My boyfriend booked one of the ocean view condos for the two of us for my first trip to Hawaii. The condo is beautiful and spacious with 2 bathrooms, a decent sized kitchen, and a beautiful view of the bay and the mountains from our windows - visible from the living room and bedroom. The kitchen is well stocked with cookware, though I would recommend bringing your own knives and spices. They provide a small box of powdered laundry detergent, so you may want to bring a little extra. We didn't find any salt or pepper waiting for us, and the spice rack is just for decoration. But they provide the pots and pans, silverware, glass and plastic cups, mugs, coffee maker, toaster, and coffee grinder. They also provide extra pillows, beach towels, laundry basket, and two coolers (one large, one small) and ice packs. They provide wifi, 2 sets (one in the living room and one in the bedroom), DVD player, and a designated parking space just for you if you have a rental car.
They do offer a made service which can be a little awkward when you're home. The first two days they came while I was napping, but they were really sweet. I'm not used to having someone pick up after me, which was nice, but it was a little weird to be there when they were. They provide fresh towels everyday in the morning outside your door in a plastic garbage bag that you can use to replace the one in the condo (they provide extras in the bag too). You will have a couple of pest, so clean up your food. The ants are tiny and hyperactive and pounce on things really fast, but they don't bother us. The weird thing was the lizards, beautiful as they are, that would find their way in and chill on the couch. So keep the doors to the lanai closed or at least be prepared to have these occasional reptilian visitors.
My favorite thing about the resort is the smell!!! Their wide variety of flowers and plants are so pleasant, my mouth waters every time I smell the air. The walk to the beach along the shoreline trail is gorgeous, though part of it goes over some jagged lava rock, so bring tennis shoes or use the sidewalk instead - longer hike. The water is clear and cool. The snorkeling is easy because there aren't any waves. There's a beach house restaurant and showers overlooking the ocean, and the resort provides chairs, including some stationary covered lounge chairs. Its wonderful going early before 8am to have the beach to yourself. Snorkel rentals open around 8 or 9am. There is a black sand beach to the south, but its private and not open to the public. However, we were told there is someone you can talk to and attempt to get a day pass, but there is a limited number of them. Ask the front desk or security, we haven't tried it yet.
The only downside is the food here is very expensive but we cook at the condo so we can afford a couple nights of fine dining (though the portions are not as big as in Texas, so that took some getting adjusted to). However, if you make the 1.5-2 hour drive to Hilo for a day on Wednesdays or Saturdays for the big market days, they have some wonderful foods to try for pennies on the dollar. Kona is only a 20-30 mile drive south but is mostly restaurant chains if you want something familiar. You'll also find the Walmart and other chain stores down that way. Great places to get groceries near by are the Foodlands market on the resort (try the mochi) or the Waikoloa Market at the Waikoloa Highlands Shopping Center. But the groceries are pricey so be prepared or make the drive to Walmart.
About 20-30 minutes North is a restaurant called, The Blue Dragon, which we LOVED. They have live music Thursday - Saturday, maybe Sunday and the food is locally owned and fresh off the owner's farm. Their menu changes with whats in season, but while we are here in July, their sorbet is AMAZING!! However, it is an open air restaurant so bring your bug spray or ask if they have a candle repellant. We had a wonderfully kind waitress. The food was fresh and the presentation was beautiful. We listened to the beautiful falsetto of hawaiian singer, Kai Ho'opi'i who is a regular performer.
Mondays and Thursdays at 7pm, Mauna Lani offers free hula dance performances at the Kings Shopping Center, so take advantage and get there early.
Overall, I love this resort. Its a great first trip to Hawaii.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.