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“Genuinely warm service and its unique architecture make this hotel shine admist other top resorts on the Big Island”

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Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Puako
Certificate of Excellence
san francisco
Level Contributor
117 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Genuinely warm service and its unique architecture make this hotel shine admist other top resorts on the Big Island”
Reviewed 24 June 2010

To put this and my other reviews of hotels in Hawaii, I have vacationed in Hawaii over the last 15 years and stayed at almost every top notch resort on the Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, and Maui. Every resort has something unique to offer. I always find myself coming back for at least a few days to the Mauna Lani. What sets the Mauna Lani apart - hands down - from the other resorts on the Big Island is it genuinely warm service and integration of the hotel and the exterior environment. There are palm trees, fish ponds, birds, and other natural features literally within the hotel itself. The hotel is compared to the other top resorts on the Big Island actually a good value.

In addition, the Spa at the Mauna Lani - both with respect to the quality of the treatments and natural setting - is heads-and-shoulders above the Four Seasons, both of which I have had the occasion to frequent on multiple trips. It also is better than the spa at the Mauna Kea.

The Canoe House restaurant at the Mauna Lani is equal in quality, service, and setting to Browns at the Fairmount, and Monettes at the Mauna Kea (which suffers only slightly from a somewhat disadvantaged setting). The Canoe House is also superior to the fine dining option available at the Four Seasons.

The pool is more than adequate, quite nicely outfitted with chaises and daybeds. There are two well-sized jacuzzis as well.

There are only three drawbacks to this hotel that I presently see. First, the beach (where service could still be improved) itself is not as certainly not equal to the beach at either the Mauna Kea or Hapuna resorts - both of which exceed any of the other hotel beaches on the Big Island. That said, the beach itself is better than the beach at the Four Seasons. Second, the rooms, including the bathrooms and lanais, are not quite on par with the comfort and features offered in the rooms at either the Four Seasons or the Mauna Kea resorts, even if comparable in size. The hotel has, however, recently updated its furnishings throughout. The bathroom does offer one unique feature not at any other hotel on the Big Island: a fantastic toilet that is an experience unto itself. The fitness center offers less than the Four Seasons and is more on par with the Mauna Kea, both of which are certainly adequate enough.

Despite its drawbacks, go and experience the place for yourself, while there is still some aloha spirit left on the Big Island, and especially at the Mauna Lani. Overall, four and one-half stars out of five.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank topaccommodations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 June 2010

It had been over ten years since my last visit to the Mauna Lani Bay.... but the hotel looks as fresh and beautiful as my very first visit in the early 1990's. The ambiance is quiet, elegant and very Hawaiian---and the rooms are lovely after a very recent renovation. I was a bit worried that the hotel might be showing signs of age---but I found the public rooms, gardens and grounds to be perfectly maintained---I was very impressed.

In the past years I have stayed at the Four Seasons resorts in Hawaii....but will now add the Mauna Lani Bay on the list for a most relaxing and authentic Hawaiian escape.

Don't miss the outdoor massage at the Spa....it was lovely!

Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank Clefsdorsf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 June 2010

Just returned from an eight-night stay at the Mauna Lani.

A few rambling thoughts. First and foremost, everything about our stay was just about perfect.

Service. The best I've ever received. Anywhere you turned, you could not avoid a smiling face, waiting to assist you whatever you needed, whether it was clean towels, cold water or more coffee. If service is important to you, then this is your place.

Grounds. In every corner, there were turtles, fish, eels, birds, and even turkeys. Each morning, the staff were busy manicuring this pristine property. The beach was very protected, and provided great snorkeling and swimming. We saw nicer beaches on the island, but this one had everything that we desired.

Building. A few posted have noted that the building is older. That's true. But the property has been well-maintained. Our partial ocean view room (a complimentary upgrade) was spacious, comfortable and well decorated. The lanai was a terrific place to eat meals and snacks, and to read the paper in the mornings. There's a fridge in each room, which you can stock with whatever you wish from the market that is about a quarter mile up the street. It has everything you need. The main common areas are covered, but are all open air spaces, giving the hotel a breezy, comfortable feel from all angles.

Free stuff. Parking, coffee (in the mornings), snorkel gear, shuttle service to the market, ice creams by the pool at random times, and other stuff I've forgotten to mention. The folks here don't try to nickel and dime you. With that said, the food here is expensive. No matter the meal, it's difficult to forget that you are in Hawaii at an exclusive resort, and a meal doesn't come cheap. I highly recommend a rental car so you can drive to some cheaper (delicious) local spots, and to explore this wonderfully diverse island.

We could not have been any happier with our stay. From check-in to check--out, we were overwhelmed with the pampering, the beauty of the hotel / grounds and the relaxed nature of the surroundings. If another trip to The Big Island is in the cards for us, there is no other hotel we would consider but the Mauna Lani.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank chikinz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Albuquerque, NM
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 12 June 2010

We just spent a week at the Mauna Lani on our honeymoon, and it was wonderful. The setting and the hotel itself are beautiful.

We had reserved a standard room, but upon check-in we were upgraded to an oceanview room. (From what I could tell, all of the rooms have ocean views -- there may be a handful on the ground floor near the back that do not.). Our room was spacious, well equipped, and we had a great view from our lanai. The resort is on the western coast of the Big Island, so you have the sunset over the water every night.

The service the entire week was impeccable. At check-in, you are given a glass of juice, a cold hand towel, and a lei. Everyone was friendly and attentive, but not intrusive. For instance, when we picked up our car one morning, the valet deduced -- apparently from our attire and hour of departure -- that we were going to the volcano that day, and gave us an umbrella to take along.

The hotel has a nice beach, lined with cabanas and hammocks. We never had any trouble finding an available spot. The area in front of the main beach is suitable for swimming, and there is also decent snorkeling right there. The snorkel equipment is free for guests' use. There are also some pretty gardens and fish ponds around the resort, and a great number and variety of birds around.

The week we were there, the resort was very quiet. Some of that is probably due to the timing of our visit (the first week of June, which is not high season), but some of it I think is just the serene nature of the place. They do offer some activities, but mainly you spend your time there lounging at the beach or pool, or strolling along the shoreline. It is a huge contrast to the Hilton Waikoloa resort down the roach, which feels a lot like Disneyland or Las Vegas.

It was nice that a lot of the amenities were complimentary, such as the snorkeling equipment. Valet parking is also free (though you do need to tip the valet). Every morning, there is complimentary Kona coffee from 6 to 8:30. I'm not sure about wireless internet in the rooms; we didn't bring our computers and didn't miss them, but there is internet access for 50c/minute in the business center. The additional services can be quite expensive, but you should probably expect that anywhere. For instance, stand-up paddleboarding lessons are about $70 (how hard can it be?). Lunch consisting of a fish sandwich, a burger, and two beers was about $55. Watching a movie in your room is $12 or $13. And the spa services for us were prohibitively priced -- so we decided to venture into Kailua-Kona for cheaper massages.

The Mauna Lani made for a beautful, relaxing vacation. We highly recommend it, and we would not hesitate to go back.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank mehitabel9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wyoming, Michigan
Level Contributor
69 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 June 2010

Pros: Free Upgrade for us (and after reading looks like for many others as well), Relaxed, Free Amenities (Snorkeling, Ice Cream at the Pool, Beach Chairs, Bikes, ,Hammocks, Guided Hikes, etc.), Quiet, Sprawling, Very clean, Some stand-out staffers, Understated but Classy, Housekeeping worked later-thus no knocking at 8:30 a.m.

Cons: Needs some updating, Gym (not attached to hotel) needs updating-a little small, Late-night dinging menu is sparse (for those coming in on late flights, area restaurants close early), Restaurants are pricey (Bay Terrace very good-Ocean Grill not so much).

Every place has pros and cons, but this is a place that is special. With the deals you can get, this is worth spending some time at.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Gregsfinds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 June 2010

We planned this trip as an incentive to our premium clients; we also took along our children. This is a great place for all ages, you have the choice of many activities throughout the day or just to sit at the beach and enjoy the view. You really do not need to leave once you get there! The service was fantastic no matter if you were at the valet or at the pool, all staff were extremely accomodating. My kids especially loved the free ice cream handed out at the pool every afternoon!
The sunset sail right from the hotel was great and heard the snorkel sail was wonderful too! Tennis courts were newly resurfaced and in great condition. The snorkeling on the south beach is awesome, saw eels, turtles and 100s of fish. If you would like a beach with more waves, Hapuna beach is a short drive north. Another plus?Children can run around freely without constant supervision.
Also loved free coffee every morning and free laundry room if needed.

Stayed June 2010, travelled on business
Helpful?
Thank JenniMil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 June 2010

This resort is a wonderful resort. Beautiful beaches, beautifully maintained property, clean as a pin, fantastic spa, wonderful staff/service, food that is amazing....I have had two GREAT experiences at this resort. (Both of trips were incentive awards trips for sales contests that either myself or my significant other won through our employers.)

The only ever-so-slight negatives I would say about this resort (if I were being picky) is that the hotel itself is in need of some updating. The common areas have an older feel to them and could use some more modern touches. The rooms are very comfortable but also could use some sprucing up. We went during a very busy time of year and the pool is SMALL, so you had to get down there early to get a chair. Also, the gym/spa is in an entirely seperate building that is quite a ways away from the main hotel (You need to take a shuttle to the spa/gym.) Not necessarily a bad thing...just takes some extra time. But once there you will not be disappointed. The gym is FANTASTIC - probably the best I have ever seen at a hotel, and I had the best spa treatments in the world at this resort.

Overall, the BIG Island is fabulous. Such a different/unique place to go and see and so much to do. It will not disappoint and neither will the Mauna Lani Bay!

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank Teri '
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

Property: 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
Amenities:
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 On the Beach Hotel in Puako
#3 Luxury Hotel in Puako
#3 Spa Hotel in Puako
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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