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
We stayed for 5 wonderful nights in this beautiful resort. We had a partial ocean view on the 4th floor. It was perfect in every way. The staff was fabulous and so helpful. We ate at the clubhouse on night and the food was great. The beach is so pretty and there were plenty of shaded cabanas that are FREE to use. We love to snorkel and we found the snorkel right in front of the resort to be good. Snorkel gear included in your resort fee as well as valet parking and bottled water.
Snorkeling included lots of yellow tangs, trigger fish, butterfly fish, etc. We did see a few turtles as well. Nice shallow beach easy to get in and out of. As you swim out farther its still fairly shallow with more sharp rocks and coral. Its best to go out in the morning for calm water and more fish. it does get a bit rougher in the afternoon. The aqua center does recommend going down to the bay about a 10 minute walk for better snorkeling.
I recommend driving to the volcano side to check out the VNP once it opens back up.
It was still closed during our visit but we were able to take a helicopter ride. It took us 1 1/2 hours to drive from one side to the other. I wouldn't recommend the helicopter ride now while the volcano is erupting as they are limited on where they can go and we didn't see much - certainly not worth the $200/pp.
We also went to the Waipio Valley, Akaka Falls, and Rainbow Falls. If you like to snorkel we drove to Kahalu'u Beach Park which we thought was awesome. We saw huge schools of yellow tangs, lots of turtles and butterfly fish. There is NO shade on this beach and the sand is SUPER hot so wear water shoes. Rent chairs and umbrella's from Snorkel Bob's we did and kept them in our rental car so we had them when we visited other beaches.
We also wanted to go to a black sand beach so we went to Richardson Beach Park in Hilo area. It was very small beach but had black sand on the beach. This is a good option as I believe the other black sand beach is harder to get to.
We ran into a couple who said the best snorkeling they have ever done was at Capt Cook's Monument in Kona area. They said it was a long hike down but coming back up was worse in the humidity and heat. They were a very fit couple and said it was very challenging. There are excursions that will take you there. If we would have had time we would have done that.
My wife and I stayed at Mauna Lani for a week in May 2018 while we visited Hawaii. We were absolutely blown away by the place. After trudging our way through the crowds of Maui for a week, we were looking forward to a nice, relaxing stay on the Big Island to end our vacation. Our room faced the Canoehouse restaurant and had a slight view of the ocean. The room was perfectly clean, plenty spacious, and the amenities were more than enough for a laid back stay.
The staff was overly friendly, with everyone willing to help us with any questions we had. Breakfast was included and the wait staff in the hotel restaurant was wonderful. The food at the poolside bar was also fantastic - cooked right in front of you and just as good as any restaurant you could venture to. There was also plenty of staff to man the resort (which we didn't think would be something we'd consider, until our experience on Maui), and the place never seemed overly-crowded with people. It also was in a great location. Far enough from the east side of the island so that every day was warm and sunny, but still within a few hours drive of every major part of the island (and just thirty minutes from Kona). There was also a convenient little shopping center either a 5-10 min bike ride or a 15-20 min walk from the hotel, which included a grocery store that allowed us to keep our room well-stocked with drinks, snacks, and anything else we would need.
We did not use the golf course or the spa/fitness center during our stay, so we cannot comment on those amenities, other than that they exist and everyone around us seemed to be very satisfied with them.
We felt completely at home at Mauna Lani. Not only would we recommend it to everyone visiting Hawaii, but we surely would stay here again when we come back one day!
We booked to stay only 3 nights, we were upgraded to a partial ocean view with a massive room and huge balcony. A very nice surprise. The hotel is really well designed, a nice breeze blows through, it is open and spacious. We had room 408. The room was quiet, lovely comfy bed. Lifts were very slow. We were made aware that the hotel is due a major upgrade from October 18 taking over a year. Some observations, the hotel is a little dated, the rooms need a make over and the Wi-Fi was shockingly poor. The honour bar is "odd" still playing piano music at night, with a limited evening menu. The service on the beach was amazing one day and then dreadful the next! We opted for a quick breakfast from the honour bar (it was pre-made and under a heated lamp) OK but nothing special, I at least expected to be cooked fresh and then put into a takeaway box. There are lots of staff around. Not sure if focus is on corporate events, there was a large event going on, a loud disco one night. While I understand the hotel have to offer everything, they may need to consider the impact on guests once refurbished. The only place to eat on site at night (if you wanted to be casual) was the Honour Bar and we enjoyed the fried rice, but it lacked warmth and the staff spent along time chatting to each other. The cabanas on the beach are really nice and comfy, the beds by the pool not as comfy. The lei's were a really nice touch when we arrived. We liked the hotel and wished we could have stayed longer, there is room for improvement and I hope that they can keep the feel even after the refurbishment. We would go back. It is just not ticking 5 stars, work to be done and then it really would be something special, The grounds and ponds, trees and fish are all amazing.
We stayed over July 4th holiday, and were able to participate in the Turtle release ceremony. That was an terrific experience in and of itself. The property itself is beautiful. The beach is terrific, and provides opportunity for some great snorkeling right on the property. The grounds are very well maintained, with lovely fish ponds around the property. The evening torch lighting ceremony was another thing our boys enjoyed. The rooms were fairly basic (based on cost), and a bit dated. But the overall property was well maintained and provided a very enjoyable experience for mom, dad, and two young boys.
On the first day of our trip, we awoke to news of Mauna Lani's planned extensive renovation. Oh gosh, please don't Disney-fy this place. It's perfect the way it is: Welcoming, warm and laid-back, with service that never feels forced but always feels genuine. Breezes flowing through the open atrium bring the ocean air to you as soon as you check in (even it's late at night). Our oceanfront room was perfection: not too big, Not too small, with a luxurious bathroom and a fancy commode! The bed was divine and sliding screen doors meant we fell asleep to the waves and awoke to the bird calls. The pool was big and never crowded. The multiple hot tubs meant actual privacy! The staff at the beach made snorkeling easy and fun -- directing me to the nearby bay for better fish gazing.
The gym was big and well-appointment without being sterile. Oh, and that spa!!!!!! I had a massage outside by Robert and it was blissful and specific and exactly what I needed after running and then hiking Polulu Valley. Again, the staff at the gym and pool were friendly and attentive without being forced. We went for our 15th anniversary and were going to have to switch hotels for a couple of nights at the end when a tennis tournament (hey, John McEnroe!) had the place sold out. But my husband worked with the wonderful Pam, who worked her magic and found a way for us to stay our entire trip there. I can't wait to go back. Please don't add a lazy river or make this too kid-centric. It's charming and luxurious -- a rare blend.