Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review, Photos, Video (Marriott Autograph Collection)

Review: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hawaii

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Our Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Hawaii 2021 Review, Photos and Video post is from our recent site inspection stay, which included the Mauna Lani, an Auberge Resort, other Big Island luxury resorts, and two Maui luxury resorts. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was originally conceived of and built by Laurence Rockefeller in 1965, last renovated in 2006-2008, and joined Marriott's Autograph Collection in 2015.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Location and Check-In

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is located at 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive on the Big Island of Hawaii, about a 30-35 minute drive from Kona Airport (KOA). From the Mauna Lani Resort, it's about a 16 minute drive. We arrived in the mid-afternoon, and there was no wait at check-in.

2021 Review: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hawaii

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Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Room, Tower

The best rooms at the hotel are in the more modern Tower. Specifically, we recommend the Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Rooms, which are the largest, at 904 sq. ft. (83 sq. m.) including the two lanais, and come furnished with either one king bed (an extra bed can be added) or two double beds.

Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Room, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review
Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Room, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review

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Nice touches were the leis and welcome amenity of fresh pineapple and the resort's homemade banana bread.

Leis, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review
Welcome amenities, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review

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The bathroom was spacious, particularly the area with the double sinks, which were perpendicular, with ample counter space for each.

Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Bathroom, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review

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Less convenient was the fact that the toilet is in the same large room with the soaking tub and wall-less shower, so it's only convenient for one guest to be in that area at a time.

Soaking Tub, Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Room, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review
Wall-less Shower, Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Room, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review

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That said, it's nice to have a view of the ocean from the shower, and a second small lanai off of the bathroom:

Second lanai off of the bathroom, Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Room, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review

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We also loved having the space of the walk-in closet, with a shelf for our suitcases, ample hangers for clothes, and shelves.

Walk-in Closet, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review

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TravelSort Clients enjoy these Virtuoso benefits at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Buffet breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom
  • $100 USD Resort/Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate or any third party vendor charges, no cash value if not redeemed in full). Guests in Suite accommodations receive a $200 USD Resort/Hotel credit
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

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Here's our Mauna Kea Beach Hotel YouTube Video Review:

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Tennis

The Mauna Lani consistently earns a place among the top tennis resorts in the U.S., and it wasn't hard to see why. It has 11 tennis courts, several with ocean views, and the coach for our son's tennis clinic was superb, providing spot-on tips for each of the players, along with encouragement and tough love where needed.

Tennis, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review

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Mauna Kea Beach

As a young island, the Big Island of Hawaii has fewer good white sand beach than older islands such as Kauai, Maui and Oahu. Rockefeller spotted the crescent of Kaunaoa Bay from the air, and after a swim in it, decided to build his hotel there. The long stretch of golden sand makes the Mauna Kea Beach a favorite for regulars who prioritize a long, sandy beach and want a more low-key, old Hawaii vibe than at some of the more luxurious Kohala coast resorts.

Beach, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Review

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The Verdict

Although we were initially given the wrong room type, we largely enjoyed our stay after moving to our Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Room. Particular highlights were the beautiful ocean views, the superb tennis program, touches such as the orchid lei and welcome amenity of fresh pineapple and homemade banana bread, the long white sand beach, and dinner at the Copper Bar, with excellent live Hawaiian music and hula dancing.

We wouldn't recommend the Beachfront Wing, which is quite dated and isn't luxury–stay in one of the Tower rooms, especially the Premier Ocean Front Deluxe Room, which is on the top floor and more spacious than other Ocean Front categories. We also didn't care for the long line at breakfast, although we were there during a busy holiday period. Breakfast was fine but not as good as at some of the other Hawaii luxury resorts we inspected. We also sorely missed the lack of a grab and go option, since it was incredibly hard to get anything on property for lunch, within a reasonable time frame.

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The Greek Blogger
The Greek Blogger
3 months ago

Thanks for the warning, this place is not plush enough for me. Hard Pass!