Known by few, loved by many, Hawaii’s golden Kohala Coast is a pristine slice of paradise that rambles down a gorgeous, sparsely populated shoreline enriched with powder-soft white sand. Amidst sparkling black lava fields, four “master resorts” were plotted for development here, and a gorgeous playground for the “well-to-do” has sprung up like a phoenix rising from the flames. I decided to embark on a detailed exploration of this area after hearing that during the busy season, private jets arriving at the airport are in such abundance that at times, they are required to go and park in Maui for the duration.
My first stop on this quest for enlightenment had me checking into the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Founded in 1965 by Laurance S. Rockefeller as the most exclusive and expensive resort of its day, it recently underwent a $150 million renovation and has regained its former glory as a landmark of luxury on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast. The rooms are spacious with vast, spa-like bathrooms, large flat screen TVs, media hubs, bedside iPod docks, luxury L’Occitane amenities, elegant furnishings and many more thoughtful touches, including two lanais.
The resort is highlighted by the legendary Mauna Kea Golf Course, which has been updated to current USGA standards of play and is where the expertise of Rees Jones shines as a glowing beacon for Big Island golf. Recently, Mauna Kea pulled off a coup, as they landed Peter Pahk from Napa’s Silverado Resort to take on the key role of Executive Chef for Mauna Kea’s Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar, and the results are stellar. Perched on the edge of a bluff overlooking the pristine waters of Kaunaoa Beach, the restaurant features a dynamic new exhibition kitchen to showcase Chef Pahk’s artistry and the next step in the evolution of oenology: the “Enomatic wine experience,” an innovative way to serve 48 distinctive wines by the glass from various vintners. This is just one of the highlights of Mauna Kea’s extensive wine program. Add to that a gorgeous, crescent-shaped beach and unsurpassed Hawaiian hospitality, and you will see why folks like Michael Mondavi have decided to become homeowners on this exquisite piece of property. The fact that the land mass of Mauna Kea’s hotel and its residential plots are owned by Michael Dell makes it no surprise that it continues to draw a discriminating crowd — one that expects a significantly heightened level of service and amenities.
Source: Jetset Magazine