Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Trip Report

I recently visited the Big Island and stayed at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was first opened in 1965, it was one of the first resorts on the Big Island and is located along the Kohala Coast about 28 miles north of the Kona Airport.  It's the last big resort you pass as you drive north from the airport giving the resort a more secluded feeling.  The hotel was closed after the 2006 earthquake and given a $150 million dollar renovation.  I was excited to see the changes as I had stayed there right before the earthquake and the hotel was showing its age.

Most of the renovation was done to the guest rooms and the shopping areas, including a complete rebuild of the top (8th) floor, which sustained major damage.  There are two sections to the hotel, the main building which you see displayed in the photo, and the Plumeria Wing, just off to the right and barely visible above the tree tops.  Most of the major design changes occurred in the main building, while the Plumeria Wing was refreshed, they left many of the designs in place to please some of the longstanding clients who did not want to see major changes to the hotel.

I stayed in a deluxe ocean view room on the 6th floor, the 4th floor is really the 1st floor, as you go down to the Plumeria Wing and up to the main building.  These rooms are completely new.  The hotel took 3 old rooms and made them into 2, giving you a much larger space and a huge bathroom.

Here are a couple of pictures:

The main room has a very nice walk-in closet, a small foyer and the sleeping space.  There is a nice new entertainment area with flat panel TV with a a sliding door to hide it.  The room is 615 square feet and includes 2 lanai's totaling 265 square feet.  One is off the bedroom and one is off the bathroom.  The bathroom is very nice, a large double vanity, a separate wet room with shower and tub.  The shower is open with a great ocean view.  In my opinion they did an excellent job renovating and creating these rooms.

Other observations about the hotel:

We had breakfast every morning at Manta, they had a very nice buffet and the view over the small bay is wonderful, most mornings we saw Manta's swimming in the bay.

Dinner at Manta and Monettes was typical resort cuisine, expensive and not very inspiring.

The Clambake is very popular, and all you can eat seafood buffet.  If you want quantity over quality this is your place.

Staff were very friendly and accommodating.

Make sure to specify your bedding request, the hotel has a number of rooms with 2 double beds instead of kings.

Highlights off the property:

Merrimans in Waimea for dinner, very fresh and local.

La Bourgogne French Restaurant in Kona, a very small French restaurant with excellent food.  Not the best location but great food.  I was surprised that food portions seemed to have gotten larger since my last visit, very un-French.

Monstera at the Shops at Mauna Lani, great Sushi and very reasonable prices.

The Saddle road drive to Hilo.  The road has had many improvements recently and there are only a few bad spots at each end of the road now, a great drive.

The Big Island is one of my favorite destinations, please contact me if you have questions.


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  1. The owner of the hotel made a wise choice to sacrifice one of the three rooms to provide more space for the two. I also like the fact that the beach can be seen from the veranda because not all beach hotels have that.

    Darius Cartmell