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 6586 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:

    Fantastic hospitality as expected

    Reviewed by takafumiw(Musashino, Japan) on Feb 18, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    Great hospitality, of course great entertainments. You or your family should enjoy pools here for as much money money you payed. Private beach is also good, but as good as Honolulu hotels' ones. There are some restaurants, but you may be tired soon. Walk down 5 minutes to mall, and find local hood at ABC store. Still not cheap, but taxi or Uber costs more to go for shopping at Wallmart or Safeway.

    Rooms Suck! Facilities Good for Families

    Reviewed by TrailBlazer529104() on Feb 17, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			1
			 out of 5

    When we arrived and checked in to our with a family of 5, we were given a room with a double bed and a sofa! When we rang to ask if we had the right room because we booked and paid for 5 not 2 people. I was told yes Sir you have the right room, you just have to pull out the bed from the sofa and make it. OMG What!!! This is a family resort!!... This was totally unacceptable for the amount of money paid!!... I would not recommend this hotel. We also paid for the digital images and were given a card that gave us access to all our images that we had paid for. Only to find out that once you log in and view your images if you wanted to download them you have to pay again!!! Not happy!!.... Way over priced for what it is!

    Does and Dont's of Aulani

    Reviewed by agirlcallededdy(Phoenix, Arizona) on Feb 17, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    We are Disney Vacation Club Members and stayed at Aulani for the first week of February. We stayed in dedicated 2 bedroom villa, RM 480. This is a pool garden view. Our experience at check in was easy and welcoming. We felt honored to receive the welcome orchid lei (oh the smell!), kukui nut lei and menahune necklaces from the cast member / greeter. We had some details to sort out with our rental car and we were early to check in, but soon all our luggage was safely at Bell Services and we were wandering around the open air lobby jonzing to get in the lazy river! Aulani has the Luana Lounge for guests arriving before check in and leaving after check out for early/late use of the facilities. It is located on the 1st floor adjacent to the Pua Hana Community room, just down from the Makahiki restaurant stairs / access to the pool area. Our room was ready just prior to 4pm (which is the expected time for Disney Vacation Club members). The room was immaculate albeit dark. The dark wood, dark tile, dark counters and dark / yellowish lighting wasn’t cheery but it was authentic. We noted the room was missing a corkscrew – it was delivered upon request. Our bags arrived, extra blankets.. anything we needed was quickly supplied. The cleaning staff welcomed us with an aloha each time we passed by and the room was generous in size, well supplied, nicely appointed and we felt right at home. I did three loads of laundry (detergent supplied), we cooked pancakes, enjoyed fresh brewed Kona coffee in the classic basket filter Mr. Coffee coffeemaker (purchased at the Island Market across the street), and everything was in good working condition. The dishwasher was efficient as was the ice maker. I do wish at a minimum the master bathroom would have an LED lighted make-up mirror. This would have been welcomed given how dark the lighting is. Like any Disney resort it is the cast members that make it memorable – we had given our girls the “Beyond the Painted Sky” experience at the Painted Sky (kids salon/spa) for Christmas. Turns out were were the only family that signed up on Feb 4th. Our girls were treated like VIPs during Too Cute Makeovers, a Hawaiian craft (flower crowns), and a private meeting with characters: Minnie & Aunty. We were all in a little shock when we did a short parade through the Waikolohe Valley (pool area) with music, flowers and lots of friendly waves. Reyn was a fantastic cast member to guide us through this experience – friendly, knowledgeable and put us and our girls right at ease. Disney magic! We had great service by Cody at Off the Hook, the casual dining adjacent to Ama Ama (the jalepeno buttermilk ranch that comes with the Onion Rings.. delish!) Our girls loved their cast member “Cat” at the Tween Hour in the evenings at Aunty’s Beachhouse. (My 10 and 12 year old girls loved the Tween Hour at Auntys!). My sweet petite sunrise yoga instructor whose name escaped me! Michael was a hoot as he led the adults through the Canvas and Cocktails class. These are just a few of the cast members who made a great trip extraordinary and what makes Disney so special overall. Aulani is a gorgeous resort with a restful and relaxed vibe. It is also nestled in the cove right between the Four Seasons and the Marriott. You can easily hoof it to these resorts for additional eateries. Aulani takes some adjustments if you frequent Disney World. It doesn’t take as much planning, and it is a much slower vacation. We loved that the Aulani events were all smaller, our family felt part of the resort instead of lost in a crowd, or a line. We took each day with a spirit of Aloha and felt that spirit returned to us with each encounter we had at Aulani. We actually had time to relax. I highly recommend Aulani - especially so for families with kids under 12. The Aunty’s Beach House is arguably the best resort kids camp out there. After I asked my 6 year old what was her favorite on the day of the private parade with Minnie and Too Cute makeover – she said “Aunty’s Beach House!”. It’s that good, and it is included. Here’s my 411: Dos: Get a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) villa so you can cook. A week on Aulani resort food will kill your budget and get boring fast. If you aren’t a DVC member, research renting DVC points, you will save money over booking directly with Disney. Go across the street, stock up on some groceries or hit up Target 1 exit towards the east. Get on Open Table to make an early happy hour reservation at Monkey Pod. This is a fantastic restaurant, but the wait can be long without a reseration. You can snag a reservation a day before and save yourself the heartache of waiting with hungry kids. Pre-register online at Aunty’s Beach House prior to arrival – go in the evening the night before your first day at the kids club to get the registration completed and pick up your bands. Do the Open House in the morning if you have a youngster who is nervous about going it alone. They do a great introduction every day and the kids get to get acclimated before you leave them. Consider car rental – If you aren’t DVC members, parking is $37 a day for your rental car at the resort. If you are DVC members, how much will you use the car? Are you primarily having a resort vacation – or are you have a Hawaiian vacation? We upgraded our rental to a Jeep, and only used it to and from the airport, one grocery run an exit away, and took 1 Day trip to the North Shore. Probably not worth the $800 per week price tag. If we were intended to do more day trips, a car would be necessary. Ko Olina is pretty far from everything, ie. Pearl Harbor, the airport, Honolulu and Waikiki. Beach Chair Policy – everyone gets worked up about beach chairs. We never had an issue. We would re-visit our chairs periodically or leave them all together to go down to the beach which seemed to always have chairs available. There are also a lot of chairs available in front of Ama Ama and in other little corners of the pool area that many people seem not know about. Don’t stress it. Bask in the adult, two-leveled (do people even know the lower level exists?), infinity edge hot tub with an ocean view. It easy to walk pass the access to the hot tub between the outdoor shower station and Off The Hook. This hot tub is an adult dream world when everything else is shouting KIDS! Go there, tell the kids you are leaving, but go there!! Grab the cupcake at the Snack Shack when your kids get Shave Ice – the cupcake changes (daily?) and the pineapple macadamia nut is amazing. I had a relationship with the Olu cupcake in the pics. Shave Ice – Mickey ears are cute but they are hardly edible and the rest of your child’s shave ice will melt while they struggle to eat the ears! You’ve been warned! Walk over to the Secret Beach with access in the Paradise Cove Luau parking lot. Here you will see sea turtles and maybe a monk seal. Bring at least 2 x bathing suits, cover ups and water shoes or aqua socks. This is your Aulani uniform. Oh, plus Mickey ears or a Lei, of course! Grab the Daily Ewa! This is your guide to what is going on at Aulani and changes daily. Pua Hana Community Room - Do line up at 7:45 to sign up for activities you want to do that are on the Daily Iwa. There is limited availability but sign up is easy if you are early. Sign Ups start at 8am (even if they event isn’t until 4pm!). I would finish my morning yoga, walk through the resort, grab the Daily Ewa (list of events), and then get in line for events we wanted to sign up. Some events are pay events. The Pua Hana Community Room cast members are great and we met some very nice families as we hung out before and after the Menahune Trail, make your own Mickey Ears and Canvas and Cocktails were stand outs. Ka’Wa Luau – This is a tough one. It is expensive (we did VIP) and not short – my youngest was suffering from time change and we left early – but if you want to have a Luau experience, it is certainly good. The pre-show stations were great, my girls loved the ukulele, stamping, tattoos, lei making. Husband and I enjoyed the all inclusive bar (VIP Only – regular guests are cash). The main female performer was very sweet and got down on her knees to chat with my 6 year old who was laying under our front row table. The male hula dancers were especially impressive. Mickey makes an appearance, as does Minnie and Moana, but otherwise, it is an adult oriented story line. I missed the fire dancing at the end, but my Husband reports it was very cool. Consider the time change – how will you adjust and how will your kids? Even the 3 hour change for our family took a toll on our evening activities. Don’t over plan yourself and allow for flexibility to keep all your little vacationers happy. In retrospect, I was given advice to plan the Luau early in our week (in case of rain we could reschedule) but it was too much to do on our first full day for our 6 year old. Do see more of the island if you can. Oahu is stunning and if this is a once in a lifetime trip, at least see the north shore, and the Oahu coastline. See Pearl Harbor (I hear it is amazing although we didn’t get there) and do all your bucket list items (mine was sunrise yoga – 3 x Check!) Do Tour Disney Vacation Club villas if you are interested – see also: the Don’t section. Don’ts: Rainbow Reef - Pay for a week pass of snorkeling for your family of 5 (woah pricey!), unless you think everyone in your party will like it. Aulani will let you try it before you buy the longer pass. The reef is very cold, and my older girls were done with one snorkeling visit. My youngest loved it and returned a couple of times – but I do regret buying us all the weekly passes. I saw a lot of kids who didn’t like Rainbow Reef at all and parents who were angry about how much $$ they just paid for the kid not even to go off the very cold steps into the reef. Spend time doing a Disney Vacation Club tour unless you feel confident in your ability to take into seriousness the purchase (or not). We are members (purchased resale not from Disney direct) and there are a LOT of nuances, expenses and considerations to DVC membership. Don’t buy a DVC membership without a lot of thought and research – ie. not on a whim at Aulani. The pixie dust will wear off when you return home. Forget your sunscreen! You are closer to the equator than you think. We are from Phoenix and used to the sun. Still my youngest got more sun than we realized. Consider also if your sunscreen is REEF friendly. This will soon be the law in Hawaii. Forget to hydrate. Bring your favorite water bottles and keep the filled . We did this instead of drinking sodas/coffee in Disney refillable mugs. You will need more water to keep hydrated than you think. Forget your shopping bags! Hawaii will not give you disposable bags for your purchases, you will pay for them. I brought my reusable shopping bags in the luggage and then forgot to take them to Target – doh! Bring also a nice beach bag, it will come in handy in and around the resort and island. Miss firepit story time with Uncle, the nighttime/outside menahune adventure trail (IPOD Guided) or Star Gazing. We missed those events and we regret it! I guess we will have to go back… Forget to be grateful – we are always reminding our kids and ourselves how blessed we are to take trips like this one to Aulani. We don’t want to be THAT family! Remember to say Mahalo to all the helpful and friendly faces at Aulani! Many of the cast members at Aulani, particularly in food and bar service, make most of their salary on tips. Don’t take out your frustration with Disney with these people – ie. if the adult pool is closed and your vacation is ruined, don’t abuse the cast members who have no control! This is simply put: Don’t sit in the chair unless you are going to order a drink. They may work for Disney, but they are also trying to make a living. There is a tension between locals and tourists in Oahu. We were aware of this and hope that we didn’t perpetuate that resentment. We hope you don’t either. Those are my two cents. Aulani was fabulous. We adored it and we will be back!! Mahalo!

    Individual ratings:

    Rooms

    Rooms-5

    Service

    Service-5

    Everything plus more

    Reviewed by nikij6925(Roscoe, Illinois) on Feb 16, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    I was highly impressed with this resort. I was nervous with some of the bad reviews but boy did they get it wrong. We stayed in a one bedroom ocean front room and it beautiful. The bathrooms are large and water pressure is very good. The grounds are immaculate and landscaping lush. The staff went above and beyond for us. We never do kids clubs at resorts but I had heard good things so we tried it out. My girls ages 5 and 3 loved it! They wanted to spend all their time there and we would have to drag them out.The bracelets for the kids have gps on them so they always know exactly where your kids are. The beach is perfectly for the kids to swim because of the lagoon style. We never had an issue finding pool or beach chairs. We stayed in Waikiki after our stay at Aulani and it did not compare! If you are on the fence book Aulani.

    First Class...And Very Expensive

    Reviewed by WalnutBaron(San Francisco, California) on Feb 14, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    Everything about Aulani is first class--the attention to detail, the spotless grounds, the friendliness of the staff. It's fun, family-friendly, and filled with opportunities for great experiences. We loved the pools, the lazy river, the water slides, the access to the beach, the variety of restaurants. We loved being able to relax and enjoy the top notch service and hospitality. But just beware that all of the excellence comes at a steep price for just about everything. I suppose that's to be expected, but even though we're from California where everything is priced high, we still experienced sticker shock at Aulani.

    Individual ratings:

    Rooms

    Rooms-3

    Service

    Service-5

    Value

    Value-3