Guests of Mauna Kea Resort’s two hotels have long enjoyed exclusive
access to the destination’s private 100-member Seaside Tennis Club,
ranked among the best in the world. But when one of those two
hotels the Mauna Kea Beach shut down in December 2006 due to damage
from an October earthquake, Seaside’s tennis director Craig Pautler
expected that the club would close, too.
Instead, Seaside figures in December were as good as the
previous year; January 2007 business took an upturn, and by
February, Pautler was giving more lessons than ever.
“This is a facility that only nature and [Mauna Kea founder
Laurance] Rockefeller could have created,” he explained.
Perched on the edge of the Kohala Coast, its courts provide
jaw-dropping ocean views.
“I don’t know any other place where it’s okay to stop a game for
whale and dolphin watching,” he said.
Pautler started at the Seaside 30 years ago, then made his
formidable design mark on other hotel tennis facilities, like
Kiahuna on Kauai and Ihilani on Oahu. Four years ago, he returned
to the Seaside, which had slipped in the rankings.
“I felt I owed it to Rockefeller to bring the club back,” he
Since then, Pautler’s attention to detail has paid off.
Employees visit every court with cold water, iced towels,
sunscreen, new balls and visors, providing what Pautler calls
“courtside service.” The club features new fencing and windscreens,
umbrellas and awnings and upgraded ball machines and court
equipment. The resurfaced courts are washed every other week.
Pautler instituted more teaching programs, with gear and gadgets to
keep the game fun for youngsters.
As a result, the Seaside has resumed its high ratings among
tennis critics, and VIPs often call on his services during their
vacations. While admitting that the Mauna Kea club is his swan
song, Pautler shows no signs of slowing down.
“Tell everyone to come see what we’re doing here,” he said. “We
even have tennis shoes you can borrow.”
Seaside Tennis Club Mauna Kea Resort
The club features 11 oceanside courts by the Mauna Kea Beach
Hotel, currently closed due to earthquake damage (plans call for a
tentative 2008 reopening, according to hotel officials). Hapuna
Beach Prince Hotel guests can play at the private tennis club for
$15 per person per day, and the hotel’s commissionable packages
include use of the courts.