View Full Version : Mauni Laui Hawaii Trip? Anyone been?

MAD about DIZ
02-20-2003, 12:51 PM
My wife and I are thinking about a trip to Hawaii and want to use our DVC points. Has anyone been to the resort in Hawaii that is in the Member guide? If so, what was your impression?

02-20-2003, 05:08 PM
I can not help you, but if you do go. Would you make sure to post a report that resort looks like it would be marvelous and something we also would be interested in, Thanks.

02-20-2003, 05:31 PM
First of all, welcome to the boards! I see that this is your first post. Great to have you here!

Yes, I spent 8 wonderful days at the Mauna Lani last Easter. It is a drop-dead beautiful resort, really first class. Because we knew it would be a 5-star place, we were concerned that we would feel out of place somehow. You know, the country bumpkin feeling. But that wasn't the case at all. While it is classy, it is also very comfortable and the staff is so welcoming. We never once felt out of place.

We opted to stay in a mountain/garden view room in order to use less points. We weren't in our room much anyway, so the view didn't really matter to us. That turned out to be a good choice for us. By total luck, we also wound up in a very spacious room, apparently bigger than most. Not sure why, but we didn't mind! ;)

The rooms have a small frig, so we kept stuff on hand for breakfast and most lunches in the room. That helped us out because the restaurants at the resort are very expensive. We did eat out though at a nearby resort that had a nice food court and at other places when we drove down to Kona. We also had one nice dinner there at the hotel, and the food was excellent.

We don't golf, but the Mauna Lani is known for 2 world class golf courses. They also have an outstanding spa. The beach is small in area, but they supply snorkeling stuff and other water equipment free of charge. The pool was really enjoyable. Service at the hotel was exceptional. Twice a day housekeeping, cold towels brought around on a tray at the pool, certainly poolside waiter service, children's programs, very knowledgable and eager-to-help desk staff, etc. The pampering starts already at checkin time. We were greeted with beautiful fresh leis, escorted to comfortable chairs at a desk, and served fresh fruit juice while we checked in.

A rental car would be a must, since the resort is pretty much secluded. We enjoyed exploring the island on our own, but we also booked a Circle Island tour one day. That was terrific!

When I made the reservation through Disney, they told me that there was a special going on. One free night for every four you stay. So we were there 8 nights for only 7 nights' worth of points. Others on this board have referred to a more recent special that also includes free breakfast at the hotel. Wish that had been available for us! Anyway, if you decide to check this out, be sure to ask if there are any specials going on.

One more thing. The hotel is very long in the direction going AWAY from the ocean. (Does that make sense?) So rooms that are categorized as partial ocean view could have a pretty nice view of the water. But they could also have a pretty poor view of the water. The ones categorized as full ocean view are just that. Directly facing the ocean, and pretty close to water's edge.

Others on this board may have more information for you. I know that some have booked other Hawaii resorts through the World Passport Collection, for fewer points. The Mauna Lani was our choice for several reasons, and we didn't regret anything about it. We would go back in a heartbeat! :sunny:

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions. Again, it's great to have you on the boards! :D

02-21-2003, 06:27 AM
I have to agree 100% with travelbugs' eloquent assessment. The Mauna Lani is our very favorite non Disney Resort and have visited approximately 7 times. There is a quiet, understated elegance that permeates everything from guest relations to accomodations. The spirit of Aloha is alive and well. How many resorts have hired a full time Hawaiin Historian to assure this like Mauna Lani has? Not many I'll bet.
The rooms are very spacious. Approximately the same size as Contemporary at WDW, but with marble baths and teak trim. The beach was carved out of a lava flow and has protected breakers to make for outstanding snorkeling.
Most rooms are approximately the same size, so the point difference reflects only the view, but even garden/mountain views are spectacular and would be the choice view elswhere.
One of our favorite restaurants is the Canoe House located on the beach with alfresco dining featuring pacific rim cuisine to die for. Another option I might mention is that there are a series of villas adjacent to the hotel that offer one, two or three bedroom condominiums. While not available for points they can be relatively affordable since they have kitchen facilities, when factoring in food costs in Hawaii which can be pretty steep. There are several realtors/ consolidators which offer them at a deep discount from the hotel rates.

02-21-2003, 12:59 PM
Wow, DrDO, I'm very envious of your SEVEN visits to the Mauna Lani! I can understand the strong desire to go back again and again, because it's truly a wonderful experience. I have such vivid and detailed memories of everything. Do you go on DVC points, or on cash basis? Hopefully I'll be lucky enough to go back some day too! :D

02-21-2003, 01:32 PM
For the two who posted about having stayed there - what type of airfare did you book and with which airline? We would like to do Hawaii someday - probably with our 2 children- but the airfare seems so expensive.

02-21-2003, 04:05 PM
Hi, Jenn. We flew Northwest, direct from Detroit to Honolulu, and then Hawaiian Airlines connector over to Kona. My one regret is that when I booked the tickets (summer of 2000), I was still a "Nervous Nellie" about booking tickets online. I was worried about my credit card number not being safe, etc. So we went with a travel agent to get our tickets, and definitely paid way more than what I could have found by shopping around myself online. Since that trip, I book all my own flights online and have done great at finding low airfare. I know that special rates come up for Hawaii, and I know we could have saved a lot of money. :(

Oh well. Live and learn! :rolleyes:

Are you familiar with the travel websites? It might be fun for you to go on and put in some pretend dates for going to Hawaii, and see what type of fares come up. The travel websites also run Hawaii specials a lot, so look for other links on the home pages.

If nothing else, it's always fun to dream, right? :D

02-21-2003, 09:30 PM
We live in southern NJ and most frequently have flown Continental from Newark nonstop to Honolulu then and Aloha Airlines connection to Kona. We use AMEX and their membership rewards progam then transfer miles to Continental onepass. Have often had enough between actual travel and purchases for one or two free tickets per trip bringing the costs down considerably.

02-22-2003, 09:14 AM
We loved Mauna Lani also. One feature not mentioned already is the free use of cabanas on the beach. The carefully preserved, historical grounds are hard to describe, but don't miss taking walks to explore.
My DH dislikes the fact that Mauna Lani is about a 30 mile drive from Kona. He likes be closer to "the action." (Just so you know that there is not much in the way of a town close by.) When we were there an artist was near the pool selling paintings of various Mauna Lani views. We bought 2 - 8 X 10s that I enjoy very much. GO!! Have fun!!

02-25-2003, 10:23 PM
DH's company takes him to the best of the best, plus we have been spoiled by Disney's standards of excellence. For both my DH and I, we felt that our Mauni Lani stay was on par with the best of Disney's best!

The food was quite expensive (even by Disney's standards!) and our family often had room service for breakfast. The servings are large and we combined a couple of breakfasts & served it buffet style, on our own balconey. It actually saved us some money. It was quite luxurious to do it and we didn't have to "dress" for breakfast, either. That is the only time that room service has ever saved us money! They delivered a toaster with each breakfast that included toast and as much dinnerware as we requested.

My kids loved to watch the little sea creatures that got caught in the lava pools. Quite fascinating.

Tha rooms are large and I loved having sliding doors to the bath/dressing area. It allowed my to rise early and get dressed, without the light spilling out into the bedroom area & waking the others.

As for airfare: we bought early and then the prices dropped. I routinely checked on the prices and called United everytime there was a significant drop ($75 or more). Our tickets were originally $1,156 and they eventually dropped to around $500. We received the balance in travel vouchers. There is a catch, however, in that you can only use one voucher at a time. The moral of the story is to get vouchers only if a) you fly often and can use them, b) get them in large increments (not a lot of $50's). We changed planes in LAX and flew directly onto the Big Island.

Bottom line: you will love it!

03-05-2003, 02:11 PM
Airfare over the winter holiday period is frequently higher (but not right now) and of course if you have to travel on specific days you can get stuck with having to buy an expensive ticket, but if you have some flexibility, you should be able to get a published fare between $500 and $700. You might even luck out and get a sub-$500 fare, but I wouldn't count on it.

I don't really have that much experience with package prices, so I leave that advice to someone else.

One hint is that you should comparison shop between booking a single ticket BOS-KOA or whether you should buy BOS-HNL from AA/DL/CO/UA/NW and HNL-KOA from Aloha Airlines or Hawaiian Airlines. The latter is often much cheaper.

03-05-2003, 02:55 PM
This is a bit OT, but years ago, we had the opportunity to visit Hawaii for a week (FIL was working there). Our DS was 18 months old at the time, and he stayed on EST, not adjusting to the time change at all. He was up for the day at 2:00 a.m., and down for the night around 2-3 p.m. (Due to his young age, I had to get up with him in those early hours.) We weren't able to do or see much of anything. (We did get out to lunch one day--DS fell asleep at the table--it was noon.)

Anyone with very young children may want to consider this in their planning and maybe wait until they're older and can adjust to different time zones.

(We did get some great pictures of him playing in the sand at Waikiki!)