Auberge Resorts Collection Introduces Mauna Lani, a Resort Re-Imagined to Capture the Beauty and the Spirit of the Kohala Coast
One of Hawai‘i’s Most Cherished Oceanfront Escapes Unveils All New Design and Experiences Anchored by Rich Cultural History
KALĀHUIPUA‘A, HAWAI‘I (Jan 15, 2020) – Along the Kohala coast, palm trees bend over glittering fishponds once frequented by Hawaiian kings. Volcanic summits cradle hidden oases by the sea. This astonishing oceanfront paradise is home to Mauna Lani—a newly re-imagined luxury resort that is a place of profound spiritual power and rejuvenation. The first Auberge Resorts Collection property in the Hawaiian Islands, Mauna Lani is now open and invites guests to experience its genuine aloha.
“Mauna Lani has been one of Hawai‘i’s best loved resorts for over three decades. It is an unsurpassed destination,” said Vice President and General Manager Sanjiv Hulugalle. “On behalf of our team, we are honored and delighted to reintroduce this iconic property that celebrates the people of Hawai‘i, sparks curiosity and discovery, and remains anchored by the special atmosphere of Kalāhuipua‘a.”
The landscape of Kalāhuipua‘a—the ancient name of this coastal oasis—is steeped in rich cultural history. It’s also a piko—navel or spiritual center—situated between Hawai‘i’s five great mountains. The summits of Hualālai, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Kohala and Haleakalā rise like guardians around the resort. To gaze upon these peaks and swim in the surrounding crystalline waters is to feel the mana, or spiritual energy, that Hawaiians felt hundreds of years ago. Here, at the piko, friendships are fostered, families reconnect, and curiosities unfold.
Mauna Lani unfolds across 32 sun-kissed, oceanfront acres. Embedded within a natural sanctuary of royal fishponds, verdant gardens, and coral-strewn coves, five private bungalows and 333 guest rooms and suites set the stage for transformative experiences. Activity at the resort radiates out from the Halau, a central meeting place and the cultural heart of Mauna Lani. Guests pass through this vibrant nexus on their way to the beach, three pools, or one of the resort’s five extraordinary restaurants and lounges.
“The first Auberge resort in Hawai’i is an important milestone for our brand, and we are excited to bring Auberge’s style of soulful hospitality to a place of such significance on the Island of Hawai’i,” said Craig Reid, Chief Executive Officer, Auberge Resorts Collection. “Our renewal of this storied resort will connect guests to the heart of Mauna Lani through intimate new spaces, meaningful experiences, and design that is relevant to today’s traveler.”
In addition to a signature spa and two top-ranked golf courses, Mauna Lani offers guests unparalleled opportunities to engage with Hawai‘i’s natural and cultural treasures. The programs offered at the Kainalu Sports, Hale ‘I‘ike Cultural Center, and Holoholo Kids Crew are sophisticated and enriching. Whatever fantasy adventure guests seek to tick off their bucket lists, the passionate team at Mauna Lani can help them manifest it. Just about anything is possible here, from snorkeling among colorful coral to stargazing atop the snow-capped peak of Mauna Kea.
A Hawaiian Home Away From Home
Designed by New York-based Meyer Davis, a contemporary-yet-organic sensibility defines the resort’s interior design. Mauna Lani’s 333 guest rooms feature luxuriant textures: rich hardwoods and natural fabrics. Guests can watch the moon rise above Mauna Kea, or the sun set into the sea in a blaze of color from their private balcony. Those seeking the ultimate island getaway can book one of five exclusive Mauna Lani Bungalows. Spacious and sophisticated, these 4,000-square-foot residences evoke a sense of tropical luxury with indoor and outdoor living spaces. Each bungalow is named after a nearby mountain, and features two bedrooms, three baths, a private swimming pool and spa, and butler service.
Nourished by the Land and Sea
Hawai‘i Island is blessed with an abundance of sun-ripened produce year-round. Mauna Lani’s culinary team works closely with local farmers, fishermen, ranchers, and food artisans to source the finest organic and sustainably harvested ingredients. At CanoeHouse, the resort’s beachfront restaurant, chef Matt Raso celebrates the island’s unique bounty—everything from locally raised abalone and fresh caught opakapaka (snapper) to tart poha berries and tender heart of palm. His commitment to quality is evident in his elevated cuisine.
During the day, HāLani is an idyllic spot for family and friends to savor breakfast and lunch together. In the evenings, the restaurant transforms into a modern artisanal grille. Chef Chris Damskey’s ingredient-driven menu blends complementary elements of Hawaiian and Mediterranean cuisine in unique and artfully prepared dishes.
At the Hā Bar, guests can sip fresh-pressed sugarcane juice and handcrafted cocktails poolside while snacking on organic salad, ceviche, and tacos. Artisanal libations and tropical fruit spreads are also available in the Luxury Cabanas. Inspired by Hawai‘i’s iconic surf hangouts, the Surf Shack offers a casual but classy toes-in-the-sand dining experience. For specialty coffees, local craft beers, and the perfect picnic spread, guests can head to The Market. This café, deli, and general store features a menu of light and healthy bites, as well as a curated home and lifestyle goods.
Tap into Living Culture
Mauna Lani is where Hawaiians mastered the art of aquaculture, where bygone artists carved figures into volcanic stone, and where King Kamehameha and other Hawaiian ali‘i (royalty) came to relax and indulge in the noble sport of he‘e nalu, or surfing. Along these shores, mythological tales of kupua, supernatural beings, came to life.
Anyone desiring to learn more about Hawai‘i’s remarkable history need only step into Hale ‘I‘ike—the House of Knowledge in the resort lobby. This resplendent cultural center is a welcoming space brimming with musical instruments, museum-quality artifacts, historic books, and portraits of Hawaiian royals. Guests can pull up a chair here to “talk story” with Danny Akaka, the resort’s Kahu Hānai, or knowledge keeper. Affectionately known as Uncle Danny, he is a true kama‘āina, child of this land, who possesses a wealth of little known facts about Kalāhuipua‘a. Guests who sit down with Uncle Danny are rewarded with tales of supernatural eels, warrior kings, and his own adventurous canoe voyages.
Danny and his team lead dynamic, educational tours of the resort’s ancient fishponds and petroglyphs. During each full moon, they host Twilight at Kalāhuipua‘a on the lawn of the Eva Parker Woods Cottage. Hotel guests and local residents gather on blankets and folding chairs for a magical evening of Hawaiian music and storytelling. This intimate kanikapila (jam session) is not to be missed.
Learn to Ride Life’s Waves
Kainalu Sports is Mauna Lani’s innovative approach to resort activities—a recreation program unlike any other in Hawai‘i. Guided by world-class athletes, guests can embark on immersive journeys of self-discovery and learn a new language for adventure. “Kainalu” is the Hawaiian word for ocean wave; it’s also a way of life. Embracing Kainalu means learning to ride life’s waves with strength, grace, and a hefty appetite for fun.
The diverse menu of activities includes options suitable for all ages and abilities. Whether it’s a heli-bike tour or morning meditation, each Kainalu activity incorporates beneficial fitness and training elements. Beginning and advanced paddlers can try prone or stand-up paddleboarding or climb into an outrigger canoe for an exciting excursion along the Kohala coast.
Spa and Fitness
The Auberge Spa at Mauna Lani offers all-natural treatments inspired by the Hawaiian concept of lokahi—harmony and balance. Each luxurious therapy is designed to stimulate a harmonious journey toward inner peace and revitalization. Therapists draw upon Hawai‘i’s thousand-year-old tradition of lomi lomi massage to relieve tension and align the bones. Signature treatments such as the Pa‘akai Hawaiian Salt Stone Massage and the Lā‘au Facial incorporate locally sourced sandalwood, kukui nut oil, and tī leaves in powerfully rejuvenating remedies. The spa partners with local farms to source these precious healing botanicals.
Guests who want to work up a sweat can do so in the 5,000 square foot fitness center, on Peloton bikes and Precor exercise machines. Metabolic conditioning and high intensity interval training with the resort’s personal trainers will empower guests to get into the best shape of their lives.
Mauna Lani features two world-class,18-hole courses. The South Course—a Homer Flint, Raymond Cain and Robin Nelson design—was built on a 16th century lava flow and snakes through stark, rugged a‘a lava. A pair of par-threes – the 7th and 15th holes – are Mauna Lani South’s signature holes and two of the most photographed in the world. Golfweek magazine rates it one of the “Best Courses to Play in Hawai‘i.” The North Course—another Flint, Cain and Nelson design—also ranks as one of the top courses on Hawai‘i by Golfweek. Overlaying the rippled pahoehoe lava flow, Mauna Lani North features rolling fairways through kiawe forest. A 230-acre protected archeological district lies on the northern edge, while feral goats roam around cropping the grass and providing a unique neutral hazard. The par-three 17th hole is the signature of the course, with a series of elevated tees forming a natural amphitheater and the green located at the base of a lava bowl.
Holoholo Kids Crew
Hawai‘i is the ultimate outdoor classroom, and the Holoholo Kids Crew introduces the resort’s younger guests to this educational playground. Super fun, hands-on activities range from culinary classes and botanical expeditions to moonlight storytelling and movies under the stars. If kids staying at Mauna Lani end up learning more on vacation than they do in school, who can blame them?
Weddings and Special Events
Whether a couple craves a simple elopement on the beach or a lavish banquet for two hundred, Mauna Lani’s in-house special events team has every detail covered. Bridesmaids can fashion their own flower lei or crowns, while sipping sparkling rosé. Private groups can indulge in starlit dinners on the beach. Corporate teams can build camaraderie by tackling the nearby Kohala Mountains together on state-of-the-art bikes. The sky truly is the limit: adventurous couples can climb into a helicopter and be whisked away to a secret waterfall on the side of a sea cliff.
Mauna Lani offers a variety of venues both on and off-site for exceptional weddings, retreats, and group gatherings. One of the most inviting is the Francis H. I‘i Brown Room, a versatile one-bedroom suite specifically designed for entertaining. The suite’s spacious living room, gourmet show kitchen, expansive furnished lanai, and outdoor fire pit provide the perfect backdrop for a family gathering that will be remembered forever.
In celebration of Mauna Lani’s opening, the resort invites travelers to be among the first to experience the reimagined property and discover an incarnation of ancient wisdom and modern luxury. To commemorate the opening, the resort is extending the Mauna Lani Journeys offer, which includes a $1,000 USD resort credit that can be applied to resort experiences, dining, spa and golf. To learn more or book your home-away-from-home, please visit https://aubergeresorts.com/maunalani/