Above: Mauna Launi, Big Island, Hawaii

Just Back From: Hawaii

When Andrew Harper travel advisor Bridget Kapinus is not at her desk helping members book a trip, she’s usually on the road researching a destination. Many of us have been wondering what travel to Hawaii has been like lately, so she bit the bullet (ahem) and went there to find out. She spent seven nights with her wife at Mauna Lani, an Auberge property on the Big Island. They filled their days relaxing on the beach sipping cocktails, eating fresh seafood and taking the occasional outdoor excursion.

Overall impressions: Over the last two years, the resort has undergone what it calls a “$200 million reimagination,” and it shows! The bones and original character of the hotel remain intact, so it is still distinctly Polynesian. It is open, airy and bright with a laid-back-luxury feel, while still paying homage to the culture and history of the area.

As for the renovation, the hotel used to have just one small pool; now it has three palm-fringed places to swim: an infinity-edge adult pool, a keiki (child) pool and a 3,900-square-foot family pool. There are also three open-air restaurants to choose from. And the list of experiences the hotel offers feels endless, from cultural workshops and coconut frond weaving to petroglyph hikes and underwater rock running.

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Above: Mauna Launi, Big Island, Hawaii