Mauna Lani, an Auberge Resort: our best trip yet?
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In a nutshell: it is hard to find fault with this amazing 5-star resort. It will be my first choice for another Big Island stay.
Overview of the Mauna Lani, Auberge Resort
If you are looking for a luxury hotel that also embraces the laid back island vibe, the Mauna Lani resort is what you’ve been looking for. Located on the Kohala Coast, this hotel is a gem. With impeccable service, incredible design, and a kids camp that actually looks amazing, the Mauna Lani deserves a top spot on your hotel consideration list. There is something for nearly everyone at this beautiful resort.
Mauna Lani Key Facts:
Mauna Lani Auberge Location:
Located on the Kohala Coast, the resort is 28 miles or 40 minutes north of Kailua-Kona and 30 minutes north of the Kona Airport.
Mauna Lani Pool:
The main pool at the Mauna Lani is in the center of the resort, with a nice wood deck surrounded by deck chairs. There is a separate, but nearby hot tub, and a zero entry kids pool that our toddler really enjoyed. The adult pool is completely separate so those without kids can enjoy a little quiet time.
There are no waterslides or other fun features at this pool, but our kids didn’t seem to even notice.
Mauna Lani Auberge Review: why we love it
We try to scrutinize places we stay and we really do go into our stays with a healthy dose of skepticism. After staying for nearly a week at the Mauna Lani, it was very hard to find fault with the hotel. We loved it. And surveying the guests we met, it seemed everyone else loved it too. Here are some reasons why:
- Design: I can’t tell you how many people were walking around the hotel with their phones out getting pictures of the design inspiration. And we were one of them. You immediately feel transported to vacation mode and we were marveling over all the beautiful design details.
- The VIBE: I’m not sure how they do it, but the vibe at this resort is just perfect. Family friendly, fun, and romantic all at once. There were kids running around the lawns at dusk, couples strolling hand in hand. They have nailed the vibe and that just makes this resort stay even more special. I miss it.
- Kids Camp: there is a daily kids camp (for kids 5-12) that is included in the resort fee. The kids looked like they were having a blast going out and enjoying the activities all over the hotel grounds.
- Service: all five star resorts should have excellent service, but the service at the Mauna Lani seemed somehow even better. I can’t find any fault with any service we received.
- Beach: The beach isn’t the best beach on the island, but it’s pretty darn nice. It’s quiet, feels very private, and had a platform in the water for the kids to jump off of. While it was hard to leave the pool, the beach was fun.
Things to Know Before Booking the Mauna Lani
- Far from Kona: If you don’t plan on spending all your time within the resort (although you certainly can), it is a bit far from downtown Kailua-Kona. It is a 28 mile, 40 minute drive, which is certainly not a dealbreaker for most, but you will need a car. And because the resort is just so nice, it is difficult to leave.
- The food is fine: There aren’t a ton of restaurant options nearby the hotel, so you’ll probably eat a lot of meals there. We really enjoyed sitting at the HaBar in the evenings while the kids ran around the grass. But at all of the restaurants aside from Canoe House, the food was just ok for the price. We especially disliked the Surf Shack, where they charged $16 for a soggy make your own s’mores kit (especially since the Wailea Beach Resort on Maui offers these for free).
- Not a lot of resort activities: For the resort fee, we are used to there being a few more included daily activities. The resort has a lot of activities offered, but only around 25% of them are included in the daily rate. You’ll need to pay extra to go canoeing, snorkeling, do a fitness class, and more. And what’s even more awkward is they don’t specifically note which activities are included and which come at an additional (hefty) charge.
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