Aloha, Aulani!

26 Sep

On our vacation a few weeks ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to spend a week at Aulani – A Disney Resort & Spa located in Ko Olina, Hawaii. For the record, it was worth every penny!

lobby area

When we walked into the resort, no amount of pictures can really recreate that amazing feeling.  Throughout our stay, we walked into that gorgeous open-area lobby numerous times, and each time, it was just amazing as the first time.  Just like I expect on our next trip, it will be just as amazing to see the lobby area.

painting went all around the lobby area

just one of the many areas in the open air lobby

more of the lobby area

We utilized online check-in and anyone going to a Disney resort that uses it, I highly recommend using.  The staff knew our name and who we were, before we had checked in.  It was highly impressive.  Soon, we were on our way to our partial ocean view room!

view from our room

When we walked in we were awestruck by how gorgeous our room was.  We have stayed in other Disney Deluxe resorts before, but the rooms are amazing.  It’s comfortable yet elegant without making you feel like you don’t belong.  It’s very easy to feel like you could just live in these rooms forever. I wish we could have!

our room

Upon seeing the resort, our plans kinda went out the window.  My husband and I had about dozen places we decided we wanted to attempt to go see while in Oahu.  After seeing how gorgeous the hotel was and all the activities they offered, we decided to narrow it down and only do a few. We knew we would definitely be back to Aulani someday, so we could save some of our sightseeing for our next trip!

We loved the hotel.  Lots of the time, it seemed like we were the only two people there.  We know next time we go, we won’t be as lucky, as we were there within a few weeks of opening.  Once the secret gets out of how amazing this place is, I know it will be much busier.

Aulani offers different tours and excursions  through Adventure’s by Disney and other local Hawaiian travel companies.  We didn’t have the money to spend on any of them, but hopefully in the future. Instead, we decided to focus on a lot of hotel-based activities.  From story-telling to stargazing to water slides to pools and ocean fun, there are a million things to do! The only thing we did not get to experience was stargazing.  They offered it nightly, but it never seemed to line-up in our plans.  Next trip we will definitely be there.  Each night in your room, a guide is sent to you with all the times of activities and characters for the next day.  They also have all the restaurant and some transportation times listed on it.

Each night they greeted the night with a ceremony.  We saw the ceremony on September 11th, and were pleased to see that the resort had a remembrance ceremony. It was a very nice touch before their normal night-time activities.

greeting the night...

One thing you can definitely not miss at Aulani is the Starlit Hui!  Hui means gathering in hawaiian.  It was definitely showcasing Hawaiian culture and talent, while keeping modern influences.  Of course, the Disney characters were also nearby! I am going through withdrawals and WISH that I have videotaped the Starlit Hui (we had the video camera, never used it) as I am DYING to experience it again. (So if anyone ever goes, PLEASE get me a copy of it!)

starlit hui

before the Starlit Hui

We also partook in the Menehune Adventure trail which was a lot of fun (and will be for kids of all ages) and spent a lot of time at the pool.  They have a lazy river, a tube slide, and a body slide in addition to the pools.  Everything was enjoyable.

Pool area from our hotel level

Menehune Bridge - Play Area for kids

We also dined at all the restaurants there.  The refillable mug is definitely worth it with fill stations in the lobby and two located out near the pool.  The food options were exciting, but we were definitely happy to have a rental car to experience other Hawaiian foods.  Our favorite were the quick service with the lettuce wraps and the shave ice by the pool.

shave ice!

Some of our favorite times were just experiencing the pools, hot tubs, and beaches at night, because it was gorgeous out there.  The resort is located in a spot that gives you a gorgeous view of the sunset.  I will post a picture of us by the sunset, but you must go experience how amazing it is for itself.

No matter how many times we walked around outside or through the hotel, we were amazed by the beautiful, and the staff.  From day to day, many of the staff remembered our names and asked us on what we have enjoyed on the island, and giving us some advice of things to see.  It is definitely a perk to have native Islanders around.

fountain area outside

Besides it being our first trip to Hawaii, I had convince my husband to get his first massage!  He was a bit nervous, but he has agreed to get future massages with me.  I was nervous for him, as I remember being nervous before my first massage, but during the massage, I heard sounds of relaxation coming from my husband, and I knew that all was good.

other pool area

Visiting Aulani, was like taking a step back into Hawaiian culture and all the simple things, the way life was.  However, it still included all the modern conveniences.  Visiting Aulani, also made us seriously consider and believe that we could embrace the Hawaiian life and move there, because after all, even some of our well-known friends were there.

Aloha, 'iole (Mouse in Hawaiian)

One thing I keep on forgetting to mention is Menehune!  I first heard of the Menehune through the Full House episode where Stephanie believes.

Chilly Bear with a Menehune!

Rumor has it, the Menehune worked very hard to add magic to Aulani, and they definitely did.  It was a lot of fun to go around and just hunt for Menehune.  We found them everywhere, in the bushes, in elevators, and restaurants.  We couldn’t believe it!  It definitely made for a fun adventure as we walked around.

outside of hotel

From menehune, to amazing meals, to just the amazing atmosphere that Disney created, we had an amazing time.  We had five nights there.  I thought it would be enough time, but it wasn’t nearly enough.  We wanted to stay.  However, we knew we had to get home to our three little cookies.  We definitely will be back though, and if anyone has the opportunity to go visit, I urge you to.  For it is an unforgettable experience.

One Response to “Aloha, Aulani!”

  1. Hope September 28, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    WOW! I know we heard a lot about it, but it’s so different to get to see more of the pictures and your official review. That sunset is AMAZING! I’ll definitely add this to our wish list.

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