I’m obsessed with the Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection! This stunning property on Hawaii Island (Big Island) celebrates its Hawaiian roots while preserving the culture through a wealth of activities and sharing stories with its guests.
Sunrise Canoe Paddle
At dawn, one of our “beach boys” sounded the pu (conch shell) to let the sea know we were coming in. After paddling our way through the calm water for a couple miles, we arrived at the piko (spiritual center) of the five majestic mountains 4 on Hawaii Island and 1 on Maui. He sounded the pu again and spoke about the important historical culture, true meaning of aloha (love and positive energy), setting our intentions for the day, connecting spiritually with loved ones, and cleansing ourselves of negativity. I felt the transformational power of this experience and embraced it. We quietly watched the sunrise and noticed whales nearby as they swam to the surface. It was pure magic and a perfect way to start my day.
After a casual breakfast at the surf shack, we took a tour of the resort. The halau is the open air cultural heart of the resort where a beautiful outrigger canoe is the focal point and Hale‘I’ike (part cultural center and part museum) is where Uncle Danny shares Hawaiian history and culture.
The ocean front rooms and suites are best for viewing the amazing sunrises and sunsets. Contemporary-meets-organic describes the design in the spacious rooms which offer a blue tooth speaker, usb sockets on the nightstands, and complimentary Kona coffee. The five two-bedroom residences have private pools overlooking the ocean, full kitchens, and spacious common areas – perfect for entertaining, friends and families to vacation together, or for extended stays.
During our stroll with Uncle Danny to the Eva Parker Woods Cottage filled with artifacts, he shared culture and historical legends. It was there I learned to “throw the net” for fishing. Along the way, we passed the Kalahuipua’a fish ponds that held fish meant only for consumption by Hawaiian royalty.
We snaked our way through ancient lava fields and the dazzling emerald green carpet of the South Course by golf cart and stopped at famous over-the-water hole #15. The resort can turn this into a Sundowner excursion!
Our private event at one of the residences included hula, a private chef dinner (tamari ginger marinated wagyu skirt steak – #1 best dish I’ve ever had) and an amazing sunset. Executive chef Matt Raso oversees the iconic CanoeHouse and has received critical acclaim. We saw Thomas Keller dine there and bring Chef out to his table.
Treatments feature locally made Honua products – my Lomi Lomi massage included an exclusive herbal oil blend.
Mauna Lani is the real deal and has something for everyone.
Promotions: Upgrade at time of booking. Minimum 5-night stay receives $1000 credit. Minimum 4-night stay gets 4th night free. Combine with Virtuoso amenities: $100 resort credit and breakfast for two. Some restrictions apply.
Helen Jordan is the owner of Jordan Luxury Travel, an independent affiliate of Brownell Travel, a member of Virtuoso. She can be reached at 602-692-9379 or [email protected].