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“Lovely experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Kahala Hotel & Resort

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The Kahala Hotel & Resort
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   5000 Kahala Avenue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96816   |  
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$100 off room rate
Ranked #3 of 82 Hotels in Honolulu
Medford, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Lovely experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

My wife and I took the kids to Kahala last June and had a wonderful time, so when we were deciding on a vacation for just the two of us the Kahala was the perfect choice. For the most part, our December trip met or exceeded our expectations. The rooms are magnificent and the views from our fourth floor mounain side room were great. We enjoy the retro design of the hotel along with the modern interiors. If smoking was allowed and people dressed more formally these days you could imagine that you were in a Mad Men episode. The pool and the beach were perfect places to relax when it wasn't windy or rainy. I thought the breakfast buffet at plumeria was a good value, especially if you can eat late enough to make it more of a brunch that will get you to dinner. We also had a wonderful dinner at Hoku.

We had two criticisms. As with our prior trip, the service at the pool and beach, as well as the lobby bar, can be spotty. There are some very good folks working outside, to be sure, but some of them are slow. A couple of the waitresses at the Vernanda seemed downright unfriendly. When I asked one of the waitresses about my bill--I thought I was being billed twice for the same drinks--she told me that she was sure she hadn't made a mistake and she "had not been drinking." Again, there were a couple of very good waitresses at Veranda, but a couple of them are probably in the wrong line of work. I will say that the food at Veranda as well as outside is excellent, especially the nachos and burgers. And the drinks were very good as well. The other criticism I share with some of the other reviewers is that the seafood buffett was a real disappointment, especially given the price. I expected overflowing amounts of fish, clams, lobsters, oysters, etc. The food at this buffett did not meet expectations.

All of that said, it was a wonderful trip. We love the class, charactor, and elegance of the Kahala and will go back. But for the service issues we would give the place five stars.

Room Tip: We preferred the Koko wing.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KahalaResort, General Manager at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Thank you for staying with us again and for sending your candid feedback regarding our facilities and our services. I was delighted to read that you were completely comfortable in your guest room and enjoyed the basic design of our hotel along with our pool and beach as well as the food quality and preparation in our restaurants. However, I must apologize for the poor performance by some of our waitresses at The Veranda. We never intend for our staff to be unfriendly or unprofessional with our guests, and be assured that your comments were shared with our Director of Food & Beverage, who personally addressed your review with all of the staff in that outlet. We do strive to continually improve our product as well as our high service standards. Your input regarding the Bounty of the Seven Seas buffet dinner is important to us. The seafood offerings vary weekly as it is sometimes necessary to make substitutions. On those occasions, we offer similar items and work to provide the highest quality product available. I am sorry that you were not completely satisifed with your dining experience, and I would like to thank you very much for your thoughtful feedback. My staff and I are looking forward to being of service to you again on a future occasion. Until then... Aloha and best wishes.
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1,614 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Walnut Creek, California
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
159 helpful votes 159 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

We have stayed many times at the Kahala over the years through its various incarnations; in the days it was a Hilton, a Mandarin Oriental, and now with its current (non-affiliated) owner. Things have never been better at this classy and elegant resort a few miles from Waikiki.

I used to tell people the service at Kahala suffered from a slight air of haughtiness that always tainted our stay. That is GONE...nothing but sincere and friendly smiles to make sure your stay is as pleasurable as possible. The outside hotel structure which epitomizes some of the more outdated ideas of building design from the 60's gives no hint to the elegance you will encounter within.

From the drive-up and efficient (and free!) valet service, prompt and courteous counter check-in, you are ushered to your room with luggage and given explanations about the resort. We had a seamless experience. There was never any hint of an expected tip (although of course we did).

The spacious rooms have been slightly updated to be more modern with a cool palette rather than the traditional mix of Polynesian and Boston colonial furniture (the traditional Hawaiian mix since missionary days) they used to have. The room was impeccably and absolutely clean. Everything was in perfect order. Internet service was complimentary. The bathrooms remain unchanged with two sinks, two closets, separate shower and bath and a huge array of lotions and complimentary supplies. If you pick up the phone, they know your name. Housekeeping and turn down service was discreet.

Their main hotel restaurant, The Plumeria Beach House (aka Plumeria Cafe) which borders their beautiful, private sandy beach has been reverted back to a tropical garden theme, and service and food is friendly, effiicient, carefully prepared..and delicious. Choose to sit on the patio if it is a nice day. The breakfast buffet is back to its top-notch offering; of course at $31/person now, the price is top-notch too (we were offered and accepted a price break of 50% for two including tip and taxes if we pre-paid at the time of our reservation). High quality ingredients and careful preparation. This is easily one of our favorite eating spots in Hawaii.

I'm sure others will say they prefer the Halekulani and that their very reason for being on Oahu is to enjoy and be a part of the hustle-and-bustle of urban Waikiki and if that is why then certainly stay there, but if you want to enjoy the amenities of Honolulu and Oahu without being directly in Waikiki, the Kahala is an oasis of peace and gracious living that I highly recommend.

Room Tip: Please note that the Kahala is home to Hoku and his finny family of dophins, so if captive dolphins...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KahalaResort, General Manager at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, December 21, 2012
It is always a pleasure to welcome loyal return guests back to our resort, and thank you for taking the time to share your experience through your positive comments. I was delighted to see that our services, guest facilities, and The Plumeria Beach House continue to meet your expectations.
It will be honor for my staff and I to be of service to you again during your next visit to our corner in paradise. Aloha and warm regards.
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washington
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
172 helpful votes 172 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

Our family had celebrated many milestones here at the Kahala Hotel. I remembered the quiet, elegant service, the beautiful settings, the amazing view and the delicious food. May it be brunch with my folks, birthday celebrations or weddings, we all left delighted and extremely happy. This property has been THE HOTEL in Honolulu; its name would garner a bit of envy and praise. Unfortunately, the locals only speak of it with nostalgia; the Kahala hotel is a "has been," with falling standard of service.
The location of this hotel is excellent; adjoining the Waialae Country Club and with its own strip of beach. It is extremely private but with very easy access to Waikiki; furthermore, the small Kahala Mall is just a stone throw away.
The lobby is still exactly as I remembered: grand and beautiful. It was exquisite to see the sun slowly resting over the horizon, to feel the trade wind gently circling and to smell the very impressive Christmas tree towering over the lobby.
We had excellent reception by the valet; luggage were quickly retrieved and delivered to our room. The check in took a little longer than expected, but this allowed me to relive nostalgia.
We had a room in the lagoon wing overlooking the country club. The living space is well appointed and the bed is extremely comfortable; in fact, it is quite large for Honolulu standard. However, the bathroom is in need of a major face lift. I don't know if this meant to be part of the ambiance, but cracks on the tile and cabinets and chips on the furniture seemed a bit out of place. Also, the Tommy Bahama brand toiletries are a bit odd; it doesn't fit the over feel of this hotel.
As I walked down the corridor, I see the signature markings of this once Mandarin Oriental: there are beautiful pieces of furniture and Ming vase lamps. The tranquility and the soothing glows of the setting sun were simply amazing. Of course, this blessed evening was marred by the forgettable dinner at the Plumeria Restaurant.
Plumeria is one of those nuisance flowers that grows everywhere on the island, and it rots quickly. This restaurant has very similar qualities: very common, over priced and understaffed. As reviewed by Glenn B, the buffet is $55 per person and the offering is very underwhelmed compared to other establishments in this buffet-rich city. There were large parties, and the food were gone quickly, but took quite a while to be replenished. The hostess and manager were in foul mood that night and servers were assigned too many tables to offer adequate service.
An otherwise pleasant stay was scarred by misinformation given by the morning receptionist. We were to be stranded at the hotel and to miss our flight due to the start of the Honolulu Marathon. Our hearts skipped a bit, but we got out and arrived at the airport in plenty of time. So much for a pleasant lasting impression.
We would stay here again for the location, and living quarter is quite good. The valet and bell hop are first rate. However, I can see why this hotel is not quite five star. The management has changed so frequently in the past that this once grand dame of Honolulu is having a bit of identity crisis. A grand lobby with chipped bathroom, Tommy Bahama theme toiletries, Denny-like food and service just don't harmonize.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KahalaResort, General Manager at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, December 19, 2012
Thank you for staying with us again recently and for your loyal patronage over the years. I was delighted to see that you found that many things about our resort brought back fond memories, such as our private location, our grand lobby, particularly during this time of year with our holiday decorations and towering Christmas tree, the service provided by our bellmen and valets, as well as many features in your guest room. However, I was concerned to read your comments regarding a few other issues. We do repair bathroom floors when chipped tile or other items that need attention are reported. As far as the new Tommy Bahama amenities are concerned, they have been well received by our guests, although I always appreciate hearing another view. I regret that you were not completely satisfied with our Bounty of the Seven Seas buffet dinner and am very sorry that our service levels did not meet your expectations, as we always strive to provide the outstanding service we are known for. I would be happy to discuss more details of your stay with you if you would be kind enough to call me at 808 739-8823. Your business is important to us, and it would be a pleasure to be of service to you again and have the opportunity to restore your faith in our resort. Aloha and best regards.
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Orlando, Florida
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

We only had one night at the Kahala during a recent cruise holiday, but wished we could have spent several days there. Beautiful property, enormous rooms (and quiet!), and a totally relaxed atmosphere. Would highly recommend!

Room Tip: We prefered the 2-story building over the high-rise. Very quiet.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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KahalaResort, General Manager at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
I was delighted to read your positive comments and see that you had a good time during your brief stay at our resort. It will be our pleasure to welcome you back on another occasion when you can plan a longer stay and enjoy all of our services and facilities plus see more of our beautiful island. Thank you for sending your feedback. Aloha and best regards.
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Honolulu, Hawaii
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

Great staff, great location, mildly over-priced.

You can get more bang-for-your-buck on Oahu in Waikiki or Ko'Olina... but Kahala is away from the hustle-and-bustle of Waikiki, but close enough to the action for a short taxi ride away if that is your thing.

Dolphin show is great for the kids, beach is nice, protected unless there is a big south swell. Average grounds- it's Hawaii, but I've seen better landscaping at similar class resorts.

Did I say a great staff?

The server at the lobby bar/lounge area open in the evening I found to be a little on the salty side, but by and large everyone else at this resort was great.

As a local I've stayed at resorts on Maui, Big Island, Kauai and Oahu, and do so fairly regularly for work so I feel like I've got a good grasp of the market and what is available here.

Stayed one night for a sunrise wedding on 12/12/12, and I don't think you could ask for a better staff to plan your wedding- Amy, the wedding planner, is VERY good, and for someone coming from the mainland, she will make your special day a true delight. Highly recommend her.

Otherwise, it's all about the name at the Kahala- it's pretty much the top name resort you can stay at on Oahu, but that's more because of the location and heritage. (Kahala neighborhood is one of Hawaii's wealthiest)

As other local reviewers have noted here, it's really not that special... there are better beaches, better sunsets, and better locations, but the Kahala has a special feel to it and has played host to a number of celebrities over the years, probably more because of it's seclusion yet proximity to town. (Check out the wall of celebrities- it seems like every A-list actor from Hollywood present or past has stayed here)

Looking for 'The' name-brand high-end resort on Oahu? This is it. Looking for the best in value amenities, sunsets and beaches? There are better, newer resorts... but this one will certainly do... just be prepared to pay a premium for the name.

Room Tip: Tower rooms are large, spacious, but not all have balconies so you may want to request that if you g...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KahalaResort, General Manager at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, December 18, 2012
Thank you for staying at our resort recently and for sharing that experience. Our secluded location is very popular with guests as are the resident dolphins in our lagoon. We also find that visitors enjoy the other guest facilities and activities throughout the property. I was pleased to read your positive comments about the wedding you attended here then spent the night with us. I shared your feedback with our Catering & Conference Services staff, and they were happy to be of service. We have been fortunate over the years to welcome many Heads of State and other celebrities to our resort, and many of them are captured in photos on our Wall of Fame, which is a must see when staying with us. Our ocean front rooms with balconies are a very popular category, and I am pleased that you had that experience, also. My staff and I look forward to being of service to you again, hopefully, sometime soon. I wish you and your family the best in the New Year and beyond. Please consider our resort for any special occasion. Aloha and best regards.
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Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

It has been a few years since we've traveled to Honolulu, but have always stayed at the Kahala (since I was a child and it was the Kahala Hilton) and have seen it undergo many changes. However, during this most recent stay we were not disappointed - it is still my favorite place to stay when visiting Oahu. The location is perfect - away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki yet a short, convenient drive to the action there. The dolphin lagoon is always a pleasure to observe and the pool area and beach are perfect for relaxing. Dined at Hoku's, which is a true culinary experience and I do not plan on waiting so long in the future to return to the Kahala. A perfect few day get away from the pace of everyday life.

Room Tip: The best rooms are in the Koko head tower facing the ocean and the ones with a lanai are perfect, al...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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KahalaResort, General Manager at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you for selecting our resort for your most recent trip to Honolulu. My staff and I were so pleased to have you with us again. I was delighted to read your comments and see how much you enjoyed our secluded location and your ocean front room with lanai. Of course, it is such a pleasure to watch our resident dolphins and relax at poolside or on our lovely beach. We are looking forward to being of service to you again the next time you visit this beautiful island. Aloha and best regards.
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Corona, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

This hotel is beautiful and the people here are so friendly and helpful... A place you must stay at!!!

The breakfast was to die for, it had everything you can image. The lobby was decorated with Christmas trees and it looked great. The rooms are big and very clean.

Room Tip: Golf course side is the best
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KahalaResort, General Manager at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, December 12, 2012
I was delighted to read your great comments about your recent stay with us. You reconfirmed to me that our services and facilities continue to meet our guests' expectations. Also, I am pleased that you were here during the holidays and enjoyed our numerous, colorful decorations throughout the resort. We look forward to being of service to you again the next time you visit our beautiful island. Aloha and best regards.
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Additional Information about The Kahala Hotel & Resort

Address: 5000 Kahala Avenue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96816
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Honolulu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#2 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#3 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#3 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Business Hotel in Honolulu
#7 Family Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Kahala Hotel & Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 338
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Kahala Hotel & Resort is Hawaii's reigning luxury resort, set on a secluded beach just ten minutes from the world class shopping and entertainment of Waikiki. This legendary hideaway resort in Honolulu's plush Kahala district is a favorite with presidents, international royalty and celebrities. From the moment you arrive, you will know that you are truly somewhere special. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Kahala Hotel And Resort
The Kahala Hotel Honolulu
Kahala Resort Honolulu
Kahala Hotel Honolulu
Mandarin Oriental Oahu
Kahala Hotel & Resort
Kahala Mandarin Oriental
The Kahala Hotel & Resort Hawaii/Honolulu

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