The Reopened Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hawaii

Apr 08, 2011 Avatar Katie Cadar Katie Cadar

The legendary Mauna Kea Beach resort on the island of Hawaii was closed for two years after the damage done by the earthquake and has re-opened better than ever. Mauna Kea has kept the traditional Hawaiian feeling it always had, with upgraded facilities. The look of the hotel has not changed – the koi pond in the main building, the orange elevator doors, the framed Hawaiian quilts hanging in the hallways are still there.

The rooms in the main building are lovely – they are well designed, fresh, almost a zen feeling of calm. The bathrooms are much improved. There is a separate area where you find two sinks, one on each wall, with plenty of counter space and well-lit mirrors. Through an opaque door is an all-white room with large soaking tub and deluge shower, facing floor to ceiling windows and a glass door opening onto a private balcony, so you can not only enjoy a view of the ocean but can step out from the shower to the open air.

The rooms have coffee makers, complimentary bottles of water, mini bar. As this is one of our preferred hotels, breakfast is always included, as well as an upgrade if available when we make the booking.

The other building is called Plumeria – a building down along the beach. In this building is the concierge office with complimentary cookies and soft drinks, library, newspapers, as well as the concierge. There is a game room with pool tables, wii, televisions, etc. – popular on hot days. There is also a laundry room.

The rooms in this building have been renovated, but due to demand from the very loyal repeat guests of Mauna Kea, they were kept very much in the old style. The green tile floors, dark teak cabinets, small closets and bathrooms are similar to what was there before. The bathrooms are not only small, they do not have separate tub and shower. They are good if you want to walk right out onto the grass and then onto the beach, but I would not book a guest in this building unless it was requested.

The main building has rooms facing the golf course and mountains for half the price of the ocean-facing rooms — these are the same design as the oceanfront with large walk in closet and the big bathroom. Book this if price is an issue and try for an upgrade!

Pool is rather small, but the beach is still the best on the island – a beautiful curve of white sand, waves rolling in perfect for boogie boarding or body surfing. Lots of chairs and umbrellas (except for Festive Season where guests race to claim their space on the beach.)

We took a yoga class (complimentary class 3 days a week) and watched whales breaching and putting on a show, as our class was outside on the grass in front of the beach. Fitness center was large with plenty of equipment. There are 2 excellent fine dining restaurants as well as a beach bar and main bar, and a nice restaurant on the golf course right across from the main building of the hotel.

Katie Cadar