Hawaii Island’s First Resort

It was while swimming in the turquoise waters of Kauna‘oa Bay, surrounded by a wide landscape of lava rock and ranchland with clear views of the Mauna Kea summit, that American conservationist and venture capitalist Laurance S. Rockefeller decided to build Hawaii Island’s first resort. His inspiration to capture the spirit of this special place and ensure the hotel conformed to, rather than intruded upon, these beautiful natural surroundings, became today’s Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

1960: Experimenting on the beach

Rockefeller’s original concept was a cluster of individual cottages along the beach, with no televisions or air-conditioning to interfere with the natural environment of the Kohala Coast. Architects Skidmore Owings Merrill produced a dome-shaped model that was almost washed out by a tropical storm, so a single-building design was next refined by lead architect Charles Bassett. Air-conditioning proved to be crucial in the warm, nearly always sunny South Kohala climate. But from 1965 to 1995, the hotel operated contentedly without guestroom televisions as Rockefeller had always intended.

1964Golf First

In 1964, a year before the hotel was ready to receive guests, Mauna Kea Golf Course opened and became Hawaii Island’s first course. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, who had pioneered a technique to create soil from lava rock, the course debuted with a televised “Big 3” match between Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.

1965: Great beginnings

When it opened in July 1965 with 154 guestrooms after a $15 million build-out, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was the most expensive hotel ever built. Praised by travel writers and critics worldwide, it was named one of the “three greatest hotels in the world” by Esquire magazine, one of the “10 best buildings of 1966” by Fortune, and presented with an honors award by the American Institute of Architects in 1967. What were viewed as exorbitant room rates started at $43 per night, including breakfast and dinner in the Pavilion, which featured international cuisine.

1968: The New Wing

A new Beachfront Wing was added in 1968, designed by Honolulu architects Wimberly, Whisenand, Allison, Tong and Goo, with interior design by Phyllis Brownlee. Original paintings by John Young were commissioned for the guestrooms, and the Batik restaurant and Lounge was also added.

1994-95: A Sister Property

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel closed for renovation in 1994, a few months before the opening of adjacent Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel that August. Designed by Beachfront Wing architects Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo, Hapuna delivered a contemporary resort experience at the other end of the Mauna Kea Resort property, featuring all ocean-facing rooms, meeting and business facilities, and an exclusive villa. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel reopened in December 1995 and the two hotels in tandem comprised a world-class resort and residential experience on the beautiful Kohala Coast.

2008: Next Generation

Following a damaging earthquake in October 2006 and an unprecedented two year, $150 million renovation, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel reopened in December 2008. In classic Mauna Kea style, the hotel continues to welcome generations of guests to reconnect with life’s most authentic pleasures.

2015: Marriott’s Autograph Collection

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel became Hawaii’s first Autograph Collection Hotel through a marketing partnership. The Autograph Collection is an ensemble of strikingly independent hotels across the country. Each destination has been selected for its quality, bold originality, rich character and uncommon details.

2016: Historic Hotel

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was inducted as a member of Historic Hotels of America. HHA is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which recognizes and celebrates the finest historic hotels across America.

Photo of a Coastal Tee Shot at Mauna Kea Golf Course, the Best Kohala Coast Golf Club.

With awe-inspiring views of lava fields from long ago, dramatic sea views, and ample golf resorts to choose from, Hawaii’s Kohala Coast is one of the best places in North America to play golf. The island attracts golfers from all over the world, from beginners to professionals. If you are looking for a golf getaway like no other, the Kohala Coast has some fantastic beach resorts with excellent golf courses and facilities. You will enjoy stunning scenery, awe-inspiring beaches, ample historical sites, and as much golf as you’d like. 

Mauna Kea Golf Course

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is one of the best golf resorts on the Kohala Coast—an 18-hole course spanning 7,370 yards, set upon an ancient black lava field. Today, the green grass stretches far with fantastic sea views. The golf course is suitable for all levels, with different aspects of the course being more challenging and some more suitable for beginners. If you choose to play at Mauna Kea Golf Course, you will get the chance to try your luck at Signature Hole 3, the most awe-inspiring hole in Hawaii. The over the water shot coupled with the surrounding scenery makes this hole a memorable experience. The course is also home to some pro events, such as the Mauna Kea Resort Pro-Am

The Mauna Kea Golf Course is an integral part of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, a luxury resort set on a white-sand beach with an outdoor pool. You will have access to a range of sports facilities and amenities, including water sports, a fitness center, and tennis courts. 

Hapuna Golf Course

Photo of Hapuna Golf Course, One of the Best Kohala Coast Golf Courses.Neighboring Hapuna Golf Course is located in an ancient lava field with fantastic views of the Kohala Coast, the Pacific Ocean, and Maui Island, located across the course. For polished golfers, there are plenty of challenging holes here. There are a considerable number of facilities too.

The Hapuna Golf Course is part of The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, a newly-renovated beachfront retreat with an outdoor pool and luxury facilities. Guests can make use of the Hapuna Spa by Mandara and choose from a range of Hawaiian-inspired therapies. 

Book Your Stay Today

So, what are you waiting for? Book your stay today at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and be right next to the Mauna Kea Golf Course. It’s a prime location on the Kohala Coast tailor-made for exploring nearby attractions, beaches, and historic sites. Book your stay today by phoning 1-808-882-7222 (or view more information online).

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