Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Big Island, Hawaii

The hotel

A statement of pure luxury, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was the most expensive hotel ever built when it opened in 1965. It’s maintained its high-class status ever since with dramatic renovations creating oversized rooms while still keeping it’s mid-century modern magic. Consistently winning awards for its scenic golf course, oceanfront tennis club, and incredible dining, the white sands of Kauna’oa Bay are the stage for this luxury Big Island retreat. Mauna Kea’s decadent dining prime location is Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar, where you can take the stone path to see Manta Rays ‘dance’ at night, but it’s the authentic Hawaiian twists of the hotel that make this place truly special with lei-making tutorials, lu’au parties with local dishes and fire dancing, beachside clambakes with dancing on the sands and Sunday Brunch Buffets with legendary dessert tables.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Spa
  • Swimming Pool
  • Kids Club
  • Valet parking
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Fitness Centre/Gym
  • Internet Access
  • Close to Beach
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Restaurant

Where is it

On a stretch of sand along Big Island’s Kohala Coast, it’s 20 minutes from the scenic ‘cowboy country’ town of Waimea, with its ranches and restaurants, 40 minutes from the seaside town of Kailua-Kona, and 2 hours from traditional Hilo. Transfer time from airport: 30 minutes.

Hotel information

252 rooms and suites. All with private lanai (balcony), 32-40” flat-screen HDTV with movies on demand*, media hub, WiFi*, iPod clock radio, mini-fridge (bottled water restocked daily), coffee maker and Kona Blend coffee service, safe, hairdryer, iron and board, copy of The Art of Mauna Kea, and bathrobes and slippers. Golf Vista Rooms provide a view of the championship golf course’s lush green fairway and the distant Kohala Mountains and offer 1 king-size or 2 double beds, sleeping a maximum 3 adults.

Beach Front Rooms offer a view of green lawns and the ocean with direct access to the beach and have 1 king size bed or 2 double beds, sleeping maximum 3 adults.

Ocean View Rooms offer unobstructed panoramic views of the ocean and Kohala coastline and have 1 king size bed or 2 double beds, sleeping maximum 3 adults.

Ocean Front Rooms offer an unobstructed panoramic view of Kauna‘oa Bay, the ocean and the Kohala coastline and have 1 king size bed or 2 double beds, sleeping maximum 3 adults.

Ocean Front Deluxe Rooms offer two balconies with unparalleled views of Kauna‘oa Bay, the beach and coastline. The bathroom has a soaking tub and separate shower. These rooms offer 1 king size bed or 2 double beds, sleeping maximum 3 adults.

Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Rooms are on the hotel’s top floor with unsurpassed panoramic views of beach and coastline, there's an oversized bathroom with soaking tub, wall-less shower and walk-out balcony. These rooms offer 1 king size bed or 2 double beds, sleeping maximum 3 adults.

Hau Tree Beachside (casual menu and cocktails, daily grab-n-go breakfast, daily lunch and Sun-Fri dinner). Number 3 (casual dining and cocktails, lunch and light afternoon menu, located at golf course). Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar (show kitchen, extensive wine list, breakfast and dinner). Copper Bar (creative casual menu, craft cocktails and beer, wine list, lunch and dinner). Sunday Brunch Buffet (featuring dessert table, terrace with ocean views). Mauna Kea Lu’au (Hawaiian menu, hula and fire dancing, Tue and Fri). Clambake (beachside buffet including seafood selection and dessert bar, Hawaiian music and beach dancing, weekly). Room service* (6:00am-10:00pm). Swimming pool. Beach and pool service (padded chaise lounges, cabanas, beach umbrellas, beach towels, beach activities, and equipment). Mauna Kea Golf Course (18-hole championship course, golf clubhouse, pro shop). Seaside Tennis Club* (11 courts, equipment rental*, tennis clinics*, pro shop, oceanside setting). Mauna Kea Spa by Mandara. Fitness centre. Mauna Kea Salon*. Hawaiian experiences*. Ocean sports* (including outrigger canoe charters, snorkelling, scuba-diving, sailing, boogie boarding, fishing, seasonal whale watching, and evening Glow SUP stand up paddle boarding with LED lighting). Yoga and fitness classes*. Kids’ activities. Shops. WiFi*. Self-parking $15, valet parking $20, plus tax per day (payable locally, subject to change).

*Denotes local charge.

Rating summary

  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Value Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (1150)
  • Very good (330)
  • Average (108)
  • Poor (55)
  • Terrible (32)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Absolutely Wonderful!

Mar 28, 2020 TahitiZ Milwaukee, Wisconsin

We booked our room with Marriott points, and the room bookable with points is a standard room with a golf course view. We are Platinum members with Marriott and when we checked in, we were told that we had been upgraded to a beach front room on the second floor (Room 209). We couldn’t have been happier with the room assigned to us. We had a… Read more
We booked our room with Marriott points, and the room bookable with points is a standard room with a golf course view. We are Platinum members with Marriott and when we checked in, we were told that we had been upgraded to a beach front room on the second floor (Room 209). We couldn’t have been happier with the room assigned to us. We had a beautiful view of the beach, ocean and the hotel grounds. Our room had a large bathroom with a separate shower and tub, separate toilet room, and double sinks. Our room included a large closet with a safe as well as a small refrigerator, coffee machine and coffee. Also included was a very large television and desk area, king size bed and a chair and ottoman. The patio was large with two comfortable chairs and a nice sized table. We received a lovely bottle of champagne from the hotel manager in celebration of my birthday which was very kind and much appreciated. The grounds of the hotel are large and beautifully landscaped. It is a hike from one end of the resort to the other. We didn't mind at all but someone with mobility issues might have a hard time if their room is at the far end of the beach front rooms. The pool was nice and not at all crowded. In fact, it was never difficult to find lounge chairs on the grounds. We valet parked ($30 per day) and the valet workers were very friendly! Check-in was very easy, quick and friendly! On the Big Island, nothing is within walking distance outside of your resort, so you need to get your car and drive wherever you would like to go. We were so pleased to be staying at such a beautiful resort with great dining options during our visit because we didn't want to leave this lovely resort. As Platinum members of Marriott we were given complimentary breakfast buffet each morning in the Manta Restaurant. The staff in Manta was always very friendly and attentive. Floyde was the omelet maker and always greeted us with a smile and warm regards. We also enjoyed the Hau Tree which is the beachfront bar and restaurant. Jacque is a great bartender and made us feel so welcome. We really enjoyed talking with him. In the evening, be sure to check out the manta rays that come out about 7:30 just past the Manta Restaurant. The Mauna Kea is an outstanding resort and we hope to visit again soon! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Great place

Mar 22, 2020 eduardocorteziv Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

People are so nice, the breakfast was amazing and the rooms were great. The beach was perfect because our 2 year old could enjoy it without is worrying about waves since it’s so enclosed. Highly recommend this place.
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Great hotel you won’t want to leave

Mar 18, 2020 Q9381OHjohnr Fernandina Beach, Florida

Our second time here and it was wonderful. Calm bay with wonderful beach. Good snorkeling spot on either side of the bay or a great place to learn to stand up paddle board. Easy to get to Kona area for any excursions. Amazing to see mantas swimming at night feeding on plankton.
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Historic Beach “Luxe” Desperately Seeking Aloha

Mar 10, 2020 ATL-Travelbug Bend, Oregon

Ok, so the this is an Autograph Collection property so you arrive with expectations. Some expectations met, many expectations missed. Good: -- Ideal location, gorgeous beach, feels peaceful and tranquil -- Older properties have expansive grounds, Mauna Kea does not disappoint -- The beach lawn area is fabulous with wonderful seating options --… Read more
Ok, so the this is an Autograph Collection property so you arrive with expectations. Some expectations met, many expectations missed. Good: -- Ideal location, gorgeous beach, feels peaceful and tranquil -- Older properties have expansive grounds, Mauna Kea does not disappoint -- The beach lawn area is fabulous with wonderful seating options -- Balcony views over the lawn to the ocean were amazing -- The property is a bit up the coast and removed but we enjoyed the distance -- Onsite snorkeling with mantas -- Tennis courts with views -- Onsite activities (yoga, SUP, sunrise program, snorkeling, manta talks) Bad: -- The rooms feel clinical, the modern aesthetic is poorly executed leaving you with a clinical feeling vs comfort -- The rooms have been refreshed so many times you can’t help but feel you need to gut the room and start again. There’s only so many layers of paint you can add on and on and on again. -- The Oceanfront Wing (where we stayed) feels like an old apartment building in that we could hear our very noisy upstairs neighbors walking around into the wee hours and heard every. Single. Toilet. Flush. Can’t say I can recall hearing all that noise in a luxury hotel ever. -- Food/Bev program is pricey, overrated and not that good. If I’m going to drop some money on dinner at Manta, can you dust the top shelves in the bar area? Or turn the lights out highlighting how dirty they are so I can’t see it. Attention to detail is everything. Food at Copper Bar was cold, and not good. No innovation happening with their food/bev program anywhere on the property. -- The marketplace was an affordable breakfast option but, geesh, do the people working there hate life? Their customer service was abysmal. -- Speaking of service, front desk needs an overhaul. This is the first and last impression and they all need a refresher course. The accusatory tone of a parking charge discrepancy was unacceptable. We had proof we weren’t even on the property for one night (we had an Airbnb at Volcanoes National Park) and, still, accusing us of self-parking. Nope, sorry, not even here. -- Speaking of service, no recognition of being loyal to Marriott. Who cares if you spend way too much of your life on the road for business, doesn’t apply at Mauna Kea. -- Tiny pool -- What’s up with the abandoned tennis courts by the oceanfront wing? They’ve been neglected for awhile. Why not convert them to sports courts or something, anything but an abandoned mess. Again, it’s all about the details. -- The only water bottle refill station is in the gym. Come on Marriott, it’s 2020, let’s do more to mitigate all those plastic bottles. (shout out to the Hau Tree bartenders who filled my hydroflask all week and did so with a smile). -- I stumbled on a coffee service bar one morning hidden by the ping pong tables. So, is there a coffee service on the property? Could you have let me know about it? The crappy in-room coffeemakers send me out looking so could you help me out and let me know. Again, service. Service. Service. I could add more to the misses, but that’s enough. Generally speaking, service is well below average. A few bright stars out there but the overwhelming need for aloha overshadows them. It’s like everybody knows they can get away with decent so why bother going above and beyond? While the Mauna Kea location is ideal, it’s just not up to the “Autograph Collection” standards it promotes and the price tag that comes with it. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Excellent first time Stay

Mar 9, 2020 dmarkl1 Boston, Massachusetts

First time to this nostalgic hotel for my wife and I (and first time for the wife to Hawaii). Interesting about this hotel: there almost seems to be a cult following. While there are residences and "club" members visiting the property- one of the most unique/odd sights was a LARGE proportion of people at and around the hotel wearing Mauna Kea /… Read more
First time to this nostalgic hotel for my wife and I (and first time for the wife to Hawaii). Interesting about this hotel: there almost seems to be a cult following. While there are residences and "club" members visiting the property- one of the most unique/odd sights was a LARGE proportion of people at and around the hotel wearing Mauna Kea / MKB swag (hats, shirts, bathing suits, swim shirts, sweatshirts, golf shirts etc etc). We have traveled extensively and never seen anything quite like this. Over our 5 night stay- we came to meet an interesting assortment of people...but one consistent theme kept popping up: either people had been coming here for ____ years (IE 10-15 every year) OR even crazier- more than a few people mentioned they came here as kids and have been coming for 30-40+ years! We didn't initially grasp what made this place so special or why this property was so unique to have such a following. By day 6 we had begun to understand. The hotel is currently a Marriot Autograph Property that actually has some very nice perks for elite members (they do not shy away from this). While its owned by the Prince hotels group (similar to the recently renovated Westin Hapuna next-door) the Marriot Bonvoy system seems to intermesh pretty well here unlike some other Autograph properties we have visited. We stayed on a 5-night points reservation which got us our 5th night free. Being Titanium elite- I immediately put in for Suite Night awards hoping to score a major upgrade to a Deluxe Ocean View room. Unfortunately we were there during high-season and the hotel was nearly sold out. Although many suites looked to be available leading into the month before out stay- unsure if they have a lot of last minute reservations... or more likely they treat their loyal customers well who return year after year (Loyalty referring to the hotel itself- NOT marriot). Anyway- the staff leading up to the stay were great. We were upgraded from a standard garden view room to a deluxe garden view room on floor 7 (out of 8 floors). The room was extremely spacious, moderately updated and tastefully designed. Everything was clean and pretty well kept. The room has 2 balconies- one main balcony off the main room with 2 chairs, 2 ottomans and a table...the other just off the bathroom with a chaise lounger. Both provided comfortable spaces to relax. Bathroom was well equipped and the products supplied were solid. After our 2nd night, we were told (after a couple inquiries with Management) that they were able to secure a Deluxe Ocean view room for us for our remaining 3 nights. How great! I don't think management typically likes to do this but I think they could tell we were disappointed not getting an ocean view. Marguerite, the front office manager was great in helping to secure this. New room was the exact same...albeit with a new SPECTACULAR view of the bay and fantastic sunsets every night. We had rented a Wrangler and were charged the $30 valet parking daily- not waived for Titanium or elites, however, unlike their sister property nextdoor the Westin Hapuna, MKB does not charge a daily resort fee. This was very much appreciated. Quick note on the beach and pool. Beach is fantastic. While there are definitely always seats available- I still recommend securing seats early in the morning. My wife and I went to the gym most mornings (kudos on having peletons and some nice equipment), we would go and get front row seats before hitting the gym. Beach is great however- no qualms about that. The pool is fine...it is relatively clean but feels dated and it is small. Compared to other large resorts- especially catering to families- this was tough. The pool is not tiny...but compared to the new Westin next door with multiple very large pools- this stood out as lacking. Always lots of kids in the pool here so it was hard to relax. Interestingly- the deep end goes to about 12 feet which is odd for a resort pool like this. Guessing this was the original hotel pool...but make this a kids/family or adults pool and add a 2nd to separate the groups. The hotel has plenty of land to do this. The hot tub- which was broken 3 of our 5 days- felt rather grimy even when opened. Also seemingly one of the original pieces of the hotel...I did not jump at the opportunity to use this. We dined daily at Manta for breakfast which was amazing. One of the better breakfast buffets we have had at a resort. This was included for 2 as Titanium- which saved us quite a bit ($39 per person so $400 across our stay). The options are seemingly endless. The banana bread and smoothie sample were great as were the coffee options. The omelette bar was stand out- Clyde or Floyde (cant remember his name) is a master omelette maker and has the patience of a saint. He definitely stood out as providing superior service, a fantastic attitude towards guests- and deserves to be commended. The made to order waffles were also great. We dined at most of the restaurants on property- as well as some others. Hau Tree at the beach was actually probably our favorite. We loved being outside right on the beach. Very easy during the day- can either get to-go and bring to your chairs on the beach, or have a quick lunch (and take a sun break) and eat at the restaurant. Poke bowl was great (needed one immediately upon arrival) as were the salads (though small) and french fries. We had lunch here daily and every meal was above satisfaction. Drinks here are solid as well. We took the twice per hour shuttle to the Westin our first night and dined at Meridia. This was our least favorite meal of the trip TBH and was not inexpensive. While we were tired from a long day of travel, we were in and out in well under an hour and the dining experience was far from memorable. Much better restaurants at MKB or in the surrounding area. The pools did look great though as well as the beach- and the shuttle service was prompt. We intended to come back and use the pools one day which is permitted via reciprocity by staying at MKB. Similarly we were told we could drive ourselves and park for free with our MKB parking pass (or valet). We also intended to do the walk between the two resorts during daylight hours (it is not lit to walk at night) but simply ran out of time. Copper Tree at MKB- we dined here twice. Once for a late lunch before doing a Manta Dive near Kona- an once for dinner. Both were very good. The Poke was great, flatbreads were actually very tasty, solid drink menu and cocktails, and the sushi at dinner was commendable (also the Chinese ribs at dinner were scrumptious). While not on property- the 20 drive to Merrimans was worth it- our favorite meal on the big island. Manta point for night time mantas. I am a big divers and went on 3 dives while on the Island. Our last 2 nights I brought out my camera and lights to try and see the Mantas at the hotel. I was told they are there most nights but failed to see them 2/2 nights. It was quite windy but was still hopeful. The light from shore does relatively little to see into the water. There are a couple boat trips as well as shore guided trips from the hotel that go most nights. I would either go with an organized group if you dont have your ow equipment/lights OR wait until these groups are in the water with all their powerful lighting. More lights = likely more Mantas (they are attracted to the plankton which are in turn attracted to the lights). The final night after I was already out of the water- we were able to see the hotel organized group in the water with more lights and they had 1 Manta show up. Otherwise- a trip down south to the Sheraton for a real dive/snorkel trip is recommended. We went with Big Island Divers and would recommend them. I went diving with Kohala divers one early morning while my wife opted to workout and get a massage at Mandara instead. This was probably the low point of the whole stay for us. We had confirmed the spa reservation/appointment before arriving with the concierge, upon check-in with the front desk...again with the concierge AND with the spa directly. When my wife showed up, she was told the Spa treatment rooms are not available for use (they are "relocating"?) and so the massage would take place in an empty guest room. Thankfully she had requested a female therapist and said the massage was in fact quite good...but nonetheless- the hotel via 3 different sources on 4 inquiries failed to mention the treatment rooms were not being used and instead guests would be taken to an empty guest room with a massage table setup. At the absolute MINIMUM guests NEED to be informed of this. Had this been a male masseuse my wife would NEVER have gone into an empty hotel room with him. The masseuse did say that a lot of people were canceling due to this fact so they were simply not telling guests until showing up. Upon returning and hearing about this, I was quite perturbed. I immediately went to front desk to speak with the manager on duty about this. While they did make it right monetarily...I hope they have changed their policies and procedures and are duly informing Spa guests properly about the closure of the treatment rooms. Thankfully this did not put a damper on the trip but leaves room for the hotel and management to improve upon communication and guidance for the Spa. Overall it was a great trip. We loved the hotel and the big island and will look forward to returning in the future (hopefully for many years to come). Read less