A Mauna Lani Makeover

Renovation work temporarily closes the Kohala Coast hotel

By: By Marty Wentzel

Sometimes even the most tried-and-true traditions take a break. Such is the case with Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, a longstanding resort on Hawaii’s Big Island. The oceanfront property, which first opened in 1983, has temporarily closed its doors for what it calls a refreshment project, and is promising results that reflect its deep Kohala Coast roots.

According to Mauna Lani spokesperson Susan Bredo, some of the hotel’s renovations required disruptive work.

“With the guest’s comfort in mind, we decided to close the resort during the noisy part of the project,” Bredo said. “The property will reopen on Nov. 1, although the refreshment will continue through January 2010.”

When the work is completed, clients will notice upgrades to Mauna Lani’s public areas, restaurants and guestroom soft goods. The new hotel design incorporates an authentic Hawaiian sense of place, with natural furnishings and tropical colors in the lobby and Hawaii-inspired artwork throughout.

New Cultural Center

Located in a region rich in Hawaiian history, Mauna Lani is already well known for its cultural programs in the Eva Parker Woods Cottage on the resort grounds. When the hotel reopens, clients will have another place to learn about the legends and traditions of the islands thanks to its new cultural center. Located on the lower level, the facility promises to be a hub of activity for hotel guests. Classes, tailored for visitors of all ages, include lei making, coconut frond weaving, coconut husking, ukulele lessons and hula lessons. Clients will be able to join historic tours, fish­feeding sessions, fish­net throwing demonstrations and petroglyph tours throughout the grounds.

“Since opening 26 years ago, Mauna Lani has been at the forefront of cultural stewardship in the resort industry,” said Mauna Lani general manager Brian Butterworth. “As we continue to add new amenities and programs, we always do so with an eye toward remaining true to the Hawaiian practice of malama aina [responsible stewardship of the land]. Preserving Hawaii’s resources, environment and culture is an important aspect of the resort experience at Mauna Lani and it resonates with our guests who are inspired to come back year after year.”

Upon reopening, Mauna Lani — which has no resort fee — guarantees guests a long list of complimentary services and activities. Clients are greeted with leis and tropical juice. They have free Internet access in their rooms. It costs nothing to use the fitness club, swim in the lap pool and take part in certain fitness classes and golf clinics. For the first hour, use of the tennis courts is complimentary. Clients have access to free snorkeling gear, a sand volleyball court and bikes for touring the resort.

Other complimentary guest amenities include morning coffee and tea in the hotel atrium, daily newspaper delivery, bottled water, overnight shoe shine, Hawaiian music and hula, self parking, beach cabanas and resort shuttle service.

Clients eager to see the new, improved Mauna Lani can book its commissionable Hawaii 5-0 package from $270 per night, good on visits through Dec. 23.

Travel agents can also visit Mauna Lani Bay and experience the enhancements firsthand while enjoying reduced rates.