Mauna Lani Opens in Hawaii

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Mauna Lani
The newly renovated Mauna Lani

Mauna Lani, located along the Kohala coast, is officially opened. This newly re-imagined luxury resort is the first Auberge Resorts Collection property in the Hawaiian Islands. Mauna Lani’s 32 oceanfront acres are a natural sanctuary of royal fish ponds, verdant gardens and coral-strewn coves.

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. Mauna Lani offers guests opportunities to engage with Hawai‘i’s natural and cultural treasures through programs offered at the Kainalu Sport and Hale ‘I‘ike Cultural Center, whether that means snorkeling among colorful coral or stargazing atop the snow-capped peak of Mauna Kea.

Designed by New York-based Meyer Davis, a contemporary-yet-organic sensibility defines the resort’s redesigned interior. Mauna Lani’s 333 guest rooms feature luxuriant textures: rich hardwoods and natural fabrics. Top qualifiers can stay in one of 5 exclusive 4,000-sf bungalows, which come with their own private swimming pools and butler service. There’s the Auberge Spa at Mauna Lani, offering all-natural treatments inspired by the Hawaiian concept of lokahi—harmony and balance—and two world-class,18-hole golf courses.

Hale ‘I‘ike—the House of Knowledge—in the resort lobby is a cultural center brimming with musical instruments, museum-quality artifacts, historic books and portraits of Hawaiian royals. Guests can pull up a chair here to talk 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 fish ponds and petroglyphs. During each full moon, they host 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.

This article originally ran in Recommend magazine.

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