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“Top top stay” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   92-1185 Ali'inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Kapolei
Stafford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Top top stay”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2013 via mobile

This property is stunning. On arrival we welcomed with leis for all he family and drinks too. Check in was simple, then it was off to our room. We had a 2 bedroom apartment overlooking the pools. It was a proper 'wow factor' room as soon as we opened the door. The kids loved their own room.
The pools were great, and the character interaction for those that wanted was brilliant. I messaged a picture home back to the UK, and everyone thought I'd sent them a professional post card picture...it really lives up to brochure pictures.
The on site restaurants were decent, but could have been more extensive in my opinion. However, there are other options at the neighbouring marriotts and local restaurants in the housing development...plus a nice ABC store.
Koh olina is a great place to come to for a nice chill out and watch stunning sunsets. It's great when combined with Waikiki which I've done twice now...it's somewhere I don't think I could ever get bored with. I've never seen such beautiful sunsets...they were truly mesmerising, and drew everyone to watch them each night.

Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,774 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (902)
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
49 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013 via mobile

We are just finishing up a week long visit here. We came for the first time last year and had to return. We are already planning for next year and will stay even longer.

We are DVC members so we visit all the Disney properties frequently. Aulani is truly magical. The spirit of the place, the amenities, the people are all wonderful. We have a 2 bedroom ocean view overlooking the Pool and right above the Ohana room with nightly entertainment. We can sit on our lanai and listen to the music every night. The pool does get a little crowded but I always go early to get a good spot. The fitness room is very nice with lots of equipment. The food is fine, with a variety of choices. It is expensive but no different than any other place in Hawaii.

there is construction right now to build a new pool area which will help when all the buildings are open. Parking is free for DVC members so we always rent a car although we rarely leave the hotel. Kapolei which is a few minutes away has a Safeway and other stores as well as restaurants. We stopped at the store on the way here to get breakfast and lunch food and I made one dinner. The kitchen is quite well appointed. And Disney always has a washer and dryer in any one bedroom or more suites, so we can bring lots fewer clothes because I basically wash swim suits, etc every night.

There are Disney characters around every day for pictures and interaction with the kids. And last night there was a lovely show under the stars. The only possible complaint you could have is if you wanted more nightlife. Entertainment stops at 9 or 10 and the music is all very native. The music at the pool gets a little old as does the entertainment at night. It would be nice to have more contemporary music that you could dance to.

Also they could do more pool or beach games for kids and adults like they have at other Disney resorts. It would also get more people to the beach which is almost deserted at times. But the lazy river and the slides are great at the pool and there is limited action at the beach. It would be nice if they would sink a boat in the lagoon to make it more interesting to snorkel

AMA AMA has great food as does the buffet and the pool lunch menu is very good. There is also a small restaurant on the sidewalk on the way to the beach which has fresh salads, etc. Across the street is Just Tacos which we enjoy and the Monkeypod which has live music. It gets rave reviews so we went for dinner. My husband hated his food..more about the spices used than the quality of the food. I liked mine as did the kids. There is also a small ABC store with groceries, wine and takeout.

We decided to take a drive today on the way to the airport. Drove to the north shore and watched the surfers. Had lunch at a shrimp truck..excellent. Then drove all the way around to the east side. Incredible mountain range. Highly recommend getting off the tourist traps to see the incredible scenery. All in all, it is another fabulous week. Too bad it is ending.

Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
panama city, florida
Level Contributor
63 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

Awesome facility for the whole family. We secured a suite for this trip so everyone enjoyed a quiet corner and had space to move. The balconies are spacious enough to relax and lay-out and there is enough bathroom space to care for the kids while the adults get ready as well. There are numerous amenities for the whole family and nice quiet get away spots too. Nice property and be prepared to pay for it. The memories created are worth a great deal but the pain in the wallet could be greater.

Room Tip: We chose a suite based on 6 people. 4 adults and 2 children. The choice was correct for this head co...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

Just got back from an awesome vacation .loved the resort and the amneties :
If you are looking for a great experience and ready to pay for it .. This is the place ...as soon as you get in you can feel the difference from a normal hotel / resort .. We were able to do web check in so our personalized keys were ready ( you can use these as a charge card ... No need to carry your wallet )
Disney photo pass for 99 dollars unlimited pictures on DVD .., at first we thought we don't need it ... But we changed our mind .. I wish I had considered it from day 1 ... No need to roam around with your camera .. They even take underwater pictures ...
MOst distinctive is the Service and attitude ... I don't knOw if it's Hawaii or the resort but people are exceptionally polite and eager to help !!! Something which is rare to find these days
Activities for kids are awesome ..Aunty's beach house ,. Water slides , lazy river , snorkeling within the resort and that too with warm water .... Beaches are nice and clean ..... Fitness activities at the beach ate awesome ... Loved the local instructor nita ... Try the beach wet end wild and body boot camp , yoga .. There is also a beautiful trail if you like to run ...
Must do around the area .. Pearl harbor , Polynesian cultural center
The only downside I felt was that food is expensive .. We bought lot of microwaveable food and veggies and many people were doing it. ... There is a target near by.... You certainly need your own car ....I wish Disney could make it more affordable for people to buy at the facility ... The other thing is parking charge of 35 Dollars Per day ... I think that's exorbitant ...
Other than that ... We loved the Hawaiian experience .. Our best vacation so far

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
144 reviews
77 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 228 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

Let me just say this out front: I would never choose this hotel and island if I didn’t have kids or didn’t have a reason for choosing Oahu as my island of choice, because I would could never recommend Oahu as the best Hawaiian island destination. Kauai is paradise, Maui is sunsets and honeymooners, and Hawaii is raw beauty. Oahu is pretty and the beaches are beautiful, but it is a metropolis with traffic, factories and Wall Marts.

That being said, Disney’s Aulani offers families and adults a large amount of options on a very crowded piece of property on a very attractive manmade beach.

The Good

The cast members are outstanding. Probably the best service of any hotel I’ve ever experienced in Hawaii. They went out of their way to deliver an authentic, friendly Hawaiian tone and hit just the right mix of playful and professional. The entry welcome was top notch and check in was perfect.

The ground and landscaping are beautiful, and will grow even more lush and lived in with time. There are bridges, nooks, streams and fish to bring a touch of nature to this very cramped resort.
The cuisine at the waterside fine dining full service restaurant, AMA AMA, is first rate, delicious and fairly priced for a Hawaiian resort hotel. The main dining room (to the right as you walk in) is very Hawaiian, beautiful and feels as if it’s been there for 200 years.

The Spa is stunningly beautiful and offers a water playground for adults that is truly amazing. You have to see it for yourself (especially at night). If this is the first Disney run spa – they are going to hit a home run.

Disney also offers a daily list of activities for the entire family and most of these are FREE! This is a great touch and very thoughtful. The amount of special activities, places and meals for kids cannot be beat anywhere in Hawaii.

The Bad

The entire resort is crammed onto a sliver of land. This results in soaring hotel towers that resemble Hawaiian housing projects sporting fiberglass thatched roofs that unsuccessfully disguise their imposing, sun-blocking, view-killing characteristics. Simply put—the towers are not my idea of Hawaii or a vacation.

To make matters worse, the rooms are very small—especially for Hawaii. Some rooms offer a wider, more useful rectangular balcony, but others suffer from a useless triangular balcony that ruins both the room layout and the balcony itself. Outdoor space if very nice to have in Hawaii, so it is really disappointing Disney ended up with the worst lanais in Hawaii. On a better note, the room décor is the perfect casual Hawaiian palate of colors and patterns that says Aloha.

Although we loved the old Hawaiian dining area of AMA AMA, we loathed the left side of the dining area that resembled a pier under construction… or something like that. This are also has abrasive fluorescent lighting on a 1970s blue plaster wave wall that has the charm of an airport at night.

While there are a large number of pool safety attendants, it seems that every time we enjoyed the terraced spa at sunset, we were sharing it with half the beach… of non-hotel guests with beer cans, glasses and backpacks. There was no one watching this area and it was a disaster. We personally watched as two people nearly cracked their necks using the handicap chair lift as their handrail in and out of the beautiful spa. I also sliced my kneecap open of a sharp screw on the bottom on a plastic vent cover on the spa floor.

The Odd

You would think the first Disney Resort in Hawaii would have the best pool it the world… you would think. But there is a lack of Magic when it comes to the pool area. The problem stems from an odd-shaped, dry looking, jagged rock lump in the center of the pool—is it a volcano? A meteor? Why does it look so dry and uninviting -- this is Paradise isn’t it? The lame structure is also the main focal point for the canyon of rooms that face the center area of the resort. Like a budget version of The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, the structure offers a handful of creatures sculpted into its base, but it looks like a last minute effort to make more of the lump. The mountain also hides two good waterslides that lead to the pool below. What happened here? And why did this get by Disney?

There is a lazy river too. It’s nicely done, but short and shallow with no heater. Brrrrr.

But it isn’t the pool that strikes me as the strangest misfire at Aulani—it’s the total miscalculation of lack of retail. Guests in Hawaii stay at their hotel and look for things to do—this includes shopping. Disney currently only offers one small, disappointing store off the lobby. Really? Yes, that’s it! All Disney had to do is look at every other major resort in Hawaii to see that retail is part of the mix of a successful total resort. They are adding one additional store—but that seems like a pathetic fix to a major miscalculation.

So, should you make your way to Aulani? If you love Oahu to begin with and have young kids—this is the best place to stay. Period.

But if you are expecting a Hawaiian paradise resort with space to relax and take in all Hawaii has to offer—this isn’t it. Despite amazing spirit and the best staff in Hawaii, Disney’s Aulani is good, not great.

Room Tip: Ask for a rectangular balcony, not a triangular.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

I have stayed at many excellent locations in Honolulu, but the Aulani, in Kapolei simply stands out as awesome.
Lot's of places to swim and relax.
The kids love Aunty's Beach house, and parents love the fact that it is free and inclusive. If you need time away, rest assured that your young ones will be well taken care of here. My niece and nephew didn't want to leave.
The only drawback is the food offerings. Quite expensive yet food quality was mediocre. The best on-property option is probably the buffet. if you have a car, I recommend that you head to neighboring Kapolei city for more affordable offerings.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
30 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

We brought our infant and our in-laws and had a wonderful time. We are DVC members, but found the hotel a notch above the normal DVC standard. The staff was warm, activities were fantastic, and the rooms were very nice. The ongoing renovations did not disrupt our stay, but will add a much needed children's pool as well as additional casual dining options.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Address: 92-1185 Ali'inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Kapolei
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Kapolei
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 819
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Also Known As:
Aulani, a Disney Resort And Spa In Hawai`i
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa In Hawai`i Hotel Kapolei
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Hawaii/Oahu

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