfortunately there were many issues during our stay, and some really compromised our visit.
The beach is a disappointment. There is a LOT of coral / rocks, to the point where any swimming beyond a "wade in, wade out" is asking for trouble. Sadly, there has also been a massive bleaching event and the coral near the hotel is almost entirely dead. Given that one is paying 'beachfront' rates, it's hard to justify them with such limitations.
The other major disappointment was with hotel security. A family returned to the hotel one night, and began partying very loudly in the pool area at 9:30 p.m.; there was lots of yelling, and they seemed drunk. As the pool area is faced by most rooms, and the party extended well past the stated 10pm close of the area, many guests began to call the front desk and ask security to address the situation.
How would I know people were calling? Because you could hear them, as they all started to migrate onto their lanais and angrily demand that the family be quiet. The family responded with insults and the atmosphere was ugly. I actually thought one couple in a room a few lanais away was going to go down and get into it with them.
This should never have happened, and the Mauna Lani's 'security' staff seemed cowed and frightened by a bunch of drunk tourists. They were utterly ineffective; given the property's bearing and advertised level of excellence, it was inexcusable.
I would add that I found the interior of the hotel dreary, but some folks love to see sea turtles in a shopping mall environment, I guess.
My overall impression was that this is a property with a great location that has seen better days, and suffers from poor management.
*** I do wish to note that the rest of the development (e.g., the condos, beach at the south end, etc.) seems lovely, and the staff are super nice. Just cannot recommend this hotel.