Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection
What We Love
- A 2013 head-to-toe revamp has this grande dame looking better than ever
- Four restaurants, plus a twice-weekly Luau and clambake on the beach
- The new Balinese-inspired Mauna Kea Spa by Mandara
- A dramatic open kitchen at restaurant Manta
What To Know
- WiFi costs around $15 per day
- Parking onsite is available, from $15 per day
- Pets are not allowed
- Golf Course
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
This legendary Big Island resort has been luring VIPs since the 1960s, when Laurance S. Rockefeller discovered the sublime white sand beach on the Kohala Coast. Revamped rooms by L.A.’s Barry Design Associates have brought up-to-the-minute technology, airy modern white interiors with splashes of tropical sunset colors, and luxe touches like soaking tubs with views of the golf course or ocean. The walls are adorned with the museum-quality Pacific and Asian art collection gathered by Mr. Rockefeller and Davis Allen in 1965. Patrician activities abound, from golf on the newly updated course to tennis on one of 11 seaside courts. Those more interested in pampering can chill at the spa, which offers exotic treatments from both Southeast Asia and Hawaii, from lomi massage to bamboo massage–you can even book an oceanside cabana.
In the Area
Experience some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery from above on a flight-seeing tour over the island with Sunshine Helicopters. Fly direct from the Hapuna Helipad to the live Kīlauea volcano, taking in lush green valleys and waterfalls along the way. Closer to home, frolic on Kauna‘oa Beach, in front of the resort, widely considered one of Hawaii’s best–the concierge can help arrange a slew of activities from whale watching tours to stand-up paddle boarding. After dark, take in the spectacular night sky at the summit of Mauna Kea; the Visitor Information Station at 9300 foot offers daily free star-gazing sessions.
How to Get There
This was by far the most beautiful beach I have visited. The hotel and service was great. Snorkeling is great right off the beach and don't forget to go at night with the manta rays. Great location on the island, close to many other local attractions.
We continue to return to receive true Hawaiian Hospitality here at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. We visited despite the media reports of the Volcano Vog and Laze. Experienced one day of poor air quality being over 100 miles from the Volcanic Activity. However the tradewinds swept the bad spirits away and we were not disappointed the remainder of our trip.
It is not necessary to leave as this enclave provides us everything needed on this beautiful island. The Hau, Copper Bar and Manta are excellent choices for dining. The
morning yoga and the many watersports are enough for entertainment. The timing of the jazz festival onsite allowed us live music as we can also hear the ocean abound on the terrace of the Copper Bar.
The bonus is waking up to views of the beautiful white sand beach and sunsets that are surreal. We visited Hawi, Honokaa with hiking to the most majestic views in the world and world class breakfasts, lunches and dinner in Waimea. The helipad is closeby to see the volcano and the beauty of Mauna Kea.
There is the Spirit of Hawaii on one Big Island.
This was another wonderful trip from beginning to end...Mahalo!!!
This was the 2nd time we have stayed at this hotel and the 5th time we have been to the Big Island. The first time we were here was way before the renovations maybe 15 years ago, they didn’t have the beach front room section. They had the tower Oceanfront rooms only, when they use to give the orange rubber slippers..we still have one of them. This time we stayed Beachfront. We like them both. The rooms are great. Really like we can see ocean while bathing or showering. Beds were comfortable. Everyone who knows and have been to the Big Island several times knows they front the most beautiful beach in the Big Island. That is the main attraction. But for me it is also the service. Our prior stay was only 3 nights and this time we spent 7 nights, all of our vacation time. We had a car rental & left the hotel only 3 times. Most of our meals were at the hotel. We had breakfast included in our rate and I must say the Manta Breakfast cooks and sever are the at-most friendliest people. Dehn...oh my she is the best over-easy egg cook in the world (we are world travelers) I have never seen over easy eggs done so perfectly and of course the omelettes & all with such a genuine smile! There are also Manta morning servers Estrella, such sweet lady, Jenny & Danielle too. All of them anticipated what we needed each time we came in. Even the Breakfast Hostesses who each morning greeted us with Good Morning Mr & Mrs..what a good way to start your morning when you feel welcomed. We went also to Manta for dinner, service was good but not as good as breakfast. We went Copper Bar a lot for dinner because we like the wonderful Hawaiian Singers and Hula dancers, it made for a very relaxing dinner, the service there was most of the time good. The lunch service at Hua Tree was pretty good most of the time. Food Taste - Manta Breakfast loved the eggs cooked from Dehn, the very crispy bacon, and sooo many selections..definitely worth it. Hua Tree Food lunch was average definitely needs improvement and more variety, creativeness. Manta Dinner the special fish was very good...although I must admit we had a very awesome fish special at Copper Bar that was so special I wanted order seconds it was a spiced grilled ahi tuna with Mango sauce, Mango salsa over bed of some type of mashed potatoes & asparagus....that beat the fish special at Manta day after. Copper Bar food was good to great...we thought for starters the sushi were good and definitel their fish specials were wonderful. We were lazy & just relaxed on this trip...we didn’t want to do much since we’ve been to this island a few times before...we did what we felt like doing.. that was pretty much swimming as our exercise on the most gorgeous aqua sand bottom beach with fishes floating through and eating when we wanted to. Ps I also want to mention I believe his name is Gerald who checked us in and Melanie Concierge who answered my question promptly & made reservations. Both where kind and helpful with my inquiries before and during our stay. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and mostly important the STAFF...Thank you for making this a truly relaxing vacation. MAHALO!! Mr & Mrs Marlxx
What we loved most about this hotel was how calm and relaxed it was. Rather than feeling like a mega-resort, it made us feel like we were truly in Hawaii. From the moment you walk through the open-air lobby, feel the Hawaiian breezes, and see the stunning view of the beach below, you feel immediately relaxed and ready for vacation.
One of the things that usually really bothers us at hotels is noise--from kids, conventioneers, people who don't understand how to behave in a hotel, thin walls and floors/ceilings, and doors that slam really loudly. But this hotel had none of that. Now, I'm sure some of it was the time of year we were there (in between spring break and summer), lower occupancy because of the volcanic activity, and the fact that we were in a corner room, but this hotel was honestly one of the most quiet I've ever experienced. For that reason, we absolutely loved it.
I also think the fact that this hotel has a small pool without any waterslides or lazy rivers or anything probably makes it less likely to have hundreds of screaming kids running around it. And while we sometimes like pools like that, we were super happy to have a more serene environment for our vacation. The beach and water at the location here means you really don't need a big pool either. The beach at the Mauna Kea is one of the best beaches we've ever been on, with great swimming and (pretty good) snorkeling. It was also fantastic for SUPing. We didn't want to leave it!
The way it's laid out is also great - lots of space and perched up on the hill, so you have panoramic views everywhere you go. It's also pretty awesome to see the manta rays swimming at night. We could even see them from our room! The hotel was clearly very thoughtfully designed, and the more old-school feel is great.
I loved the ability to lay on a padded lounge on the beach with an umbrella every day - and we did. I know some people say it gets difficult to grab a lounge in the high season, but we didn't experience that in a low season. To me, if that becomes a problem, it's better to have people actually request a setup from the beach crew than to simply set them all out in the beginning of the day. It requires a greater commitment. :)
One thing I missed was having food and drink service on the beach. I realize they can't serve alcoholic beverages because of state law, but they could've still offered food and virgin drink service. That would've elevated the experience to more of a five-star one.
When it comes to food, we ate at every single restaurant the place offers and enjoyed everything we had. My only gripe is that the beach bar has a super limited menu (both food and cocktails) with boring options. When you're staying at a place like this where there is literally nothing else within walking distance (and few options even within a half hour's drive), it's really helpful to have a lot of variety, especially at lunchtime. The other thing was that the prices were outrageous for things I could've made myself (tuna sandwich, grilled cheese, burger, etc.). I understand this is Hawaii and things are expensive, but at least offer something unique or more interesting for the money. But honestly, not a huge deal. Everything at least tasted good.
Our room was great with lots of space, one of the biggest balconies I've ever seen, and a view we couldn't take our eyes off of. I really liked the padded lounges (complete with toweled lounge covers) on the balcony. While the room design was nothing special, it felt clean and fresh. The bed was super comfortable and the blackout curtains worked really well. The thermostat was also very effective and could be set to run continuously for great white noise. Overall, I actually got some of the best sleep I've ever had in a hotel.
The one negative was that we had termites show up in our room most days. In the spectrum of bugs, they're not the worst, but still not what you want to see in your $400-a-night hotel room. I understand that this is the tropics, but clearly some mitigation needs to be done. When you're seeing termites inside, you know it can't be a good thing! I will say that the maids did a fantastic job cleaning our room and always got rid of all trace of the termites every day and during turndown service at night. They always kept us well-supplied with toiletries, water bottles, and towels as well, which was awesome.
In fact, the service we had was great everywhere, and everyone was very friendly. Every staff member we passed said "Aloha" with a smile. We felt very welcome there.
Overall, we really loved the Mauna Kea and would recommend it to our friends and family. When we next return to the Big Island, we would likely stay again. It's really hard to beat their beach, their view, and their warm service.
Our stay at the Mauna Kea started off with a wonderful welcome from Auntie, who came out with leis and gave us each a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Upon checking in, we received cold towels and fresh juice, which I thought was a nice touch. We had Premier Oceanfront Deluxe rooms, which we were told had the best views in all of Hawaii. Though it wasn’t specified whether it was the best view on the island of Hawaii or the entire chain, our family agreed it could very well be the best view of all the islands as it was absolutely stunning! The rooms were spacious, and the ability to control all the lighting in the room with a single button is especially convenient. The bathrooms in this room category are huge, almost laughably so, and boast equally stunning views of the beach and ocean. I risked showering with the curtains open just to enjoy the view! My only complaint would be that there could be a better use of space in the room, as a couch or more furniture in the entry/hall area would be nice. The only shortcoming of the hotel was not the hotel itself, but the service. Though the valets were consistently great, the same cannot be said for the restaurant staff, both at Manta for breakfast and the Copper Bar when we went for dinner. Though the staff all seemed well-intentioned, they weren’t always the most attentive (one morning we waited an especially long time before we could get coffee), and repeat guests seemed to receive warmer and more friendly service than us first-time visitors. Again, service was never actively bad, but nobody went out of their way to provide us with the level of service expected at a luxury hotel. Overall, we left the Mauna Kea with a very positive first impression. The beach is truly second-to-none, with perfectly calm water for swimming or stand-up paddle boarding, the rooms and view were fantastic, and the breakfast buffet was the best we had out of the four islands we visited. This property was iconic in its heyday, and remains one of the best on Hawaii.