When it opened in 1965, The Mauna Kea was the most expensive hotel ever built at the time, at $15 million.
In 1960 Hawaii’s Governor William Quinn invited American venture capitalist Laurance S. Rockefeller to visit the Big Island and scout beachfront sites for potential resorts. As they flew over the white sand crescent of Kauna Beach, Mr. Rockefeller asked if he could go in for a swim. From the water, he looked upslope at the towering summit of Mauna Kea and was inspired to create a great hotel that reflected the spirit of this special place.
A noted conservationist and lover of the outdoors, Mr. Rockefeller believed that buildings should conform to, not intrude on, beautiful natural surroundings.