This was our 2nd visit to Aulani (first time was in 2012) and if anything it was better than the first time. We were visiting over an extended Thanksgiving weekend and we were fortunate that our good friends Chris & Cindy were going to be in Oahu at the same time. It was fortunate for two reasons – first, we enjoy spending time with them and take the opportunity whenever we can and secondly, they co-own a vacation home on North Shore with our newfound friends, Brian and Sean, and we were invited to have a home cooked thanksgiving dinner.
We flew in the Wednesday night right before Thanksgiving, arriving around midnight. Because it was so late, we had booked a hotel close to the airport in Honolulu with the idea that we would just get up in the morning and head to Chris & Cindy’s place in North Shore.
Thanksgiving dinner was fantastic and we could not have had better company or food. We had such a great time that I forgot to take any pictures before or during dinner.
After dinner, we went to the beach for a bit and North Shore was just as amazing as we remembered it from our previous visit in 2012. As many people probably know, North Shore is where they have many surfing competitions so watching the ocean there is a treat.
Our daughters Alyssa (left) & Alexis (right).
After spending the day at North Shore for Thanksgiving, we drove to Aulani which is on the west side of Oahu in Ko Olina. Our family is obviously fans of Disney but whether you do or do not like Disney, I’m sure everyone would be impressed with how beautiful the Aulani resort is. Disney brought in many local Hawaiian experts in designing and constructing the resort and it really feels “Hawaiian” compared to many other resorts we have visited in Hawaii. Aulani was voted No. 1 in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2014 for Top Family Hotel in the U.S.A.
After the traditional Hawaiian greeting and lei’s at the Aulani porte cochere, we quickly checked in and made our way to our 1-bedroom villa. Our villa overlooked the pool area and you could see the ocean in the distance through the palm trees.
The next morning we went to Ama Ama for breakfast. It was typical pricing for a resort, which is to say a bit pricy. However, the delicious food along with the fantastic view made it definitely worthwhile.
We spent the remainder of the day (which is to say all day) doing what Judy is doing in the picture below.
And this was Judy’s view.
The next morning we did breakfast at Makahiki which was a buffet breakfast. Buffet’s are not normally something we really enjoy and this buffet was no different. It was decent but at the end of the day it was buffet food.
Our day was very similar to our previous day of hanging out of the beach and pool but we did also spend a good portion of the day at the spa. The spa at Aulani is called Laniwai and it felt very Hawaiian (I suppose as it should). We all had hour long massages and then had access to all of their relaxation rooms and outdoor hot tubs.
This was the entryway into the treatment rooms.
This was one of the relaxation rooms with flavored water and fruits.
The outdoor area had multiple hot tubs at different temperatures along with a cold plunge pool.
It was a beautiful area that was very restful and relaxing. As a rule I’m not much into spas and haven’t been to many but Judy is a spa connoisseur and gave high marks to Laniwai.
That evening, our friends Chris & Cindy came to the resort to join us for dinner at Ama Ama. Dinner was good and the company was great so an overall be enjoyable evening.
The next day was Alyssa’s birthday and we had a mini cake delivered to our villa as a surprise.
The rest of the day was spent, once again, at the beach and pool with the plan of attending a luau that evening for her birthday.
The luau was called the Paradise Cove Luau and was a larger production than we expected. Before the luau, there were traditional Hawaiian activities such as spear throwing and canoeing. Then there was the roast pig unveiling.
We had a front row seat to the luau and it was certainly entertaining. Judy and I attended our first luau in 1992 and so it had been a while until this luau. However, I think one luau every couple of decades if probably sufficient for me but the girls enjoyed their first one.
Overall it was a very relaxing trip and really, it was Hawaii so you can’t complain. The Aulani resort is a wonderful place to stay in Hawaii, especially if you are going to Oahu. We are not big fans of Waikiki Beach, it feels too much like a touristy big city with tons of people so being at Ko Olina was perfect for us.
We will be back.