Mauna Kea & Hapuna: Ocean Meets The Moun­tains

Where the ocean Meets the Moun­tains

Golf Vacations - - NEWS - by Larry Feld­man

Wouldn’t it be great to stand in the mid­dle of the world’s tallest moun­tain and dip your toes into warm ocean wa­ter? Well, you can! And, even bet­ter, it’s in Hawaii smack dab on the Big Is­land. Get out?!?! That’s right. Mauna Kea, from its base at the bot­tom of the Pa­cific Ocean, rises more than 33,000 feet to its high­est peak, yet at the 19,000 foot mark, you can swim, surf, snorkel, pad­dle­board or what­ever you want right at the Mauna Kea and Hapuna Beach re­sorts. How good is that?

Wouldn’t it be great to stand in the mid­dle of the world’s tallest moun­tain and dip your toes into warm ocean wa­ter? Well, you can! And, even bet­ter, it’s in Hawaii smack dab on the Big Is­land.

Get out?!?!

That’s right. Mauna Kea, from its base at the bot­tom of the Pa­cific Ocean, rises more than 33,000 feet to its high­est peak, yet at the 19,000 foot mark, you can swim, surf, snorkel, pad­dle­board or what­ever you want right at the Mauna Kea and Hapuna Beach re­sorts.

How good is that?

Well, it goes up an­other notch. The two ho­tels at Mauna Kea Re­sort pos­sess pos­si­bly the finest beaches in the world, rank­ing in the Top 10 on al­most ev­ery­one’s list. Throw in world-class restau­rants, spas and ameni­ties and it’s a no-brainer. But, maybe the best part is that the two cham­pi­onship golf cour­ses are truly that, not some hit-and-gig­gle re­sort course that typ­i­cally is found at most Hawai­ian ho­tels. These are true tests of golf, so if you hope to bring your A Game to a course that de­mands it, then this is the spot for you. But, we’ll get into the golf in a bit. Af­ter a long flight, my guess is that you’re like me and want to check in and un­wind at the beach. So, whether you’re at Mauna Kea Beach Ho­tel or Hapuna Beach Ho­tel, you can’t go wrong as tran­quil white-sand beaches await your ar­rival. Mauna Kea Beach Ho­tel is the Grande Dame on the is­land, open­ing in 1965 by none other than vi­sion­ary Lau­rance S. Rock­e­feller with the hope that it would stand the test of time with a time­less tra­di­tion of un­der­stated el­e­gance. It does just that. Many of the other lux­ury ho­tels on the Big Is­land are more about the glitz than what the is­land is all about, so it’s re­fresh­ing to have an op­tion like Mauna Kea. Don’t get me wrong, Mauna Kea stands toe-to-toe with the other re­sorts on the is­land, of­fer­ing in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful, well-ap­pointed ac­com­mo­da­tions, spa fa­cil­i­ties that will re­lax every mus­cle and din­ing op­tions that make your mouth wa­ter even be­fore you sit down. But, for me, when I go to Hawaii, I want to feel like I’m in Hawaii, so the thoughts of trams shut­tling you around the ho­tel and wa­ter slides with a mil­lion kids run­ning amuck sim­ply doesn’t ap­peal to me. Mauna Kea is just so per­fect for that re­lax­ing get­away from the hec­tic, daily rat race we call life. From the time you’re greeted at checkin with a cool towel and a glass of mango juice to the time you check out, the re­sort says “chill” at every turn. The Mauna Kea Spa by Man­dara is ideal for a late-af­ter­noon mas­sage. They of­fer a wide va­ri­ety of treat­ments, so if you just want to un­wind or you need to get re­ally kneaded, the ther­a­pists have just the pre­scrip­tion. Top that off with a spec­tac­u­lar din­ner at Manta, Hau Tree or Cop­per Bar restau­rants with an even more spec­tac­u­lar set­ting and all that’s left is to slip into your robe, sit on your lanai and watch the stars be­fore turn­ing in. Mauna Kea’s baby sis­ter is the Hapuna Beach Prince Ho­tel, and when it joins the Westin Ho­tels & Re­sorts fam­ily in Fe­bru­ary 2018,

you can safely say that lit­tle sis­ter is now all grown up. To bring the Westin brand to the ho­tel, ho­tel own­ers com­mit­ted to $46 mil­lion in ren­o­va­tions and the ho­tel will par­tic­i­pate in Star­wood Pre­ferred Guest, one of Marriott In­ter­na­tional’s award-win­ning loy­alty pro­grams, allowing guests to earn and re­deem points to stay at the ho­tel. The ho­tel will still be owned and man­aged by Prince Re­sorts Hawaii. “Well-be­ing is a big part of the lo­cal cul­ture here, so we couldn’t be more ex­cited to bring the Westin brand to the is­land of Hawaii,” said Donn Taka­hashi, Pres­i­dent of Prince Re­sorts Hawaii. With long­time Westin-vet­eran Craig An­der­son at the helm, we’re con­fi­dent that his lead­er­ship will al­low us to lever­age the brand’s suc­cess­ful life­style po­si­tion­ing and el­e­vate the guest ex­pe­ri­ence.” Si­t­u­ated on the sunny Ko­hala Coast, the Westin Hapuna Beach Re­sort (the re­sort’s fu­ture new name) has de­fined Big Is­land lux­ury since its open­ing in 1994. As the sec­ond phase in Rock­e­feller’s cre­ation of Mauna Kea Re­sort, the ho­tel shares 1,839 acres of ocean­front par­adise with Mauna Kea. Per­fectly nes­tled into the bluffs above the idyl­lic Hapuna Beach, the ho­tel presents a flow­ing, con­tem­po­rary Hawai­ian style where guests ex­pe­ri­ence the true essence of re­ju­ve­na­tion. Okay, time for golf. It’s pretty sim­ple. Mauna Kea is not only the best golf course on the Big Is­land, it’s the best golf course on any of the is­lands. The famed 3rd Hole, a Par 3 over the ocean is its call­ing card but nearly every hole on the course de­mands your at­ten­tion. For­tu­nately, every hole has an amaz­ing aes­thetic ap­peal as well, so it’s the best of both worlds. Put sim­ply, it’s world-class. Words don’t do it jus­tice. Just play it. And then play it again. With its seem­ingly end­less views and dra­matic el­e­va­tion changes be­gin­ning at sea level and ris­ing to 700 feet, Hapuna Golf Course nes­tles into the rugged desert ter­rain above the west shore of Hawaii’s Big Is­land. This Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay golf course is a cham­pi­onship “links-style” de­sign that was built in 1992 and stretches to just un­der 6,900 yards. The Pa­cific Ocean serves as the pic­ture per­fect back­drop and can be seen from every hole. Tee­ing off at just un­der 700 feet of el­e­va­tion, the sig­na­ture par 4, 12th hole pro­vides one of the most spec­tac­u­lar panoramic views on Hawaii’s Big Is­land - in­clud­ing Maui in the dis­tance. Both re­sorts, nat­u­rally, of­fer an abun­dance of ac­tiv­i­ties for the re­sort guests…all the stuff that you would nor­mally ex­pect from a world­class re­sort. But if you have a sweet tooth like me, then you might want to head over to Hapuna’s Coast Grille, which will re­open as Meridia af­ter the ren­o­va­tion. You see, Mauna Kea Re­sort is de­but­ing their own honey for guests to en­joy and in­fus­ing it into a va­ri­ety of items at the sig­na­ture restau­rant. Thanks to on-prop­erty api­aries, both ho­tels are har­vest­ing honey and Flow Hives at Mauna Kea Beach Ho­tel pro­duced 45 pounds of honey within weeks of in­stal­la­tion. The honey is now fea­ture on reg­u­lar din­ner spe­cials and menu

items in­clud­ing, the Hud­son Val­ley Foie Gras, in ad­di­tion to sauces and dress­ings such as the bar­beque sauce on the Duroc Pork Ribs and red wine vinai­grette on the Greens Salad. At Mauna Kea, Manta Restau­rant chefs are in­cor­po­rat­ing the honey into a new sig­na­ture bis­cotti item and Cop­per Bar is us­ing the honey to en­hance the house-made dough used for all flat­breads on the menu. An­other cool buzz item is the re­la­tion­ship with Sun­shine He­li­copters, sta­tioned on-prop­erty at Hapuna Beach Re­sort. Spend a day at the beach, clean up and walk to the valet, where you will be shut­tled di­rectly to the he­li­pad about a mile or so away. Then en­joy the ride of your life, see­ing the Big Is­land in all its glory with a birds-eye view. Speak­ing of bird’s eye views, take a trek to the top of Mauna Kea for a truly mem­o­rable af­ter­noon. Not only will you marvel at the amaz­ing vis­tas of the Pa­cific from its sum­mit, you’ll come home with some brag­ging rights. Af­ter all, you can hon­estly say that you stood on top of the tallest moun­tain in the world. Not many, if any, of your friends can make that claim!

Mauna Kea Beach Ho­tel - Hole 3 from back tee box

Manta Ray Point and Kauna’oa Bay

Mauna Kea Beach Ho­tel - Hole #3

Hapuna Sun­set

Hapuna Gue­stroom

Hapuna Lobby

Hapuna Golf Course - Cou­ple tee­ing off hole #11

Mauna Kea Beach Ho­tel - Cop­per Bar

Mauna Kea Beach Ho­tel - At Dusk

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