Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

4.5 star rating

This hotel is rated between 4 and 5 stars. 4 star - Quality accommodation with a variety of facilities and services. 5 star - Exceptional accommodation with superior facilities and services.

    What to expect (based on 6630 reviews):

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-4.5

    Location

    Location-4.5

    Rooms

    Rooms-4.5

    Service

    Service-4.5

    Value

    Value-3.5

    5 most recent TripAdvisor reviews:

    Aulani during COVID re-opening

    Reviewed by raytS299TE(Cary, North Carolina) on Nov 23, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    We (me, wife and 9y old boy) arrived on Friday (11/20) and are staying until Tuesday (11/24) in a poolside garden view room which gives you a view of the water features in the center of the campus. Prior to coming, I read the three most recent 1 and 2 star reviews, and quite frankly actually considered cancelling our reservation. My review will start at the HNL airport, and go through our stay today, since ppl reading this are obviously aware of the travel restrictions that Hawaii has now due to COVID. For those who aren't into reading, here's the TL;DR: If you come to Aulani with "new norm" expectations for hotel/resort stays, you'll have a great time with all the "new norm" Disney Hospitality that you've come to expect. American Airlines/HNL Airport Flight/HI Travel Requirements If you're reading this, you know that there are pre-travel requirements including having a negative COVID test result that has been uploaded along with other information about your airline, your hotel, etc. As of yesterday, you apparently now have to have your negative test result IN HAND before boarding the final leg of your flight (previously you could've arrived and promised to stay in your room until you got the results- not anymore). We flew in on AA75 and didn't know what to expect. When you get off the plane, you immediately form a line through the security checkpoint at which they will ask for your QR code, and check your documentation. They will ask for ID, check your QR code, check your documentation, check your hotel reservation. Be prepared and don't be that guy whos' ranting and raving about how ridiculous this is- This is the price for coming into the state that has less than a 2.4% positivity rate. of course, it is all done with the aloha spirit and professionalism. PRO TIP: If you are staying in the Ko Olina area, there is a much SHORTER AND FASTER line, specifically for these guests - make sure to ask any of the staff about this line. There is also apparently a Ko Olina lounge that can be used when you depart- they give you all this information when you check in. There were about 80 people in the regular line, and about 2 in the Ko Olina line. They will verify though that you have put in a valid hotel into your travel reservations, and they apparently cross-check this with the hotel (more on that later). Another PRO TIP for those renting a car: I checked the previous week and a car rental was $332 per week. I checked two days before we left, and the car rental rate had dropped to $190 per week. According to the points guy, make sure you make your car rental in advance, because things are not fully open, and you may not get a car if you don't have a reservation. We were lucky to score a great deal and a small SUV upgrade from a midsize. Aulani / Check-In The resort is about a 30 minute drive from the airport which is heavily dependent on the traffic. The resort is beautiful, and the developed area around it (Ko Olina) is comparable to other touristy areas like Waikaloa or Ka'anapali. It is bordered by the Four Seasons (temp closed), and Marriott Ko olina Beach Club. Check-in is probably the part of our stay that we were not impressed with, which was on a Friday night (apparently the busiest time for check-in). There were moderately long lines, but they might've been long because they try to enforce social distancing. They cover a TON of information at check-in, and they are working to incorporate magic bands (which would allow complete bypass of the front desk), but they haven't gotten it implemented. Apparently you can pick up your room keys earlier in the day if you happen to be around, and then they can be activated once your room is ready, but we've not tested that system. Room Standard disney quality, tastefully decorated with nice but not gaudy hawaiian decor. Kcup coffee maker, LG TV which you might be able to plug into with HDMI (Not sure about casting), and a normal sized mini-fridge. Laundry room (with vending for detergent, Fabric softener), vending and ice are on each floor. If you've been at a disney hotel rack room, you know what to expect. It was clean and comfortable for our 2 adults and 1 kid. Grounds/Water Park/Atmosphere I think the feeling of a "Disney resort" means different things to different people. To the person that said there's no theme, I would say that the theme is "Hawaii" which utilizes a lot of the natural surroundings that Hawaii has to offer, like the lagoon, the natural snorkeling, the views of the mountains, etc. It certainly beats Central Florida, where everything has to be done a lot more to create an artificial "natural" theme, like the Polynesian. It has a different flavor to it, but the hawaiian staff members, and the "volcano" themed water slides, the lazy river adorned with tropical plants, the rainbow reef with tropical fish swimming around you- that was enough of a theme for me. For our family "Disney" means the hospitality and professionalism, the feeling that they are super happy you are there, and that it does really feel like the happiest place on earth. In the time of COVID, this is super difficult yet their team pulls it off with rare exception. There are tons of pools, some for little kids, some for adults, some for everyone, hot tubs, water slides, etc. We are on day 3, and still haven't gotten tired of the water offerings and beach. If you're used to doing everything once or twice, and want to be continually thrilled or impressed with many other rides or attractions, this might not be the place for you. But we have been having a great time going on the water slides over and over, and mixing it up with beach, pool, room, etc. Dining Dining was the only other area that I would say was mediocre. the app and website don't clearly and easily outline which restaurants are open and which are not. App/website also don't seem to be updated regularly during this phased re-opening. The front desk said this is changing with the upcoming xmas holiday, so make sure you stop by the front desk and ask. Ulu cafe is a a typical disney self-serve option- they have hot food for breakfast lunch and dinner, where you go in and order, it's packaged and you checkout along with many self-serve options of packaged items (chips, sodas, snacks, sandwiches, cold items). Of note- PINEAPPLE WHIP is served here, which is a big deal in our family. There poolside dining that can be brought out to all the chairs, and they seem to have some dining seating areas open for the same food. There is a pool snack shop that has stuff for the kids- chicken fingers, hot dogs, burgers, etc. All can be charged to the room. We utilized a combination of food delivery (bitesquad), driving out to pick stuff up, drinks from Costco, and food from across the street at the ABC market and other coffee/snack shops. COVID rules I think what they are doing for COVID is at least as good as what all other hotels are doing, and probably a little better. That being said, the three most recent reviews bring up issues with the mask policy, "praying I don't get sick" and a "superspreader event", with issues about disney hospitality/rudeness, nothing being open, etc. Here's the info that would've been helpful to know before we came: - They've tried to make everything contactless- QR codes for menus, packaged items (no buffets) - Masks should be worn at all times while on property, except if you're actively eating/drinking (just for those few seconds), if you're in a pool/water area, or if you're walking between pool/water area (I wasn't sure if that also applies for beach to pool area, which is a bit of a walk- we wore our masks). If you're standing around taking pictures by the pool, then wear a mask, since you're not eating/drinking or moving between pool areas and not in the pool. If you get in the pool, take off the mask. If you need a picture, then take a picture in the pool. Remember that Aulani shares some public walkways, and they don't enforce their rules on non-guests, so if you don't like that, be an adult and try to stay six feet away from other people who aren't wearing masks. - Housekeeping is every other day, and they don't change your sheets. Emptying the trash, and new towels are the services they offer. After your stay is done, they do a deep cleaning and disinfection - Parking is self-parking, no valet. $37/day- it's Disney so deal with it. - Luggage delivery - they will move it to your doorway and just inside your door, you should be wearing a mask if you're going to watch them do it. - Any maintenance (our TV needed a repair) done, they will ask you to stay in the hallway (we went out to dinner). - Chairs are spaced apart and grouped in 2,3 or 4 chairs. - Lines are spaced out, with 6 feet in between people - Their staff always wear their masks over their nose and mouths - Disinfection with clorox cleaners for all the lazy river/waterslide tubes - good supply and orderly line - Enough staff to give a good experience - lifeguards and cast members everywhere -Buffets and sit down service are limited, but may be changing due to the holidays, but plenty of dining seating - Disney hospitality has NOT changed - every staff person I spoke to was pleasant and are happy to have you at the property. In these difficult times, I admire their commitment to hospitality- we all know this sucks, but coming here and being treated well, from the bellmen to the pool waiters, to the waterslide staff, and the greeter at the souvenir shop, they were all awesome, genuine, courteous and professional, everything we've come to expect from Disney. Re: the negative comments- I'm a little irritated with myself that I let those reviews sway me, but I'm glad I stayed the course. If you've ever been to a Disney resort or hotel, it's crowded bc, well, it's Disney. Occupancy on the weekends was about 65% and about 20% on the weekdays - the hard part is that they've also reduced seating capacity by probably 40-50% to make sure that chairs are socially distanced (and ziptied together so they can't be separated). If that bothers you, don't come. Also, this is the new world of COVID- I would say I felt safer knowing that those around me passed a COVID test. There is always some inherent risk of going anywhere these days- I felt safer at Aulani than I do sometimes at the local walmart or grocery store. Superspreader event? Not really, not unless you absolutely refuse to compromise on any little thing and expect everything to be like it was pre-COVID. If you do have those expectations, then it is NOT the time for you to travel, and you might be homebound for many more months before things get back to the way they were. Overall, we are having a great time and will definitely return. We come to Hawaii every year to relax and get away from all of it, and Aulani has been amazing, especially after I was wary from reading the bad reviews. if you and your family are willing to compromise a little bit (ie. when events change), understand that everyone is doing their best under these circumstances, then come on over- it'll be a great Disney experience! PRO TIPS: - at HNL, Ko Olina has a special line for travel clearance- ask about it and use it - Check your car rental rates often- you can score a better deal a few days before - Costco is on the way to Aulani- water, soda and snacks are a great deal - Weekends are crowded, mid-week is not- Saturday and Sunday, get your beach chairs by 830am or sit by the beach or farther away from the pool. Weekdays, get them whenever. - $45 snorkeling covers unlimited snorkeling in the Rainbow Reef AND at the beach (as opposed to $25 for one day) - The beach area is partly public, which means mask-wearing is partly enforced- most people (70%) are still wearing masks, but runners and other folks may not be- just give them six feet and move on. - Dining options are limited but may be changing for the holidays - Kapolei is about 3 miles away - more reasonably price and authentic options, and food delivery services can deliver to Aulani - Come with "new norm" expectations, and you'll find the Disney hospitality you've come to expect.

    Individual ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-5

    Service

    Service-4

    Horrible experience

    Reviewed by alexaL8458CC() on Nov 20, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			2
			 out of 5

    Here with family of 8, 4 kids 4 adults. First off, no activities were open for the kids besides the pool amenities and beach activities. Daily character events were scheduled on the Aulani app but were 50% accurate. For example, on Mickey's birthday they said he would be present at a certain time but was not. Staff stated Mickey had to leave to enjoy his birthday, where did mickey celebrate? I understand Covid policies are mandated on the Island and we respected them. However, there were a myriad of inconsistencies inside and outside. For example, you had to wear mask at all times unless you were at the pool, had to be in swim gear, or were eating and had food in your hand. But you couldn't take pictures without a mask while by the pool. Don't understand that logic. Besides the characters and Mickey shaped food there really isn't anything Disney related. So Don't expect a Disney theme resort when you come. Staff was very inconsiderate for families with infants, and made no accommodations. Most restaurants and shops are closed. There are no shows or events happening for the kids. This could be a great resort if it did have a Disney theme to it or at least have friendlier staff and Disney characters at least be there. I give it 2 stars because of the room size and lazy river. Don't waste your money if you want a Disney type feel or want great customer service. Mahalo

    Praying I don’t get sick.

    Reviewed by CAFamilyOf5(California) on Nov 16, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			1
			 out of 5

    I was so excited to come visit this property but should have had a clue something was awry when I was put on hold for 90 minutes just to reach the front desk/reservations line. This was marketed as a phased reopening and it was nothing like that. Incredibly overcrowded, nothing is open, and no mask or distancing enforcement at all. Plus this isn’t the typical open air Hawai’i hotel. Everything is sealed up so no breeze to clean the air in the indoor public areas. I literally hid in my room, with no room service, for two days until they allowed me to check out early. It looks like a beautiful property but save your money and go in 2021. It’s not worth the discounted rates to risk your health.

    Super Spreader Event

    Reviewed by amydQ712WS() on Nov 15, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			1
			 out of 5

    The first day we were here was magical. But once the weekend hit, it’s like a cheap water park. No chairs by pool after 7:00 am. We keep a low profile and I expected “ phased reopening”. I called front desk to let them know we are checking out a day early and that it has been hard. She asked me what was going on. I calmly explained. She said to me, and I quote, “ Maybe this wasn’t the best time for you to be traveling.” I said,”Did you just tell me that I should not have been traveling?” She said, “ that’s what you heard me say. I didn’t say that.” Never in my life have I been treated like this by ANY Disney employee. Today I’m going to video around the resort and post so that everybody knows what is going on here. God bless most of the employees, they are working so hard with half of their coworkers still not returned to work. DO NOT COME HERE.

    Overcrowded and unenjoyable

    Reviewed by tobikocat(Long Beach, CA) on Nov 14, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			1
			 out of 5

    First two days were great. Our family was able to use all the amenities without much trouble. Then came Friday afternoon when a ron of guests checked in. Lines for food, elevators. Pools overcrowded. Saturday morning at 8am ALL pool chairs full. Attendant told me beach had avail chairs. How can I watch my two young kids use pools from beach. No turnover of chairs either as we checked back several times. Waterslide lines were ridiculous. I ended up sitting on cement so ky kids could utilize amenities I paid full price gor when booking 10 months ago. If you don't have space to accommodate guests using amenities,maybe lower capacity to allow those visiting to have an actual enjoyable vacation. This is our fourth visit and likely our last.