Aulani A Disney Resort and Spa
Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, is located at Ko Olina, Oahu, about 20 miles west of Waikiki on the island’s leeward (and less rainy) side. Ko Olina has four man-made lagoons with sandy beaches, and a golf course. Aulani has a prime spot centered on one of the lagoons.
The Aulani resort has 840 units and standard guestrooms include a balcony or porch, deep soaking tub, mini-fridge, and Pack ‘n Play play yard. Suites are also available.
An impressive feature of the $800M Aulani resort is its dedication to Hawaiian art and culture. The open-air Makahala Lobby is vibrant with 200 feet of colorful murals by artist Martin Charlot. Wooden sculptures by master carver Rocky Jensen flank the lobby entrance; designs by traditional kapa maker Delani Tahany grace the heights of the lobby as well as the fabric details in the guestrooms. A major creative spirit behind the Aulani is Joe Rohde, an executive at Walt Disney Imagineering who was also the lead designer at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (a unique theme park that’s rich in cultural details.)
Features of Aulani Resort, for Families
Aulani is designed from the inside out as a family resort. Room design in many units, for instance, incorporates a nifty bed that pulls out from the bottom part of a chest in the living room — just the kind of spot where a kid would love to sleep.
The grounds are stroller-friendly and the beach has a gentle entry that’s perfect for small kids. A host of lifeguards are posted along the lazy river and at the pool.
That said, Aulani does have a grown-up side, with sophisticated dining at the oceanview ‘AMA’AMA restaurant, the quiet Wailana pool and lounge area with its own bar, a terrific spa (plan to spend hours there before or after your treatment), and Fairy Tale Weddings services.
The Waikolohe Valley
The 7-acre Waikolohe Valley, with its Pu?u Kilo volcano, is the centerpiece of the Aulani resort. The lazy river Waikolohe Stream winds its way — lazily!– through the Valley. Two waterslides — the Tubestone Curl tube slide and the Volcano Vertical body slide (dark!)– start from the top of the volcano. Also in the valley is the Waikolohe Pool, a lifeguarded zero-entry pool, a hot pool, and infinity pools overlooking the beach.
Menehune Bridge Waterplay Area
This area has waterslides, bridge, water showers — lots of fun.
Rainbow Reef Snorkeling Pool:
This pool is full of colorful fish and is a great place for little kids to try snorkeling. Fish and snorkelers can be viewed through below-ground glass windows; parents can take photos while kids have a turn. Gear is included.
Aunty’s Beach House Kids Club
This excellent kids club is complimentary, with multiple themed rooms in both Aunty’s side and Uncle’s side of the house: kids age three to five go to Aunty, and older kids go to Uncle. Aunty’s side features a large room with a magical fireplace, dress-up area, and other fun, and has several other rooms, including a kitchen, as well. Uncle’s side has a room for video games, Uncle’s workshop, and more. A large outdoor area has play structures and plenty of grass for running around.
Certain activities at Aunty’s Beach House entail an extra charge; also, Aunty isn’t actually in residence but does make appearances. Kids are served snacks every two hours; parents can also arrange for meals, which might encourage Mom and Dad to try some fine dining at the AMA AMA restaurant.
Sand and surf come together beautifully at one of America’s most iconic stretches of coast. A desirable resort destination since the early 20th century, Waikiki is home not only to golden sands and flocks of surfers, but also attractions such as Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium.