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Review: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection

The first hotel development on the rugged lava fields of the Kohala Coast, founded in 1965 by Laurence Rockefeller, was the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.  It was the most exclusive and expensive resort of its day and fast forward to today and the Mauna Kea once again stands as a landmark of luxury on the Big Island’s golden Kohala Coast.

The Mauna Kea Resort area is located on the Big Island's Kohala Coast, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by the Mauna Kea Golf Course and Hapuna Golf Course.

In 2015, the hotel was rebranded as Hawai'i’s first Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel, which is Marriott's take on the boutique luxury hotel concept, similar to the Andaz brand by Hyatt and Kimpton brand by IHG, among others.

The resort hotel is one of the Big Island's most understated luxurious hotels, as the actual main building that provides the framework for the hotel looks a bit dated (built in the 1960's), so it doesn’t look like what you’d expect in a luxury hotel at first, but it gives it a lot of personality that sets it apart from the rest.

The hotel sits on Kaunaʻoa Bay, also known as Mauna Kea Beach, and offers one the best and prettiest white sand beaches in all of Hawaii that is perfect for sunbathing, lounging under the palm trees and swimming in its calm water.

The Mauna Kea features 252 guest rooms in a style that is modern and contemporary, yet still feels like traditional Hawaiian.  Guest rooms start at 590 square feet and include a private lanai, with ground floor rooms in the beachfront wing featuring walk-out patios with a lawn area in which kids can play before reaching the beach.

The resort guest rooms are divided into two areas, the main tower and the beachfront wing.  The main tower building features rooms that are modern with touches of bright orange and white and offer spectacular views from the room.

The beachfront wing features room decor that feels fresh and modern with pops of blue.  Larger families may prefer the connecting rooms closest to the beach and pool in this part of the hotel.  Views from these rooms are also spectacular, but not as high as the main tower rooms.

The Mauna Kea features exquisite dining options, as well as a wonderful luau.  The luau offers awesome views of the ocean and sunset - as well as a wonderful show.

After dinner, at one of the great dining options at the Mauna Kea, be sure to make your way to Manta Ray Point and watch graceful manta rays in the water.

The hotel even offers a Manta night dive if you're interested.

Lastly, the resort’s sister property, the Westin Hapuna Beach, shares amenities, restaurants and the Kohala Coast’s best beaches with Mauna Kea (Hapuna Beach and Mauna Kea Beach), providing two great properties in one.

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is a part of the Virtuoso Hotel Collection and Virtuoso amenities for 2019 include the following:
  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Buffet breakfast daily for up to two in-room guests
  • $100 USD Resort/Hotel credit to be utilized during stay 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
For Guests in Suite accommodations:
  • $200 USD Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay

If you're planning a trip to Hawaii, be sure to send me a message for quotes, travel tips and and be sure to ask me about Virtuoso amenities or the SPG Luxury Privileges Program for your next stay, where you can get daily breakfast, resort credits, room upgrades and more!  

Virtuoso travel advisors have global connections to make your trip better. When you check in, you’re a VIP and can expect exclusive amenities such as room upgrade on arrival, daily breakfast, resort credits, early check-in/late checkout, spa treatment credits, special Virtuoso experiences and more!

I have access to Virtuoso hotel amenities as a Virtuoso Travel Advisor, SPG Luxury Privileges, Ritz Carlton STARS, Hyatt Prive (coming soon!), and other great deals available from wholesale travel suppliers such as Pleasant Holidays, Classic Vacations, Travel Impressions, and many more!

See more great photos here -- Photo Highlight Tour of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii.