Mauna Kea Beach

Visit what was once the most expensive hotel ever built, one of the first resorts in the region.

This resort beach on the Big Island’s northwest coast is a hot spot for swimmers and snorkelers and considered by many as one of Hawaii’s best beaches. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was opened in 1965. At a cost of U.S. $15 million, it was the most expensive ever built at the time. Decades later the beach and the hotel remain a popular destination.Mauna Kea Beach is one of the most comfortable on the island. The sand is particularly soft, and it slopes upward toward the vegetation above it. Even when lying down visitors to the beach can look across the clear blue ocean water. Enjoy the lack of rocks on the beach, a rarity in Hawaii. Snorkel at each end of the bay where small reefs have formed. Mauna Kea is not renowned for its snorkeling, but there is much underwater activity to see, without the crowds a reputation brings. The hotel overlooking the beach is as iconic as the beach itself. The building has received many architecture awards, and in 2007 was ranked 55th on the American Institute of Architects’ favorite architecture list. You can reserve a room online. The hotel features a 36-hole golf course that offers spectacular views across the ocean.Dine at one of the hotel’s many bars and restaurants to sample the exquisitely prepared produce of the region. Both hotel guests and the public are welcome to visit the dining and bar facilities, which all offer ocean views.Mauna Kea Beach is located on the Kohala Coast in the northwest part of Hawaii’s Big Island. The beach is 33 miles (53 kilometers) from Kailua-Kona and is best reached by car, although some charter buses do frequent the hotel. Parking at the beach is extremely limited, and once full, parking attendants will turn you away. Mauna Kea Beach is open daily and there is no admission fee.