Mauna Kea Beach Hotel: Family Paradise Found

Our family is partial to adventurous vacations in far flung places. However, recently we found ourselves in need of some easy, relaxing fun. So, last month, we purchased nonstop flights to the big island of Hawaii and booked ourselves at the iconic Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Thus began our perfect 5 days in Hawaii.

If you appreciate warm, sunny, swimmable beaches and iconic mid-century architecture, you will be in heaven at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Hawaii Island’s first resort was built in 1965 by American conservationist and venture capitalist Laurance S. Rockefeller.  You feel the history the minute you arrive to your lei and tropical juice greeting in the open air lobby. This hotel does an amazing job of feeling modern and historic at the same time. The sense of escape into paradise is tangible.

mkbh-oceanview-01Our beautiful ocean view room had a big balcony with both a dining table and lounge chairs and a panorama of the bright blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. The room was beautifully decorated and spacious,  especially the walk-in closet and bathroom, which had its own ocean view from the shower and private balcony with a lounge chair. Of course, we couldn’t hang out in there too long because the beach was calling.

mkbh-oceanview-02The hotel provides ample loungers and umbrellas both in the sand and on the lawn area. The waves at the beach were perfect for us. This is big thing for me as I have, what I consider, a healthy fear of surf. The waves here were big and fun but not so powerful as to knock me off my feet. Our kids spent hours every day swimming, boogie boarding and building sand structures. Oh, there is also a nice swimming pool at the hotel but when I suggested it to my kids they looked at me like I was crazy. “Why would we want to swim in a pool when there is this beach?”  they asked. “So that I can lay back and ready my book without watching you so closely!” I thought, but I understood their point.

1280x837-mk-beach-poolThere are several great restaurants and bars at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, each with great food, drinks and VIEWS. The buffet breakfast (which, by the way, is included in your stay if you book with me—a huge added benefit of my new affiliation with Virtuoso®!) is the biggest and most delicious I have ever seen. My salmon bento box breakfast from the menu was perfection.


There is an award-winning golf course, tennis courts, kids game room and camp, surf lessons, paddle boards, outrigger canoe trips, manta ray snorkels, luau and much more.  Guests also have access to the new Westin Hapuna Beach Resort next door. A short walk or shorter drive, this beautiful, newly renovated resort has more pools, restaurants and another gorgeous beach. There is so much to do at the hotel that we would have been perfectly happy not leaving the property. But, exploring the island is always fun. 

Upon arrival on the island, we stopped for lunch in Kailua-Kona for the most amazing acai bowls (the proprietor told me they were the best on the island and I can’t imagine that is not true).  Lots of other restaurants and shops are a 10 minute drive away from Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. No trip to the big island would be complete for us without a night at Lava Lava Beach Club in Waikoloa. And we love the drive north to Hawi for lunch at Bamboo Restaurant, especially on a rainy day. We only had 4 nights for this quick trip, but we could have easily spent a week at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and not have been ready to leave. With more time we would have also spent some time checking out Hilo, Volcano Village and National Park. I’ll tell you about that when it happens.