Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Kohala Coast, Hawaii
The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has been considered the gold standard for Hawaiʻian hospitality, ever since the two iconic Thai gold prayer disciple statues were placed in the lobby in 1965. These statues along with hundreds of other art pieces were just part of developer Laurance Rockefeller’s vision when he opened the most expensive hotel be built (at the time) and reported to be the most expensive hotel in the state. He blasted out the pesky coral reef (it seemed OK to do this back then) to create what has been called the most beautiful bay in the world, spent $15 million to build an American Institute of Architect award-winning hotel (still the only AIA Honor award holder) and commissioned celebrity golf course architect Robert Trent Jones to come up with a revolutionary way to build a golf course on lava. After a major renovation in 2008 the property added amenities such as deep soaking tubs, modern updates (including TVs which were famously absent until the 90s) and in 2016, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel became part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. What’s remained? The 12th century pink granite Buddha statue (touch him for good luck), Koi pond with some of the original fish and gentle waves of Kauna’oa Bay.
Photo Courtesy of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel