The difference between Aulani and other Hawaian hotels here is in the D...Disney, that is! Their imagineers have brought the Hawaiian culture to life into every nook, cranny and minute detail of Aulani. Authentic fabrics, crafts, hidden mickeys...even the shape and style of the buildings themselves form a rainbow bridge to Ancient Hawaii. Aulani is the Hawaiian vacation we envision and dream about. It's a very different family experience than what can be found at many other Oahu hotels that call themselves family friendly.
Aulani sits on one of 5 bays in the Ko Olina resort area on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. It's about a 30 minute drive west of Honolulu airport and about an hour west of the famed Waikiki. Rooms prices here start from around $400 per night for all this Disney magic. If yours is the type of family that likes to get out and explore then having a rental car here is certainly recommended. If this is your family's first trip to Hawaii and you plan to spend a lot of time out and about sightseeing, you may want to split your stay. Stay a few nights in a hotel for days you'll be active. Then plan a few days to relax, stay put and enjoy all the features Aulani has to offer to families.
Aulani Resort sits on 21 garden acres lining a small protected bay adjacent to the Marriott. This Ko Olina resort area offers shops, restaurants and neighboring hotels that you can explore. Food and snacks can be found across the street at the Island country store (similare to Hawaii's ABC mini marts). If you have a rental car there are larger stores like Costco and more shopping 10 minutes away in Kapolei. The beach here sits on one of the protected bays so it is a perfect for little swimmers or teens looking to try some paddleboarding.
Aulani is comprised of two 15 story towers two 15-story Waianae and Ewa. The towers create a U or V shape that cradles what is known at the Waikolohe Valley - a family pool playground of crystalline waters, lazy rivers and imaginative play areas. Most of these water play areas are free but there is a private snorkeling lagoon area brimming with tropical fish which does charge admission. It is a perfect place for kids learning to snorkel. Really it's like playing with nemo in a huge aquarium.
Beyond the water park and pool there is a HUGE list of activities that occur throughout the day and well into the night. Lei Making, Ukelele lessons, work out classes, art tours, garden tours, character events, interactive scavenger hunts, kids club, teen program, hula shows...whew! Each day guests receive the Iwa newsletter that details the events and activities for that particular day. Most of these activities are free. In addition the Aulani boasts one of the best spas in Oahu (fee).
Rooms, restaurants and just about every inch of this resort was designed with families in mind. There are simple yet brilliant ideas like premium beds created with storage underneath along with villas that ill accommodate 5 - 12 family members looking to spend vacation time together. Standard rooms here will accommodate up to 4 family members with the "kids" considered to be under the age of 17.
If your family is flying across the Pacific to capture the true spirit and culture of Hawaii, an Aulani family vacation will help you to find exactly what you're looking for.