1. What’s in a name? “Aulani” traditionally means “messenger of a chief” or “messenger of a greater authority.” The name is fitting as the resort serves as a messenger of the “higher authority” that is Hawai‘i, its spirit and its culture.
2. Keep an eye out for the Menehune! These legendary “little people” of Hawai‘i can be found all over the resort. In fact, most Menehune are concealed at a level where only the smallest guests can easily find them.
3. For the art aficionados. Aulani has one of the largest private collections of contemporary Hawaiian art in the world.
4. Swim with Hawaiian fish. Rainbow Reef is the only private snorkeling lagoon on O‘ahu and offers an up-close look at more than 1,300 brightly colored fish.
5. Learn Hawaiian while you enjoy a Mai Tai. The ‘Ōlelo Room houses approximately 150 shadow boxes containing hand-carved wooden examples of common, everyday objects labeled with their Hawaiian language names.
6. Homage to Disney. The weathered concrete bridge that traverses Waikolohe Stream is dated “1923,” the founding date of the Walt Disney Company.
7. A place for teens to relax. At Painted Sky, teens can check-in at Hawaii’s only teen spa and experience age-specific spa treatments, activities and more.
8. Water fun at Aulani. From pristine pools and waterslide adventures to the Waikolohe Stream Lazy River, Aulani guests can enjoy seven acres of water-fun activities.
9. “Waikolohe” is Hawaiian for “mischievous water.” Aulani’s Waikolohe Valley magically mimics the Hawaiian landscape—wetter and more forested at the high end nearer the mountains, drier and more open as it approaches the sea.
10. A mouthful of mail! The mailbox outside Aunty’s Beach House is themed after the state fish, the humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa, also known as “triggerfish.” Pronounced: hoo-moo-hoo-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-poo-ah-ah.
11. More than meets the eye. Even though the lava outcropping known as “Pu‘u Kilo” is the centerpiece of the Waikolohe Valley, it is not a volcano. It’s more of a geological remnant. The name “Pu‘u Kilo” also references the many hidden kinolau images embedded within the caldera’s surface. Some guests have spotted an owl, an eel, a whale, a shark, or even a sea turtle—but only if one pays close attention.
12. Touchdown! Aulani is situated on land that was once used by the National Football League as a training site for the annual Pro Bowl game.
13. Not just any green resort. Aulani is the first resort in Hawai‘i to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Silver Certification. The resort’s designers implemented green technologies and elements that promote sustainability, energy efficiency and eco-consciousness.
14. Traditional Hawaiian design everywhere. An 80-year old local native Hawaiian craftsman helped construct the ceiling inside the main hale of ‘AMA‘AMA, which is made of real ‘ohia wood lashed together using traditional Hawaiian lashing technique that dates back centuries.
15. What’s the top beach resort for families? You guessed it! Travel + Leisure awarded Aulani the #1 family beach resort in their World Best Awards.