Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

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Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Mauna Kea hotel.jpg
View of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Kaunaʻoa Bay
General information
LocationKohala, Big Island, Hawaii
Coordinates20°00′19″N 155°49′25″W / 20.005416°N 155.823727°W / 20.005416; -155.823727Coordinates: 20°00′19″N 155°49′25″W / 20.005416°N 155.823727°W / 20.005416; -155.823727
Opening1965, 1996, 2008
Closed1994, 2006 (for renovations)
OwnerSeibu Holdings Inc. , Cerberus Capital Management
ManagementPrince Resorts Hawaii, a division of Prince Hotels
Technical details
Floor count8
Design and construction
ArchitectEdward Charles Bassett of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo (8th Floor Addition and Beach Tower), John Hara and Associates (2006 Renovations)
DeveloperLaurance Rockefeller
Other information
Number of rooms252 (rooms and suites),[1] 310 rooms and suites prior to renovation
Number of restaurants4 (Manta, Hau Tree, Copper Terrace, Number 3)
Official website

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is a hotel property on the Kohala Coast of the island of Hawaii. It sits at Kaunaʻoa Bay. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) awarded the hotel an Honor Award in 1967 citing its "restrained detailing and fine spatial sequences." In 2007, the hotel received honors again from the AIA as it made the top 150 of its "America's Favorite Architecture" list.[2][3]


The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was developed and constructed by Laurance S. Rockefeller, who fell in love with the spot after going for a swim there in 1960. Rockefeller leased the location from Parker Ranch[4] owner Richard Smart.[4][5] The hotel was named Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for the volcano Mauna Kea which is visible above the bay when not obscured by clouds.[6]

Original plans, started in 1961, were to use architect John Carl Warnecke and build a series of small cottages, but those plans were abandoned. Instead the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill was hired, and architect Edward Charles Bassett designed a striking hotel structure in the modern style.[7] The open-air design allowed natural ventilation from the trade winds, although rooms had air conditioning available. Hotels with similar designs would be built along the Kohala coast over the next decades.[7]

The resort's golf course opened first, in 1964, and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel itself opened on July 24, 1965, operated by Rockefeller's hotel company RockResorts. The hotel famously operated without guestroom televisions until 1995.[4] In 1978, Rockefeller sold the hotel to United Airlines.[8] United placed the hotel in their Western International Hotels division, which was renamed Westin Hotels in 1981. The hotel itself was renamed The Westin Mauna Kea for much of the early 1980s. The hotel was purchased in 1990 by Yoshiaki Tsutsumi of Seibu Railway and has since been managed by one of his companies, Prince Hotels. The hotel closed in 1994 for a two-year renovation. In August of that year, a sister hotel was opened on the property, the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel reopened in January 1996.[9] From 1996-2001 the Prince Hotels in Hawaii and Alaska were all franchised to Westin Hotels, and the hotel rejoined the chain for five years as The Westin Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.[10]

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel closed due to structural damage caused by the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake.[11] After a $150 million renovation, the hotel reopened in December, 2008.[12][13] The hotel joined Marriott's Autograph Collection Hotels division in 2015.[14]

The golf course is featured as part of the course lineup in the Links golf game for PC.


  1. ^ "Luxury Big Island Hotels - Mauna Kea Beach Hotel - The Hotel - Luxury Resorts in Hawaii". Retrieved 2010-10-23.
  2. ^ "America's Favorite Architecture". American Institute of Architects. 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-05-10.
  3. ^ Miller, Erin (October 2, 2007). "Still closed, Quake-damaged Mauna Kea Beach Hotel won't reopen until fall 2008 (cached)". West Hawaii Today.
  4. ^ a b c "Mauna Kea Beach Hotel 50th Anniversary |". Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  5. ^ "Richard Paler Smart: Founder". Parker Ranch Foundation Trust. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
  6. ^ Chelsea Jensen (March 29, 2009). "Grande dame back in all her glitter". West Hawaii Today. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
  7. ^ a b Don Hibbard; Augie Salbosa (2006). "Where God Left Off: The Diamond Tiara of Laurance Rockefeller and a Polynesian Village". Designing paradise: the allure of the Hawaiian resort. Princeton Architectural Press. pp. 101–112. ISBN 978-1-56898-574-9.
  8. ^ "UAL Agrees to Buy A Rockefeller Hotel". New York Times. January 6, 1978. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  9. ^ Bone, Robert W. (March 17, 1996). "ON THE BEACH". Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  10. ^ "Prince Hotels Drop Westin Name | Hotel Business". Hotel Business. 2001-02-27. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  11. ^ Kurt Sanburn. "New Life for an American Icon". Hana Hou! Vol. 10, No. 3, June/July 2007.
  12. ^ Lehrer, John (September 2009). "Welcome Home (cached)". Westways. Archived from the original on 2012-11-30.
  13. ^ "Mauna Kea Beach Hotel 'softly' reopens". Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Dec. 25, 2008. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  14. ^ "Autograph Collection Expands to Hawaii with Addition of Iconic Beach Resort on Kohala Coast - Marriott News Center". Marriott News Center. 2015-01-21. Retrieved 2018-11-20.

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