Review: Mauna Lani Hawaii

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Our Mauna Lani Hawaii 2021 Review is from our recent site inspection stay, which included four Big Island luxury resorts and two Maui luxury resorts. The Mauna Lani, which joined the Auberge Collection in 2018, underwent a $200 million renovation during 2019 before reopening in January 2020: just in time to welcome a few guests before shutting down due to COVID-19. After Hawaii Safe Travels enabled trans-Pacific visitors to take pre-travel tests to avoid quarantine, Mauna Lani reopened in November 2020, and by the time of our April 2021 visit, it was welcoming many spring break and Easter guests.

Day Bed Swings Near Mauna Lani Lobby Entrance
Day Bed Swings Near Mauna Lani Lobby Entrance

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Mauna Lani Hawaii Location and Check-In

The Mauna Lani Resort is located on the Big Island of Hawaii, about a 30 minute drive from Kona Airport (KOA). We arrived in the early evening, just after sunset, tired after our United Polaris EWR-HNL flight, layover in Honolulu, and Southwest HNL-KOA flight. Fortunately there was no line at the front desk, and we were swiftly checked in, especially when we mentioned that we were running a few minutes late for our dinner at CanoeHouse.

Front Desk, Mauna Lani Resort, Hawaii

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Room keys at the Mauna Lani aren't card keys; they're similar to the waterproof wristband keys used at Four Seasons Lanai.

Mauna Lani Room Key Wristband

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TravelSort Clients enjoy these Virtuoso benefits at the Mauna Lani:

  • One Category Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (upgrade is from room to room or suite to suite, upgrade does not apply to specialty one of a kind suites or bungalows)
  • Daily Breakfast Credit for up to two guests per bedroom (value of $80 per bedroom, per day) in HaLani Restaurant
  • $100 USD Resort Credit for Dining, Spa or Golf per stay to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi already included in the resort fee

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Mauna Lani Oceanfront Suite

We were in an Oceanfront Suite on the 5th floor, a corner unit that was created during the renovation by combining two rooms.

Mauna Lani Resort 5th Floor Map

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Oceanfront One Bedroom Suites are 1140 sq. ft., with a master bedroom and a sofa bed in the living area.

Mauna Lani Oceanfront One Bedroom Suite: Master Bedroom
Mauna Lani Oceanfront One Bedroom Suite: Sofabed in Living Room

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Since the suite is created from two rooms, it has two full bathrooms. The bathroom off of the living room, similar to the Mauna Lani's other rooms, has double sinks, a separate toilet chamber, and a rain shower, but no bathtub (see our Mauna Lani YouTube video).

The Master bedroom has a very spacious bathroom, also with double sinks, toilet chamber and rain shower, but with the addition of a giant soaking tub.

Mauna Lani Oceanfront Suite Bathroom
Mauna Lani Oceanfront One Bedroom Suite Bathroom, Double Sinks
Mauna Lani Oceanfront One Bedroom Suite: Rain Shower

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In the morning, we were able to appreciate the beautiful ocean view from both of the balconies (since the bedroom and the living room each have a balcony).

View from Mauna Lani Oceanfront One Bedroom Suite
Mauna Lani Oceanfront One Bedroom Suite Loungers on Lanai

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Here's our Mauna Lani YouTube Video Review:

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Mauna Lani Resort Pools

The resort's main swimming pool is in the heart of the resort, close to the lobby, between HaLani Restaurant and the ocean.

Mauna Lani Resort Main Swimming Pool

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There's also an adults-only pool and jacuzzi set further back, to the left of HaLani Restaurant if you're facing the ocean.

Mauna Lani Resort Adults Only Pool

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Mauna Lani Tennis

In addition to golf, Mauna Lani offers a strong tennis program, with six championship hard courts and daily adult tennis clinics. It was no problem for my 13-year old to join a 2-3pm adult clinic, which had just two other players plus the coach.

Tennis Court

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Mauna Lani Dining: CanoeHouse and HaLani

See our Mauna Lani Dining Review: CanoeHouse, HaLani Restaurants.

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The Verdict

We enjoyed our brief stay at the renovated Mauna Lani resort. The spacious Oceanfront Suite we were in was a plus, especially the fact that it has two lanais and full bathrooms, thanks to it being created from two hotel rooms. Other highlights were our excellent dinner at CanoeHouse, with great food and service; an enjoyable canoe paddle/snorkeling session with Kainalu Sports; my son's tennis clinic with just two other participants and the coach; superb lilikoi sorbet from the Market; and seeing the turtles in the saltwater pond. There were a few areas for improvement, however. The bed had the firmest mattress of our trip and was the least comfortable, at least to us (although those who love firm beds will love it). If we'd been staying longer, I'd have requested a pillowtop mattress pad or something to make the mattress more comfortable. Breakfast at HaLani took too long (including the 15 minutes we waited to be seated) and was very average. The cappuccino was plain awful–we should have stuck with the Nespresso machine in our room. The regular Concierge team was very responsive, but the Kainalu Sports Team never did respond to my email, although the actual paddling session, once I managed to organize it, was fun.

If you've stayed at Mauna Lani resort post-renovation, what was your experience like?

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