Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Turns 50

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Turns 50

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel prepares for its 50th anniversary with a variety of updates, while maintaining its classic style By: Marty Wentzel
Mauna Kea Beach Resort recently completed a major renovation of its Beachfront Wing. // © 2014 Mauna Kea Resort
Mauna Kea Beach Resort recently completed a major renovation of its Beachfront Wing. // © 2014 Mauna Kea Resort

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Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

With revamped guestrooms, a new restaurant and a timeless golf course, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is demonstrating how a legend maintains its good looks.

As the famous Hawaii Island hotel approaches its 50th anniversary in 2015, it continues to nip and tuck its facilities and programs to keep the guest experience as fresh and sophisticated as the resort itself. The results would have pleased Mauna Kea founder Laurance S. Rockefeller, who was said to have quipped, “Every great beach deserves a great hotel.”

Most recently, Mauna Kea completed a multi-million dollar renovation of its Beachfront Wing, perched just steps away from the sands of Kaunaoa Beach. Following the extensive 2008 upgrade of the hotel’s main building, the 85 beachfront rooms and suites now feature modern Hawaiian decor that pays tribute to its tropical surroundings with coral-colored walls and ocean-blue highlights. Rooms feature flat-screen televisions and deluxe bedding, while bathrooms indulge guests with dual sinks, separate showers and soaking tubs with windows bathed in natural light.

On the culinary front, Mauna Kea is staying current by opening the Kaunaoa Bar & Grill, a new casual eatery with an outside patio, an indoor sushi bar, a traditional dining room and a lounge with billiards and darts. Tap beers and microbrews, hot and cold sake and a full bar satisfy thirsty patrons. Kaunaoa’s menu, described as cafe and pub fare, calls on fresh local ingredients whenever possible in dishes such as salads, sliders, burgers, ribs and artisan pizzas. Ocean views and live music make this new addition an ideal tropical gathering place.

Whether or not they play golf, resort guests will be wowed by Mauna Kea’s acclaimed championship course, a Robert Trent Jones Sr., creation. When the course debuted in 1964, the three most popular golfers at the time — Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player — christened it with a televised exhibition match. After the match, Nicklaus dubbed it “the most fun golf course I’ve ever played,” and he is still a fan of Mauna Kea’s fairways. The course underwent a complete renovation in 2008, the same year the clubhouse was added.

Like many icons, Mauna Kea isn’t content resting on its laurels. Plans are in the works for a grand celebration of its 50th anniversary next year. However, there’s no time like the present to experience this timeless resort, which feels as youthful today as it did when it opened.

As an extra incentive, Mauna Kea is offering a pair of packages that come with accommodations in the renovated Beachfront Wing. Through April 19, 2014, a rate of $825 per night includes the fifth night free and a $300 resort credit. From April 20 to Sept. 30, the same rate provides the fourth night free, a daily breakfast buffet for two and a $300 credit. It’s a small price to pay for the chance to meet a legend.

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