My wife and I just came back from 6 fantastic nights at the Kahala Resort.
I had narrowed the hotels down to the Kahala and the Halekulani. I actually called to book the Halekulani, but decided to switch to the Kahala when the lady told me that there was going to be construction at the Halekulani. Since my wife and I went for dinner at La Mer, we saw the Halekulani up close. It is a gorgeous hotel. I would argue that the finishings and presentation are nicer than the Kahala.
However, when you factor in the location, the beach at the Kahala and the service at the Kahala (of course I don’t know what the service is like at the Halekulani), I would choose the Kahala over and over again.
Everything that we read on this site before we booked is completely true – that is, all of the positive comments.
Call me crazy, but I do not care if the lady that is making me an omelette is grinning from ear to ear as I ask her for a few more shrimp and peppers. I also was not shocked by the high prices - since one does not go to Hawaii and stay at the Kahala to pinch pennies. If you think you’ll be staying at one of the most beautiful hotels, on a gorgeous, private beach with some of the best restaurants and service that you will ever see, at a bargain basement rate – well then I have some fantastic swamp land in Florida that I can sell you.
The location of the hotel is perfect, as everyone says. It may not be for everyone, however. If you want the hustle and bustle, you will not like it. The hotel is surrounded by residential real estate and a golf course. It is very private. There is little traffic.
We stayed in a Koko Head Ocean Front Lanai room. The views every morning (and all day long for that matter) were awesome. We frequently had wine on the Lanai and also hung out in the mornings to watch the sun rise over Koko. You will not have good views of the sunset, however. For that, you will have to be around Waikiki beach.
The service is exceptional. Some specific examples include:
- The bell/valet desk. We started here every morning – we told them where we were going, and they provided us with typed directions and maps of how to get there.
- On the day we drove the North Shore, from being a little too child-like with the massive waves, my ear filled up with pebbles and sand. I went to a walk-in clinic that the Hotel told me about. Two days later I ran into the guy who I spoke to about my ear, he stopped me to ask me how it was.
- On the day we were leaving, the business center wasn’t open (until 8 am), I asked someone if they could let me in to print boarding passes – the lady said “oh here, I can do that for you”
- The fitness center attendant didn’t stop smiling. Seriously, perhaps the happiest guy on the island.
- Twice we asked the front desk to call restaurants and move our dining reservations from 7:30 to 8:00. They were happy to do so.
- When you ask for towels by the pool, the workers ask if they can set them up for you. They walk beside you, let you pick your spot, and spread the towels on the chairs for you. These same workers also bring you water and popsicles (on occasion) without you even having to ask for it. They never make you feel cheap if you say “no thanks” when they ask you if they can get you a drink.
- I never felt for one second as if someone was working for a tip….and that they expected it. Not once.
Every morning there was a newspaper hanging off of our door. Our room was cleaned twice a day. There was a piece of cake waiting for us when we arrived with the words “Happy Anniversary” written in chocolate on the plate. The bath robes were great and the towels were always changed. There was even some really nice Hawaiian music playing on the cd player (no ipod station) when we walked into the room.
Some of the activities that my wife and I did – all of which I would highly recommend include:
- Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tour – Loved it. You tour the entire island and check out places that you definitely want to explore further. We had never been on a helicopter before and had a blast. They picked us up from the hotel and dropped us off.
- Hike Manoa Falls – Amazing. A 20 minute drive from the hotel. Wear shoes. I couldn’t believe the number of people who were doing it in sandals.
- Hike Diamond Head – This was great, but to be honest, I expected a little more. If I could only do one hike, I would do Manoa Falls.
- Hanauma Bay – an absolute must. 15 minute drive from the hotel. We snorkeled and were just blown away with how beautiful it was. Go early. You cannot miss this.
- The North Shore – we rented a car for a day (9 am – 6 pm) and drove the entire North Shore. We “beach hopped” at about 6/7 different spots. It is a simple drive and just amazing. We got lost on the H3 and ended up driving through the mountains. That was fantastic.
- The Spa – couples massage. It was fine. A fun massage. However, for the money, next time I may actually pass. If I could only do one, for the same money, I would do the helicopter tour hands down.
We ate dinner at Michel’s; Morimoto; Roys’ (Hawaikai location); La Mer; Hoku’s (Kahala); Alan Wong’s and Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas
All were very good. The décor and location at Hiroshi’s isn’t great – but the food is. At La Mer we did the big tasting menu – it was just incredible. The view was exceptional as well. Morimoto has one of the best patios I have ever been on. Hoku’s is excellent also. The seafood tower is great.
The lunch buffet at Hoku’s on Sunday is shocking. Sushi, sashimi, rack of lamb, oysters, lobster, shrimp, tons of other stuff and a fantastic collection of desserts make this very expensive brunch worth it.
I am going to go against the grain and say that the breakfast buffet at The Kahala is ok. It really is somewhat similar to a breakfast buffet you would get at a Sandals, or cruise ship, for example. After all, what can you really do with breakfast? There are eggs, sausage, bacon, oatmeal, fruit and some pastries.
I really liked the gym. It was very well equipped and I didn’t see more than 6/7 people in there at the busiest time.
There were quite a few weddings while we were there. It actually made me want to get married again (to my wife).
Lastly, the concierge desk was really outstanding. Before the trip, they suggested restaurants, activities and were very accessible via email. During the trip, they were excellent as well. They were always happy to help. Even when I called them probably 5 times in one day.
In summary – we had an amazing stay. You know what you are getting and you know what you are going to Hawaii for. You will spend a lot of money and have an exceptional time. There is no way around either.
The descriptions of the rooms on the website are perfect. If you need help deciding, call the concie...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.