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Reviewed 31 March 2021 via mobile

My wife and I have been coming to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for the past 19 years since our honeymoon. Now we come with our children and it is always a magical experience, or has been until this year. With the recent re-opening after the pandemic, it was wonderful to return. I’m sure staff felt the same way. It was bustling and the restaurants packed but it seemed terribly understaffed. Servers looked exhausted. That being said, The food, setting, music and hula were all what we love about this place and enjoy every night. Down on the beach we had our biggest disappointment. People were hoarding chairs as early as 7:45 AM I was told by the staff. They told us if we needed a chair or two that was what we needed to do ourselves. They seem indifferent to the fact that people leave towels and personal items for nearly five or six hours as we witnessed without ever coming and claiming the chairs, leaving other guest to sit in the sand. Terrible selfishness and the beach attendants were very indifferent to it. This was a departure from past years’ experience where the staff assisted you in finding chairs and if they appeared abandoned, would clear them off for you and help you spread fresh towels. That is the spirit of aloha that we have enjoyed year after year but missed this time around. We might avoid the resort for spring break and try another place next year.

Date of stay: March 2021
Trip type: Travelled with family
4  Thank oregonduckmd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mauna Kea Resort, Agency / Consultant at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded 2 April 2021

We are truly saddened to hear about your recent experience as that is not the level of service that we strive to provide to our valued guests. While we appreciate you joining us to enjoy the beautiful Kauna'oa Bay, we would like to sincerely apologize for any inconveniences. Your feedback is integral to our ability to improve and we will share your experience with the team so we can address the service and dining issues you mentioned. Mahalo.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2021

In response to the CDC guidelines, they removed traditional guest room items. Room barren. "Should you wish to have any delivered to your room, please call housekeeping."

Extensive list: coffee, tea, tea kettle and cups, creamers, sugar, hair dryer, stationary, laundry bag and a form. Iron and ironing board. Check out the photo of the amenities not included because of CDC. But other resorts were fine and stocked with the full array of amenities.

At check in had to open the Hawaii travel app, show QR code that we had been tested and uploaded our results. Got wrist band. Took two hours to get luggage delivered to the room.

Tired property. Needs refurbishing. Beachfront rooms stained tile on the shower floor. Tub and shower.

Came back from dinner at 8 PM and no housekeeping. Room not cleaned. Called. They said they could send somebody now. The housekeeping cart was two doors from our room when we left for dinner. They will come in the morning at 10, they said when we called again.

The beach front wing is great for families with kids. Easy access to an expansive lawn area, then the beach. Excellent service. Breakfast and dinner at Manta, with views of the beach and bay. At night, walk down the stars to see manta rays circle near a light. You can also swim with the mantas at night from boats.

Room tip: With kids, the beach front wing; for adults, the tower; ask for beach view if possible, although the golf course view is fine.
Date of stay: March 2021
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank Tom G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mauna Kea Resort, Agency / Consultant at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded 26 March 2021

We'd like to sincerely apologize for the shortcomings that occurred during your stay. We are so thankful you entrusted us with your stay in these uncertain times and all protocols are in place for our guest's and staff's safety. Should your travels bring you back to the Island of Hawai'i, we hope to have the pleasure of having you as our guest. Mahalo!

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Reviewed 8 March 2021

I was disappointed in the hotel. The beach is glorious, so if your only criteria is a great beach, you’ve found a good spot. However the hotel has aged and not well maintained; service was subpar.

I’ve traveled a lot, I like a nice, pretty and clean hotel. Lots of guests shared that this was a family tradition going back 20 to 30 years, lots of retired folks who have made this an annual trek. But we are not here out of long-held sentiment so maybe have a sharper eye.

Dirty. The whole place needs a power wash. Filthy walkways, coffee spilt on the floors. An abandoned basketball court with weeds is outside our room, with layers of dirt. They cleaned our room once. Just once, 7 days into it. We finally started leaving trash and linens outside the door.

Service. It was so disappointing. The staff looked tired, overworked and discouraged. It took an hour to get more bread during our $500 dinner for 4. The staff were so busy, they barely had time for a thank you. The staff are lovely and I had absolutely no quarrel, but they seemed to always be 20% short of sufficient capacity to do justice.

Amenities: no concierge. No information desk. No excursions.

Rooms: simple, reasonable but just nothing special.

If you want a nice beach, or you are carrying on a twenty year family tradition, this might be the place. But for the money, I expect a very clean place with some great service. C’mon Marriott, invest here in the workers and the facility.

Date of stay: March 2021
Trip type: Travelled with family
6  Thank Nancy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mauna Kea Resort, Agency / Consultant at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2021

Aloha, While it was our pleasure to welcome you to the resort, we are sorry to hear about your recent experience with us. We appreciate you sharing your comments regarding the condition of the resort which will be shared with the hotel management team. We will continue to work closely with the engineering and housekeeping team to ensure the proper upkeep throughout the property. Thank you for your time and appreciate you bringing this to our attention as an area for improvement. We hope you visit us again so we may have the opportunity to restore your confidence in the resort!

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Reviewed 7 March 2021 via mobile

I'd give it 10 stars if I could!! This is the place to stay for certain travelers. We chose this hotel originally because we read it was authentic, laid back, and people return year after year. That was more than 20 years ago, and we return regularly.

For those who want to be on the phone closing deals at the pool or beach in the middle of glitzy and ritzy, choose another hotel. This is not a flashy nor brand new hotel, but it is a true taste of understated Hawaii luxury.

A few key pluses:

The dining. Excellent. Manta for a sunset dinner (and for breakfast once the buffet reopens)...delightful and memorable with one of the best views in the world. People literally use video cameras record the view. Whales breach not far from the shore in the winter. The food and wine list are solid.
The beach bar...solid for beach food and extraordinary for drinks. A great place for a fish sandwich and tropical cocktail. Don’t miss the FREDRICO. It’s a MUST HAVE and the resort’s signature drink. Jacques at the beach bar makes the best one!

The beach...simply the best on the island.

Mauna Kea golf course...simply the best on the island. Jaynean on the golf course makes the best lemonade and is the most friendly golf cart driver we’ve ever met. A tremendous addition to world class golf. The staff in the golf shop is very helpful, as well.

The people...charming and authentic. Amy at the concierge desk is a star.

The location...simply the best on the island.

Further...it is always a challenge to determine which resort to visit when you are unfamiliar with an area. So, for those considering Four Seasons Hualali vs. the Mauna Kea Beach Resort, here are some thoughts:

Rooms, definite nod to FS. Like your home, beautiful, updated.

Service, tie on this one. FS service is impeccable as you would expect. MK is even more wonderful when it's good. They may not remember your "name," but they will remember you were heading to see the volcano or going fishing. MK service is more authentic, but also more uneven.

If there's such a thing, FS is a very beautiful, but generic 5 star resort. While you will love the FS on the Big Island, it may not bring you back year after year the way Mauna Kea will.

MK is early sustainable. Hotel is the color of the sand, the tile in the entry sparkles like the blue green water just beyond it. It is not new and glitzy, so if that is your style, FS or somewhere else is a better choice.

Golf, strong nod to MK. FS is nice, but not memorable. It’s a lovely resort course. MK is better located, is elevated, and has far more character. And, you can see the ocean from every hole.

Drinks, MK, by FAR. The Frederico and the Trader Vic's Mai Tai are divine. The bartender at the FS tried to make it, but it was no where close. Nice that he tried.

Beach, not even close, MK. The beach at FS is rocky and not tremendously swimmable. The beach at MK is spectacular; best on the island.

Tennis, MK by far. Playing tennis down by the water. Phenomenal. May need a "let" to watch a breaching whale.

Food: toss up. Both can be good. MK solid but inconsistent, FS good, but not as terrific as you might expect.

Pluses, MK: Beautiful mature property, authentic real Hawaiian resort and feel, top notch golf, tennis, location, drinks, dinner and breakfast(once the buffet is back).
Minus: Service can be wonderful, but is inconsistent. The rooms are not as updated as what you get with newer hotels. However, the views are wonderful.

Pluses FS: FS does it right, beautiful property, terrific service, gets the details right, rooms are terrific.
Minus: Beach, golf, tennis. The resort doesn't feel as authentic, and although it is wonderful, it is simply a lesser property than MK in location and authenticity.

If you are a golfer, choose the Four Seasons at Lanai, which is an extraordinary 5+ Star property with an extraordinary golf course. Choose Mauna Kea on the Big Island.

Date of stay: March 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
8  Thank Tnsglf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mauna Kea Resort, Agency / Consultant at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2021

Thank you for sharing your experience at the resort with others. We appreciate your thorough review. We are thrilled to hear that you were able to enjoy the same experience that you have come to know and love. We look forward to welcoming you back for many years to come to create more Mauna Kea Moments!

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Reviewed 2 March 2021

was here for family vacation last month and the hotel was as good as people say. I wouldn't say it was perfect but at the end of the day, I find myself wanting to come back here if anything for that pristine beach. Hard to not give 5/5.

Pro:
perfectly maintained beach- best in Big Island in my opinion
amenities: anything we have asked was provided relatively promptly
view: ocean view resort is worth it in my opinion. not just the ocean but also how beach blends in with the ocean. and the sunset!
concierge desk: excellent service prior to and during the stay
location: it may be farther north than other resorts but I kind of liked being close to Waimea more so than more touristy towns
golf / tennis: best of its kind that I've seen- particularly tennis court
no amenity fees: rare for Hawaii hotel but no amenity fees. valet costs as much as self parking and it's pretty modest

Con:
service was too volatile considering the price level: depending on who you interacted with, the level of service varied quite a bit- some were the best in the industry and some were professional.. the way NYC hotel employees are. which is fine but not quite what I have anticipated.

Main building room was dated and beachfront wing had blocked ocean view: it's hard to say which room I liked more- slight edge on main building room because the room was still good but the newer building had pretty convenient layout and the room felt bigger.

Date of stay: February 2021
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank ccc362
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mauna Kea Resort, Agency / Consultant at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded 5 March 2021

Mahalo for taking a moment to share your thoughts regarding your recent visit. We appreciate the feedback and will certainly explore the points you've raised so that we might continuously improve each and every customer's experience. We hope to have an opportunity to welcome you once again. Thank you!

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