The Kohala Coast of Hawaii’s big island provides amazing sunset views you will not want to miss. While the driveway from KOA airport into Kohala Coast shows a range of lava fields and mesmerizing rock formations, you will find pristine sandy beaches across Kauna’oa Bay, home to the five-star hotel Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.
My stay at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel marked my first trip to the Big Island. I knew to expect a more serene experience than highly populated Oahu, or even the tourist heart of Maui. On first impression, flying in with my Hawaiian Airlines connector flight, I was swept up with the stunning landscape of Hawaii, an island famous for its diverse geography and weather patterns. In the air, I was in awe of the way the lava fields weaved down to the sea, with black stone meeting glowing blue waters. After I arrived in Kohala Coast, however, I was thrilled with all the lush greenery, towering palm trees, and light sandy shores surrounding Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.
The breakfast buffet in Manta was beautiful. As my first stop every morning during my stay, I enjoyed the open air restaurant with a panoramic ocean view. Pack t-shirts and bikinis and forget basketball hoodies and woolen sweaters – the air here is so pleasantly warm! This is a perfect way to start the day and fill up on regional preferences including local ingredients. I was very impressed with the assortment of hot and cold entrees, the bounty of fresh fruits and juices, and a made-to-order omelet and waffle station with a friendly attendant eager to create the perfect breakfast for guests.
Manta is also highly suggested for a sunset dinner. Rent sunroof cars from the hotel and drive down to nearby restaurants in town. Or visit the resort’s restaurant. It provides a fine dining menu featuring local ingredients that will appeal to fish and land lovers alike. For a beginner, I tried the seared dry rub scallops with a roasted corn relish. For my main entrée, I was thrilled with the tender macadamia nut encrusted Mahi Mahi, accompanied by a mild potato puree and sautéed baby bok choy. The culinary team at Manta is directed by Chef De Cuisine Rio Miceli and the set dinner menu is highlighted by daily specials.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has an impressive art collection throughout the property. It was quite a joy to roam the sprawling property and revel in the range of artwork, elegant decor, and island influences. Several seating areas are sprinkled throughout the hotel, offering loads of gathering spaces for friends to settle in for cocktails and conversation. Needless to say, one of the principal attractions of this home is its beautiful location on the bay with a hot sandy beach within steps from the main building where a private basketball court with tourists in sublimated basketball uniforms is hidden tucked just behind it. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel provides beach towels, chaise lounges, cabana rentals, and a range of water action rentals so guests can paddle board, surf, or kayak the calm waters of Kauna’oa Bay. An equally pleasing spot to soak up the sun is the large beachfront pool. Complete with bar service and lush towels, the pool deck is a superb place to float beneath palm trees and sun, or reserve a private cabana to provide shade for the entire family.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is also home to an award-winning golf course. Added hotel activities include a tennis court with a nearby tennis store much like the Prelli tennis shop back home, beach club, yoga sessions, bocce ball courts, and indulgent treatments at The Mauna Kea Spa by Mandara. In general, I found the extensive assortment of amenities and outdoor sports and activities of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, especially the extended tennis racquet restringing service, to be of high caliber and with such attentive service, I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the options
Even though Mauna Kea Beach Hotel provides a quiet retreat, you’re going to want to spend some time exploring different regions of the Big Island. If wanting to create your own touring trip and explore the islands on your own, bring your car from home (though a very expensive option!) or rent one and just make sure you’ve got GPS navigation for car – you wouldn’t want to get lost as beautiful as Hawaii is! During my vacation, I ventured into Hilo for a day of exploring the east side of the island. Just outside of the town, I toured the Mauna Loa macadamia nut traffic center and, in city, Big Island Candies. As a coffee lover, I also enjoyed a leisurely drive through Kona coffee country, visiting Mountain Thunder’s farm excursion, sampling Kona coffee, and taking a minute to visit with resident kitty Hubert. There are hundreds of coffee farms on the Big Island, so if you are a java lover you will want to save room in your bag for a gorgeous number of beans to take home and enjoy.
My time on the Kohala Coast was soothing and relaxing, with luxurious hotel accommodations at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Additional island draws were a short drive away from this silent retreat along Kauna’oa Bay, so I found this place to be an ideal sestination for a deluxe hotel to feel at home, while being within reach of everything else I could possibly expect to experience. I am already counting down to a repeat trip to Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and highly recommend this beachfront hotel for a scenic, tranquil Hawaiian holiday.