Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection

A stellar makeover to a stunning island getaway

Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection is a resort for those who crave an out-of-the-ordinary tropical getaway.

The youngest of the Hawaiian Islands, the Big Island, Mauna Lani’s home, has a different vibe than its older siblings. While its beaches are rockier, often filled with bits of black lava sand, the Big Island is like no other place on earth. The only destination to offer 10 of the world’s 14 different climate zones, terrain varies from desert to rainforest to periglacial, all within the island’s 4,000 square miles.

Yet, despite its size, the island remains much less developed than the state’s other resort destinations. The Kohala Coast, which stretches for about 30 miles along the dry and sunny western shore, offers few luxury resorts. While Mauna Lani has been around for more than three decades, it finally joins the group thanks to an extensive makeover from luxury brand Auberge.

After being closed for a 15-month renovation, the property reopened in January 2020 with an outstanding redesign overseen by Auberge chief creative officer Kemper Hyers and design boutique Meyer Davis, which incorporated traditional Hawaiian cultural elements into the modern design, complementing the original 1983 structure. The $200 million makeover presents new rooms, three pools, a spa and fitness center, a kids club and a cultural center all along a stunning oceanfront setting.
Our Inspector's Highlights

  • Because of the island’s rugged coastline, beaches don’t always provide an expansive amount of swimming area, and few hotels have rooms directly on the beach. Thankfully, Mauna Lani is one of them.
  • Meyer Davis reinvented contemporary Hawaiian décor with modern floral motifs and koa wood furniture, all the while seamlessly integrating the hotel into the outdoors. This is most notable with the removal of the hotel’s front door.
  • Traditional Hawaiian culture is thoughtfully incorporated into the luxury hotel, from the design’s many nods to canoe lashing (including the rope elements in the wood screens, the lanterns and chair backs) to Danny Akaka, the resort’s kahu hānai (knowledge keeper), who tells tales of the island’s mythology along with his own stories of growing up there.
  • Whether it’s snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, outrigger canoe excursions, surfing lessons, underwater rock running or floating yoga, there’s almost nothing the onsite activities crew can’t help you organize.
  • The hotel offers two 18-hole golf courses designed by Homer Flint, Raymond Cain and Robin Nelson. The South Course was built on a 16th-century lava flow and meanders through rugged a‘a lava. The North Course spans rolling fairways through kiawe forest (you might even spot a wild goat).

Things to Know

  • Some Hawaiian hotels are known for their impossible-to-reserve pool lounge chairs — that is not a worry here. The egalitarian setup across both the adult pool and main pool assures that every guest has a comfortable spot in the sun.
  • The Big Island hotel is within walking distance of The Shops at Mauni Lani, which includes a handful of galleries, stores and restaurants.
  • Where many hotels subscribe to a basic breakfast buffet, Mauni Lani restaurants such as HāLani and Hā Bar complement those spreads with made-to-order morning items that incorporate Hawaiian ingredients in creative ways. Don’t miss locally inspired dishes like the Hamakua loco moco (mushroom-blended hamburger steak, fried egg, basil fried rice, mushroom gravy, chicken-friend oyster and pea shoot salad).
  • Local artists Herman Piikea Clark and Sue Pearson created custom wall murals at the Talk Story lounge areas, which were painted by Kamea Hadar.
  • If you are planning a private event, reserve the Francis H. I‘i Brown Room. The one-bedroom suite was made for entertaining with a spacious living room, full kitchen and a vast furnished lanai offering a fire pit and some of the best views in the hotel.

The Rooms

  • The hotel offers 334 rooms in 14 different room categories, allowing a range of configurations for your travel needs.
  • Even the standard 640-square-foot choices provide impressive accommodations with quaint sitting areas and patios large enough for lounging.
  • Rooms have a modern tropical look, with natural fabrics and hardwoods; a palette of white and tan with muted green accents (like palm-patterned pillows); and a headboard made of twisted rope.
  • The five 4,000-square-foot bungalows (three of which are directly on the beach) are an incomparable offering. Each boasts two master suites, a large living area, a pool and spa, a private entrance and butler’s kitchen (butler included).

Nearby Attractions

  • A helicopter tour is a must on the Big Island. There’s no better way to see the diversity in terrain than from above, especially when the lava is flowing from Mt. Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
  • It’s worth a half-day trip to the Pololu Valley, just past the town of Hawi, to see the black sand beach. Park at the top and hike down (it’s surprisingly doable in flip-flops) the 500 feet to the uninhabited waterfront. Bring a picnic and a towel and spend an afternoon feeling like you’re a world away.
  • Local ice cream purveyor Tropical Dreams has been around for more than 25 years. Stop into the shop in Waimea, which sells fresh scoops (look for flavors like Kona coffee and macadamia nut) from the factory.

24-hour room service
Babysitting services
Fitness classes
House car
Meeting rooms
Outdoor pool
Pet friendly
Getting There
68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive, Waimea, Hawaii 96743
KOA (30 min)   ITO (1 h 25 min )  
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