“All the guestrooms were fully renovated and have a contemporary but organic sensibility, with sophisticated interiors including natural fabrics and wood textures,” Hulugalle said. “The concept blends the outdoor space with the indoor space throughout the resort.”
The redesign also brought the property’s Hawaiian cultural offerings to the center of the resort, literally. Previously tucked away on a lower level, the Hale I’ike House of Knowledge is Mauna Lani’s cultural programming headquarters and has been moved to the main lobby area. The center is led by Danny Akaka, who is happy to talk story and share insights on the collection of Hawaiian artifacts and artwork.
“Mauna Lani has been one of the most loved areas in Hawaii for years, and was a place for Hawaiian royalty,” Hulugalle said. “There are fish ponds, petroglyph hikes, lava tubes and historic areas all on the property.”
While few parts of the resort were left untouched, one thing was left unedited: the moniker of signature restaurant Canoe House, known for being the kitchen where modern Hawaiian cuisine pioneer Alan Wong first made his name.
“It’s been an iconic restaurant since its inception,” Hulugalle said. “So we wanted to leave the name alone, but we did want to inject a little more magic in there to go along with the history. We’ve reimagined things a bit with a fun farm-to-table, line-to-plate approach.”
The pool area has also been entirely revamped to accommodate a range of ages and activity levels.
“We completely redid the pool area, and there are some big additions. Now there are three distinct swimming pools,” Hulugalle said. “We added the resort and infinity-edge pool and significantly augmented the family pool.”
There are four other restaurants and lounges in addition to the Canoe House: beachside Surf Shack with light cuisine and a curated selection of wine and beer; HaLani, an open-air eatery by the pool serving breakfast and lunch during the day that shifts into a Mediterranean-style coastal grille in the evenings; and the Market with a little bit of everything.
“The Market is a great option. You can gelato, specialty coffees, and there’s a New York-style deli in there,” Hulugalle said. “You can grab a bottle of wine there and take it up to your lanai in the room with some snacks.”
There is a robust activity program including snorkeling, swimming, paddleboarding and outrigger canoe excursions from the resort’s beach or hikes and e-bike safaris along the coast.
“We want to encourage exploration, movement and the spirit of adventure when people come here on vacation,” Hulugalle said. “We want them to cultivate new skills, connect to the land and people.”
Mauna Lani has also be outfitted with an Auberge Spa with yoga and meditation programing and various treatments available. The indoor/outdoor fitness center features Peloton bikes, boxing training tools and a variety of other fitness equipment.
“We have carefully curated treatments based on location and sense of place using the traditional Hawaiian healing botanical methods,” Hulugalle said. “We’re partnering with local providers and farmers on the services and products.”
The resort is home to two 18-hole courses, Mauna Lani North and South, with lava bed terrain peppered with kiawe trees.