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“Perfect place to restore your soul”

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Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Puako
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 9, 2013

Located on the site of ancient Hawaiian royalty fish ponds that are still maintained now as then, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel is the crown jewel of the Kona coast. Not a huge mega-resort that has to rely on gimmicky things to get you there, the Mauna Lani is a place of peace and refuge and soul-restorative qualities. Some room renovations/updating are being done, but otherwise the planned construction of the new pool is on hold until after Christmas at least. Don't be afraid to go. The Ocean Grill is no more, having been demolished to open up the area, and while the view is enhanced, many of us old-tiimers miss the grill immensely. Also, the Honu Bar is now a coffee shop. Miss the evenings spent dancing and listening to music in the Honu also. Don't go to the Mauna Lani looking to raise the roof and find a lot of night life. Go there looking to find the Spirit of Aloha. It exists everywhere from the front car valets to the beach staff and all points in-between. The Canoe House is the premier Kona coast restaurant and the Bay Terrace serves a wonderful breakfast buffet and lunch.....To those of you who loved the fish tacos at the Ocean Grill--they've changed the way they fix them at the Terrace--still good, but not the same...The sense of aloha and peace start when you set foot on the blue tiles of the entry and extend to the cool waters of the Pacific. Say hi to Helen and Lovey at the front desk, Mili,Binkie, Arnold and Les at the Bay Terrace, Ola at the pool, Kahea and Jennie at the beach, Mike, Gayle, Gil and Vance at the bar, and to Lovely wherever you see her. Call or stop by the main office and say hi to Ranie and Robert and Ryan and tell them how much you love the place. Take art lessons from Candace Lee by the pool or just buy some good watercolor art. It's a great place. I've been going for 30 years and will never tire of it.

Room Tip: If you like to listen to the waves at night ask for a room on the front from number 39 down
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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7  Thank DonaldBreech
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 6, 2013

An unbelievable weekend at this amazing hotel while enjoying the jazz festival at the Mauna Kea resort. Can't say enough great things about this property. And the second annual jazz fest with JR "volcano" Choy and other Grammy winners!! What an amazing few (3) days. Only 1 thing I would change was that at 10 am I couldn't get a drink ( bloody Mary ) on my vacation. Not a big deal. The snorkeling at the beach was unbelievable. Sunning at the pool equally great! The staff is so great at this place they should give lesions to other hotel staff.
Love it.... Scott.

Room Tip: Didn't have a spa time there....
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Scott H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2013

The service and friendliness of the staff were top-notch. On arrival they greet you with ice-cold facecloths to cool you down and a cold glass of a mixture of tropical juices.
We had an ocean-front room with a great view. It is so picturesque on the beach in front of our room that this is where they serve dinner to couples who wish to have a romantic dinner on the beach; they set up a table and assign a server to take care of them.
They seem to host a lot of conventions, which is not a problem as it is a huge facility; on the last night we were there one of the conventions (some insurance company I think) had a big dinner on the grounds and they had reserved a very professional Polynesian entertainment troupe. Many of the hotel guests were also able to sit down close to the pool and enjoy the show, which was probably the best I've ever seen. The fire dancer (Prince-something) was simply amazing and the music and dancers were excellent. There are also hula performances in the atrium of the hotel.
They have one very expensive(Canoe House) and a second intermediate-priced dining room(Bay Terrace), where we found the service and view to be excellent. When you order a mai-tai at the Bay Terrace it is the same price as the beach bar mai-tais (and the drinks actually come from that bar) but for some reason the mai-tais at the dining room seem to be much more potent than the ones we got at the bar! We suspect they have been told to mix them stronger for the restaurant. You can also go to the mall on Mauna Lani Drive, where there is a Tommy Bahama restaurant and a couple of others. There is also an excellent grocery store there where you can buy all kinds of alcohol and hot food in case you want to go back to your balcony for a lighter meal.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Reluctant_flyer333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2013

When I saw photos of the hotel online, it looked rather monolithic--big and cold. But...I read good things and the price was right, so I tried it over the Fairmont. I'M SO GLAD I DID!!!

It's not over-the-top crystal and marble, it's simple and understated--but well kept and beautiful. The grounds are lush and gorgeous. Tiki lamps quietly burning to lead your way at night. There is a laundry room with everything you would need---what 4 + star hotels have this? (none that I've ever been to) However, how handy is that on a beach vacation? (Very). The staff, as I've read before, truly are the nicest anywhere...very helpful, very cool.

When you arrive, you get a pamphlet with that specific week's activities. There is a beautiful fitness and tennis center. The spa is to die for.

Walk over to the Fairmont and you'll see a more beautiful building from the outside, and it's 'ritzier' on the inside, but the bay and pool feel like a cheap resort--tons of kids and plastic stuff everywhere-whereas at the Mauna Lani...it's just mellow, beautiful and calm. Everyone gets a 2 person cabana on the beach at no cost, whereas as the Fairmont you have to pay. There are kayaks, stand up paddle boards and other things available to rent on a shack on the beach. Lounge side drink and lunch service as well... The restaurants at the Mauna Lani are good..nothing amazing--but has any hotel restaurant every blown you away? The canoe house is stunning at night. Honestly, the seeting is unbelievable and better than any restaurant at the fairmont (as their restaurants, with the exception of browns, are set back from the beach..and the canoe house is right on the beach)

I would recommend staying here and you can hop over to the Fairmont for dinner on a night or two, as well as bike to the shopping center to eat there as well.

If you have kids, the pool is great here too...and less crowded than at the Fairmont.

I could go on....sea turtles, coconuts, but honestly....stay here. You won't regret it!!! xo

Room Tip: Room 508 is on the sea and has a larger panorama windo. Waking up in this room is a dream!
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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7  Thank Dewey76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2013

We booked a garden view room, but were guaranteed at booking an upgrade to an ocean view room. Additionally we had a large credit and free breakfast each morning in our package.

Room- in the first room they gave us, one of the sinks was filled with a black liquid that did not smell good. We opted for them to give us a different room, even though the view from the new room wasn’t quite as good and it was one floor lower. We still had a view of the ocean over the fish ponds. I was surprised at how large the terrace was. The room overall was comfortable (I really liked the sofa). The bed was the least comfortable of our trip, but not awful.

Service was friendly and efficient at the restaurant, beach and pool areas.

Beach- the beach directly in front of the resort was pretty, but we only spent one afternoon there. I liked that the cabanas were included free of charge, but I feel like they don’t provide as much shade as umbrellas. But we had a solution for that—just choose one that’s already under a tree for more shade. The beach (in fact the whole resort) was not crowded at all.

Pool- the pool was nice, but we only spent a little time at the pool bar. Those lava flows are delicious! Again, there were no crowds to be seen.

Food- we were not wowed by the food, but it was typical resort food. I did love the banana bread at breakfast. We ate more meals here than I would have liked (we usually like to branch out more), but we had the resort credit to spend. I found the lunches and dinners at the Terrace to be typical resort food—except the brownie with macadamia nut ice cream was delicious. We did enjoy a lunch at Huli Sue’s—great grilled chicken and hamburgers. We also dined at the Canoe House one night. The place was gorgeous with such a wonderful ambience. We enjoyed the lobster cake, then my husband had the beet salad and a lobster special for his meal- he liked that as well. But I had the steak and it really was not good—it was not at all tender and had a strange flavor- I expected more given the cost too. The mac nut ice cream helped make up for me not eating much of the steak though!

Our favorite thing about the Mauna Lani was the easy access to Makaiwa Beach. Fanstastic snorkeling! I went three times. It was the calmest place that we could find to snorkel on the island. It was about a 10 minute walk or the resort shuttle would drop you off (we did it both ways). The coral starts very close to shore and there is a lot more to explore than it looks.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank laurenj31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Stayed 2 nights at Mauna Lani with my husband on our way back from Green Sand beach. We were dirty and exhausted but as soon as we entered Mauna Lani we were delighted by its beauty and ambience! Check in was smooth with a refreshing drink and leis presented to us. We were amazed to find out just how many things we could do at Mauna Lani itself and the different amenities available for guests. The room was quite spacious with a separate dressing area, walk in closet and a balcony. We were provided a flyer with all the daily activities listed. There was so much to choose from - snorkelling, historic tour, live music and so on. The property is huge with golf courses around and a small shopping center a little away from the main hotel. They had shuttles running to and fro and you could also ride a bicycle (free for guests) to the shopping center. The Mauna Lani bay is beautiful and we had a great time snorkelling there with the complimentary gear provided by the hotel. Restaurants on the property are expensive but the food is good esp at Bay Terrace. We completely enjoyed our stay at Mauna Lani and were sad we had to leave so soon. We will definitely go back whenever we go to Big Island!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Shivani M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2013

Beautiful setting, nice hotel, clean and comfortable. The reception desk and concierge were very helpful. Dinner at the Canoe House was wonderful (ask for the sunset table). Our room was a bit dated, but we didn't spend much time there anyway and the rest of the property was updated and beautiful. The upgrade to an oceanfront room was well worth it.

Room Tip: Pick the oceanfront!
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Drsteph1
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 96743-9726
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 Family Hotel in Puako
#3 Luxury Hotel in Puako
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Puako
#3 Spa Hotel in Puako
Price Range: $328 - $608 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows 4.5*
Number of rooms: 341
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Also Known As:
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel And Bungalows
Mauna Lani Bay Resort
Mauna Lani Resort

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