It all begins with Aloha on the Big Island of Hawaii. Sitting on a secluded white sand crescent and surrounded by endless turquoise waves, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel embodies paradise while preserving the island’s generous spirit down to the smallest detail. From the customary lei greeting upon arrival to the welcome gift of fresh papaya and famous Mauna Kea banana bread found in every room, the renowned resort reminds travelers that no matter what tomorrow brings, tradition and hospitality can truly stand the test of time.

For more than 50 years, generations of families from all over the world have traveled to the Autograph Collection resort to join in the island’s legendary traditions while creating ones of their own. While it’s the hotel’s dozens of diverse awards that might get travelers there the first time – from being named a Top 20 Hawaii Resort (Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards) to America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses (Golf Digest) to #1 Worldwide Best Setting (Tennis Resorts Online) – it’s the magical memories that keep them coming back.

In-between swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing in the Kauna’oa Bay, you’re invited to immerse yourself in daily cultural activities. Whether you’re taking a class on lei making, learning to play the ukulele, or setting sail on the replica of a traditional Hawaiian canoe, the actions themselves help cultivate your bond to the island and the positive energy that exists within it. The legacy of the land continues as the sun sets and you gather with friends and family at Copper Bar for a Mauna Kea tradition of nightly music with hula dancing.

Whether escaping everyday life with friends that have turned into family, starting happily-ever-after in a barefoot ceremony on the beach, or reconnecting after many years and children later, travelers always find something to celebrate where the sea meets the sand.

Tips to make the most of your stay

Stay up for a moonlight snorkel session: The only thing better than snorkeling under the sun is snorkeling under the stars. At night, the resort turns on floodlights over the water, which attract plankton and beautiful manta rays. But don’t worry, they are harmless, so get in and make a splash!

Know the weather: Despite the Kamuela ZIP code (96743), the resort is actually located in the northern end of the Kohala Coast, so search for “Puako” in your weather app for the most accurate forecast.

Take a free art tour: The resort’s authentic cultural spirit is not limited to hula. The property boasts a museum-quality art collection with hundreds of unique objects from Asia and the Pacific Ocean for you to enjoy throughout your stay. Learn more about the history and significance of each piece during the resort’s complimentary 75-minute art tour every Saturday at 10 a.m.

Start a new holiday tradition: Want a break from the snow? Imagine celebrating the season as your little ones wait for Santa to make his much-anticipated arrival via canoe on Christmas Eve, followed by cookie decorating with the elves. 

Surf the green on a GolfBoard: Whether you’re a scratch golfer or play professionally, you’ll find an afternoon on the green twice as enjoyable when you’re navigating the award-winning course via GolfBoard. Designed by surfing legend Laird Hamilton, the easy-to-ride devices allow you to glide from shot to shot, bringing a new dynamic to the classic game.  

Toast to traditions: It’s always 5 o’clock on the island! Take a break from your go-to drink and head to Hau Tree for The Fredrico. This signature cocktail was created by a guest of the hotel nearly 40 years ago and has been fueling fun on the island ever since. The Mauna Kea Mule at Copper Bar is another signature favorite at the resort, featuring house-made ginger beer, Pau Vodka and garnished with island lime and house-made candied ginger.

Go somewhere unexpected: On the hunt for hidden gems? Take a scenic drive to Polulu Valley and hike down the short switchback trail to a black sand beach. While swimming is not recommended due to strong undercurrents, the views alone will keep you entertained. For a more lively scene, enjoy a 45-minute drive to Historic Kailua Village, a charming seaside town filled with shopping and dining, as well as the Mokuaikaua Church, Hawaii’s first Christian church.

Count on the concierge: Want adventures without all the prep work? Email and the resort’s local experts will help pre-arrange off-property activities. From day-long excursions at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to zip lining through the trees in North Kohala, the options are endless.  

Reserve a seat at the luau: No trip to Hawaii is complete until you’ve feasted on an imu-roasted kalua pig, danced hula in the sand, and watched fire dancers in complete awe. Book your table online and in advance for one of the seasonal luaus.

Ready to start a new favorite tradition? Reserve a stay at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel with Vacations by Marriott and discover exclusive savings when you book your accommodations, airfare and transportation all in one place!