The Big Island’s Mauna Lani Hotel to close for renovations this fall. And work done on the property won’t be a simple refresh, it’ll be the Mauna Lani’s most significant change since it opened.
The Mauna Lani Hotel, more formally known as the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows opened in February 1983. Currently, the hotel features 318 guest rooms, 18 suites, and large bungalows, all of which have their own pool and whirlpool spa. But the property as it stands today isn’t as modern as it could be. And it’ll look even more dated when the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort wraps up its $46 million renovation this June.
Mauna Lani Reinvented
In what’s becoming a trend on the Kohala Coast, the Mauna Lani Hotel will embark on its own renovation project in October. But this won’t be a simple refresh project. Instead, the hotel will undergo an extensive $100 million reinvention project. And once the 14-month long renovation is complete, the property will re-emerge as a boutique hotel under the Auberge Resorts Collection; making it the first under the brand in Hawaii.
This shift upmarket means the new hotel will have fewer rooms than it currently has. The reduction in rooms will make way for 10 to 12 new suites in the oceanfront building. New adult and family pools will also be added, while work will be done to the clubhouse, golf course, and restaurants too.
According to the property’s owners, the reinvented Mauna Lani Hotel will compete with Hawaii’s best. They claim their new peers will include Four Seasons, Montage, and Ritz-Carlton, which says a lot. These properties are among the best in Hawaii, and the Montage Maui and neighboring Four Seasons Hualalai both charge $1,000+ per night. And while the reimagined Mauna Lani may not fetch those kinds of rates initially, it may in the not-too-distant future. In fact, many Auberge properties already fetch rates in this range.
Mauna Lani Hotel to Close for Renovations, Final Thoughts
Big Island hotels have historically been more affordable than those on Maui and Kauai. And that was largely due to the unrenovated state of many of its properties. But that appears to be quickly changing. A while back, the King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel renovated and came back under the Courtyard brand. That wasn’t a huge change, but it certainly helped lift pricing for the property. Then, of course, the Mauna Kea joined the Autograph Collection, while the Hapuna Beach will be joining Westin. And now, the Mauna Lani Hotel will become an Auberge property. So it would appear, then, that the Big Island, and especially the west side of the island, is quickly becoming more expensive.
Do the increasing prices suck? Yes! Yes, they do. But at the same time, at least there will be more award stay opportunities. Not at the Mauna Lani Hotel, of course, but the Mauna Kea and the Hapuna Beach at least have joined the Waikoloa Beach Marriott under Marriott Rewards.