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“AVOID. 6am noisy construction.”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“AVOID. 6am noisy construction.”
Reviewed 3 February 2013 via mobile

nice pool and jaccuzi albeit overcrowded as they overbuilt time share component that shares hotel grounds.

They currently are under construction To increase pool size space.

Would avoid if you want to sleep after 7am. They're not allowed to do noisy work before 8am yet that didnt stop property from violating its own and possibly local rules.

twice this week on two separate days. The managers confirmed that they're not allowed to do work before 8am but when I and multiple others notified them they didnt seem to take it seriously.

Everything here is overpriced as you would expect.

  • Stayed January 2013
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3 Thank Bluelabelmalt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Prior Lake, MN
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 February 2013

We love Hawaii and are also Disney Vacation Club members so we were very excited about this trip. However, when we first visited the Aulani site in 2010 we weren't so sure. Aulani is on the south side of the island, but some distance to the West from Waikiki Beach and many of the attractions. The mountains are more rocky and the area doesn't have the green, mountainous look you expect when you think of Hawaii. However, the location is probably the only negative, and we even worked that to our advantage.

Our arrival started the vacation as I would have hoped as we were greeted promptly at the front drive and immediately became consumed in the friendliness and splendor of this resort. As the valet was taking our rental vehicle, we were offered flavored ice water as a hostess gathered our name and gave us a quick overview of what we could expect the next week.

To conserve vacation club points, we chose a standard view room which looked out at the convention center. Not a great view, but exactly what we expected based on the category we booked. The room was immaculate. I realize the resort was only a year old at the time, but they are obviously taking care to keep it clean and fresh. The size was typical for a vacation club room and the amenities in the room were exactly as expected. I like the idea of 2 separate beds in the living area so my teen son and daughter didn't share a bed. However, the bed that is hidden in the amoire was somewhat small, better suited for a child. My daughter fit fine, she's about 5'5", but said because it was under the tv it felt somewhat claustrophic. Overall, the room was delightful and we had no issues with functionality or cleanliness. We even found a few very subtle "hidden mickeys" throughout the room which pleased us as Disney fans.

After getting settled in the room, we ventured out to explore the resort. If you've ever been to Wilderness Lodge at Disney World, you will have a similar feeling here. It definately has that "wow" factor when you walk down the main walkway with high arched ceilings, beautiful furnishings and seating areas. Very peaceful without feeling stuffy. There's a large gift shop with food as well as a nice excursion planning area right near the main lobby. Always keep your eyes open, as there are little surprises scattered throughout the resort. Also in this area you can pick up the daily newsletter of events. Lots of activities throughout the day, some cost additional, some are included in the stay.

There are so many small details here that I can't begin to remember them all. There's an underwater viewing area of tropical fish, a stingray encounter for extra charge, a snorkeling adventure for extra charge, and a great water park. With the ocean steps away, the huge waterpark seemed strange to me, but my family greatly enjoyed it. The water park has "real" slides as my daughter calls them. These are slides where you can gain some speed and are quite long. Most of the water slides at the Disney World resorts are somewhat short and boring for teens and above.

Leaving the water park you will need to pass through a gate to get to the ocean. This is to keep outside traffic from entering the Aulani water park area as you need a key to re-enter the Aulani grounds. You also must wear a wrist band when using the water park facilities.

The area of the ocean is near perfect, but probably for a little younger families. The resort sits on a manmade lagoon which blocks the big waves of the ocean and is perfect for swimming and playing in the water. Because the lagoon is sheltered, my teens thought it was somewhat boring compared to the full waves on Waikiki Beach, but for younger kids and anxious parents the lagoon is perfect. We did a snorkeling excursion, so we didn't snorkel at the resort, but several individuals said the fish loved the rocky area at the edge of the lagoon and the snorkeling was very good to see fish.

A couple of things that aren't advertised much, but were great are the Starlit Hui and the handheld adventure game. The Starlit Hui was as good a show, or better, than we've seen at the Luaus that you have to pay for. There is no food, but the show is very good. There's also a special surprise at the end, but I don't want to give it away. The other pleasant surprise was the small handheld adventure game that can be checked out. It's like a mobile phone or small tablet that tells a story and is a kind of treasure hunt. The main character gives you clues and then when you find the location based on the clues, something special happens when you get there. Again, I don't want to give away the "surprises", but I think this can be enjoyed by young children with a little help, as well as older children as my teen loved it. There are 2 set of adventures outside in the water park area and 1 inside the building. There are a lot of other activities, but these were 2 of our favorites. We also enjoyed the storytelling at the fire and the ukelele lesson, both are no additional charge.

The counter service was good, but expensive, as are most meals in Hawaii. We ate at AmaAma one afternoon for lunch and my entire family thought that it may have been the best restaurant meal we've ever had. Part of it could have been eating it while we overlooked the ocean, but all 4 of our entrees were excellent. Again pricy, but even McDonalds is expensive in Hawaii.

Back to the location. Even though the area is not near Honolulu and all of the restaurants and attractions there, there have been some things that have opened within walking distance. Across the road are a couple of small strip malls that have a few restaurants, as well as a convenience store. We also were able to use the location to our advantage as we booked a snorkeling excursion out of the harbor that is part of the KoOlina resort area and is walking distance. We also did a shark encounter which was in the Northwest area of the island, which although we needed to drive to it, was still closer than getting there from Honolulu.

If you've kept with the review this long, you'll realize we loved our stay at Aulani. The staff was great, the rooms were great, and the amenities are great. Our only hesitation at all is that there isn't the convenience factor of everything that is in the Waikiki Beach area such as Diamond Head and Haunama Bay.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
12 Thank dtauer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tiburon, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 January 2013 via mobile

Excellent vacation. Not Maui and not Honolulu but that's why its perfect. Quiet, beautiful beaches and relaxing. This is the place to go to relax. We did not rent a car and were fine. If you want yo go to Honolulu or Waikiki they have a shuttle.

Dining choices are not the best. Monkeypod just opened and is really good. Just across the street from hotel. Roys is a free shuttle ride away.

This is the spot to go if you've been to Hawaii before and done alll the tourist stuff.

Lets not forget this is a Disney resort. I don't think the staff is allowed to say no.

They offered to drive us to Roys. Walked us to the beach instead if just giving directions.
I don't think trash is allowed on the property. It is spotless.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank chefjohn57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palm Desert, California
Level 6 Contributor
178 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 January 2013

We recently stayed 5 days at Aulani, it was our first stay here and it was a family Christmas treat as we stayed Dec 23rd to Dec 28th. Overall this is a gorgeous property, we had a pool view, which we paid extra for and was happy with what we got, our room was very clean (kinda on the small side) but we were happy. Housekeeping was not consistent as most days we had to call to have it done, as this was in the afternoon. Staff all-round were very friendly and helpful. The pools were very clean and well serviced with food & bar service. We have one son 11years and this place was just heaven for him, he had the freedom to swim & get shaved ice, drinks etc without us having to watch him all the time, great lifeguards everywhere. The pool/lazy river area is where we spent most of our time, my husband and I relaxed while our son had fun doing all the water activities. Overall we had a great stay, the construction that was going on never bothered us once, it was very discreet. The food overall was good, a lot of people complain about no variety, but for our 5 days it was plenty. We will return but not in the winter months, though it was warm, it was not hot and it was very windy, which kept the pool water cold. I recommend going in the warmer months to get the full island enjoyment.

Room Tip: As this is Disney the better the view the more $$$, choose wisely.
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Newlifenotinoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
850 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 387 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 January 2013

We stayed at Aulani in January 2013, just a few days before the Pro Bowl, and we saw many pro-bowlers at the hotel like Jason Witten, Ndamakong Suh, and Matt Schaub...pretty cool!
I want to take some time to give you some tips when visiting Aulani, as well as give you the reasons why I didn't give Aulani full marks, even though I really wanted to.
So first tip, and this is a biggie...if you're not a Disney Vacation Club member, then you seriously need to look into "Renting" Vacation club points. The whole thing might seem complicated and definitely not the normal way you'd go about booking a hotel, but in the long run, you will save about 50%-60% off the sticker price of the rates they advertise through the Aulani website. If you're bent on going to Aulani, but can't pay the $450 a night minimum...you have to look into this.
There are several sites that rent Vacation club owner's points to renters, for about $10-$12 per point. You can check out the point breakdowns on one of their websites, but again if you plan on staying at any Disney hotel, you will save about 50% off of what Disney advertises to regular customers. It's a completely legit website, it's how we stayed at Aulani, and quite frankly, I wouldn't stay at Disney any other way.
There are also some added perks when staying at Aulani under the DVC points; namely parking. If you stay at Aulani on a regular booking parking at Aulani is going to cost you $35 per day!!! Holy crap! No one wants to pay for parking, especially when it's that much. With the DVC booked stay, you'll get free self-parking. That alone is good enough reason for me.
They also have a laundry room on the first floor of each tower, which is entirely free when staying on DVC points. All you have to do is ask the front desk for the tokens for the washer, dryer, and detergent, and you'll be all set. This is a great asset, as we were on a 2 week total trip, and it was great to not have to pack 2 weeks worth of clothes.
The only real downside to staying on DVC points is you will not get a daily maid service. They change your towels on the 3rd day of your stay and do a full cleaning on day 4. I think it's a small compromise for all the savings and perks you get. The other small downside is the points are non-refundable and you can't upgrade your room with cash after it's been booked. Just make sure you are sure when you book it!
Alright, another great tip is there are water dispensers all around the pool area. We had 2 water bottles that we just filled up by the pool every morning, so we didn't waste extra money buying bottled water.
As far as the hotel goes, it's one of the most spectacular places you'll ever stay. When we first checked in, a bellman took our bags up to our room, we were greated with fruit infused elixir, a lei greeting, a short tour of the lobby, some pictures and a pretty breezy process altogether. You really feel welcomed and at ease the second you arrive.
The pool area is fantastic. The lazy river was a place that we spent a good part of our vacation. The pool was fantastic, there are multiple spas around the pool area, and one is kind of hidden and tucked away above the lazy river, which was a great spot for some privacy. The menehune bridge is a splash area for kids, and there are multiple places to eat around the pool. There are also 2 waterslides, one tube ride, and one regular slide.
The Ko Olina cove is a wonderful, gentle water cove for snorkeling, learning to paddle board, swimming and just laying in the sun. It's a wonderful property, and I can't nothing had been built on it until last year.
The food is all extremely expensive, and there's really no way around it. For breakfast I'd recommend the KOA Pancake house, which is super cheap and super good and is just a few miles from Aulani.
Aulani also has some nightly events which are great for entertainment. Make sure to check your daily Iwa which you can get at the front desk or at the host stand of the major restaurants at Aulani. It will tell you character greeting times, and event times and locations. The Star Lit Hui was a great way to end the day, afterwards, all the characters are available for a short time for some photos. If you want to get photos with the characters, I strongly suggest you read the Iwa and plan accordingly. They also have movie nights on the lawn, with a pretty incredible sound system and large screen. Another great way to wind down in the evening.
Also, on the day you check out, you can still hang out at the pool before your flight. There's a great little lounge area located on the 1st floor of Ewa Tower where you can shower off, store your stuff in free-of-charge lockers, and there is a room for kids to watch a movie, play some board games, read a book, or play a video game.
So now for the reason I couldn't give Aulani full marks. I'm leaving anything petty out of this. The main reason is sleep quality... and I feel this is an issue with all Disney hotels. The beds are simply uncomfortable and stiff. In our room we had a queen, which we are a bit disappointed with as we normally sleep in a King. The way the room is designed, the air conditioner blows the air right over the bed, and the air falls near the sliding door at the end of the room, making it incredibly warm in the bed. By the end of the trip, we had pulled out the sofa bed and slept on it. I don't understand how hotels like Hampton Inn, Sheraton's and Westin's have the sleep quality down to a science, with uber comfortable beds, and Disney continues to miss the mark. It's something they really need to address.
Another big concern was all the construction. If you are staying in the tower to the right of the lobby, then you are in the middle of jackhammering, sawing, and all kinds of slamming noises, and it's just not ideal for your Hawaiian vacation. I think Disney did a pretty poor job of anticipating the volume they'd receive at Aulani, and now the people who have planned a vacation there, shortly after they first opened their doors, are having to endure construction noise. I think Disney really dropped the ball on this one, and there really is no recompense for the noise. They gave us a collectible pin for the trouble...woohoo...
Also, I feel like Disney really drops the ball with catering to younger children, 2 and under. The Aunty's beach house is only open to kids 3 and up, so parents of younger kids have no way to have some private for themselves. Also the menehune bridge is way too intense for kids that young. Our 16 month old couldn't handle all the chaos there, and it would be nice if they built a smaller play area for younger kids...which I think that might be planned in the current construction.
Overall, Aulani is so great, you really don't need to leave the hotel ever. Infact after our 5 day stay, we kept saying that we wished we had another 2 days just to enjoy the hotel, as we had ventured out a few times for a whale watching excursion, and a tour of the island. It's well worth it to go to Aulani, but once again, check into renting points! It's super legit, and will make an Aulani vacation more reasonable for you.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
11 Thank jrobba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 January 2013

My husband and I enjoyed a wonderful week at Aulani in a Studio Room w/Island Garden View (we are DVC members). The resort was breathtaking, the room was very nice and clean, and all of the cast members were extremely friendly and helpful. We really enjoyed the pools/lazy river - even though the river can get a little cold because so much of it is in the shade (we were there in January). The beach is great as well because it's part of a lagoon, so the large waves do not make it past the rock wall barrier. The food at the resort was expensive, but it's a combination of Disney and Hawaii, so we knew to expect that. The first time we had the buffet for dinner it was really good and all of the food was hot, the second time we ate there the food was not near as good. There are plenty of restaurants in the next town over (Kapolei), and we ate a lot of meals there. I can't wait to go back again!

Room Tip: We were in room 985, which was an Island Gardens View. We could actually see the ocean though!
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank AJackson08_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orlando, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 January 2013

We returned yesterday from a week long stay at Aulani. The resort is breathtaking. The rooms are very well appointed. We stayed in a studio villa that includes a small fridge and microwave. We had a "garden/islands view" but we could see the ocean as well as gardens. The rooms were quiet except for times when our next door neighbor's children were having a super loud play time.

The hotel is still under construction as there are two areas that are being worked on. The construction noise was minimal and you could not hear it inside the building. It was only slightly bothersome when dining at Ama Ama and when sitting on the beach or at the pool. This should be done by mid year.

The beach at Aulani is amazing with pretty much no waves. The sunset from Aulani's beach is perfect. The lazy river and pool are great fun and were never too full when we used them. The other amenities were great too. The Starlit Hui was wonderful as well as the storytelling by the firepit at night. Make sure you get your Daily Ewa (newsletter) each day to take advantage of all that is happening at the resort.

Overall, I would stay here again in a heartbeat. The area is beautiful, the hotel is amazing and the cast members are some of the friendliest I've ever met. You will not be disappointed.

Room Tip: Higher rooms in the "garden" view may have a view of the ocean.
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank GregnJen123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Property: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Address: 92-1185 Ali'inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707-4434
Region: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Kapolei
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 819
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Also Known As:
Aulani, a Disney Resort And Spa In Hawai`i
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa In Hawai`i Hotel Kapolei
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