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50 and Fabulous

Celebrating five decades of hospitality.

IN CELEBRATION OF 50 years as the reigning grande dame of hospitality on the Big Island of Hawaii, the legendary Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is launching a “50 Acts of Aloha” giving campaign, with recipients ranging from the Muscular Dystrophy Association to the Kohala junior tennis league to restoration efforts benefiting the endangered palila (Hawaiian honey creeper) on the slopes of Mauna Kea.

The campaign “is our way of carrying on the legacy of our founder Laurance S. Rockefeller,” hotel manager Phyllis Branco says. “Although a developer, he was also a passionate conservationist. By initiating 50 Acts of Aloha, we add to the honor of working at such a historic hotel. The beauty here, our amazing team members and our guests who return year after year all combine to make this a truly special place.”

Mauna Kea executive chef Hans Lentz, who spent the past two years heading up the kitchens in Africa’s five-star Villa Rosa Kempinski Nairobi, also feels honored to be associated with the hotel. “I have known of Mauna Kea throughout my career, since many of this famed hotel’s executive chefs, especially in the early years, were from Germany, as am I,” he says. Since stepping into the chef role here he’s introduced more special California winemaker dinners, featuring Groth, Jordan and Mondavi, among others. In March the resort holds its second annual Bacardi Bash, a two-day 50 Acts of Aloha event whose proceeds go to a local hospital.

While much has been written about the property throughout the years — its beach on Kaunaoa Bay has repeatedly been voted best in the world; it’s the only Hawaiian hotel to win an architecture award; and it’s a favorite Hollywood A-listers’ stomping ground — here are a few fun facts even frequent visitors may not know. And if you’re heading over soon, check out the “Golden 50th” packages available for room stays, golf and tennis. timelessmaunakea.com

MKBH Fun Facts

1. A GOOD EYE The art collection has 1,600 works, including a unique piece from New Guinea and unusual canoe decorations from the Maori of New Zealand.

2. ON THE NOSE The nose on the Buddha statue was broken on the sculpture’s delivery in the 1960s — revealed after years of exposure to the elements (including volcanic ash) washed away the paint.

3. FOR THE BIRDS Two parrots live on property: Mango, 25, and Keo, 42 (another, Alika, retired in 1995).

4. FISH FABLES Some of the koi in the entry are decades old.

5. INSPIRED COLOR The hue of the famous orange logo, Pantone No. 165, was created to evoke a flowering royal poinciana tree at sunset.

6. NO GIRL DRINKS The signature cocktail Fredrico was named by frequent hotel guest Fred Allen, who wanted something more “manly” from beloved bartender Jim Jung at the Hau Tree Bar.

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