4 Reasons to Pack Your Bags This Season
A resort revival on Hawaii's Big Island, new direct flights to California wine country, and skiing at Big Bear Mountain
The pool at the newly renovated Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection
If balmy 80-degree afternoons aren’t enough of a draw to go to Hawai‘i this winter, Auberge Resorts gave us another reason: Its first luxury hotel in the Aloha State, the Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, opens this month on the Big Island’s rocky Kohala Coast.
The company remodeled the former Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, a 295-room resort that sits on 30 acres of golf courses, among groves of coconut trees and beaches sparkling with sand that looks like salt and pepper, thanks to the black volcanic rock found throughout the geologically young island.
Mauna Lani is an iconic hideaway on the Big Island’s west side. Built in the early ’80s, the property was beginning to show its age, so it was closed for a whole year and underwent a $200 million overhaul. The resort now has a sleek, modern look, and 38 new suites and five private bungalows, three pools (including an adults-only infinity pool), and a new restaurant, Halani. Canoe House, the resort’s longstanding seaside restaurant (where famous Hawai‘i chefs Alan Wong and Peter Merriman got their start) remains, but with Nobu alum chef Matt Raso directing the kitchen at dinnertime.
While you’re here, it’s worth carving out time to explore the environment just outside the resort. Skirting the property are significant Native Hawaiian historical sites that have been preserved, like Kalāhuipua‘a Historic Park, where a hiking trail through kiawe forests leads to petroglyphs (rock carvings), lava tubes, and caves. Back along the coastline are several loko i‘a, or aquaculture ponds, which date back to the 13th century. If you’re more the adventurous type, you can book an e-bike excursion through the hills of Waimea or paddle out to sea in an outrigger canoe. Whatever you decide, a cold mai tai awaits your return at the new Hā pool bar. See you on the beach!
Room rates from $499