Aulani Resort- Hawaii
This past June,my husband and I took our family of four on our first,and certainly not last,trip to Hawaii. We decided to visit two Hawaiian islands on this trip,Oahu first then Maui to visit our family who live out there.
The beautiful Aulani resort is located in Ko Olina on the beautiful island of Oahu. We landed at Honolulu International Airport around lunch time and then drove a short very scenic 40 minute drive to Aulani. After many long hours of travel- about 13 to be exact…for us coming from Pennsylvania we were all ready for a little rest and relaxation! I was hopeful to do just that since this resort was voted #1 in the Travel & Leisure Worlds Best Awards 2014 in the category of Top Family Hotels.USA! Here’s my personal review of Aulani.I’m not including everything that the resort has to offer…just our personal experiences at the resort!
We decided as DVC (Disney timeshare holders) to give this resort a try on this trip. We usually try to indulge in nice accommodations and Disney is usually pretty good in living up to just that!Upon arrival we received beautiful Hawaiian leis,my daughter and I recived the most fragrant purple flower leis and my husband and son received the traditional more masculine kukoi nut leis. Those of which we could easily bring home but the flower leis were way to delicate to even attempt,however our villa smelled amazing all week! While valet took care of our car we were invited thru to the open air lobby which is breathtaking! The resort is completely open looking over the pool and gardens and out to the crystal clear lagoon and the ocean…Just Beautiful!
The architecture and decor is beautiful and in my opinion similar to Disneys Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House in Walt Disney World,which is a personal favorite of mine when traveling to WDW.?
About the resort~
The rooms are top notch,spacious and of course beautiful–it’s Disney of course they are! They offer Studios,1,2,3 bedroom villas and various views and pricing. Starting rates are at about $300+per night for a studio and go up from there.We had an ocean view 2 bedroom villa that was absolutlty perfect for our family of four including two teenagers.
Waikolohe Valley ~The Slides,Pools and Water Park-
Having teens at this resort I wasn’t sure what would be the most enjoyable for them…besides iPhones,earbuds,the pool and food!But,let me just say there is plenty to keep everyone young,old and in between happy!One of our favorites was the lazy river,it was a blast for all of us!We made countless tube trips around it and really enjoyed the relaxation of it. It was laid back and lazy but full of laughs and good family fun!
The pools were simply amazing,there’s a family infinity pool that we enjoyed as well as an adult infinity pool that my husband and I got to enjoy often… That’s the nice part about vacationing with teenagers,they don’t really want to hang out with Mom & Dad! There is also a separate adult pool called the Wailana Pool.That is located next to the Spa that is adult only and very serene.If you have small children the resort does offer a kids clubs with a lot of activities that they may enjoy while you sneak away here for a little adult relaxation!
The two slides looked fun for the kids…I’ll take a raincheck on those and have a cocktail poolside! Yes,they have poolside and beach drink and food service available.Our server accidentally gave me the Cucumber Cooler cocktail (a specialty drink that they offer there) instead of the Sugar Cane Mojito that I ordered… That actually turned out to be the most refreshing drink I’d ever had and my favorite drink at the resort! I thanked her for that! The Menehune play area was a huge water park area for kids and adults … Again I’m still enjoying that cocktail! I should mention the Keiki Splash Cove which looked adorable and is recommended for children under five years of age.I simply cannot wait to bring our niece Lydia here to enjoy all of the “little” stuff! There are ample amounts of lounge chairs and tables throughout the resort which is quite accomidating. My husband and I were lucky enough to find private secluded lounge chairs in little coves overlooking the lagoon not directly by the pool which were very nice!
If white sand beaches and breathtakingly blue water is your thing then you need to be here in this lagoon! I’m not one to swim in water that I can’t see the bottom… Well no worries here! It was crystal clear and calm with schools of fish and one crab that was extra friendly with my husband! Truly an experience that will last a lifetime! We enjoyed music by the locals as well because even though the resorts are all private in Hawaii the beaches are not. Aulani does monitor the beach area pretty well as the resort lounge chairs are for guests only.Resort bands are given to resort guests daily.
Things to do~
Rainbow Reef is an awesome area within the Resort adjacent the pool where you can snorkel with tropical fish and also search for Menehune,the mysterious “little” people of the Islands! There are glass look thru areas under a cave at the Reef that you can look thru to watch as people snorkel among all of the fish.Its a great way to spend a few hours!
There are countless excursions that are available to book at the resort.We personally booked the Kualoa Ranch horseback ride thru concierge and it was super convenient,reasonably priced and easy.We were so glad that we were able to go on that ride, it was such an amazing experience that got us really up close and personal with the landscape of Hawaii! We can honestly say that we’d do it again…I’ll be writing a short review about the ranch and ride as well.
There are scenic paths along the ocean and lagoons that meander past the other resorts along the coastline…a great relaxing way to wait for the sun to light the sky on fire! We certainly enjoyed those Hawaiian sunsets!
There are also hula lessons,character beach parties,movies and story telling at sunset which is fun for all!
We loved Ama Ama’s breakfast with its million dollar view and Bloody Mary’s! Our kids preferred doughnuts in the room,poolside or quick service options while we indulged… Their choice!
Off The Hook is the poolside lounge with enchanting views,which my husband and I really enjoyed. Our kids loved the virgin Piña Coladas that the bartender made for them too!
Which means “Bounty of the Islands” was fantastic! It’s an exquisite buffet of seasonal seafood items. Including our favorite Poke,sushi,seaweed salad and Hawaiian salt crusted prime rib to name a few. It was just fabulous and fresh and our service was impeccable to say the least! This restaraurant actually changes the lighting from rose to indigo to match the Hawaiian sunset!
We didn’t eat at all of the restaurants at the resort.Obviously we weren’t interested in any character dining etc.We did enjoy a restaurant a short walk across the street to a place called Monkey Pod.They had a happy hour from 3-5 as well as live music and fabulous food. I’d definitely recommend having a meal there if you’re staying at Aulani. The shopping center has an ABC store which is where you can buy any of your grocery items or anything that you may need on vacation.They sell it all…freshly made salads,sandwiches,alcohol,clothes … Pretty much you name it they have it! And should I also mention at about half the cost of the resort. It’s Disney and you’re in Hawaii so it’s quite pricey! There’s an ice cream shop,coffee shop,clothing and art stores to name a few and quite honestly mostly everyone goes there from the resort. It’s a really nice place to take a relaxing stroll to after dinner and before viewing the sunset.
Laniwai Spa~The beauty of the Islands
This spa is AMAZING! They offer everything and anything you can imagine! Facials,shiatsu massage,reflexogy massage. The Hana Pihaku Lomilomi is a traditional Hawaiian therapy that combines gentle pressure with a hot stone massage. Truly an unforgettable experience! I suggest you indulge in a visit to this Spa! The Hydratherapy garden is a secluded area outside that you can indulge in after any of your massage services… So tranquil and fragrant… It’s an absolute indulgence but well worth it!
So.if you get a chance to visit the most beautiful Aulani resort I’m pretty certain you will love it just like we did! It’s well worth considering and splurge! Hopefully you found a tidbit of information helpful here in my brief personal overview of of our vacation at Disney’s Aulani. We certainly are looking forward to going back to Aulani in the near future!
The beautiful adult infinity pool… So beautiful!