Aulani Vs. Grand Wailea

Your choice of accommodation can make or break your trip. Even if you are visiting a place as beautiful as Hawaii, it’s important to do your homework to ensure that you stay at the best possible resort.

Grand Wailea and Aulani are some of the most popular hotels in Hawaii. They are located on different island, but both have something unique to offer.

If you’re stuck trying to decide between Grand Wailea on Maui and Aulani on Oahu, then this guide is for you.

Aulani resort in Hawaii, taken from a paddle board in the lagoon surrounding aulani Disney resort mid day


You will find Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Kapolei on Oahu—a bit far from Maui. It’s located on 21 acres right by the beach.

Since it’s affiliated with the Disney Vacation Club it’s no surprise that Aulani is built for families, with all the magic and pop culture that can be expected from any Disney experience.

Aulani has been in operation since 2011.

The resort offers 460 villas and 359 rooms to choose between. Waikiki-born designer Joe Rohde was behind its design, which explains the authentic look of the establishment. Disney even formed an advisory board to ensure their representation of the local culture was correct and appropriate.

Grand Wailea

Grand Wailea is a luxury resort that’s part of the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts line. It’s located in Wailea, an historic whaling village with art galleries, restaurants, and plenty of shopping

As you can imagine, Grand Wailea is all about luxury. It’s a popular choice among visitors who want the best hospitality and comfort that money can buy.

The resort first opened its doors in 1991. Back then, it was allegedly the most expensive hotel in existence.

Grand Wailea offers numerous suites, rooms, and villas with lanais and spectacular views. There are different activities and events on offer through the Grand Wailea as well.

Aulani Accommodations

Aulani offers four types of accommodation. They are the following:

1. Resort rooms:

All resort rooms are equipped with a hairdryer, a ceiling fan, a safe, a small fridge, iron, flat-panel TV, and toiletries. They each have a private balcony, or, porch as well. The rooms have been tastefully decorated in a simple but elegant manner thanks to their ample wooden furniture.

2. Deluxe studios:

If the resort rooms are too stuffy for you, consider the deluxe studios instead. While the amenities might be the same or at least very similar, there is quite a bit more space for you to stretch out your legs after a long day in the sun.

3. Suites

The Aulani suites come with all the amenities of the resort rooms but are, clearly, spread out across a much larger area. Each come with private bedrooms separate from the rest of the accommodations. Signature Suites also include whirlpool tubs, dishwashers, multiple TVs, microwaves, full sinks, toasters, and even butler pantries.

4. Villas

If you want full amenities, then a villa might be the best fit for you. There is even more space and privacy, of course. Aulani offers villas with one to three bedrooms, and features a variety of views to choose from. One of them can even sleep as many as 12 guests.

Grand Wailea Accommodations

At Grand Wailea, there are three different types of accommodations available to guests:

1. Rooms

The resort has hundreds of rooms, with plenty of different designs across different room sizes. These offerings come with basic amenities such as a Wi-Fi connection, a walk-in shower and tub, a mini-fridge, a Keurig coffee maker, and a flat-screen TV.

2. Suites
The suites offer more space and privacy, with separate bedrooms and living spaces. Not only that, but they have private lanais with gorgeous views as well.

3. Villas

There are three luxury villas at Grand Wailea. They all have living areas, luxury kitchens, garages, and numerous bathrooms. Apart from the aforementioned features, each villa also has a private lanai, a grill, and some of the most incredible views offered by the  Grand Wailea.

Aulani Facilities

  • Two restaurants
  • Spa
  • Water park
  • Fitness center
  • Tours
  • Hair salon
  • Coffee shop
  • Garden
  • ATM
  • Playground
  • Physical activities and events
  • Computer station
  • Supervised childcare/activities
  • Bars

Grand Wailea Facilities

Here are the facilities that visitors can enjoy at Grand Wailea:

  • Five restaurants
  • Three golf courses
  • Spa
  • Water park
  • The world’s only water elevator
  • Fitness center
  • Activity center
  • Cultural and physical activities
  • Tours
  • Private photography sessions
  • Currency exchange
  • ATM
  • Free Wi-Fi connection
  • Meeting facilities
  • Coffee shop
  • Bar

Aulani: Pros and Cons


  • Stunning views
  • Free childcare services
  • Very family-friendly
  • Good location
  • Highly accessible for people with disabilities
  • Tons of physical activities
  • Closer to the airport


  • No golf course on-site
  • Only two restaurants
  • Fewer activities for adult guests
  • Room maintenance is not the best

Grand Wailea: Pros and Cons


  • Great ocean views
  • Many physical events and activities
  • Numerous facilities
  • More dining options
  • Family-friendly
  • Excellent location
  • Well-maintained facilities
  • More things to do for adult guests
  • Beach access
  • Golf course on-site


  • No free laundry services
  • Rather touristy
  • No more room service after 8 PM
  • Currently undergoing renovation

Choosing Which Resort Is Right For You

It is hard to go wrong with either of these hotels, although you’ll first have to decide whether you want to visit Maui or Oahu.

Both resorts offer similar amenities as well. Despite this, there are still some key differences.

We recommend Aulani if you plan to bring your young children with you on your trip to Hawaii. Its facilities and activities truly cater to families.

On the other hand, adults will have more things to do and enjoy at Grand Wailea. There are more physical and cultural activities for them to take part in as well. It also helps that there are a total of five restaurants at the Grand Wailea itself, whereas Aulani only has two.

Other Places To Stay In Maui

We’ve written quite a bit about all of Maui’s available lodging, and continue to do so, but we wanted to share a few more places to stay from our friends at 

A Resort Stay: The Four Seasons Resort in Wailea is the cream of the crop of resort stays, with restaurants, ocean views, an on-site spa, and the Shops at Wailea are just down the road. Couples particularly love The Four Seasons!

Bed and Breakfast: Sometimes, it’s all in a name, and Adventure in Paradise is exactly what it sounds like, located in Haiku on Maui’s north shore. Wake up to a 180 degree view of Haleakala summit every morning from your private patio.

Hotel: The highly rated Maui Sunset hotel combines laid-back atmosphere and the beach of Waipuilani Park. Also, it’s only 1.7 miles from the Elleair Maui Gold Club!

Vacation Home: Find your home away from home at Puu Koa Palms, six minutes from Hookipa Beach, and near the Hana Highway. Also particularly great for couples!

Villas: If you’re looking to vacation in style with your own villa try the Andaz Maui, which include all the expected amenities along with grills and plunge pools.

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