Aulani Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii

Disney has taken its first leap into the hotel industry proper with the opening of a standalone resort and spa in Hawaii.

Aulani, which opened this week in Ko Olina close to the Marriott Ko Olina, is the entertainment behemoth’s first hotel outside of its famous theme parks and is designed as an alternative family vacation experience.

On the coast of Oahu island, the resort and spa stretches across 21 acres and will eventually contain some 840 rooms split across a hotel and villas.

The resort features plenty of Disney touches, including several pools with activities such as tubing and snorkelling, a beach house with activities for kids ranging from storytellers to high-tech toys and Painted Sky, a spa designed for teens.

For adults, there is a spa, which includes an outdoor hydrotherapy garden, along with a host of restaurants that range from Hawaiian cooking to an open-air buffet.

The resort and spa model is a natural jump for Disney, which already operates several hotels, although the resort has prompted a debate in the American media about the brand’s ability to deliver a ‘real’ Hawaiian experience.

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