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.
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.
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.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Orbitz, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Cheap Tickets, getaroom.com, Odigeo, Jetsetter and Tingo so you can book your Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Mauna Lani Bay Hotel And Bungalows
- Mauna Lani Bay Resort
- Mauna Lani Resort