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“Sleepy Management” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

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Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive, Puako, Island of Hawaii, HI 96743   |  
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Fourth Night FREE!
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Puako
Certificate of Excellence 2014
GreenLeadersGold level
Sun Valley, Idaho
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Sleepy Management”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

I have been visiting the Mauna Kea for so many years that i think i am eligible to vote in Hawai'i.
The views and setting are spectacular. The rooms dated but still pleasant. The beach is still dangerous in the winter but lifeguard services are better.
But the management still seems asleep. The staff wanders around with smiles and bland indifference. Nothing is ever delivered as ordered. The rooms are made up, sometimes.
The beach bar closes at sunset, just as the crowds gather.
The bar was packed for the NFC and AFC championships but no bartender showed.
The Mauna Kea will soon qualify as a Caribbean hotel, nice location, no service and no management.

Room Tip: Insist on ocean view, or you get a superb view of the parking lot.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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730 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (207)
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English first
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

Anyone who stays here during a busy time of year- beware. This hotel has gone so far downhill... It is supposed to be a 5 star resort (and it has 5 star prices), but the food and service, amongst other things, needs to be vastly improved. We have stayed at this hotel for many years as loyal guests, but it has now debatable whether we will be back. The Good - the Beach is beautiful and the best on the island. The beach staff, however, does as little as possible and the beach chairs are in need of repair or replacement. The beach bar is wonderful, except there isn't enough staff to service the people waiting for a drink at happy hour/ sunset- you shouldn't have to wait 15 mins. to get someone's attention to order a drink! The rooms are spacious, bright and have large closets and bathrooms and the housekeeping staff is great. The BAD: The hotel has closed its fine dining restaurant (the former Batik and Monettes) and the Number 3 Italian restaurant which was open for dinner. There is a HUGE lack of dining options. There are usually only two options for dinner - at the main dining room (Manta) which now has a very limited menu OR one of their featured Buffet dinners. The buffet dinners are way too expensive and the food is very average. They have reduced the amount of selections and the atmosphere for the seating is dismal. The only "good" buffet is the Clambake, hold down at the beach, but is only offered on a Saturday. They can't accommodate all the hotel guests, so a lot of people miss out. For lunch, there are two options only - The golf course, which with the poor service, takes 1 1/2 hours for a meal; and the Hau Tree, which is over crowded and always has a long wait time. To add insult to injury, they charge for Internet service in the room. The hotel has good bones, and it could be brought back to its former self... The SERVICE and FOOD are the things you CAN improve - However, instead of adding service and amenities and improving dining options and food, the hotel management has taken things away.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nor Cal
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

Our first trip to the Mauna Kea was when our daughters were 2 and 4. It was a perfect place to relax and spend time as a family. We walked the beach in the morning, had lunch at the Hau Tree before heading to the pool for the afternoon. Our return visits always created more wonderful memories.

After nearly 25 years, we went back to the Mauna Kea without our daughters. This visit only reconfirmed all the things that made this such a special place then and even more so now. The grounds and the property are as grand as ever. The wonderful art objects and Hawaiian quilts that Laurence Rockefeller collected are still amazing. Everywhere you look there is something to see. The ocean view is stunning and the beach is by far one of the best.

The room was comfortable with many subtle touches and attention to detail. Loved the Frette sheets and the L'Occitaine bath amenities. We can’t wait to return and want to have our daughters and their families with us on our next visit. Love, Love, Love this very special place!

Room Tip: If you can afford ocean view, go for it!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

We chose Mauna Kea for the tail-end of our trip on the Big Island, primarily because it had a tennis facility, golf course, and beach access. We don't typically stay at resorts, so we had to get ourselves accustomed to the expansive property. As a design and architecture enthusiast, I was happy to see that much of the original design concept has been retained, even if it may seem outdated. The breezeways and open architecture allow one to appreciate the surrounding environment while still housing a full-service resort. We were greeting with hospitable drinks and refreshing towels while checking in, and were instantly pleased to walk into our ocean-view room. The renovation was well-done, with comfortable bed and seating appointments, a well-stocked wall unit with flat-screen TV and typical hotel magazines, and a modern bathroom sink area with double vanity. We were especially tickled to see some of our favorite bathroom amenities fully stocked. Having an ocean view room meant that we could assess the beach and determine the best time to head out for snorkeling. We have been to other snorkeling destinations, and it was great to find plenty of fish nestled just off the beach, safely within view and without having to arrange for a tour, etc. The beach itself is well manicured and maintained, with our only complaint being that beach umbrellas can only be used within a certain zone. This is to allow for the lifeguards to have adequate view of the entire beach. There is plenty of snorkeling, kayaking, and other beach equipment available, although typically with a rental fee. Beachside drinks and food service is excellent, and the beachside cafes/restaurants are a perfect place to enjoy a burger in between swimming and tanning. We also arranged for two sessions at the tennis facility, which is beautifully situated right next the shore, offering some of the best sunset views we have ever seen. Although there is a court fee, it is well worth it, to play tennis in such a gorgeous setting, and it is a full-service facility. We also enjoyed 18 holes of golf, and although we are novices, we felt that we had adequate time to enjoy the scenery and practice our shots.
Dining at Mauna Kea is not what we would call world-class, but considering the options on the island it is probably the most efficient way to enjoy dining while on this vacation. We tried the buffet one evening, mainly because it was available and we were hungry. We spent two dinners at the Manta Restaurant, and found it slightly overpriced while lacking service, but we enjoyed sitting outside and hearing the lightly crashing waves. At some tables, you could probably see the manta rays approaching the bright flood lights place over one of the lookouts. They have a reasonable wine selection, but not as good as top restaurants. Also, some of the meals might be over slightly salted. Lunchtime at the beach or golf resort is probably more reliable. For one of our meals, we headed south to one of the larger resorts where they have a small strip of shopping and restaurants and found a surprisingly freshing Sushi joint.
Overall, the resort felt relaxing, partly because the property is indeed so expansive and there were not too many patrons, but also because the layout of the property allows you to get lost in your own nook or cranny and just enjoy the beauty of the rugged coastline, crisp lawns, or sprinkling native tropical plants. It still maintains some of its old glory, but gives you the chance to retreat to your air-conditioned room to just lounge about until you are ready to once again explore the grounds.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Wooster, Ohio
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

Having known this hotel since it first opened in the '60s (when it had fewer storeys~~and rooms, and was the only resort on the Kohala Coast), I knew it could never compare in 2012 with the exclusivity and elan it once had. However, the beach still has the soft sand that Laurence Rockefeller imported, and the Kohala Coast is still beautiful, albeit too popular and overbuilt. Staying here is nothing special; now the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is just a carbon copy of any other large, touristy beachfront resort anywhere in the world, a shadow of the former grande dame that once set the standard for oceanfront luxury in Hawaii.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

we came back for the second year in a row -- this time we did fewer activites and stayed more around the property -- discovered how amazing the snorkeling is right at the hotel. I love this place and can't say enough good things about this beautiful, elegant, peaceful, classy place.

Room Tip: we have a child and love the plumaria beach club. we have stayed in 4 different rooms in plumaria a...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crestline, California
Top Contributor
196 reviews 196 reviews
100 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
149 helpful votes 149 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

The rooms are more spacious, huge walk in closets with , Big screen TV, Entry Halls, Huge bathroom with double raised basins. Whirlpool Bath, walk in doorless shower with rain head. and separate adjaecnt balconmy with longe chair, over;looking Mauna Kea Beach. There is a main balcony off the main room.The grounds are flawlees an wrought with antique historic Artifacts. 3 restaurants. world class Golf Course, with restaurant. Terrace restaurant on the beach. More and extensive in house Logo and golf shops. Clothing and sundries.

Room Tip: BEACH VIEW in the Main Building.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Address: 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive, Puako, Island of Hawaii, HI 96743
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Kohala Coast > Puako
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Puako
#3 Family Hotel in Puako
#3 Romantic Hotel in Puako
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Puako
#3 Luxury Hotel in Puako
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Mauna Kea Beach Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 252
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel located on Hawaii Island's Kohala Coast. Legendary, timeless hospitality. Exceptional value. No mandatory resort fees. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mauna Kea Beach Kamuela
Hotel Mauna Kea Beach

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