Aulani, also know to those in the Magical Mouse Family as paradise, was the first stop on our mammoth (well at least to us) adventure. We had visited the resort for a few nights in October 2015 and I think LJ has asked weekly since if we can return! Three nights was just a bit on the short side last time, so we booked four nights for this visit, knowing we'd get almost five full days to enjoy all the resort has to offer. If we had been flying home to Sydney with a morning flight, we would have sprung for a fifth night to ensure we had enough time to totally wind down. We had no plans of leaving the resort outside of the immediate Ko Olina reosrt area because this leg of the trip was designed as wind down and relaxation time to prep for a busy month to follow. It would also work nicely as a stop on the way home but we knew our trip was ending in Walt Disney World and coming home from there via Hawaii isn't particularly easy flight wise.
We rented DVC points from DVC Rental Store (Katrina was an awesome help and this isn't a sponsored post) and secured a Poolside Garden View Deluxe Studio in the Vacation Club section of the resort for well below the rack rate amount. Aulani is certainly not what you'd call a budget-friendly option, so we happily took advantage of the money saving opportunity this booking method provided. It meant giving up housekeeping in our room for the stay (apart from a trash and towel visit on the fourth day) and losing flexibility in terms of date changes and cancellations but for our style of planning and holidaying both were a small price to pay in comparison to the pay off.
So here's how our stay went down...
We had an amazing stay at Aulani and LJ was asking to return before we'd even left. To me that's a sign of a great holiday destination. If you're thinking of visiting Hawaii and want to explore the island while you're there I'd probably consider a split stay with some time closer to Waikiki followed by some relaxation time at Aulani. I don't think I could justify the price of staying here if I was using it predominantly as a place to sleep while spending my days out and about. We made sure to make the most of our time here enjoying what the resort has to offer which allowed us to see value in the price that we paid.
The next stop on out trip is Vancouver. Follow along for some updates from there.