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Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Puako
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 July 2014

Location was perfect with beautiful hotel and rooms were average. The view from every room was beautiful. Staff was very accommodating and rooms were clean. The pictures you see are accurate. We were there with our children and preteen grandchildren. Nature at its best for kids to explore. Could have used some better bicycles for exploring the large facility. Golf course is spectacular.Would like more shops on the grounds and would like to be able to have family dinner on the beach. This is the place you go for perfect weather,relaxation,swimming,kayaking,nature,golfing,exploring volcanoes. In my opinion best on the island for accommodating families. Finding it harder as we travel to find hotels that allow a family of 4 to stay in one room. Would go back to Mauna Lani for sure. Went in the middle of February.

Room Tip: Front facing rooms are the best with full views of the ocean.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Shoutout14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 July 2014

Please don't get fooled by my 4 star rating. (a 4 is great but a 5 i am holding out for spectacular - ie bali bali over the water room)

So you've chosen Hawaii... good for you! We stayed mid July for 9 days.
Mauna Lani resort was a great resort. Located about 75$ cab ride north of KOA on the West side of the island. Despite rain forecast for three days, we never saw a drop as the winds seemed to dry the clouds before they had a chance to rain. (they say if it does rain on the West side to wait 5 minutes or drive 5 miles).. The resort was very clean, the room was ideal. Highlighted by two sinks, great shower, comfortable bed, air conditioning that was just right, nice HD TV, brew your own coffee (but go to the 1st floor coffee shop), large safe. We bought some wine/beer cheese from the local grocery store and kept it in the fridge for snacking! We did not realize there was a little tuck shop in the north wing until later. The pool area apparently has been refurbished last year. While it looked fantastic, we did not use it as we are more beach folks. Yes - there was beach bar service and a nice little bar that served great cocojito's.
Sunsets were fantastic, and the service by staff was excellent. We never needed to get up early to reserve seats by the beach, and the blue covers on the loungers came in handy as the sun was wicked! All sorts of sea life to see at high and low tides.
The beaches are exceptionally clean (not like some where there is rubbish), Walk south to a little cove or along the golf course to get your appetite up before breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Ok now for the "snigglies" - minor irritants.
A $25.00 per day charge for "internet, parking and other stuff". Hey Mauna- come on.. just raise the daily rate or give it back as a credit to drinks/ food / activities bought on site. You don't charge for air conditioning or hot water in the shower..Service charge to kayak or paddle board. (must say that the snorkeling in the lagoon in front was awesome.)
Now back to the WOW..
Rent a car - Discount Hawaii Car rental - but don't pick it up at KOA if you are staying that far north as the taxi to pick up the car is 75 one way (the hotel has a rental agency).
Drive the hell out of the car (go north to the very end where there is a black sand beach), Drive to Kona, and for gosh sakes rent a 4 wheeler and go to Mauna Kea (hint: if you are really flexible check out the moon phases and make sure you book a vacation when there is NO moon as the star gazing will be best!!)( i never considered of that!).
Visit south to Waikoloa where there is a shopping centre.
The resort has "free" bikes to ride to the local mall. Go! Do it! one night there was a festival with dancing and fire show.. quite nice.
If you are a road cyclist, the highway is the IRON MAN road. There is a bike store that rents everything you need to the south of the Mauna Lani.
One day you have to try to visit the "city of refuge", Furthest point south where in the old days if you committed a crime but arrived there before the police got you - you were safe. But it does take 4 hours to drive there....keep an open mind... we stopped at a local roadside stand selling roasted chicken and ribs (total 20.00) and picnic'd at a beach!
Never got to Hilo but i heard it was more lush (aka rainy).. in fact on the Friday to Sunday the hotel booked up more with visitors seeking the sun from Hilo. Imagine that. Leaving paradise to get to paradise.
You can also stay at the bungalows and make use of the facilities at the hotel. Might try a vrbo next time...as there are some stunning properties...
Not sure how the golfing is. Other than it looked like a fantastic course, very lush, but rarely in use. The resort is located near other courses that looked equally fantastic .

We ate at the Canoe restaurant - AWESOME.. pricey.. but AWESOME. Service was impeccable and the food equaled the sunset and ambiance. 630 seating ensures you get a front seat!

Also ate at Sensei restaurant and Lava Lava in Waikoloa. The Seafood buffet at the hotel was also very good.

Breakfast we ate several times at the hotel. Watch out for the birds attacking your food. Coconut pineapple french toast with Ginger syrup - can you say heaven..

There was also a "Japanese" traditional breakfast that i wanted but it was rather steep....oh well.

I was there on my 25th.. no kids.
It was perfect.. alas, if you want nightlife, i would suggest you stay in Kona or even in Waikoloa. Our hotel was quiet and more out of the way. Just the way i envisioned.

Room Tip: room 480 was awesome. Ocean view, close to the front of the hotel. You may want to ask for a room...
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
7  Thank zipidydoodah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2014

First stay at Mauna Lani and experience could not have been better. I have wanted to stay at the Four Seasons for years, but we've never been able to afford it. I have to say, I may never stay there because I liked the Mauna Lani so much. I also found it to be excellent value considering the prices in the area. We usually stay at the Marriott Waikoloa, but decided to go with the Mauna Lani because the package we got (one night free with breakfast for two) actually made the price comparable to the Marriott. While the Marriott is a very decent option for the area, it just doesn't compare in terms of service, style, and amenities to the Mauna Lani. The new pool area was awesome, staff excellent, food excellent (including of course the excellent Canoe House, but also the beach/pool cafe), awesome grounds, etc. It's an older hotel, but they've done a great job with the renovations. Unlike some of the "brand" resorts, Mauna Lani has a definite high-end boutique feel to it, despite the fact that it's a larger property. Lots of lovely personal touches--free bikes, free water in rooms, free towels to take off property! (I'm so sick of having to sign out towels), no trouble swimming in the pool or hot tubs "after hours", no problem ordering food or a drink anywhere you like on the property. The staff is very respectful of your privacy unless you need something and then they go out of their way to provide it. It's very civilized, private, and romantic. I've not gone to the the Mauna Kea, but if you're choosing between resorts in Kohalan (Fairmont Orchid, Mauna Lani, Marriott, Hilton, etc)--go Mauna Lani. We definitely hope to return.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank PorkLauLau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2014

I spent 7 nights at the Maurna Lani while attending a conference at the nearby Fairmont Orchid because the Orchid was full when I registered for the conference. I expected a second tier experience from the independently owned ML but was nicely surprised by the many positive aspects of the resort (mentioned in other reviews) that had me wishing my family were along and wondering how I could plan to return with them soon. For the business traveler who has seen a lot of high end hotels/resorts there is not much new at the ML but the overall design of the 6 or seven floor very open atrium design combined with a genuine aloha spirit and a sense of slower, non-frenetic pace produce actual relaxation during non business hours.
Highlights: Open, ocean breeze design of the 30+ year old design means out of the sun chillin/relaxing - "chillaxin" actually happens in the massive atrium and restaurant areas. Three "indoor" Palms, falling water around the stairs - atrium pond with young sea turtles bring the life and sounds of Hawaii into the cool breeze-swept areas. Another pond area has a young hammerhead shark making the rounds. Pool area has plenty of comfortable seating and the pool is 6 foot or less deep. Hot tubs are there for those who need to warm their bones. Beyond the pool is the bar with limited food options but great local beers available. I especially liked the Longboard Ale which I enjoyed while watching the sunset from adairondack chairs behind the beach. The beach faces directly west and is lined with shaded cabanas that are free to guests. Free snorkel gear can be checked out and used to have a look under the water right off the beach but a short 10 minute walk to the south to a second, more public, beach gives better views of much more coral and fish. I was looking for a hammock but was told they were just removed and new ones are on order. Hammocks would be a welcome addition to the beach. To some the whole experience may seem slow, quiet, calming, or even a bit isolated but the reality is that that is just what I needed - to slow down, not think about work, not be activity or nightlife driven and maybe even read a book for a change or nap in a warm cabana. The property and rooms are well maintained, comfortable and inviting with a background of soothing Hawaiian music. Since Hawaii is a tropical island there is the ever-present sea breeze, sun, clouds and occasional rain but being from Kansas the wind makes me feel at home and the weather is great for growing coffee and the sun is there for some judicious daily exposure after a slathering of sun block. There is a downstairs coffee/bar area and a terrace restaurant which seems surprisingly adequate for everyone. The Canoe House restaurant is on site as well but I did not stop in. I also did not try room service which might not even be available. The ocean view rooms are nice but not necessary to an enjoyable time here. I often work on my computer in my room and it is nice to enjoy the pool/ocean view during work time. There are some shops nearby and more down the road a couple of miles with some good restaurants as well. Hawaii is a bit more expensive and harder to get to than other destinations but worth considering as an alternative to the Caribbean island-type experience.

Room Tip: Ocean view rooms or partial ocean view are nice and classic for a Hawaii vacation but they definitel...
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled on business
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Michael W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2014 via mobile

If (when??) I return to the Big Island, I will be back here for sure!

I can tell you that we felt that we were at a private resort with the attention & focus we received...

Also, the activities at the cultural center give you a chance to create memories as a family!

The beach access is right there...& the pool was nice!

Our room was beautiful... 2 queen beds for our family & we LOVED the open air feel of the hotel! We looked at the turtles every single day!

Loved this hotel! Sad to leave....

Stayed: July 2014
Thank LK6578
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2014

If you are skeptical about the Mauna Lani, you are in the same boat we were in before our phenomenal stay and my goal of this review is to help you make your decision. I was extremely intrigued by the overwhelming positive reviews and high rankings on countless travel sites yet I was concerned about the facility itself based on photos alone. I'm not ashamed to admit I prefer to stay in the "best of the best". While the Mauna Lani indeed is an older hotel with dated architecture, the spacious rooms have been beautifully updated, offer unbeatable ocean views, private lanai's with louvered doors in addition to the sliding glass allowing you to keep the breeze flowing in all night and a beach right outside the door. While the hotel doesn't have the "Wow Factor" that will take your breath away, the experience itself and service from staff gives you that feeling throughout your stay. While it's fun to show pictures of the fancy places we go, honestly, this trip felt better than any we've been on in many, many years!
Every single staff member from Valet to Bartenders to Concierge went above and beyond in service. Being greeted at check-in with shell lei's, fresh squeezed tropical juice and chilled lavender towels was a perfect touch. Our room was ready when we arrived, even though we were a couple hours before check-in. The Pool Bar is a great place to hang out - Gil is absolutely the most amazing crafter of Mai Tai's and super entertaining. Note: Be careful, the Mai Tai's are not typical "juicy resort drinks" and two of them will have you spinning! Happy Hour drinks are very reasonable and VERY well poured plus the food is extremely reasonable. The Ahi Poke WonTon's were fantastic!
Over all, possibly the most enjoyable part of our stay was the fact that we never once encountered any of the "Snob Factor" that is rampant at most high end resorts (Four Seasons, Fairmont, etc). We met lots of wonderful people (think "Cheers" style at happy hour), some of who have been coming annually for over 15 years right back to Mauna Lani! We felt comfortable whether we were dressed up or just came in off the beach. The cabanas are plentiful and there's always plenty to choose from (forget that morning rush to take "dibs" on a cabana). Snorkeling is incredible right at the hotel. Your daily resort fee (only $25) includes valet parking, Wi-Fi, two bottles of water in your room daily, snorkeling gear rental daily, 10% off at the spa (OH, THE SPA WAS AMAZING!!!), and many other discounts and perks.
Rounding out a wonderful stay was the hospitality room offered on our day of checkout. The desk was happy to offer us a late checkout but when we mentioned how incredibly late our flight was, they offered us the use of their hospitality suite. We were able to come back to the hotel before our flight to a pristine room to shower and refresh before our flight. VERY APPRECIATED.
We most certainly will be back, very soon, to the Mauna Lani and this time, with no hesitation at all! Trust the reviews and have a beautiful vacation!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank Kim D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2014

Our second stay at Mauna Lani for my wife and family in 18 months, and we will undoubtedly be back again. This resort has so much space. Its very easy to find a beautiful quiet spot in any of the public areas to read a book or just contemplate the beauty of the design, particularly the atrium gardens and fish ponds. Apparently average annual occupancy rates across the whole of the Big Island are 55% , compared to 80% in Oahu, and this is the part of Hawaii that really reflects the concept of Island time. The resort still has plenty of activities though, the daily schedule had my daughters doing yoga and the guided snorkelling experience was excellent too. The reef alongside the resort gives a combination of sheltered swimming and spectacular drop offs into the deep blue Pacific, and the views and walks along the coast are stunning. Missing it already!

Room Tip: Pool view rooms are slightly cheaper than absolute ocean front and the views still extend along the...
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank bath25years
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:
Region: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Kohala Coast > Puako
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 Spa Hotel in Puako
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Puako
Price Range: £246 - £389 (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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