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“Nice hotel but a tired and dated property.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

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Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive, Puako, Island of Hawaii, HI 96743   |  
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4th Nite Free & Breakfast
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Puako
Winthrop, Massachusetts
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Nice hotel but a tired and dated property.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2013

As a couple, we try to take two extended trips a year for leisure during the summer and winter months, and explore new locations all over the world. We're pretty seasoned travelers but this was our first time to the big island of Hawaii (16 days during December). Having spent the first 10 days at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu, we may have been spoiled for our last 5 nights at the Mauna Lani Bay Resort.

RECEPTION:
The greeter was pleasant enough, and took us to a couch and table setup (a thoughtful touch for the weary traveler) to get us settled in, along with a cool towel, a glass of guava juice. She remarked that they offered bead necklaces instead of floral leis because of the 'high price' of the leis. She was not conversant on any of the activities at the hotel or the fitness center, and said we could talk with the concierge. I should think some cross training might be helpful for those with general questions. Again, this may be an unfair expectation, since we had just come from the Four Seasons where customer service is absolutely unrivaled.

ROOM:
We were quite pleased with our lovely ocean front room and noted that it appeared updated. Marble bathroom, and nice details. A thoughtful fruit basket was left with a handwritten card for us. Room service was timely and usually completed during breakfast time. We were pleased to leave the day we did when a group of noisy neighbors checked in and apparently enjoyed the regular cigarette break on their balcony. Need I say more, for those of us who appreciate the fresh Hawaiian breezes? No fault of the hotel, but I'm not sure what the policy is on smoking on the decks.

FITNESS CENTER & SPA: we LOVED the gym and spa area. Lap pool was lovely, quiet and clean, and we actually found ourselves lingering here to escape the kids (again we were here during Christmas break, so this is not the hotel's issue at all). The gym is fully equipped and offers state of the art equipment; locker rooms were superb: clean, modern and appeared to be newer than the rest of the hotel property. Many locals use this facility and it has an excellent reputation. Never crowded while we were there. We also loved the bicycles that were available at reception to check out when needed.

LOCATION: much more doable than the Four Seasons, if you wished to get off property to get some shopping in - just a shuttle van (free, and always immediately available) or a bike ride away (2 miles) for off-property dining and shopping options (Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Tommy Bahama's and Montsera's - for the best sushi I've had in Hawaii). On property, there are some really interesting things like the historical fish ponds that existed during the king's times and that were used to farm fish. The extensive area was fun to walk along and to see the natural wildlife in situ. There is also a lava field one can walk along with signage to describe various geologic phenomena that made that pathway very interesting. This leads to the fish ponds and eventually, onto the property, proper.

CONCIERGE: very helpful; booked our amazing zip Line along the Umama region - highly recommend this to anyone! Also did a worthwhile 2 hour helicopter tour of the island. Breathtaking and educational, we were able to see waterfalls that are otherwise impossible to get to, where the water plummets over ridges 1500-2000 feet. Getting within 100 meters of the cliff's edge made this very exciting, as well as flying over nascent and smoking volcanoes and vents.

DRIVERS/BELL STAFF: these guys were great; enthusiastic and polite, always at the ready to help.

RESTAURANTS: The Canoe House was wonderful, with an amazIng outdoor ambiance that well exceeded our expectations. Service and meal were excellent. Price reflected that experience, but we were happy to pay for it. Just a lovely night there.

The hotel restaurant where we ate breakfast daily was just average - the service was average, the food was fine. Just always very loud, crowded and unexceptional service. Often we had to ask for silverware or signal someone for coffee. Diners would leave, and it would take some time for a server to remove their leftovers, making bird feasts a thing to behold. A super cool thing to note, however, was sharks' dorsal fins peeking above the water line in one of the little ponds abutting the outdoor dining area. Of course, these were entirely safe, and not in a swimmable area.

POOLS/BEACH: We did not swim in the hotel pools during our 5 days here, with the exception of the Mauna Lani spa lap pool. While here, it appeared that a central area was under construction and that management is endeavoring to build another pool. We noted that there was a large pool, without much ambiance, along with two smaller jacuzzis (one that the under age 10 crowd seemed to favor) along with a pool bar. We hung by the beach when we opted to be on property. As compared with the Four Seasons, we were delighted to have a swimmable beach here, despite what I thought of as less than well maintained grounds (dirty sand, or dirt, not sure, litter, dying and dead grass, and intermittent service, at best on the beach. That being said, drinks packed a whollup (maitai was purely alcohol) and prices were surprisingly fair. Lots of water sports options available, from boogie boards, surf boards and kayaks. (Great surfing near by!)

Overall, it was pleasant enough, but after our stay at the Four Seasons, the differences were striking - primarily in the customer service "wow factor". We were un-wowed, but hey, Hawaii under any circumstances, at any hotel is a gift, and this property did not detract.

Room Tip: Any ocean front room here is a treat. The waves can really roar, so if you like to sleep with your w...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,214 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (304)
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English first
New York City, New York
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2013

I'm currently staying at the Mauna Lani Bay & Bungalow Hotel. Nature is both inside and out with waterways and lush plants and giant full grown palm trees both inside and outside the building. The rooms, whether ocean view or ocean front are comfortable with wonderful amenities and great views. The service, staff are friendly and accommodating. So many things are free, excellent free wifi in the rooms, free beach towels and free lounge chairs by the pool and beach, free bicycles, and water sports equipment when so many other luxury resorts charge fees. The breakfast is either by menu or an all you can eat buffet breakfast with omelet chef. Lunch is the same, menu or buffet minus the omelet chef. Room service is great and willing to accommodate small special request. The acclaimed Canoe House Restaurant is wonderful dinner dining, dining inside or outside under the stars by the surf. Canoe House is expensive. The Hawaiian fusion cuisine was very delicious. I am having a great time!

  • Stayed December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2013

We stayed here for a week because my husband had to attend a medical conference at the neighboring Fairmont Orchid and their rooms were fully booked at the time.

We had a toddler with us and were travelling with some friends who were attending the conference too. The beach and pools at the hotel are lovely with the turtles all over the place. The rooms have been updated and are clean and modern. The food is fairly decent, although there is not much variety, also every restaurant is closed after 9pm...as is the rest of the stores a short ride away at the outdoor mall.

I had a difficult time trying to do activities with friends since the only babysitting service is outsourced to private agencies and their sitters travel from an hour away so scheduling needs to be done well in advance and can rack up a huge bill at $20 p/hour.

I had a terrible experience the first morning at breakfast, when my toddler (jetlagged) was crabby at breakfast. Another elderly guest came up to our table aggressively asking me to leave because I was disturbing his and all the other guests breakfasts. The manager apologized and said it was totally wrong of that person since they are a family friendly establishment but she could not do anything about it since he was her customer too. I was forced to have breakfast in our room alone every morning after this incident since my hubby was attending the conference and the manager at the restaurant seemed to condone customers screaming at other paying patrons .


Nice hotel, bad experience - I won't be back!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Esko, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2013

Mauna Lani is a beautiful property with a delightful staff. Upon arrival, friendly valet service directs you to the registration desk, where you are greeted in true Aloha style...leis, juice, and a cool towel to refresh you after a long day of travelling. The rooms are spacious and up-to-date. Having visited during renovations, we were upgraded to a garden view. Much to our delight, it was also ocean view! Standard rooms are mountain view and parking lot (which we didn't mind last year...great people watching from the lanai). There are several dining options on site, none cheap by mainland standards, but delicious! Breakfast and lunch will run $50 for 2, supper will easily be $100+, especially with drinks. The pool and beach area are fantastic...clean and well-kept. The complimentary snorkel gear and body boards are great for seeing the water life just south of the main beach area. Enter the water at the Beach Club beach and work your way to the protruding rocks. We were able to swim with a honu (green turtle)...awesome! We will be back!

Room Tip: Higher floor mountain view side
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boston
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2013

We stayed at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel- it exceeded our experience. The staff and management is phenomenal, the grounds and stunning fresh water ponds are stunning, the rooms are beautiful, and the food is delicious and reasonably priced. We dream of returning, like the many families we met at the Mauna Lani who have been coming there for almost 30 years. (Note: We formerly went to The Orchid (5 previous visits) and grew tired of its rude staff, broken down rooms, and poor management). Don't waste your time at other hotels-- come to the Mauna Lani for your dream vacation.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Tampa, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2013

This really is the best hotel with the best beach in all of Hawaii. The staff here are genuinely nice with true aloha spirit. We stay at some really nice places on the other islands (Ritz on Maui, Grand Hyatt on Kauai, and Royal Hawaiian on Oahu) and they are all really great. But only at the Mauna Lani can you literally walk our of your room down a flight of stairs and be 10 feet away from a peaceful, beautiful, non-crowded beach. I am writing this review on my phone sitting 10 feet from the water and there is a sea turtle hanging out in the sand about 15 feet away. Wow! Best place ever!

  • Stayed December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berkeley, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2013

The Mauna Lani is a wonderful hotel on the Kohala coast with a very gracious staff, understated appeal, good food and great activities (swimming, kayaking, golf, biking, etc). We have visited the Mauna Lani twice and plan to return often!

Room Tip: The rooms facing the garden offer beautiful views
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

Address: 68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive, Puako, Island of Hawaii, HI 96743
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Kohala Coast > Puako
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Puako
#1 Spa Hotel in Puako
#1 Business Hotel in Puako
#1 Family Hotel in Puako
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Puako
#1 Luxury Hotel in Puako
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows 4.5*
Number of rooms: 345
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Also Known As:
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel And Bungalows
Mauna Lani Bay Resort
Mauna Lani Resort

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