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Reviewed March 22, 2012

We recently stayed (March 2012) at the Aulani for a 5 day, 4 night stay. We thankfully missed the torrential rains by one day. The property is beautiful with breathtaking views of the beach. Ko Olina itself is gorgeous.

In terms of outside food and amenities, there is a Target, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds two exits down (less than ten minute drive). Much cheaper than the resort restaurants and market across the street. FYI for those with food allergies, the market and smaller restaurants across the street from the resort aren't well versed with what ingredients/oils are used in their food.

Aulani hotel rooms are clean, well equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, and electric water kettle. The rooms are standard in size.

The pools are fantastic - deepest area is approx 4 ft. Love how the resort has complimentary life vests and tubes for guests to use.

Aunty's Beach House is a wonderful, safe place for kids (age 3-12) to enjoy. They have a daily open house from 8-10 am for all ages - which was great for my two year old. My 9 year old loved the video game/media room. The staff was also well versed with food allergies and seemed knowledgeable about epi pens.

Front desk staff, pool staff, and restaurant staff are very friendly and polite. Truly appreciated one male staff member who was primarily stationed at the sting ray pool during our stay. He was very engaging and seemed to enjoy teaching my older boy about sting rays.

Enjoyed the character breakfast (Goofy, Minnie, Mickey)- great entertainment for a two year old (Stitch is out and about the resort only at certain times). Chef actually met us and told us what was safe (essentially everything except pastries). I made online reservations for the Aulani restaurants (which were expensive but not outrageously so) and made note of my son's nut allergies. Every single waiter we met had already seen that we had a food allergy and made the appropriate accommodations. At Ama Ama, they even made a special loaf of taro bread which was wonderful. Aulani is very "disneyesque" where customer service and safety seem to be paramount.

Unfortunately, we had two very negative experiences at Rainbow Reef and with the valet - hence the 4/5 rating instead of 5/5. At Rainbow Reef, the pool attendant didn't seem to care that my son's life vest wasn't properly fastened. I pointed this out to the male attendant, and he didn't do anything - not a thing. From outside the gate (while holding a squirmy 2 year old), I wound up having to scream at my husband and son to NOT enter the water until the vest was properly on. Furthermore, my son was snorkeling for the first time, and he wound up struggling with the equipment. This attendant was oblivious. I politely asked if he would give my son some advice, and he completely, rudely ignored me. For a company that prides itself on safety, I was appalled that this employee actually worked there.

As for the second encounter - we called for valet service one afternoon. When we made it downstairs, we checked in with the female attendant at the valet podium. We then sat on a bench - in plain view of this attendant, and waited. We waited for over ten minutes. Finally, we went back to her, and she said, "Oops. I couldn't find your name." So, instead of approaching us when she couldn't find our name, she chose to ignore us and hope that we would forget about needing a car.

All in all, our Aulani experience was positive. However, our experience with these two ignorant employees definitely put a dark cloud on our vacation.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank FoodAllergyFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 21, 2012

Our 7-person party stayed in 3 oceanfront rooms at the Aulani in March 2012 for a 5 day stay.

The property itself is beautiful. Very similar to the Grand Californian Hotel or Animal Kingdom Lodge except Hawaii-ized. Online check-in is a fun new service they are offering, which allowed us to pick up our keys outside of the hotel and head straight up to our rooms.

The property itself is fantastic. The pools, waterslides, lazy river, beaches, activities and experiences are above and beyond even what you would expect from Disney. The hotel rooms are very nice. I was hoping for a separate tub and shower (pretty standard at resorts of this caliber in Hawaii), which you don't get at Disney, but beyond that the rooms are done very nicely.

We had two major problems with the trip. The first was room service. For a five day stay, we were at the pool and beach every day from 9am-4pm. But our rooms only got cleaned once. This is shoddy by any hotel's standards.

The second was food. We made some dinner reservations, expecting that it would be straightforward to get meals for breakfast and lunch somewhere on the property. It is not. The first morning we were there they were having a character breakfast at the buffet restaurant. These breakfasts take a relatively small number of people, which leaves everybody else in the hotel to either get room service (75 minute wait) or stand in a 20 minute line at the shoddy 'continental' breakfast next door where there is zero seating.

The pool service was nice, but if you want something to eat right away for lunch, there is nowhere to get it, as the bars don't serve food and One Paddle, Two Paddle doesn't open until 5pm.

All in all, we were extremely disappointed with the availability of food and the room service issues we experienced. Disney really needs to iron this out because it turns an otherwise awesome experience into a huge inconvenience when you're spending hours trying to find something to eat.

We also had one of our dinner reservations screwed up by the resort. We made a reservation at Ama Ama only to find that they lost it and we were unable to eat there. Yay! Back to the rooms to order room service which takes 90 minutes to arrive.

If Disney could repair this - maybe open One Paddle Two Paddle all day so there's always a quick counter service option - the resort would be infinitely better. My recommendation is to have a reservation for every single meal, with the possible exception of lunch where pool service works pretty well. If you do this - you should have a lovely time at this resort. The people are warm and the pools are fantastic!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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7  Thank cheeseburger23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 19, 2012

Just returned from a one-week March break extravaganza at Aulani and it was nothing short of spectacular. Do not let the nay-sayers sway your decision about heading to this resort! As seasoned world travellers, both my partner and I found the accomodations to be clean, modern and sumptious. The grounds are beatifully landscaped and stretch out over a generous parcel of land, making guests feel like they're in an uncrowded garden of Eden. My tween daughter loved the pool and lazy river. I'm not a pool person so I spent most of my beach time at the lagoon. It has now replaced Magen's Bay in US Virgin Islands as my new favourite beach in paradise. The sand is course. Lots of room on the beach as it NEVER gets crowded. Chaises fill up by 9 am so get up and get going. The water is crystal clear and bottom of lagoon is sandy. As a DVC member, I found the room smaller than any other property but hey, we slept in it and that was all. Note to all: if you're planning on eating in the resort during your stay, book your restaurants (Makahiki or Ama-Ama) at least two weeks before your arrival. There is a significant shortage of on-site walk in dining and the resort is not even running at full capacity. If you plan to do the character breakfast book at least one month ahead, or do what we did: called dining the day before and compromised on any available time for the next day (due to a cancellation). Honestly, this was the best tropical getaway that our family has ever had!!!! Also, plan on renting a car (cheap) and that way you can dine out of resort and explore all the other cool things Oahu has to offer....North shore is awesome!

Room Tip: Pop the extra bucks (or points) and opt for a sea view....you've come this far, enjoy the view!
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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10  Thank handydandy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 18, 2012

We stayed at Aulani for 13 nights. Right from check in to check out the staff at this hotel truly know customer service. Filming was being done for "live with Kelly" and we were concerned there may be some disruptions to service, but it didn't happen.

At first we were concerned with our room assignment as it was just off the lobby, we did not hear any hall noise at all.

If there was any downfall to the resort, we found the choices in the restaurants was limited and the food was very expensive. We headed off site most nights for our food. Just down the street is a taco place which we highly recommend. The ABC store has a nice deli and has a great selection of hot dishes every day. We sometimes picked up something at lunch and heated it in our microwave for supper.
There is a shuttle between the resorts, head down to the Marriott to Chuck's, the food is great and reasonably priced. It may be difficult to find good choices in the hotel if you are travelling with children.

The pools are great and didn't seem crowded when we were there.

There is a shuttle service from the resort to Waikiki which we took one day, the cost was $30.00 each (return) Gave us enough time to do some shopping and looking around.

We would recommend this hotel, but you need to keep in mind the rooms are very expensive (we stayed as Disney Vacation Club members) and the food choices are limited. We are sure once the area is developed more, the choices will improve.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank travelbuffCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 17, 2012

We came with our three kids the week of the opening and what an amazing vacation,
Awesome customer service incredible property and Tons of activity and by the way Auntie's beach house rocked

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank docfoos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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