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“Welcome to the Aloha Spirit!”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Newton, NJ
Level Contributor
26 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Welcome to the Aloha Spirit!”
Reviewed 28 April 2012

We stayed at the Aulani Resort from April 12-20th. We are DVC Members and there were 13 family members staying in two 2 bedroom villas. These rooms are quite large and have everything you could possible need including a full kitchen, 2 1/2 baths and a washer/dryer. I only wished our rooms could have been in the same area instead of completely separate towers....we did check with management and of course they offered their apologies...you know the deal! For the most part the resort is nothing short of spectacular..the pools, beach, staff were all way above average. This is not your normal Disney resort! It is very low key and relaxing. There are plenty of chaises around the pool and other quiet secluded areas. There is a 1 hour "save" the chair policy that is strictly enforced when the hotel is crowded..I do wish there was another way to identify the Resort guests other than the daily different colored wrist bands. We did however observe several non-guests using the facilities (pools/chairs) by "jumping" the gate from the beach area. As stated in other reviews, food is at a minimum but from what we understand there are other "grab & go" type of eateries in the works. A Shrimp Shack is currently under construction. The 3 restaurants that are opened were very good and there is pool side service. The selections at each are slim, especially if you are staying for a week or more. The Ama Ama salad was especially delicious!! The quiet pool was in a very serene setting but quite chilly and a little on the unkept side. Certainly not up to Disney standards. I think the Aulani is still working out the kinks, they've only been opened since August. We heard from a few castmates that they are still in the feeling out process...not sure when the busy season(s) will be, what is working and what is not.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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4 Thank njdevils08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Hong Kong
Level Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2012

We stayed at the Disney Aulani Resort for 8 nights in the beginning of April with our three young children and our mothers (the granny nannies, as we call them). Overall, the trip was very nice and met our (somewhat) low expectations. We weren't expecting 5-star opulence or service. The resort has wonderful facilities for children, from the pool area to the lovely man-made beach lagoon. Here's a comprehensive list of our stay's highs and lows.

The bad first. When I initially called to make the reservation, I was told that there was a non-refundable one night deposit, so I didn't make the reservation right then. I did, however, make a note of this in my travel notebook. When I called back a few weeks later, I was told that there is no deposit and no way that I could have received that information from one of their staff. Of course, I was looking at the information in my notes at that time. By this time, the ocean-front rooms were taken. The reservation staff assured me that the partial-ocean-view rooms did NOT overlook the parking garage. They only overlook the pool. Upon check-in, however, they wanted to give us a room looking directly at the parking garage. I hadn't flown 14 hours with three small children to Hawaii to look at a parking garage, so of course I protested. Luckily it was early in the day and the manager on duty was able to scramble our rooms to give us rooms overlooking the pool instead.

The spa is beautiful, and the massage I had was fabulous. However, it is egregiously expensive, by any standards. Again, I had some issues with the spa that the manager was able to work out. First they lost my initial booking but were able to fit me in the next day. The massage itself was wonderful, but the therapist shorted me 10 minutes of the 80-minute massage. At $220++, you can bet I complained to the staff on my way out. The manager kindly offered to charge me for only a 50-minute treatment instead, and I was certainly fine with that.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the hotel is that there aren't enough food choices for such a large hotel. There are really only 2 restaurants. When the hotel is at full capacity, as it was during our stay, you must have reservations for almost any meal, aside from the poolside lunch service. The room service menu is also somewhat limited. For a hotel of its size, I would expect more like 4 restaurants. The food options are more on par with a resort under 100 rooms. Our food was uniformly good, but between the limited choice and the cost of the food, we ended up going off-site on several occasions. Our kids are used to Asia, so they were actually thrilled to go to the Denny's a 10-minute drive away and eat pancakes for dinner, but I can see how many people wouldn't find that very exciting. It also requires a car.

There are a lot of good things about the hotel, of course. The facilities are fabulous, very clean and well-maintained. Our kids loved the children's club, which is a great value relative to other hotels that charge upwards of $80/day/child. Between the pool, water slides, kids club, and the beautiful beach, there's more than enough to keep the kids occupied for days without leaving the resort. The nice thing about the pool, as well, is that it is suited to children from infancy to teenagers.

We quite liked our actual rooms. They have some nice extra amenities, like ceiling fans and nice balconies with screen doors. Each room also has an empty mini-fridge, which we really appreciated. I hate going into hotels where the minibars are stocked at floor level with tempting but ridiculously priced treats. (You step into the bathroom for 5 minutes and the next thing you know you're toddler has consumed $20 worth of M&Ms.) We made a Target run and filled the fridge with juice, yoghurt, and the like. We also like that the actual toilet has a separate space in the bathroom with its own door. The only downsides of the rooms are that the furniture seems to be a bit oversized for a resort that caters to families. As other reviewers have noted, the beds and the sink are ridiculously high. I brought an inflatable bed rail for my toddler, which was a lifesaver. They should stock the bathrooms with foot stools for little ones. Of course, the elevated beds gives you plenty of space to store your luggage, which is a plus.

The service that we received was uniformly nice and accommodating. Everybody on site worked hard to rectify any problems we encountered, so I think they are doing a good job with their onsite service training. We found it very useful to have a car, but the surrounding area and the road between Honolulu and the resort are less than inspiring. In fact, they're rather depressing. Once you're on the Kapolei resort grounds, it feels more like a holiday spot.

Overall, I can definitely recommend this resort if you're traveling with young children and want a holiday with minimal work, but the resort is not inspiring enough that we will be returning.

Room Tip: If you reserve a partial ocean-view room, make sure it's noted in your record that you request o...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Jsk53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Redding, Connecticut
Level Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2012

One adult, one child (age 12.5)
April 14-22

En route to the hotel, I read a bunch of reviews from people who had just stayed the week before we got there and I was concerned reading about the crowds and long waits to eat. Well, apparently, that was Spring Break for the West Coast and Hawaii is a big destination for folks on that side of the country! I'm from the East Coast and most folks here go to Florida for Spring Break. So, the crowds were gone and we were able to enjoy the beauty and serenity of Aulani and not have to fight over a lounge chair!

The Disney touch was apparent the moment we arrived. We have stayed in many Disney hotels from the budget (Pop Century) to the Deluxe (Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge) As traveled Disneyites know, all Disney employees are called "Cast Members" and they are playing roles. They are taught to be extra nice and helpful. Well, the employees at Aulani went above and beyond. The spirit of Aloha enveloped everything and I felt that all of the people we were met were honestly glad we were there and were truly interested in us and wanted to share their stories and culture with us.

We were greeted at the entrance by a host who presented me with a tuberose lei (heavenly smell!) and my son with a "Menehune" necklace. Menehune are mythical and mischevious creatures who enhabit the resort. Men receive a kukui nut necklace for enlightenment (I think women don't get them because we are already enlightened!) We were given a tour of the lobby and brought out to the balcony to view the grounds and given an overview. Then we were escorted to the reception desk. After we were checked in, I liked that the receptionist stepped from behind the desk to give us our keys and welcome us.

We are DVC members. We stayed in a Deluxe Studio with an ocean view. It was a lovely room. Perfect for 2. Although 4 can sleep there, I think it would be a little tight. We had a small fridge, microwave and sink. There was a coffee maker and a toaster.I asked for a sharp knife and a cutting board and they arrived promptly. I highly recommending paying the upcharge for the better view because otherwise you could be looking at the parking lot.

The bathrobes in the room were so cozy. We loved the beds! It was almost like a Westin Heavenly Bed.

We didn't feel like venturing out too far the first night so we just went to the ABC market across the road for a few supplies. It is an upscale ABC market. There is also an ice cream shop and a couple of small restaurants there.

Aulani is in a private enclave along with a Marriott time share and a golf course/ time share. Paradise Cove luau is also walking distance from the hotel. There is a Roy's restaurant at the Golf Club. There is a gatehouse at the entrance and you give your name when you arrive to receive a parking pass.

I recommend renting a car at the airport. I paid $141 for the entire time I was there from Alamo. We were chatting with a family who paid that for a car they rented from the Alamo desk at the hotel for just 2 days!

Five minutes drive from the hotel is the town of Kapolei. They have Costco, Target, KMart, Walmart, Home Depot, many fast food places, Safeway and Longwood drugs. We ate a few times at the Hapa Grill which is a local restaurant. We also enjoyed the Kapolei Chinese restaurant. It was more of a "chinatown" style place rather than a local Chinese restaurant. We bought supplies at Costco and I also found nice Hawaiian shorts, macadamia nut chocolates and other souvenirs there. I also bought Hawaiian pinepapple for $2.99

Parkling at the hotel is $35/ day unless you are DVC. Then it is free.

Aulani was just lovely. We didn't want to leave! The lazy river was never crowded and my son enjoyed the slide many times without long lines. The body slide was unfortunately closed. The other pools were never crowded and we could always find a chair in the area of our choosing.
The infinity hot tub was just opened on our last day. It was lovely, but I wish they didn't allow kids in there. They were all crowded in and were using it like a swimming pool.

I was concerned about the jackhammering I read about but it was mostly over. There was construction but it didn't bother us at all.

The beach was a man made lagoon. No waves, but perfect for swimming and paddle boarding. Paddleboards are $30/ hour. There is a charge for umbrellas on the beach, but not for chairs.
If you walk past the end of the path past the Marriott, there are interesting tidal pools with fish and turtles and crabs. It is a beautiful spot.

My son didn't use Painted Sky, the tween/ teen area that often but he did enjoy all of the ukelele lessons. We ended up buying a ukelele!

The Pau Hana Community room was a nice area. Here you can make a video postcard to send to friends. We participated in many of the craft classes, both complementary and paid. They also offered hula lessons. They have a "Menehune Adventure" that is similar to the KimPossible activity at Disney World. You can take out an iPad like device and "Aunty" sends you on explorations and adventures around the resort. It is fn for all ages!

The spa was heavenly! Service and treatments were wonderful. The relaxation area was unique. Several soaking pools and a garden of showers made it so interesting and yes, relaxing! I didn't want to leave!

The only sour note was the food! We had heard from past reviews and people we spoke to on our trip that the buffet was horrible. And, for $43/ person it was way overpriced. The pool menu was uninspired and overpriced. Tuna sandwich on taro roll, chicken strips, burger, grilled veggie sandwich. No salads. And, the kids tuna was exactly the same as the adult version for half the price! A middle type restaurant is needed.

We did eat at Ama Ama. The view is just lovely. Our dinners were very nice, but overpriced. I had the paella and my son had the Striploin. We had no drinks and shared a dessert (the Hawaiian chocolate cake is delicious!) and it was $120! After that, we had lunch there twice and for 2 entrees (Fish Tacos were very good and my son enjoyed the pork buns) and a shared chocolate cake and the bill was $60! So glad we had a car and could eat out! Hapa Grill was $25 for both of us!

Shaved ice was a nice treat but we usually went to Costco for $1.35 frozen yogurt!!!

My son took 2 surf lessons with Hawaiian Fire (arranged through hotel) That was a big hit!
We drove up to the north shore one day and had shrimp at Giovanni's shrimp truck and dessert at Teds.

Parking in Waikiki was very expensive!! It is very built up with all of the "chic" stores. We brought home cookies from Honolulu Cookie Company and they were delicious!

Don't miss the swap meet at Aloha Stadium for all of your souvenirs. Best prices anywhere! And, you can bargain.

Overall, we had a wonderful and relaxing time and look forward to coming back to Aulani again! The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was for the food. I'm glad we had a car. I think next time we might go for a bigger room with a full kitchen so we can avoid the hotel restaurants totally.

Room Tip: go for the Ocean View!
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank LoveBoatDream
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 April 2012

The hotel rooms are big and comfortable. There is less in your face Disney and more cultural Hawaii throughout the resort. The food was decent, but good luck getting into any of the restaurant's without a reservation. The pool area was great, but on the weekends the seating around the pool goes fast. The staff is good at marking chairs each hour to ensure you're using the lounge chairs and moving your stuffing if your not. I don't know how this pool area will handle all the people, I would guess only 60 to 70 percent of the rooms are able to be occupied and the pool area was packed. My family split our visit to Oahu by staying at Aulani for half and in Waikiki for the other half, I truly wished I stayed at Aulani for my entire stay. My pocket book on the other hand thanked me for the break. Just like all Disney resorts, it is expensive from the room rate to the food prices to the $35 a night parking charge (valet and self parking) get ready to dish out the cash. My family had a great time and we will be back.

Room Tip: Do the Menehune Trail Adventure, it was fun for all ages.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank polaris4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
san francisco
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 25 April 2012

Standard Room: clean
Service: Requested king size but provided 2 double beds
Dining: Expect to pay $40-$50 per head. Food quality is average (it's disney afterall)
Convenience: ABC store across the street for relatively cheaper drinks and snacks
Facility: good for kids and whole family
Beach: man-made lagoon. calm water and not very crowded. some fish can be seen in water
Tips: Paid $5 for bell boy for two luggages, $2 for rental car ( don't expect staff to install car seat)
Shuttle: commercial shuttle $65 for 3 people with one car seat
Car rental: ~$80 per day with one car seat
Brings: bring your own snorkel gear, beach mat, snacks.
Buy: Purchase plastic bottle for free refill at disney store through out stay

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank gordon c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Property: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Address: 92-1185 Ali'inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707-4434
Region: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Kapolei
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Price range (per night): ₹ 27,819 - ₹ 57,708
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 819
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Also Known As:
Aulani, a Disney Resort And Spa In Hawai`i
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa In Hawai`i Hotel Kapolei
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Oahu, Hawaii - Kapolei

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