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Puako Rental on Water or Mauna Lani Beach Hotel

Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
26 posts
Puako Rental on Water or Mauna Lani Beach Hotel

Hi,

I have reservations at the Mauna Lani Beach Hotel for my honeymoon in early December. I've read some so so reviews and don't know how eating hotel food for a week would go. I'm considering a rental in Puako.

Can anyone weigh the positives/negatives to each?

Thank you,

Rachel

8 replies to this topic
Waikoloa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
2,519 posts
39 reviews
1. Re: Puako Rental on Water or Mauna Lani Beach Hotel

It all depends on what the rental in Puako is. Do you have a link?

There aren't any restaurants in Puako, so if you don't want to cook for yourselves, you'll need to get in a car. There are restaurants close to the Mauna Lani Bay hotel in addition to the ones inside it.

For a honeymoon, I would lean towards a hotel that has room service with restaurants nearby.

Big Island, Hawaii
Level Contributor
31,163 posts
2. Re: Puako Rental on Water or Mauna Lani Beach Hotel

Puako is a small community of mostly vacation rentals. There is nothing else there except a very small general store, so as boulders says, anything you want to do besides get in the water, you'll have to drive. Entry into the ocean in December in particular can be very difficult there. Unlike the Mauna Lani, which has more protected bays and barrier lagoons that are essentially always swimmable, Puako is a lot more exposed and there aren't any nice beach areas.

You don't need to eat hotel food for a week if you're staying at the Mauna Lani, the resort has several restaurants outside the hotels, most of them locally owned. There's the beachfront Napua, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant owned by a lovely local couple, Monstera owned by renowned Chef Norio. You can walk to them or take the free resort shuttle.

Especially because it's a honeymoon, but also because of the time of year, and the much broader range of things to do at the Mauna Lani without needing to drive - SUP, boat tours, long walks, several nice beach areas, snorkeling, restaurants, love music and hula, free Polynesian shows - I would go with a full service beachfront hotel.

Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
26 posts
3. Re: Puako Rental on Water or Mauna Lani Beach Hotel

Are there restaurants walking from Mauna Lani besides the ones on property?

Looking at this one. https://www.vrbo.com/674382

If you have any rental suggestions would be open to different options.

Big Island, Hawaii
Level Contributor
31,163 posts
4. Re: Puako Rental on Water or Mauna Lani Beach Hotel

"Are there restaurants walking from Mauna Lani besides the ones on property?"

Yes, see my reply above, which probably you didn't see before you posted.

That house is cute but as I said, ocean access there is not going to be good in winter in particular and everything is a drive. For the same price you can get an ocean view room at the ML, be about as close to the water, with much better beach and ocean options.

Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
26 posts
5. Re: Puako Rental on Water or Mauna Lani Beach Hotel

You all have convinced me! Mauna Lani it is.

Big Island, Hawaii
Level Contributor
31,163 posts
6. Re: Puako Rental on Water or Mauna Lani Beach Hotel

Re so so reviews or the Mauna Lani, you definitely want an ocean view room. The standard or garden rooms can feel dark and isolated. But especially for the price range I think it's a beautiful property. They employ cultural advisors, have a cultural center, a turtle hatch and release program, and it's quiet and low key. Perfect for honeymooners.

I looked through Yelp reviews though (Yelpers are more discerning, IMO) and most are really good. The recent spate of negative reviews are a little ridiculous. The one guy said it was a "Beautiful place, super nice and mellow hotel" but gave it three stars because the jets weren't strong enough in the jacuzzi. And the one person talking about brown water and "hard brown sand full of rocks, coral and bark"... I have no idea where she even was. The beach at Makaiwa has beautiful light golden sand, and no bark or rocks, and definitely no brown water. That was confusing. But the vast majority of reviews are five star, very positive, and reflect my experience of the hotel. It is true, it's a bit dated in terms of decor, but that's why it's not $500+ per night like many Hawaii beach hotels.

Orange, California
Level Contributor
112 posts
1 review
7. Re: Puako Rental on Water or Mauna Lani Beach Hotel

We are at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel right now. It is a quiet hotel but lovely. We visited the Mauna Kea Hotel today and like the grounds here much better! Ask for the “Kona” side ocean view. Great sunsets from balcony. Great canopy beds on beach; their “free” and we’ve never had to get up early to save one.

Orange, California
Level Contributor
112 posts
1 review
8. Re: Puako Rental on Water or Mauna Lani Beach Hotel

By the way, the shuttle will take you 5 minutes to The Shops where there are several restaurants of various price ranges. There’s also a market that sells fresh roasted chickens, salads, etc. . Also, see if they have a package that includes the breakfast buffet. We booked through Costco and got a pretty good deal.

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