The mauna kea beach hotel is marking its golden anniversary with a 12-month celebration themed, “what was, is.” all the fun pays tribute to the hotel’s legendary Rockefeller pedigree and timeless charm.
“Mauna Kea Beach Hotel continues to be a landmark of luxury that, over the past 50 years, has created treasured memories for generations of guests,” says Donn Takahashi, president of Prince Resorts Hawaii. “We’re excited to celebrate the hotel’s rich heritage with our valued employees, guests and the community. ”
Erected in 1965 as a gem in the rough on Hawai‘i Island’s yet-undeveloped and stunning Kohala Coast, MKBH was the vision of Laurance S. Rockefeller. The venture capitalist aimed for architecture blending seamlessly with surroundings. He took the best people to task, hiring architect firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the golf course guru who pioneered a technique of creating a soil base from lava rock that became a staple of isle golf courses.
The most expensive hotel built in its day, Esquire magazine dubbed it one of the “three greatest hotels in the world.” Th e $15 million property oﬀered 154 guest rooms and displayed 1,600 genuine pieces of art from Rockefeller’s Pacific and Asia collection. The American Institute of Architects added the property to “America’s Favorite Architecture” list, citing its “restrained detailing and fine spatial sequences.” Golf greats Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player put the Mauna Kea Golf Course on the map via a match televised nationwide.
“Mauna Kea Beach Hotel continues to be a landmark of luxury that, over the past 50 years, has created treasured memories for generations of guests,” says Donn Takahashi, president of Prince Resorts Hawaii.
Today, MKBH is still regarded ahead of its time with its modernist, eco-conscious design. Standing sentinel over the sea and the white sands of Kauna‘oa Beach, it has a deliberate open-air ambience.
The 252 luxury guestrooms and suites are the epitome of understated elegance. To keep guests immersed in the “lap of luxury,” accommodations continue to be enhanced. Wherever possible, three rooms have been re-mastered to become two, resulting in full-length baths with separate vanity areas fronting a personal spa. Soaking tubs and rain-showers are drenched in natural light.
Besides the 18-hole championship golf course, MKBH offers a 2,500-square-foot fitness center and an 11-court Seaside Tennis Club that was recently ranked as No. 6 in the U.S., as well as dining options that emphasize the use of local, quality products from farm and sea. And the awards keep coming, as guests rate the property among the best in Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, including the 2015 Gold List, which names the magazine editors’ 100 favorite hotels in the world. The Mauna Kea was one of three in Hawai‘i included.
The 50th birthday celebration continues in August and September with themed “food and beverage” fun, and includes bringing back the hotel’s Modified American Plan, offered by the Mauna Kea from 1965 until the mid-1990s. Under MAP, guests can pay a fixed rate for accommodations, breakfast and dinner at all MKBH restaurants. Also debuting is Mauna Kea’s exclusive Tori Richards-designed 50th Anniversary resort wear. Focusing on “art, architecture and design,” festivities in October and November include on-site tours.
Also open to guests is the 50 Acts of Aloha campaign, an effort by hotel staff and their ‘ohana to give back to the community with gestures of kindness. Opportunities—ranging from shoreline cleanups to a Humane Society supply drive—are shared on social media. For the full list of celebratory offerings, visit timelessmaunakea.com.
“As we wind down our 50th Anniversary celebrations, we are excited about the timely launch of a new master plan, Tomorrow’s Mauna Kea,” says Craig Anderson, general manager of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and vice president of operations for Mauna Kea Resort. “~ is plan represents our commitment to honoring our timeless traditions—as we create unique experiences for new generations of Mauna Kea guests.”
Highlights of the master plan include converting Kauna‘oa Bar & Grill into a nearly 5,000-square-foot ballroom, renovating The Copper Bar, improving beach services and expanding cultural programs that highlight the Mauna Kea’s distinct sense of place and timeless sophistication.