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.

ISLAND ACTIVITIES

Request reservations for any activities via email to our Concierge or call (808) 882.5707.

Helicopter Tours

The eruption at Kīlauea brings worldwide attention to Hawaii’s Big Island, and you can capture the adventure on a spectacular “flightseeing” tour. A state-of-the-art helicopter awaits to transport you on an unforgettable aerial adventure. Travelers can explore the dramatic action at the volcano and lush green valleys and waterfalls along the way.

Mauna Kea Resort and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters have partnered to launch their new Heli VIP: A helicopter ride steps from your doorstep experience, offering resort guests on-site helicopter access. Guests on the VIP experience can customize their own experiential helicopter excursion, personalizing it to their preferences. Travelers seeking romance and wellness can seek waterfalls in search of the perfect date or outdoor picnic spot. Guests seeking more adventurous activities can hunt for the ideal cave for spelunking or check out the island’s volcanoes and lava flows.
For more information, call (808) 938-5018 or email Blue Hawaiian Helicopters!

www.bluehawaiian.com

Stargazing

Mauna Kea’s summit is home to an international astronomy community that is the envy of stargazers worldwide and a must see for families. Experience a peek into worlds beyond and learn a bit about Polynesian celestial navigation that guided canoe voyagers to Hawaii for the first time with Stargaze Hawaii. See constellations outlined with powerful lasers, and deep space objects such as planets, galaxies, nebulae, interesting stars, star clusters, and multiple star systems with Celestron 11 Telescopes.

www.stargazehawaii.com

Hawaii Forest & Trail

Ignite your sense of adventure with Hawaii volcano tours, educational bird watching tours and an inspiring Mauna Kea tour. Hawaii Forest & Trail nature tours allow you to experience majestic nature in a small group, guided tour setting.

www.hawaii-forest.com

Manta Rays

After dinner at Manta, take a stroll down the stone path to Manta Ray Point and watch the nightly show as graceful manta rays “dance” in the spotlight. Tiny crustaceans called krill are attracted to the lights, which in turn attract the manta ray who feed on the krill. Manta Rays, or hahalua in Hawaiian, can reach wingspans of 30 feet yet seem like gentle giants as they turn in slow motion, gliding through the dark water along the shore. Learn more about exclusive Moonlight Manta adventures.

Big Island Bike Tours

There is no better way to experience Hawai’i than on a bicycle. The fresh air, unique sights, sounds and smells experienced while biking offer visitors the chance to immerse themselves in this paradise.  Located in beautiful Waimea at the historic Anna Ranch, Big Island Bike Tours provides a range of services including fully supported rides, tours, and rentals.  The fleet of bikes includes Bianchi Carbon road bikes, OPEN Cycles for gravel adventures, Giant Mt. Bikes, and Giant Ebikes powered by Yamaha.

www.bigislandbiketours.com/hawaii

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