Following an extensive multi-million dollar restoration, The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel will reopen its doors on December 20, 2008 to the delight of new guests and loyal, long-standing returning patrons who have enjoyed the resort’s signature hospitality since its opening in 1965.
“The 'Grand Dame' of the Big Island of Hawaii will continue to perpetuate the true Hawaiian traditions of aloha, coupled with the classic elegance of the Hawaiian Islands that it has been known for,” says the resort’s new General Manager, Jon Gersonde. “The goal of the restoration has been to update and refine The Mauna Kea’s reputation as a sophisticated and intimate luxury beachfront resort. We are reopening with new luxurious accommodations and amenities of the highest caliber, a revitalized golf course with new clubhouse, and, of course, our signature tradition of excellent service.”
Gersonde says the December 20 date represents a soft opening to ease the hotel back into operations after two years of being closed. “Many long-time Mauna Kea employees have been hired back and we should be up to speed pretty quickly,” he said. A lavish formal Grand Opening will be celebrated in March 2009.
New amenities at The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel include a spa offering an array of exotic treatments; exciting new culinary experiences stewarded by Executive Chef George Gomes; and newly refurbished guest rooms. The total room and suite count has been reduced from 310 to 258 as a result of rooms being enlarged in the main building. Many of the resort’s popular services and activities will also return, including the 13-court Seaside Tennis Club, the Salon at Mauna Kea, play-while-you-learn children’s activities, Hawaiian cultural experiences, Art & Garden Tour, yoga and exercise classes, and the Beach at Kaunaoa Bay, offering enhanced beach services and cabanas.
When The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel originally opened, it was the most expensive hotel ever built in Hawaii at the time, at a cost of $15 million. Upon opening, it was the recipient of numerous accolades and awards from the traveling community and media. The American Institute of Architects recently placed the hotel on the list of 150 iconic structures nationwide recognized as “America’s Favorite Architecture.”
Mauna Kea’s owners closed the hotel in December 2006, following an earthquake centered close to the Big Island. “The earthquake damage required us to close the hotel for a period of time, and we realized that it also presented an opportunity to conduct a comprehensive restoration of the property,” stated Gersonde. “While the hotel’s interiors have been redecorated, little changes have been made to its classic exterior architectural design that has been recognized throughout the world.”
The renovation of The Mauna Kea updates American venture capitalist Laurance S. Rockefeller’s vision of the resort he developed at the invitation of Hawaii’s then Governor, William Quinn. Today, The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is the flagship property in the Prince Hotels and Resorts international portfolio.
The extensive multi-million dollar repair and refurbishment has focused primarily on freshening up guest rooms and suites, lobby, restaurants and common areas. Mr. Rockefeller’s fabled world-class art collection from Hawaii and the Pacific Basin has also been lovingly restored. In addition, the Mauna Kea Golf Course has received a comprehensive upgrade and redesign to USGA standards by Rees Jones, son of the original course designer, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. The renovation includes a newly-constructed Clubhouse with Pro Shop, locker rooms and a restaurant, that will transform in the evenings into another dinner option for resort guests.