If you are skeptical about the Mauna Lani, you are in the same boat we were in before our phenomenal stay and my goal of this review is to help you make your decision. I was extremely intrigued by the overwhelming positive reviews and high rankings on countless travel sites yet I was concerned about the facility itself based on photos alone. I'm not ashamed to admit I prefer to stay in the "best of the best". While the Mauna Lani indeed is an older hotel with dated architecture, the spacious rooms have been beautifully updated, offer unbeatable ocean views, private lanai's with louvered doors in addition to the sliding glass allowing you to keep the breeze flowing in all night and a beach right outside the door. While the hotel doesn't have the "Wow Factor" that will take your breath away, the experience itself and service from staff gives you that feeling throughout your stay. While it's fun to show pictures of the fancy places we go, honestly, this trip felt better than any we've been on in many, many years!
Every single staff member from Valet to Bartenders to Concierge went above and beyond in service. Being greeted at check-in with shell lei's, fresh squeezed tropical juice and chilled lavender towels was a perfect touch. Our room was ready when we arrived, even though we were a couple hours before check-in. The Pool Bar is a great place to hang out - Gil is absolutely the most amazing crafter of Mai Tai's and super entertaining. Note: Be careful, the Mai Tai's are not typical "juicy resort drinks" and two of them will have you spinning! Happy Hour drinks are very reasonable and VERY well poured plus the food is extremely reasonable. The Ahi Poke WonTon's were fantastic!
Over all, possibly the most enjoyable part of our stay was the fact that we never once encountered any of the "Snob Factor" that is rampant at most high end resorts (Four Seasons, Fairmont, etc). We met lots of wonderful people (think "Cheers" style at happy hour), some of who have been coming annually for over 15 years right back to Mauna Lani! We felt comfortable whether we were dressed up or just came in off the beach. The cabanas are plentiful and there's always plenty to choose from (forget that morning rush to take "dibs" on a cabana). Snorkeling is incredible right at the hotel. Your daily resort fee (only $25) includes valet parking, Wi-Fi, two bottles of water in your room daily, snorkeling gear rental daily, 10% off at the spa (OH, THE SPA WAS AMAZING!!!), and many other discounts and perks.
Rounding out a wonderful stay was the hospitality room offered on our day of checkout. The desk was happy to offer us a late checkout but when we mentioned how incredibly late our flight was, they offered us the use of their hospitality suite. We were able to come back to the hotel before our flight to a pristine room to shower and refresh before our flight. VERY APPRECIATED.
We most certainly will be back, very soon, to the Mauna Lani and this time, with no hesitation at all! Trust the reviews and have a beautiful vacation!