The Kohala Coast to the north, once considered part of Greater Kona in terms of Big Island geography, is developing its own distinct vacation ethic, a task led by Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection. The property recently underwent a $ 200 million renovation that focused on brightening and revitalizing the guest rooms, upgrading the spa, and adding two pools, family and adult infinity pools, to the water options. Perhaps the most impressive upgrade of all is the renovation of Canoe House, the property’s main restaurant, which hits the right culinary notes while balancing luxury and casual comfort, formality and kid-friendliness – and there is no better view as it sits right on Beach.
The extensive lawn of the Mauna Lani offers space for children and adults to run around and play.
The rooms are either on the pool / lawn side or on the quieter north or east side, and since the building is at an angle to the sea, you have a good view from every corner. While the resort vibe is a little more grown up, kids will also enjoy the pool and kids’ club, where they can play under supervision and learn more about Hawaiian culture and history. Danny Akaka, Jr., the resort’s Kahu Hanai (knowledge administrator) is the heart and soul of the property, leading educational tours of the resort’s ancient fish ponds and speaking to guests of all ages.
The property’s common areas exude a paradox of luxury and casual comfort.
There are 295 rooms, 38 suites, and five private bungalows on 32 acres, and in some ways the resort feels like a private island considering how far it is from the main drag.
Just a short walk or drive from the hotel, you can see petroglyphs dating back to 1200 AD.
However, you can easily walk, bike, or moke car (small electric car) around the neighborhood to the Puako Petrogylyph Archaeological Reserve, where you can take a gentle hike to see petroglyphs dating back to 1200 AD , or in the other direction go to the fish ponds where you can dip your feet for a “fish pedicure”.
Try the waters for a “fish pedicure,” a short hike from the resort.
Back at the hotel, the rooms are calm and thoughtfully furnished, minimalist in style with natural elements that anchor the functional aspects. The renovation was led by New York-based Meyer Davis.
The rooms, especially those on the north and east sides of the hotel, are peaceful and quiet.
At the heart of the resort’s experience is the main pool, which has a large deck and full food and drink service, as well as three cabanas at the ocean end. There’s plenty of room for families looking for activity and a huge lawn that leads to the beach where kids run and play, as well as a separate adult pool for a more meditative experience. And there is an oceanfront beach activity center where you can rent equipment and sign up for snorkeling, canoeing, and more lessons.
Snorkeling is usually excellent on Mauna Lani’s main beach.
Tools in the neighborhood in an electric moke car that can be rented from reception.
Mauna Lani’s gourmet restaurant, Canoe House, is a difficult reservation these days. So book well in advance for one of the best dining experiences on the island. Start with the superbly curated wine list to find just the right combination for one of Chef Matt Raso’s elegantly simple fish dishes. General Manager Yuka Raso seamlessly runs the front of the house.
Grilled local fish with Hamakua mushrooms in Mauna Lani’s Canoe House restaurant.
Even a few days at this magical resort will rejuvenate and recharge you and your family and deepen your connection to this beautiful part of Hawaii’s Big Island.