Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
Travel Blogs from Kohala Coast
October, 1998. Hawaii? Larry and I went to the "Big" island of Hawaii. We stayed at the fabulous Mauna Lani Hotel.
How has this resort rated in the past?
- Shuttle bus service
- Free High-Speed Internet
- Swimming pool
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TravelPod Member ReviewsMauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows Kohala Coast
This was a beautiful resort hotel with great views.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows Kohala Coast
I would return to Mauna Lani
The room was clean and we enjoyed the private lanai that looked out over the gardens and the ocean. The staff at the front desk are so-so but the staff in the restaurants and at the bell-hop were extremely nice and helpful. The golf course is nice and the staff there is also helpful but don't make the mistake that we made and think that you can eat breakfast out there if you have an early tee time. The restaurant at the golf course doesn't open until lunch. The breakfast and dinner at The Bay Terrace was excellent. Snorkeling at the beach right in front of the resort was ok. If you want to snorkle I'd recommend you go further down toward the golf course as the water looked clearer over there. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would consider staying there again.
All of the superlatives you've read are true, but in the interest of constructive criticism I'll add some aspects that could have been improved upon. First, several of the front desk staff were insufficiently trained for this caliber hotel. We asked one day for the location of a medical clinic for a non-emergency urgent problem. The man at the desk looked completely befuddled, and rather than ask for the information from a more experienced employee he typed on the computer for a few minutes and gave us the numbers of three hospital emergency rooms on the island. Fortunately our room phone book had numbers for appropriate urgent care clinics. At check-in we received a coupon for two complimentary tropical drinks at the hotel which could only be redeemed by completing an online survey at a computer in the lobby. The computer was down when we tried to complete the survey, and we were bascially told by the front desk clerk that we were out of luck. It just added unnecessary aggravation. Finally, the midday and evening dining options are rather limited if you're not fond of sushi.
The non-sushi selection is heavy on french fries and pizza with little fresh fruit. Everything else was superb. Be sure to go on the fish feeding tour. Also be sure to see the manta rays gliding nightly under the spotlight at the Mauna Kea resort just a few miles north.
Understated elegance & character
My wife and I stayed here for our anniversary a few years ago and have made it a tradition since. From the loungeful check-in, to our magnificent room trimmed in Koa, to the service we received, our stay was splendid. We received leis every day that we were there and fresh fruit upon arrival. I definitely recommend the Canoe House restaurant - their Sashimi is among the best! The combination of Japanese and Hawaiian ambiance is far more compelling than hotels such as the stuffier Orchid or massive Hilton. The green grounds show brilliant contrast to the surrounding lava and their consideration and integration of ancient Hawaiian fishponds makes for a wonderful walk as well. Mauna Lani is a beautifully scaled hotel with complete ammenities and a staff that truly cared about our comfort. We've had the opportunity to stay at a number of hotels in Hawaii and the Mauna Lani surpasses all of them.
I absolutely agree with what the other users have said. We stayed at Mauna Lani June 7-June 14, 2003 and never found a single thing wrong.
If I could give this place more than 5 stars I would. We got the breakfast buffet at the Bay Terrace with our package and it was unbelievable - waffles & omelets made to order. The waffles are especially good with the coconut syrup and macadamia nuts!
The hotel offered a nightly hula dancer and music - real musicians and hula dancers, it was not a syrupy touristy show. There are a lot of other free activities offered daily that we took advantage of - the historic tour, the fish-feeding tour, the lei making were just a few.
We found out where the best snorkeling on the resort was - it was nearly as good as the snorkeling at the "Place of Refuge", reportedly some of the best on the island. Our ocean front view was spectacular - we saw the sun set nearly every night from our lanais. The last night we watched the sunset from a hammock on the beach.
The room was spotless - they cleaned every morning, came back in the early afternoon to fill the ice bucket and came in the evening to refill the ice bucket, replace the used towels, take off the comforter, turn down the sheets and leave a mint and an orchid on our pillows. The bed was incredibly comfortable. The lanais was huge.
We've already made plans to go back for our 5th year anniversary. That is, if we can wait that long!
Stayed here for five nights in June 2003. Fantastic hotel, fantastic golf course. I stay at all 4/5 star resorts - I am picky and critical. I have nothing to complain about at this hotel. There is nothing I would have changed.
Based on TripAdvisor reviews I had researched here, my husband and I were enthusiastic and eager to visit the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. We were not disappointed. This beautiful hotel exceeded our expectations.We just returned from a week's stay, which passed much too fast. From the moment we arrived on the property, we felt special - greeted with smiling faces, fresh flower lei, ushered to a desk and chairs, and served an orange-passion fruit cocktail while registration takes place. Our room was extremely nice, beautiful balcony view, and a ice bucket always filled with ice. The large plush towels ever plentiful in room and pool/beach areas. You will have a robe and slippers waiting for you in the closet, wonderful amenities from their spa filled a basket at the lady's bathroom vanity (his and her sinks), and an in-room safe. The housekeeping staff is wonderful. My husband just loved the bed. The hotel's mattress and pillows were very nice. Most hotel beds are so uncomfortble. Don't know if this was the exception, but my husband wanted to take it home. The property has a lot of history (take the historical tour). The property is not too big, it's beautiful, restful, and elegant without being snooty. There is plenty to do on the property, if you prefer to not venture out. We have stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa down the road in the past, and the Mauna Lani Bay is in a class by itself! Can you guess, we loved it!
The Emperor's Palace
I'm leaving 5/02/03, for the 3rd time. This place exudes CLASS. Service 1st class; accomodations, and dining, ditto. Each guest is made to feel very special. The most beautiful, relaxing, place on Hawaii. Forget Princeville; if you want to be pampered, don't wait another second. From the moment you land at Kona airport, you realize what a great choice you made. My review title, says it all. This place is not for kids. It's tranquil, beautiful, and above all, relaxing. 5 star all the way!
Unforgettable spectacular fabulous ... pick an adjective
The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows is-- hands down--the nicest hotel I've ever been to.
I knew I was in for something different when the check-in was conducted sitting at a desk sipping a fruit cocktail instead of standing at a counter.
It also was special because of the beautiful view from the room; the "best coffee ever," according to one of my companions; the hammocks hanging between palm trees at the beach; the huge and colorful fish in the lobby; the snorkeling at the beach; and the mint on the pillow.
If you get the chance, go there.
The Mauna Lani is absolutely the best resort I've ever been to, and that's saying something. I took my family there in June 2001. We were greeted with leis at the spectacular entrance, which is framed on both sides by koi ponds filled with colorful fish. The lobby is spectacular -- open on three sides to the ocean, the pool and the gardens. Once inside, a hostess whisks you to a private desk (one of many spread out in the luxurious lobby) for registration -- no standing in line at the front desk at this resort!
Check in was a breeze. The hostess served us fresh orange/pineapple juice as she registered us in the computer. Our kids (ages 12, 10 and 8) lounged on the large rattan chairs and couches while we checked in. The air was filled with the sounds of soothing Hawaiian music being played live at the bottom of the main stairs.
Once check in was completed, we walked through the soaring atrium toward our room. You have to see it to believe it. The atrium is like a tropical garden, filled with orchids and coconut palm trees. The smell is heavenly. There is a huge stream/pond that runs the throughout, filled with fish and a couple of black-tipped sharks. One the one side, the view is open to the pool and garden, and on the other, the ocean is in sight.
The rooms are large and very comfortable. We did the "family plan," which means that we got two rooms for the price of one. This is the best deal anywhere in the Islands -- and I looked for deals everywhere. The rooms have wooden shutter-like doors, large beds with luxurious coverings, a sitting area, and a sliding glass door out to a good-sized lanai. We had "garden view" rooms, much cheaper than ocean view, but believe me, we had a great (if a little distant) view of the ocean nonetheless. In fact, I scouted around and it looked like 85% of the rooms had an ocean view.
The service was impeccable. We asked to have the mini bar emptied so that we could use the refrigerator, and in three minutes it was done. (At the Sheraton on Maui, we had to ask for two days for this and they charged us $10 bucks per night for the "use" of the refrigerator.) Unlike other resorts in the Islands, the Mauna Lani doesn't nickle and dime you to death. There's free Kona coffee in the lobby in the morning ($3 per cup at the Sheraton Maui), free use of the snorkeling and beach equipment, and free use of the fitness center. The fitness center, by the way, is terrific. They have all the equipment you could want and it's a lovely walk through the petroglyph trail to get there.
The Mauna Lani has two man-made beaches. There were fabulous! There are hammocks spread between cocunut palms all along the beach, providing shade a relaxation. A server from the poolside restaurant/bar constantly patrols the beach taking orders. The mai tais are the absolute best I've ever had. My three sons raved about the virgin pina coladas. The pool was also very nice and never crowded.
The canoe house restaurant is right on the beach. It's an open-air style restaurant and Hawaiian music wafts through the air. We always requested one of the tables outside, which are within 30 yards of the ocean. The sunsets over the water were breathtaking. The meals we had there were the best we had on any of the three islands we visited (Maui, Lanai, and the Big Island).
In addition to the two beaches right at the resort, there is another beach (called the "beach club") about a quarter-mile down the coast. You walk there on a path that goes through the fishponds. The snorkeling at the beach club is terrific. We spent several hours there every afternoon. It's used by guests at the resort as well as people staying at the adjacent Mauna Lani villas, but it was never crowded. The entire bay in front of the beach is one big reef, filled with colorful fish. The water was calm and shallow.
The best part of the resort is that it never feels crowded. I was told that the resort was fully booked, but I have no idea where all the people were. We were frequently the only people at the swimming pool and we never waited for a table at any of the restaurants. My wife was able to get an appointment for a haircut at the salon the same day she called. Try that at one of the pricey resorts on Maui!
I would recommend the Mauna Lani to anybody who wants secluded luxury that never feels stuffy or pretentious. It's paradise on earth!
Mauna Lani Hotel
The Mauna Lani is one of the top resorts in Hawaii, if not the world. At the same time it is not pretentious or overly fancy. We travelled with 2 children, ages 10 & 12, in August, 2001. We had 2 connecting rooms, one with a king bed & the kids room with 2 doubles. This worked perfectly. Each room had a balcony, small refrigerator, TV, was spacious, and was very nicely decorated. I do not think anyone would be disappointed in the rooms. But the main attraction is outside. There is a very large pool. There are 2 beaches. The beach closest to the main hotel had plenty of covered chaise lounges and palm trees for shade, and the water was clear and calm like a bath-tub. The kids were thrilled with the many sea turtles that came up to the shallow water and allowed themselves to be touched as they passed through. The hotel maintains a turtle pond where turtles are raised and released. The 2d beach is a short walk from the main hotel, and has excellent snorkeling. There is a SCUBA operation on-site, which takes you to close reefs for shallow but interesting dives. Hard core divers will probably want to dive with other operators. The are many other amenities, including 2 golf courses, tennis courts, and a spa. The open-air lobby area is magnificent. The staff was extremely accommodating to every request. There was a never ending supply of beach & pool towels.