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 (1154)
  • Very good (329)
  • Average (108)
  • Poor (55)
  • Terrible (32)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating One of the best on the Kohala coast

Nov 22, 2020 Marc_Majka San Carlos, California

My wife and I got to the Big Island in early November. COVID-19 was a concern, but we were happy that the state of Hawaii required a negative test before travel, and that we got tested again on arrival in Kona. We were also very satisfied that the Mauna Kea was following good procedures to keep people safe (high praise from my wife – a former… Read more
My wife and I got to the Big Island in early November. COVID-19 was a concern, but we were happy that the state of Hawaii required a negative test before travel, and that we got tested again on arrival in Kona. We were also very satisfied that the Mauna Kea was following good procedures to keep people safe (high praise from my wife – a former surgical nurse). The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is almost an institution on the Big Island, developed by Laurance Rockefeller in the 1960s. The architecture is dramatic and the setting, on a beautiful beach on the Kohala coast, is excellent. This is a place that carries a sense of history with it, and that becomes part of the appeal of staying here. In some ways, it feels like visiting an old and famous European hotel. Although it's age (about 80 years) doesn't match those old continental hotels, the amazing artworks throughout the entire building give it much additional gravity. The art is mostly southeast asian and pacific in origin, collected by Rockefeller for the hotel to give visitors a sense of discovery and appreciation for other cultures. We were lucky to join a docent-lead tour of the artworks one morning. We would highly recommend it if you are visiting. On to the hotel amenities. Rooms are similar to those you would find at other hotels of this class in the Hawaiian Islands. We stayed in an Ocean View / Main Tower / Balcony room (726). The top-floor rooms (8th floor) are the priciest "Deluxe" rooms. We actually didn't plan on staying at the Mauna Kea - our booking was at the Hapuna (a nearby sister hotel), which was closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, so we were given the option to take an equivalent room at the Mauna Kea. We've stayed at the Hapuna before, and the rooms did seem pretty much equivalent, although the rates at the Mauna Kea are higher. In fact, the Mauna Kea seemed a bit dated - the room furniture and fittings seemed just a bit warn. The towels were just a bit older. There are three restaurants and a shop with a Coffee Bar. The beach restaurant / bar is called the Hau Tree. The bar is excellent, and makes a very good Mai Tai. The Hau Tree serves lunch (until 4 or 5pm), and the bar stayed open later. The menu is reasonable but not extensive (you can find it on-line) and the food is tasty. The Copper Bar and Manta are the dinner restaurants. The more casual and less expensive Copper Bar has a good and varied menu. Manta is upscale and has excellent dinners. There is also a Luau on certain days. There's only one pool, and pool-deck seating seemed to be fairly limited. This wasn't a problem for us on this visit as the hotel had just re-opened and was not at all crowded. However, I can imagine that when travel returns to normal and the hotel is closer to being full, that the pool area will become quite crowded and seating there will be packed. It would be great if the Mauna Kea developed a second pool, especially an adult-only quiet pool area. The beach is huge, with great soft sand. There are lots of beach lounge chairs with beach umbrellas, so finding a spot at the beach was not a problem. People do tend to claim lounge chairs in the morning and keep them all day. If it's crowded and you go to the beach after lunch you might have a harder time getting a spot. There are additional "cabana" style lounge chairs on the grass area at the edge of the beach. There was no additional charge for them when we were there, although that may be just because of the timing when we were there. The trade winds can be pretty strong, so there's no guarantee that the beach umbrellas will be open. If it's too windy, the umbrellas are down. All manner of extras like snorkel gear and paddleboards is available at the beach hut. We brought our own snorkel gear, but the snorkeling is not very good. The fine beach sand – which is so nice on the beach – limits the visibility on the rocky reefs on either side of the bay. The reef on the north side was richer, with a mix of reef fish and urchins, but if you are a snorkeling enthusiast you will probably be happier driving to a rockier and clearer spot elsewhere along the coast. The exception to the limited marine life in the bay are the Manta Rays that come in to feed here. There's a big floodlight set up on the rocks at the north end of the beach. The light draws in the krill and plankton that the Mantas feed on. They can be seen every evening soon after sunset from a viewpoint on the shore beside the floodlight. You can also see them in the water be snorkeling out from the beach. A guided snorkel trip is available if you need equipment or would like a guide. If you go on your own, please keep a good distance away from the feeding Mantas so that you don't scare them off and interfere with the viewing experience of those people watching from the shore. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Pandemic Times

Nov 16, 2020 isepa Castro Valley, California

We stayed at this hotel from Nov 7-14. We greatly appreciated being able to travel as safely as possible during these times. We truly felt the hotel was doing everything reasonable to keep themselves and guests safe. This would not be a time to visit if you are against restrictions and expect things to function as usual. Many stores and… Read more
We stayed at this hotel from Nov 7-14. We greatly appreciated being able to travel as safely as possible during these times. We truly felt the hotel was doing everything reasonable to keep themselves and guests safe. This would not be a time to visit if you are against restrictions and expect things to function as usual. Many stores and experiences on the island are still closed, so it's really best for those who want to veg out on beaches and be left alone. The highlight of my trip was swimming with a manta ray one morning. We were grateful for this trip and for the staff at the Mauna Kea. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Love the Mauna Kea and kudos to the GM Kansas

Nov 8, 2020 R31ZAlauraw Thousand Oaks, California

We arrived to the Mauna Kea shortly after it first reopened in Covid times. Needless to say there were some challenges in adjusting after that break. Our stay there was incredible, we found new trails and places to explore and many happy travelers staying in our midst - all happy to have made it through the Covid Testing Ordeals. The General… Read more
We arrived to the Mauna Kea shortly after it first reopened in Covid times. Needless to say there were some challenges in adjusting after that break. Our stay there was incredible, we found new trails and places to explore and many happy travelers staying in our midst - all happy to have made it through the Covid Testing Ordeals. The General Manager, Kansas, went above and beyond over and over again to help make our stay pleasurable and was out there in the trenches with all of his employees insuring everything went well. So grateful for our wonderful trip to this beautiful land and this classic beauty of a hotel. Mahalo Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Excellent Choice

Nov 1, 2020 Hermann M Mannheim, Germany

We love hotels with some historical touch. They need not be an icon, they need not be absolutely top-notch and they need not be more than 100 years old but if they tell a story and make us feel comfortable we're happy... This resort with its mid-20th century architecture and an array of art objects once collected by John D. Rockefeller's grandson… Read more
We love hotels with some historical touch. They need not be an icon, they need not be absolutely top-notch and they need not be more than 100 years old but if they tell a story and make us feel comfortable we're happy... This resort with its mid-20th century architecture and an array of art objects once collected by John D. Rockefeller's grandson is a place breathing history. The hotel is a concrete building of the 60ies in what is nowadays called the "brutalist" style. But with the large hallways, the open galleries, the atrium with plants, ponds and bridges it does not look "brutal" at all, and it is perfectly nestled between the green golf course lawns and the beautiful bay. We had a warm welcome with cold towel, a drink and the traditional lei. Our 81 sqm Golf Vista Deluxe Room comprised a corridor, a dressing room, the actual room with a terrace, a bathroom with two washbasins, another bathroom with a huge tub, a shower and another lanai. More of a comfortable than a stylish elegance - at any rate a pleasant "home" for our three night stay... We enjoyed not just the room and the hotel amenities but also the golf course and obviously the beautiful beach. Due to the secluded location of the resort we had most meals at the hotel. The Copper Bar with nightly steel guitar entertainment suited us well for dinner. For breakfast the Manta turned out to be the more convenient place. Great location, delightful ambience, pleasant staff - excellent choice! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Have you photos taken

Jul 25, 2020 josefineS0925

Truly recommend to have you foto taken by the photographer and his crew next to the reception. He was so nice and great and got the most amazing memories for our family. I think his name was Antonio! He was great. The beach is wonderful.