Living like Hawaiian royalty doesn’t just mean pristine beaches, awe-inspiring sunsets and the best ho’okipa (hospitality) the island has to offer. At Auberge Resorts’ Mauna Lani, on the Big Island, it means tapping into the spiritual power of the land.
The island’s newest luxury eco-resort, Mauna Lani reopened last month following a $200 million renovation of the 3,200-acre property, which boasts over three miles of accessible oceanfront.
Located on the sacred land of Kalāhuipuaʻa, which once frequented by Hawaiian kings, the area is at the center of five mountains, which include Mauna Kea — the tallest mountain on earth when measured from its underwater base — and Mauna Loa, the most massive mountain on earth, weighing more than the entire Sierra Nevada range.
“These five mountains radiate mauna, or spiritual energy,” said Pi’i Leaha, the resort’s resident marine biologist. “Being at the center of these mountains means you can absorb their power.”
Beyond the normal nods to conservation made at luxury resorts — like eschewing disposable plastics — Mauna Lani goes the extra mile by maintaining ancient fish ponds that once fed islanders and operating the Malama Honu turtle program, in conjunction with Sea Life Park, a marine and wildlife center on Oahu.
“We raise baby turtles until they are big enough to leave,” said Leaha, who oversees the turtle program. “It’s about awareness, conservation, community and education. It’s a great opportunity to teach the public about sea turtles.”
After absorbing all that energy, nosh at the resort’s signature restaurant CanoeHouse — or any of the other four open-air restaurants on the property, all of which boast ingredients provided by local farmers, fishermen, ranchers, and food artisans. Or do a little shopping. The resort reopened with Hawaii’s first outpost of Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP lifestyle brand.
If the spa is more your speed, get some lokahi (harmony and balance) with treatments that feature ingredients sourced directly from local farms that help with reforestation efforts and sustainable agriculture on the island.
After waking up in one the property’s beach bungalows or hotel suites (rates range between $700 and $3,200, while private bungalows start at $12,000) head over to Surf Shack for sunrise yoga through midday and freshly speared Kona kampachi tacos in the evening — you’ll know it’s time when you hear the conch shell being blown at sunset.
In between, check out the their Kainalu Ocean Adventures & Activities, which offers outdoor recreation activities like paddling, diving and ocean expeditions guided by a team of world-class athletes and professional surfer Bullet Obra. It’s all meant to connect guests to the natural environment.
“Islanders believe that we exist in two different worlds: a spiritual world and a physical world,” Leaha said. “Nature is the connection between those worlds. Today, we have lost that connection, but here at Mauna Lani, we found that energy and we share it.”