Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows
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
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
With 341 rooms, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows 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
My wife and I just returned from spending 10 Wonderful nights at the absolutely beautiful resort. Our Ocean Front 4th floor room was spacious and very clean. Champagne and fresh fruit awaited our arrival. We did celebrate a 42nd anniversary while here. The ocean view was spectacular. A view of the Hualalai 8,271’ volcano was ever present. Off the beach was a clear view of Maui just 26 miles away. The ocean was user friendly and the old lava flow entry was great for snorkeling.
The resort had a wonderful open air outdoor seating morning breakfast buffet that was a very good valve when included as part of the room stay package. Limited menu lunch and dinner options however. There was onsite the Canoe restaurant that was clearly fine dining at a high end dining cost. We chose to travel off site within minutes to many dining options.
The staff were friendly and always willing to answer questions or assist our stay in any way possible.
It is well known they are closing October 1 for renovations until November 2019. We departed September 28th and was not affected by their pending closing. The resort has a beautiful atrium within with many ponds with soothing running water and mini waterfalls. A beautiful place. A tropical paradise that you hope for on a Hawaiian vacation.
I can only hope the new owners preserve the wonderful tropical resort atmosphere and create more dining choices throughout the resort. They lacked a open late bar and entertainment for the guests.
Anxious to return to the Newly Remodeled Resort.
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel is now closed (as of 1 Oct 2018) for 14 months. My wife an I spent a week there just before the closing. I'm looking forward to it re-opening, and hoping that the extensive renovations they have planned keep the great ambience of the hotel. Renovations to the facility really are needed. The glass staircase-waterfall is dated, and was - at the time we visited - in need of serious cleaning. I suspect it will be taken out and replaced, hopefully with another perhaps more natural-looking water feature. Sadly, I've heard that most of the interior pools will be removed. That's too bad - the trees, plants, and pools are a nice distinguishing feature of the Mauna Lani.
We stayed in a Deluxe Ocean Front Room (641) with an excellent view of the shore and Mauna Loa. We heard that they may break out a couple of walls and create some ocean front suites. That would be nice. Our room was comfortable, and included amenities like a safe & refrigerator. We appreciated the dual sinks in the bathroom.
The pool and beach facilities were very good. It's especially nice that there are lots of beach mini-cabanas (twin lounge chairs with a tent cover), and that they are open to guests without reservations or extra fees. You don't find that at a lot of the competing hotels. Beach equipment like masks, fins, and snorkels was available. Snorkeling was fair - pretty sandy and cloudy water until you got quite a way out. We heard that the snorkeling was better in the next little bay a short walk to the south.
Food was generally very good. The breakfast buffet was top-notch. We had the Sunday Crab Buffet dinner, which had a great variety to seafood. We had a couple of dinners at the poolside Bay Terrace, and they were very tasty.
Service everywhere was excellent, and a lot of the hotel employees had been there for a long time. If people are happy with their jobs and the hotel management is good to their employees, it really shows in the service you get as a guest. Let's hope that the current employees return to enjoyable jobs when the hotel re-opens.
We booked our stay in March and arrived on September 21st to find out that the hotel was closing down for renovations the day after we were to leave. This had a very noticeable and negative impact on our experience.
The facility was well kept though obviously not new. The employees were very nice though the service was often very slow. The food varied depending upon the venue: The Canoe House was very good but very expensive, the pool bar was very mediocre, the breakfast buffet (included in our room rate) was generally pretty good (the egg bar chefs were both very good, funny and helpful).
What is unbelievable to me is that prior to the end of our stay the facility was already being shutdown to prepare for the construction. The Honu bar was shut down the day after we arrived, the indoor fish ponds were emptied a few days after we arrived so we were subjected to the foul smell of the drying muck at the bottom of the ponds for 3 or 4 days and then, the final touch, the fish ponds in front of the breakfast area were drained with the fish still in them! We were subjected to a bunch of fish flapping around on the drying bottom of the pond while trying to eat our breakfast. Unbelievable.
For the price we paid we received very poor consideration by the hotel. The employees seemed to be doing their best to stay positive and we were well treated by everyone we interacted with but the fact that the management disregarded the impact of their work on the guest's experience was very disappointing. We will find another location to return to on our next stay.
I really can't find fault in this place at all. Our travel package included breakfast and I just wanted to say Binky our waitress was wonderful. What an amazing woman, she remembered our names and seemed interested in what we had planned during our stay there. She always had a smile on her face and seemed to care with everyone she interacted with.
The only fault I found was the thumping of wheels of carts and luggage in the tiled hallways.
Hopefully when they remodel they will address this
What a fantastic time we had at this resort due to the staff and their friendly approach. The location is perfect and you want for nothing. While this resort will close for 14 months to renovate, I would see this as a reason to make sure you stay here when it opens again. The daily snorkelling, (I swam with turtles and all kinds of fish) the day beds on the beach, the amazing food from the pool cafe, the golf course (although very expensive), and the fitness centre all ensures you want for nothing. A definite highlight of my time in Hawaii :)