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“A pimple on a model's face” 5 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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Hotel amenities
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Fourth Night FREE!
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Puako
Certificate of Excellence 2014
GreenLeadersGold level
walnut creek, ca
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“A pimple on a model's face”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2007

Stayed Thanksgiving week 06. Read all the reviews first, and everything is true, both good and bad, but the bad is like a pimple on a model's face. It just doesn't matter. Yes, the adjoining kids room smelled musty at first (and worse in the bathroom), yes there was mold in the grout in the shower, yes, all the birds were noisy in the a.m. and the furniture is dated, but this place is gorgeous. It is old school, but feels like a privilege to be there. Pictures do not do the architecture justice. Not too big, not too small, and very accessible to everything. Can't beat the beach and the expansive grassy areas. Having the bar and the lunch restaurant right on the beach was key. Snorkel/etc rentals were reasonable, but we went to Walmart and bought stuff for the week. Snorkeling right off the beach was much better than the lagoon snorkeling that we paid to go to at our Dolphin Quest day at the Hilton. Dolphin quest was fun, but I would do the cheapest package, not the most expensive (which we did) Food was good, and yes it was expensive. Did the Luau, but it wasn't worth it to us, Dad and son skipped out a few minutes into the show. Did the Blue Hawaiin helicopter tour over the volcano, very cool and a good way to get a feel for the island. Got an email that the hotel is now closed because of earthquake damage, don't know if it will re-open. There were large cracks in the concrete and a lot of walkways were blocked off and they were not using the 8th floor. There was another earthquake while we were there, but no big deal. We're hoping they don't tear this place down and build something modern and generic. Lots of good karma here. Walked around the Hapuna, it is very nice also, just a little more generic, but you will be happy there.

  • Liked — Beach, classy place without being the least bit stuffy
  • Disliked — Was a little run down - simple things they could have fixed/cleaned
  • Tips/Secrets — get the package with the free breakfast buffet
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
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
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
159 helpful votes 159 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2006

To put it in simple terms: the Mauna Kea is heavenly!

This is a wonderful hotel on the most perfect beach in all of Hawaii. We have stayed at the Mauna Kea many times - and after every visit, we depart even more impressed! As the first luxury resort on the Kohala Coast, the Mauna Kea defined the standard!

If you are looking for an extremely comfortable, clean hotel with exemplary staff - you will love the Mauna Kea. What we enjoy is that the hotel is beautiful, but not glitzy like so many other resorts along the Kohala Coast. The Mauna Kea exudes Aloha in its simplicity and impeccably maintained grounds.

The rooms are modern and comfortable, but again - simplicity is the theme. Twice daily maid service is fantastic. Views from the lanai are simply too beautiful to describe. The TV is small - but we never turned it on. Linens were soft, combed Egyptian cotton and bath products are Neutrogena. Each room comes with a small refrigerator and there is a nice supply of magazines for reading.

The Pavillions Restaurant is outstanding for both breakfast and supper. The views of Kauna'oa Bay are breathtaking. We also enjoyed lunches at the Hau Tree Grill (the poke wrap was delicious). Make sure to enjoy drinks at both the Aloha Bar on the beach or take in wonderful evening music and sunsets at the Copper Bar.

The Beach is simply unbeatable. We have spent time on every island in Hawaii- and this beach is without a doubt - the best in the entire state. Snorkeling is fantastic - lots of tropical fish and turtles with perfect water clarity. NOTE: we have never used the pool - it is small but a lot of folks seemed to be enjoying it.

If you are looking for glitz and lots of night life - look elsewhere! The Mauna Kea is quiet and peaceful - the whole goal of staying here is to simply unwind and relax.

The employees at the Mauna Kea are a joy. We were always greeted with warm smiles and lots of aloha. Our every need was addressed and we could not have asked for better, more attentive service.

The Aloha Spirit is alive and well at the Mauna Kea! If you want to experience understated elegance accompanied with stellar service - the Mauna Kea is perfect for you!

  • Liked — The beachside location
  • Tips/Secrets — Watch the Manta Rays at night
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2006

Really enjoyed our stay here. Very clean hotel with helpful staff. The beach was a dream. The shops inside the hotel good for last minute needs and presents to take home. Dining was very good.

  • Liked — The beautiful ambiance in and around the hotel
  • Stayed November 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
106 helpful votes 106 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2006

This hotel is simply gorgeous and the staff is wonderful. We were there on our honeymoon, and they suprised us with a fruit plate and bottle of champagne in the fridge. Very nice touch!

The interior of the hotel is very open, and the rooms and decor have an Asian influence. There is artwork scattered around the hotel everywhere- it is almost like staying in a gallery. Unfortunately we didn't get to enjoy the resort as much as we would have liked- we were only there for 3 nights, the first full day we spent at the volcano and the second full day was when the earthquake hit. The hotel was damaged, but I have to say that the staff was wonderful in the face of disaster. We could see how hard they were all working to make sure everyone was safe and comfortable. We were easily moved to a new room, since our first room had a water leak. The staff also supplied free food throughout the day- the chefs grilled burgers and hot dogs in the afternoon, since the power was still out, and after the power came back on they put out a complimentary buffet for all of the guests for dinner. Very much appreciated! A friend of mine was staying at a different hotel in Kona that day, and she said that hotel did not go out of their way at all to keep everyone fed and comfortable. I really felt taken care of at the Mauna Kea. They did everything right. And when we checked out, we saw that we were ony charged for two nights- possibly since we had to change rooms, we were comped one night.

If we ever have the opportunity to visit the Big Island again, we will definitely stay at this hotel. Not only is the hotel gorgeous, but the staff and management are also wonderful.

  • Liked — The beauty of the hotel and the staff's wonderful attitude
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jersey, Channel Islands
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2006

I decided upon Mauna Kea on the strength of the high rating it received on a website called Tennis Resorts Online but was concerned when I couldn't find a mention of the tennis facilities in the reviews on TripAdvisor and so very nearly went to one of my second choice resorts instead. I'm so pleased that I didn't allow myself to get put off by this fact or by some of the negative comments on TripAdvisor about ants, unhelpful staff and '60s design.

I have just had a fabulous 9 days at Mauna Kea and I wanted to write a review mentioning the tennis so that anyone else considering going to Mauna Kea to play some tennis would not be wrongly put off by the absence of any description of this aspect of the complete package that is Mauna Kea.

I was there for 9 days during a relatively quiet period when there weren't many tennis players staying at either Mauna Kea or the Hapuna Beach. It didn't matter! Craig Pautler, Kerry and the rest of the tennis team made my stay a real joy. I hit with Craig or Kerry for an hour each morning and had games arranged by them for me on four afternoons. The weather was glorious and the sound and smell of the surf pounding on the rocks 10 yards away from court 8 on which I generally played makes me smile as I write this sitting in the departure lounge of LAX on my way home to the UK.

Many other reviews describe the wonderful golf courses, beach and restaurants. All that I would do is to fully endorse them! This place is paradise and I can't wait to get back.

  • Liked — The beach view and the sound of the surf.
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2006

This is a very nice hotel on a beautiful beach. I called the hotel directly and got the best advice on booking and rates. I joined Prince Preferred and got the room plus buffet breakfast far cheaper than any other online mechanism. Do try and get an upgrade to the preferred mountain view (or oceanview) rooms on the 8th floor. The buffet breakfast is excellent. Another great feature of this hotel is snorkeling on the beach. You can rent gear and see beautiful fish at manta ray point without committing to long swim or boat ride. The tennis is also great at this hotel. You rent by the day so you could play twice if you had the energy. The courts and rackets are great and they provide ice water and iced facecloths. They also have a self serve laundry available by the exercise room. The hotel shares facilities with the Hapuna Prince. We had dinner there one night and it was very nice as well. More modern if you'd like to go that route. There is a place to view the stars on the roof at the Mauna Kea if you go up to the 8th floor. It is very pretty. We did not eat dinner at the Mauna Kea but visited some good local restaurants. Cafe Pesto a couple of miles north was excellent. We also had a great meal at the Waikoloa Beach Restaurant on the golf course at Waikoloa Village. Merriman's Cafe at the Kings Plaza at Waikoloa Village was also very good and speedy. Near the airport, we had dinner at O's Bistro (formerly named Oodles of Noodles). We took the Blue Hawaiian heli tour down to the Volcano, It was expensive but well worth it. I must warn you that we had two canceled tours before we finally made the trip. The weather is really dicey on the Big Island and they cancel if there is any chance of a problem. We elected not to drive down and view Volcanoes Park from the ground. It was just too much to drive there and back in one day. If you want to visit the park it is probably best to fly into Hilo and stay down there while you visit, then drive north to stay at Kohala. We did drive to Hilo one day (via Waimea). A stop at Akaka Falls is worth it. We also drove south to the Place of Refuge. This is a must-see as well. One final note, the hotel provided a very nice bottle of champagne and some fruit when we told them we were celebrating our anniversary.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — Property does need an upgrade
  • Tips/Secrets — Book rooms through hotel and ask for 8th floor
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Austin
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2006

I went to the Mauna Kea for the first time over 20 years ago with my family as a teen. I went again in September of 2006 for the last 2 days of my 9 day trip to Hawaii, and my only regret is that I didn't go straight to the Mauna Kea when I arrived.

The hotel truly personifies the "aloha spirit" that you hear so much about....from the valet who adorned us w/ fresh plumeria leis as we got out of the car, to the check in staff, to the room service staff, restaurant staff, housekeepers, lifeguards, bar staff, and even the man sweeping the floor as we arrived, every single person we encountered was warm, welcoming, and just plain wonderful.

The rooms are not modern miracles, but they are cozy, comfortable and you aren't really there to stay in the room, are you? No, you are there to be at the gorgeous crescent beach or out on the most beautiful golf course on earth, or playing tennis or something....but even if you just want to enjoy the sunset from your lanai, the rooms are still lovely. Comfortable beds, ceiling fans, tvs, large bathrooms, robes, slippers, a gorgeous lanai (balcony) and a gorgeous view.

The Batik, the fine dining restaurant, is exceptional. the Pavilion also has wonderful food and a more relaxed dress code. Manta Point has lights that shine over the water, enticing the plankton to come to the surface, which, in turn, entice huge manta rays to come and feed. Watching their beautiful dance is unforgettable.

Snorkeling is great right off the beach. Off to the right, there are rocks and coral which is teeming w/ colorful tropical fish; to the left, rocks and caves where sea turtles hide. you are welcome to use your own gear, or rent for a low price $7/hr.

There were 2 weddings at the hotel while we were there, and yet we never felt like we were crowded, or noticed any giant wedding parties that interrupted our most peaceful 2 days of vacation. They also have a clam bake on Saturdays, but we passed, opting for the Pavilion (outdoor seating b/c inside was getting a brand new floor) instead. We didn't get to go, but on they've also got a really good lu'au at the hotel on Tuesdays(?).

I wholeheartedly recommend the Mauna Kea to anyone who wants a glorious trip back to the way resorts used to be....family oriented w/o feeling like Disneyland. Just really wonderful people (some second generations working there!) providing wonderful service in the most beautiful place on earth. After 20 years, I was afraid that my memory would have made it more than it could possibly be, but it was everything I remembered and more.

  • Liked — everything
  • Tips/Secrets — just get there as fast as you can....beachfront rooms in the "new" building are bigger than oceanfront rooms in the original building and have lower rates
  • Stayed September 2006
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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 Romantic Hotel in Puako
#3 Family Hotel in Puako
#3 Luxury Hotel in Puako
#3 On the Beach 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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