Makahiki: The Bounty of the Islands
Signaled by the rising of the constellation Makali'i in the night sky, Makahiki is the annual Hawaiian harvest festival marked each year by the ancients—and more recently revived on O'ahu as a season of celebration and bounty. Makahiki is really a New Year's Festival: a "season of peace" spanning four lunar phases from late October or early November to late February or early March. It's a time when offerings are made, work ceases, and peace prevails.
The story of the Makahiki Festival comes to life inside the buffet restaurant in a series of elegantly-composed, jewel-toned murals which depict scenes of feasting, games, and celebration. Across the walls, oceans swell with abundance, nurturing rains pour forth, and bountiful harvests are shared.
Overhead, an extravagant art glass installation appears almost as a netting above guests' heads, conveying the bounty of the Makahiki feast in joyously abstracted forms. Fishes and fruits, flora and fauna, and a shimmering, bounteous, upside-down buffet are laid out on a free-form Makaloa mat.
A good deal of indirect, reflective lighting heightens the dramatic impact of the restaurant's abundant art. And as day turns to night, the lighting transforms from a warm rose-amber glow to a sophisticated nighttime indigo punctuated by the vibrantly-colored glass objects suspended overhead.
Join favorite Disney friends for a "Breakfast with Character." Family-friendly favorites include sliced island fruits, house-baked pastries, a carving station, traditional Asian offerings, and daily specialties. The casual dinner buffet offers fresh local products and chef-inspired dishes with world flavors--line-caught sustainable seafood, fresh salads with local greens, and more.
The 'Olelo Room
'Olelo is the Hawaiian word for "word," making the 'Olelo Room a place where the conversation among Aulani guests is often about how to become more conversant in Hawaiian. Borrowing its design cues from the "streamline moderne" aesthetic of the 1940s--a style that is still readily seen in roadside diners throughout the island--the 'Olelo Room is a pub-like, convivial place where refreshing cocktails and Hawaiian words combine to form an intoxicating brew.
A series of engaging shadow boxes hang above the bar, displaying wooden carvings of common, everyday objects labeled with their respective Hawaiian language names. The 'Olelo Room's bartenders are also on hand to help you with the proper pronunciation--so that one day, you too can impress with a faultless pronunciation of humuhumunukunuku apua'a.
Experience this fun and interactive lounge while you enjoy refreshing beverages with a Hawaiian spirit. Tropical cocktails, mojitos, margaritas, reinvented classics, fruit-infused sangria, and flights of Hawaiian beer or new world wines are available. And be sure to ask about the 'ike mua--Aulani's discovery drink of the day!
The 'Olelo Room offers a Continental breakfast and daily cocktail service. A Hawaiian-inspired food menu is also available.
'AMA'AMA: Contemporary Island Cooking
While evidence of fishing settlements along the leeward Wai'anae coast date back as far as the 12th century, Aunty's elders built the family's first beachside house—or hale—on this site back in the 1890s. Fishing has remained a prosperous activity for the family ever since and, over the successive decades, additional structures have been added to accommodate a growing, multi-generational, extended family. A second hale dates from the late 1920s, two more were added mid-century, and a far more contemporary hale was constructed quite recently. Each hale bears the unique architectural markings of its particular era. Collectively, these structures reveal the rich patina of one single Hawaiian family, residing on this site for more than a century as they honored the land and gathered sustenance from the sea.
A juxtaposition of old and new, these various hale make up the beachside bar and restaurant called 'AMA'AMA: Contemporary Island Cooking. The dining rooms are outfitted with minimalist tables and chairs, and the restaurant's chic entryway mimics the design of an ancient, elemental fish trap still employed by local fishermen. The restaurant's design focal point is a fountain created from an old, rough-hewn concrete fish-cleaning tank, complete with a weathered brass pipe that once pumped seawater and set off by a sleek reflecting pool.
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, 'AMA'AMA: Contemporary Island Cooking offers traditional and Hawaiian-inspired breakfast specialties including omelets, waffles, pancakes, grains, and freshly-made bakery items. Lunch includes hot and cold sandwiches, soup, salads, and pasta. Dinner features seasonal and sustainable seafood, steak, duck, pasta, and vegetarian selections. And best of all, every dessert is house-made daily!
Off The Hook
Closely attuned to the seasonsand possessing a keen knowledge of the best local fishing spots, a fisherman could supply his family and his ali'i with fish and shellfish from the nearby fishponds and streams, sparkling shallow reefs, and deep blue ocean waters. That is, if he had a fair dose of Mana Kapua—the supernatural power possessed by the finest Hawaiian fishermen—and the right set of tools. A Hawaiian fisherman's arsenal is one that includes hooks and lines, lures, nets, basket traps, spears, and even a few poisonous plants.
The beachside lounge at Aulani resembles a Hawaiian fisherman's seaside shack. It's decorated with a rich variety of makau, or fish hooks, along with other essential fishing implements employed through the ages. Look around and you'll spot cowry shell lures so prized they're passed on to heirs, shark tooth knives with their gleaming, jagged-edged "blades", and specially-carved fish-shaped ku'ulo stones, which range up to a foot in length. There's even a colorful school of fish populating the ceiling above the bar.
This location is a convivial place where countless rambling fish stories—many about the one that got away—are sure to be told. Perhaps you'll even overhear one of the locals tell the story of the great fish hook Manai-a-ka-lani, used by the demigod Maui and his brothers when they attempted to "tow" Kauai over to O'ahu and attach it to nearby Ka'ena Point.
Off the Hook is open daily, serving vacation favorites including Mai Tais, Piña Coladas, Blue Hawaiis, and Long Island Iced Teas, as well as signature cocktails, margaritas, sangria, sparkling cocktails, wine, and Hawaiian beers. Be sure to ask about the 'ike mua--Aulani's discovery drink of the day! A Hawaiian-inspired food menu is also available.
Inspired by the traditional, family-owned, one-of-a-kind general stores that have served island locals for generations, Kalepa's Store offers a rich plethora of "upscale necessities" to Aulani's guests.
Kalepa is the Hawaiian word for "merchant" or "peddler"—or more literally, "to strike flag," because in traditional times, salesmen hoisted a small flag to show that they were selling poi or other items. However, in the story of Aulani, Kalepa is also the name of Aunty's father-in-law who first opened a general store on this site long before the resort was built.
While the original store had been constructed using the standard, rather basic fittings and fixtures found in a typical general store, the latest incarnation at Aulani features refined reinterpretations of classic general store designs--conveying the essence of the originals but with a decidedly contemporary flair. Black-and-white photographs depicting modern-day general stores and their multi-ethnic proprietors pay homage to a general store tradition that continues to thrive on all of the Hawaiian Islands today. A remarkably unique "Shave Ice" lighting fixture adds a playful, colorful touch.
This store offers native Hawaiian gifts, Aulani logo products and souvenirs, grocery and sundry essentials, a photo viewing and selection service, and a drink refill station.