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“No as good as expected, but the kids loved it”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 24, 2011

I traveled to Aulani along with 7 of my family members during the first week of October. The hotel had only been open for one month at that point, so we were prepared for some hiccups during our stay. First off, the hotel is very impressive looking and the view from our room was absolutely gorgeous. The rooms looked like they had never been used before, and I'd be willing to bet they hadn't. There were so many activities to choose from everyday including water slides, a lazy river, toddler play area, day spa, snorkel reef, and more. Our 4 and 6 year old daughters loved the daily pool party with the characters, where they played water games with Mickey and Goofy. The hotel runs much like the Disney Cruise with a schedule of events everyday. It lists the times and locations that you can meet and take pictures with the characters and also the family activities that are available that day. Some of the nightly events we experienced were movies under the stars, and a very entertaining hula show that ended with a character dance party. Despite all the activities available, our daughters begged to spend time everyday at Aunty's Beach House, the kid's club. It was such a cool place for kids. I don't normally leave my children in kid clubs, but Disney always puts a lot of forethought into keeping kids are safe and entertained. As for adult entertainment, I feel that this resort comes up short. In the evening when the kids were in the kids club we actually got bored with nothing to do. On two occasions we went to the day spa, which was very relaxing, but it was co-ed and outdoors with hotel rooms overlooking it. It just didn't have the same atmosphere as other spas I've been to, so we weren't very impressed. The service there was amazing and helped us overlook the shortcomings. The biggest problem that we faced during our stay was dining. There are only 2 restaurants, a take out place, and poolside dining. The restaurants require reservations and were always booked up, so it left us with nowhere to eat on several occasions. When we did eat at the restaurants, the food left a lot to be desired. The menu choices were very limited, especially for children, which is crazy considering we were at a Disney resort. We finally discovered a restaurant across the street and a little market where we could get breakfast. We definitely enjoyed our stay, but I doubt we'll go back anytime soon.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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7  Thank Storybooklife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,566 - 4,572 of 5,510 reviews

Reviewed November 23, 2011

Ever since we heard of the completion of this new addition to the Disney chain of resorts, my kids never stopped bugging us to stay here. It was a little expensive, maybe because it's a brand new facility, and it's got the Disney name to it. But after a lot of financial planning/restructuring, schedule organizing, hair-pulling, etc., we finally decided to have my daughter's birthday weekend there. The room was adequate, and we got the one facing the Waianae coast and the view was breathtaking. But kids were not interested in the room or the restaurants - just the water park! And there they stayed, played, ran & swam, until they can't move a muscle from exhaustion. It was a great weekend for the kids and me.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Mauka_Ohana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 22, 2011

We used DVC points to book this resort for our honeymoon. This is essentially a brand new resort on Oahu, and it shows. The resort itself is amazing! The pool / spa area is beautiful, the rooms are clean, and up to date with the latest technology. The service is to be expected at Disney - first class.

There are a few things to be aware of (not show stoppers). Signage to this location is severely lacking. The GPS we used didn't have the location listed since it was so new, so we drove to where we saw it (you can't miss it, its huge). We had a very difficult time finding the entrance to the place, the sign is small, and very easy to miss.

Signs appear to be lacking in quite a few areas of the resort as well. They were not very clear as to where to go for a quick breakfast (versus the seated meal), as well as the froyo shop (its located right next to the day spa, but there aren't any signs telling you that its there). Disney really needs to fix the signs.

As for the rooms - one other thing that should have been designed better were the water closet rooms. The bathroom is divided into the toilet (water closet), and shower / sink via a sliding pocket door. The door offers no privacy to anyone that is using the water closet since it has angled slats in the door (similar to a changing room door). This is not a good design by any means, especially considering the confined quarters of the rooms...

Finally, in regards to the service. When we first arrived, I'm not sure if it was a slow day or what, but we were swarmed by valet and bell services. They didn't really give us the option of allowing us to just check in and unload our luggage ourselves. They immediately wrote up valet / bell services slips and told us to come back once we were checked in. They took our car to valet parking, which really didn't make any sense since it only took 10-15 min to check in. We came back, and our car was gone, they had to go get it. Would have been better if they would have asked us our plans / intentions rather than just rushing things here as well.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank bruehlt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 22, 2011

Spent the weekend at Aulani Hotel with 3 other girlfriends and it was GREAT! Stayed in a parlor suite. The room was big enough for all of us. The pull down twin bed was a great idea and was hidden in the entertainment center very well. All beds were on the firm side. We had a small refrigerator, microwave and sink with bar area. Table for 4 came in handy. One and a half bathrooms. The bathroom suite had walk in shower with full handicap accessibility, double sink, bidet and whirlpool tub. The robes in the room were the most comfortable, in fact the room came with two but we asked for two more so all of us could wear one. The hotel is new but housekeeping did a great job keeping everything clean while we were there. Each evening housekeeping turned down the beds and left a brochure of events for the next day (like a cruise ship).
The hospitality by most employees were top notch. The only complaint we had was the wait staff at the pool areas. They seemed to be assigned in groups of three and they socialized a lot. We tried to flag a few down but most did not make eye contact. We were not the only ones wanting a drink or food. We ended up going directly to the bar. The pool area keep us busy with the lazy river, and slides. Two days were overcast & it felt like they heated the pool on the third day. Not sure but it feel a lot warmer. If you have a chance go to the storytelling pit. He is very good and told a story about Hawaiiana. Very animated guy with a good singing voice. At night we listened to the sweet sounds of Hawaiian music.
I know the price to stay at the resort is a splurge but the food and drinks are in line with a resort setting. If you'd like to go to the small mall or Roy's Rest or the Ihilani, you can walk or take the shuttle.
The best for last. I had a Signature Lomilomi massage at the Laniwai spa and it was magnificent. It was the best spa experience I have ever had. The facilities are top notched. The massage was excellent and you really can relax there all day. There is a lot to do in there besides the massage.

Room Tip: Lower floors might be more noisy. 14th floor was perfect!
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with friends
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3  Thank momofsk8rs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 22, 2011

I am not sure what makes them think that this hotel is worth the price. My wife wanted to bring the kids/grandkids here for a week next year. Considering the price, I thought we'd stay a night during this trip to see if it would be good idea. We stayed at Ihilani (next door) and went to Lanai (four seasons) and I have reviewed all. I'm glad we did because I personally don't think this hotel is worth it. For a real Disney experience we'll go to CA/Fl parks. Sorry Aulani - my opinion considering the cost. Parking cost is more than the Ihilani next door. The hotel is dark (need more sunlight, but that is not going to happen). I guess with all the times I go to Hawaii and different hotels I stay, I've gotten so I like the Bright/happy feeling and experience of most hotels there. The room is not large and also dark. The deck was ok for 2 people to sit and relax. I was in room 621, this overlooked the parking garage. Go for a higher floor and you may see the golf course and mountain better. If you are wanting to pay for the ocean view, you will see the river pool and lagoon/ocean. Here again you'll need higher floor to see over "their" man made mountain. Stitch was Disney character walking around the grounds for pic ops. they will take pic where you take their card to gift shop to view and buy them. They also will take a pic with your camera/cell phone. If we had our grandkids we would have probably done the character buffet breakfast, but instead drove the 10 minutes into Kapolei to Zippy's (If Denny's Restaurant is a 5 on scale to 10, Zippy's would be a 7 - good food/price/family friendly). This hotel area (and there are a few) is a short walk to Paradise Cove Luau, which is one of the better luaus and it's a plus to be close to your room when the show is over at night (no long drive); you are 10 minutes from Kapolei (the 2nd city) with theatre,fast food/restaurants,safeway,target,etc. 30 minutes from the airport and hour from Waikiki. Close to lots of golf courses. If you're going to Polenisia (sp?) Culteral center - you'll have a long drive from just about anywhere, but it is worth it (you'll spend the whole day until end of show (9pm? can't remember but you'll get back late). Roy's restaurant at Ko Olina is excellent.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Seattlebiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2011

Overall I have to preface this review as the stay was great! I do realize the hotel has only partially opened at this point and they are still working out the kinks. The good things...the hotel was not full and they upgraded us for our entire visit to a poolside room! ALL the staff were fully engaged and very friendly to us. My favorite part...the jacuzzi facing the Ko'Olina lagoon- great place to watch the sunsets. The rooms were great...we had 2 queens. The room does contain a refrigerator but not microwave. I did call and ask if a microwave was available somewhere on site and they offered to bring one to the room for FREE. It was delivered in 5 minutes and we were able to keep it until we checked out. The studios do contain a microwave but our room was a standard room. The other wonderful thing was that they approved a late check out for us since our flight didn't leave until 11pm that night. We also took advantage of the lounge that is available for this specific situation. We put a change of clothes in a locker in the lounge was able to enjoy the pool the entire day. We then were able to take showers and get ready for our flight later on that day after we had already checked out of our room. Now for the bumps...the food service needs lots of improvements: Ama Ama- expensive, menu hard to decifer (had to ask the waiter lots of questions about the menu items before ordering) and my entree (Island Seafood Stew) was not cooked well enough). When I brought this to the waiters attention he credited our bill and apologized. The waiter was exceptional as our son fell asleep during dinner. He found a blanket for him as we pushed two chairs together so he could sleep while we finished dinner. The other suggestion is that I was really wanting more quick service meal options, especially entree type salads. The only substantial salad you can get at this point is at Ama Ama. The other thing is that there is only a buffet option for breakfast at this point. The cast members stated that Ama Ama would be opening up for breakfast in the next couple of days. Still I wonder if there is going to be a economical option for breakfast (maybe open One Paddle Two Paddle earlier with breakfast items- ie: yogurt parfaits, muffins, grab and go breakfast like Starbucks has). The other bump which is minor is the armbands for the pool...I can't tell you how many times we scratched our son (on mistake) by picking him up and the armband scratching him. Other than that the hotel was great and we hopefully will be returning in we can save enough for another stay.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank mariard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2011

We have visited two other Disney attractions and the kids are always hankering to return. This vacation was a huge expenditure for us. We liked the friendlieness of the staff and unique activities catering to famiies. Very safe swimming a plus. For the price, the room could have been larger but we spent most of the time outdoors so it didn't matter. Since we had a car we wanted to make use of the rental fee and took some drives. One to the Polynesian Cultural Center, an all day affair, quite far from the resort. We made our own lunch in the room and sampled a few of the resort's restaurants bringing the bill even higher. A four because it felt like manufactured Hawaii.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Jeremiah C
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 96707-4434
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Kapolei
Amenities:
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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Price Range: $482 - $896 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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