By Sheila Beal
When we stepped into the lobby of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, we immediately sensed the history of this elegant, fifty-year old resort. There's something about it that's both nostalgic and timeless. If walls could talk, we would have loved to strike up a conversation, or as they say in Hawaii “talk story”, with the walls of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. We're certain that we'd be entertained for hours with stories of delighted guests, celebrities and special events celebrated here.
From the moment we arrived, we were treated like ohana (family) or a longtime friend. We were each welcomed with a lei, then guided to the check-in desk and invited to sit down and relax. We were offered chilled towels and chilled tropical juice. From there, our friendly bellman, who has worked at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for forty nine years, showed us to our room and helped us with our luggage. He also showed us special features of the room to get us quickly oriented and ready to enjoy our stay.
Kukui nut lei for men and fresh orchid lei for ladies are presented upon arrival.
Being the first hotel to open its doors on the Kohala Coast, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel must have had its pick of real estate and, oh boy, they sure picked a great spot on Kauna'oa Bay. This crescent-shaped, white sand beach is an absolute stunner.
Kauna'oa Beach is delightful! We've never spent so much time in the ocean at a beach resort as we did here. We snorkeled, floated and played in the ocean like a couple of kids.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is located about 30 minutes north of the Kona (KOA) airport. It's near Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Kawaihae and Waimea. Plus, it's a short drive to the shops and restaurants of Mauna Lani and Waikoloa resorts. We felt like this location was a great base to explore Hawaii Island. To learn more about this location, see this Google Map with Mauna Kea Beach Hotel noted.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has two accommodation buildings — the Main Tower and the Beachfront Wing. This link describes all the room locations, views and options.
We were upgraded to an ocean front deluxe room on the fifth floor of the Main Tower, which was fantastic. We only stayed here four nights but with the space and layout of the room, we could have easily stayed here for a month or much longer without feeling confined.
Ocean front deluxe room
The wall of cabinetry offers tea, coffee and beverage supplies, along with a desk area. Behind the sliding panels, there is a high definition television.
The views of Kauna'oa Bay were absolutely captivating.
Actually, we could have lived on the spacious lanai alone. We spent every free moment that we could on the lanai – from morning until night. The chairs and ottomans were so incredibly comfortable. I felt like I melted into their cushiony comfort while listening to the soothing sound of the ocean.
The lanai is great place for a morning cup of coffee or tea.
The bathrooms of the ocean front deluxe rooms are really something special. There are separate, generously-sized vanities. Then, there's another room with a large tub and tiled shower with ocean front views. Plus, on top of all that luxury, there's a private lanai off the bathroom. We've not seen anything like it anywhere else in our travels around Hawaii.
Here's a photo showing most, but not all, of the two vanities. Note that L'Occitane toiletries were provided.
We had a large walk-in closet with built-in shelving and drawer. There was plenty of space for our clothes, shoes and luggage. The mini-fridge was located in the closet. We don't normally take photos of closets, but this one was above the norm in terms of space. The following photos show both sides of the walk-in closet
Note the waffle robes, slippers, umbrella and in-room safe.
The other side of the closet has more hanging storage, luggage space, mini-fridge and drawer space.
Amenities and Services
As a luxury resort, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel offers high end services and amenities. Here's our list of what we believe are some of the more distinguishing amenities and services.
– Complimentary use of cushioned beach chairs and umbrellas on the beach and at the pool.
– Nightly turn down service
– Bottles of water replenished daily
– Waffle bathrobes and slippers
– Excellent dining with ocean views and entertainment. We dined at Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar and Hau Tree many times during our stay.
– World-class golf with sweeping ocean views
– Hawaii's highest rated oceanside tennis club
– Loads of great water sports including standup paddle boards, snorkeling, and outrigger canoe paddling. See this link for a list of water sports and more.
– Mauna Kea Beach Hotel offers guests an exclusive nighttime manta ray snorkeling adventure. James Wings, a Manta Ray Advocate and Educator, leads this fully guided and very educational experience to observe these graceful creatures.
– Nice collection of resort shops.
– Oceanfront luau – We've seen many luau shows and they mostly follow the same format, however this one included more Hawaiian history, legends and culture than what we've previously experienced.
You can review the amenities list here.
Videos & Photos
You can see more of our photos of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel here.
Our brief video tour provides an overview of the resort plus beautiful scenery from Kauno'oa Bay and footage from our nighttime snorkel.
Closing Notes and Thoughts
We loved staying at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and hope to return to our new, old friend someday. We think it appeals to both couples and families. For couples, it's definitely a great place to celebrate a special occasion.
For more opinions about Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, see TripAdvisor.
From a quick search, we just found rates starting at $325 per night for a golf view room. Beachfront rooms are a bit pricier, but the views are worth it.
Have you stayed at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel? How was your stay?
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