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Inside the New Mauna Lani

On the Kohala coast of the Island of Hawaii, Mauna Lani has been a beloved resort since it opened in 1983. In 2018, it closed its doors to undergo a massive, $200 million renovation, reopening as Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection in January 2020. Within months, however, the pandemic forced it to close once more. Mauna Lani reopened—again—in November, and has quickly reestablished itself as one of the islands’ premier resorts. Here’s what Hawaii-bound travelers have to look forward to at Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection.

Travelers (regardless of vaccination) to the Hawaiian islands must show proof of a negative test conducted by one of a dozen approved facilities within 72 hours prior to the final leg of the trip. Contact Indagare to help you plan a future trip to Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection.

A Gorgeous, Historic Location

Mauna Lani occupies a coveted swath of beachfront of the island’s sparsely populated northwest coast, where lava plains descend gradually into the sea. And while the area is mostly undeveloped today, its history goes back for centuries. The resort’s seven ponds, which hug the shoreline, are actually fish ponds, built by ancient Hawaiian islanders to raise fish for local nobility. And hikes from the property take guests to nature preserves with thousands of 13th-century petroglyphs carved into lava.

Stylish Accommodations

Guests in each of Mauna Lani’s 333 rooms and suites have soothing, creamy color palettes with hardwood accents and pops of corals and teals. The focal point, as it should be, is on the views: each room comes with a lanai balcony with mountain or ocean views. Rooms to book: For extra quiet, Serenity Rooms overlook the adults-only pool. Or, if you’re traveling with others, consider the five 4,000-square-foot, two-bedroom Private Residences. These each come with a private swimming pool, hot tub and spa, plus dedicated butler service.

Hawaiian Cuisine

Mauna Lani’s five restaurants make the most of their tropical location, in both their design (they’re open to the balmy, breezy elements) and cooking (showcasing ultra-fresh and locally sourced ingredients). Mornings usually begin slowly, with Kona coffee and breakfast on the lush outdoor terrace at HāLani near the Great Lawn. If you prefer grab-and-go, The Market serves tasty treats (including lunch options, if you want to take food with you on an excursion). By the pool, Hā Bar and Grill serves light daytime fare like organic salads and ceviches. Come sunset, guests can grab a cocktail at Surf Shack (which also has a food truck serving Kona yellowtail tacos) before dinner at CanoeHouse, overlooking the beach. Here, nightly tasting menus—named the “MY Menu” after its husband-and-wife creators, chef Matt and general manager Yuka Raso—highlight Hawaii’s unique seafood and island produce.

Activities & Adventure

Hawaii is an adventure lover’s paradise, and Mauna Lani doesn’t hold back, with ample opportunity for activities on land and on the water with its Kainalu Sports programming. Professional athletes, including Hawaii surf pro Bullet Obra, run the center, which offers biking, performance training, surfing, outrigger canoe expeditions, underwater rock running (!), scuba diving and snorkeling. Further afield, volcano tours beckon as well.

Golfers have access to two 18-hole golf courses, both designed by Homer Flint, Raymond Cain and Robin Nelson. The South Course’s challenging oceanfront greens sprawl over a 16th-century lava flow, while the North Course’s rolling terrain twists through mesquite forests with quintessential Hawaii views.

Farm-to-Spa Wellness

When you’re not golfing, doing ocean laps or working out in the 5,000 square-foot fitness center, a visit to the Auberge Spa at Mauna Lani brings much-needed relaxation and restoration. Expert technicians use tropical ingredients from nearby farms for the treatments, from a hibiscus and papaya body exfoliation to a massage using Hawaiian ti leaves. And for some wellness that you can take home with you, Goop opened its first boutique in Hawaii here last November, selling GP-approved resort wear, athleisure looks and clean beauty products.

Fun for the Whole Family

Mauna Lani is the type of resort that’s suited for travelers of any age, but its unparalleled access to some of the Big Island’s most spectacular sights—lava tubes, ancient fish ponds and petroglyphs—plus calm waters for safe beach time, makes it a particularly engaging spot for families with children. For more structured activities, the popular Holoholo Kids Crew club runs programs such as cooking classes, lei-making and moonlight storytelling.

A Cultural Focus

In Mauna Lani’s lobby, the Hale ‘I‘ike (“house of knowledge”) is a museum-like cultural center with Hawaiian art and artifacts. While checking it out, you’ll likely run into Danny Akaka, the hotel’s “knowledge keeper,” better known as Uncle Danny. An indigenous islander, he shares the history and traditions of the region both during casual, one-on-one conversations and his own dedicated story times. Expect tales of Hawaiian royalty, ancient fishing and stargazing techniques, as well as his personal tales of exploring the island. He can also explain “piko,” the infinite circle that reflects Hawaii’s eternal spirit, anchored by its five great mountains.

Travelers (regardless of vaccination) to the Hawaiian islands must show proof of a negative test conducted by one of a dozen approved facilities within 72 hours prior to the final leg of the trip.

Contact Indagare to help you plan a future trip to Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection.

Special Offers

For a limited time, Mauna Lani is offering two special offers for visitors. Stay four nights and enjoy a complimentary fifth night, or book two rooms and receive 50 percent savings on the second room. Contact Indagare to redeem. (Note: These two offers may not be combined.)

This content was created in collaboration with Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection and published by Indagare Travel.

– Peter Schlesinger on May 5, 2021

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