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“Best Beach Hotel on Oahu” 5 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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$355 (USD)
Ranked #6 of 82 hotels in Honolulu
Washington, DC
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“Best Beach Hotel on Oahu”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

Stayed here four nights before venturing over to Kauai, and later Maui, this last visit March 17th, 2013. We have stayed here three times now, over the years. We keep coming back because it is just such a carefree and comfortable way to enjoy Oahu. We usually take a taxi from the airport here when we first arrive from the mainland. It helps to know we don't have to make a connection or rent a car, etc., upon our arrival. The trip from the East Coast of the mainland is arduous enough without dreading further hassles upon arrival. Taxis are always waiting in front of the airport (check in with airport attendants at the taxi stand, who will make sure you get the next available cab, and that the taxi is legitimate). Taxi fare from and to the airport averaged us around $46.00 before tip, one-way.

We find the staff at this resort just simply OUTSTANDING. We are older, seasoned Hawaii travelers...so we've sifted through all the options and now only stay at hotels with great employees and management. Almost all my hotel reviews are five stars because of that. No use traveling 5 thousand miles one way to stay less than great. Please don't think I hand out praise indiscriminately, though...I just choose very carefully to begin with.

Loved the latest stay and wished we could have lingered longer. Next time we will. Rooms larger than average, beds super comfortable, atmosphere relaxed and welcoming, staff attentive. Best of all, though, is the BEACH. It's large, sheltered by breakwaters and its natural cove shape, right out front of the hotel, soft sand, free lounging chairs which the pool attendants will cheerfully outfit with chair covers and towels (we tipped of course, but no formal charge for these). The beach is easy for children or older people to negotiate, but anybody would love it, and it's gorgeous as well. The water is warm and gentle, the underwater slope EXTREMELY safe and gradual. You could sit there all day and never grow tired of the view. I especially like sitting under the spreading shade trees where the grass meets the beach. Really sweet. AND the folks from the poolside cafe make regular trips out there to serve you...even if you're all the way down the beach near the end of the property.

No resort fee. I like that because I don't want to be burdened with a car there, and I hate paying a resort fee that includes parking...like so many large resorts. If you want to go to Waikiki or the Ala Moana Shopping or Kahala Shopping Centers, you can take the free hotel shuttle, which runs about every hour. You can tell by this review that I expect to pay top dollar for my room or my meals (if they are worth it, as they are here), BUT I do NOT like to pay for a lot of extras). I don't feel nickeled and dimed here like I do at many other Hawaiian resorts.

Food options were in flux while we were there. We were surprised that our favorite on-site eatery...the beachside Plumeria Beach restaurant was closed on Sunday and Monday nights. We arrived on Sunday, ready to relax there for our first night's decompression... and that made us sad. Hope they change that, and soon.

They were getting ready to open a new Italian restaurant where the Japanese restaurant/Sushi bar used to be (on the front-side of the hotel), but it wasn't open yet. Dinner and lunch menu at Plumeria Beach has changed since our last visit, and now includes more Asian type dishes (we'd like to see just a bit more choices). Staff there treated us like royalty...especially Joy, the superb hostess/manager. The breakfast buffet (also in Plumeria Beach) is just excellent. Definitely get a breakfast package when you stay here.

Another treat: high tea on the Veranda lounge...even my husband liked it (yes, it's true, and he is NOT the high-tea (or even middle or low-tea) type! : ) We don't eat at Hoku's (not feeling like dressing up or making the effort most times). All food and drink at the Kahala is, well, it's just plain expensive. Just understand that going in and plan for it...it's no different anywhere else worthwhile in Hawaii. At least, you get what you pay for here.

Here's a tip about restaurants in this hotel: they are heavily patronized by local residents, especially at holiday time, so if you're coming then, make your dinner reservations before you arrive (we stayed once in December and many office parties, family gatherings, etc. were being held both in public restaurants and in private banquet facilities). We also noticed many local families in the restaurant this time (March) as well, because the schools were on Easter break. I'd eat here regularly, too, if I were lucky enough to live in the Kahala neighborhood.

We are thinking about making another trip from the DC area to Hawaii some day soon. We figure we could take the new non-stop flight from Dulles Airport and be in Honolulu by mid-afternoon, taxi out to the Kahala, and just settle there for the whole vacation. As we get older and airports get more annoying, we look for ways to make it easier on ourselves. If you have to pick one island, Oahu has a lot going for it. We also find that there are more attractive flight options (wide-bodies, non-stops, lower prices and more frequent flier seats available) for incoming mainlanders as opposed to outer islands. If you stay here at the Kahala, you have the outer-island feeling of being isolated and on the beach...but you can have a wealth of other cultural, entertainment, and scenic options easily at hand. The concierges are SO helpful...and can get you a car any time you want it, so you can explore the island.

Lots of families with children were staying here this time (spring break). Usually I avoid hotels with this demographic, but you aren't really affected so much--especially if you sit down toward the end of the beach, away from the swim platform (I like that better anyway). The hotel does not FEEL crowded, even when it is full (not noisy at all, and I attribute some of this to the fact that it is not U-shaped like so many hotels on the beach...those high-rise hotels that have pools in the middle seem to serve as echo chambers for children's delighted squeals...the kind that can cut through you like a knife sometimes). It also has cleverly-designed landscaping and made-made waterfalls that absorb noise.

You just have to understand that there may be a lot of children in the (rather small) pool and the one nearby hot tub. If that takes away from it for you (it does me), then go to the free fitness center beachside and use the adults-only hot tubs (gender-specific)...really hot, really clean, and usually empty. There, you also have the use of saunas, steam rooms, showers, exercise equipment, and lockers at the same time. Quite nice! And all perfectly free. (and did I mention grownups only?)

The Dolphins are always enchanting, the waterfall landscaping lovely, the grounds beyond beautiful. It's easy to get around without hiking long distances. I honestly love this place.

Room Tip: We love the garden rooms on the back of the two-story Dolphin wing. You're on the ground floor...
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  • Stayed March 2013, 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
    • 5 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.
The_Kahala_Hotel, General Manager at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, April 25, 2013
Aloha and thank you for sharing your feedback and your kind compliments. On behalf of the entire staff and myself, thank you so much for taking time to write about your experience. We certainly appreciate your words of praise about our outstanding staff. As part of our daily communication I have shared your feedback with our teams as there is no better motivator then a job well done!

We are sorry to hear you were let down about Plumeria Beach House’s closure on Sundays and Wednesday nights. We greatly value your feedback so your thoughts on restaurant hours and menu selections which have been brought to our F&B team’s attention to access our policies and offerings. Thank you again you being our guest and sharing such insightful tips with other travelers, not a lot of people value that we no resort fees or that we have such an outer island feel. We look forward to welcoming you back again!
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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (265)
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English first
Roanoke, Virginia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

We had a wonderful stay at the Kahala Resort, the staff was friendly and full of suggestions. The beds are a little small but you melt into them for a wonderful nights sleep. The Dolphin experience is very educational and great for any age. What can I say, we were in Paradise.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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, April 24, 2013
Thank you for sharing your recent experience at our resort. It was great to learn that you had a good time and enjoyed the services provided by our staff. I was also pleased to see that you had an interaction with the resident dolphins in our private lagoon, which is such a popular guest activity.
My staff and I look forward to welcoming you and your family back the next time you visit Honolulu. Aloha and best wishes.
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Warsaw, Poland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

This is Great Hotel with very quite location, spacious and very comfortable rooms and breakfast that with great selection of food for all tastes. Pool area rather small but Dolphin Lagoon adds unique atmosphere. We had a really great stay and I would recommend this resort for everyone looking for great family stay. Hotel provides free shuttle if you are looking for Waikiki crowds. Hotel staff provides first class service at all times.

Room Tip: Ocean view room with balcony oh high floor
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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, April 23, 2013
Thank you for staying with us recently and for taking the time to send your positive feedback. I was delighted to see that you had a good time and enjoyed the resort features and activities we have to offer such as our extensive breakfast buffet, the resident dolphins in our private lagoon, and our complimentary shopping shuttle. My staff and I 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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Burlingame, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

Awesome old classic Hawaiian hotel. Beach is great with no waves for little kids. If you want wave just rent a car and go about 15 minutes to Kailua Beach. Only complaint was the rooms have small double beds.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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.
The_Kahala_Hotel, General Manager at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, April 22, 2013
Thank you for sharing your appreciation of our location and the classic ambiance of our resort. It is such a pleasure having you and your family with us, and more over pleased to hear that you enjoyed our calm beaches. We are lucky to have a reef that protects our beautiful shoreline and offers serene waters to enjoy. Thank you for pointing out that we are in close proximity to popular surf sites, as some may not know that they have options available. Mahalo for sharing your experience with us, it will be a pleasure to welcome you back sometime soon! Aloha and best regards,
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Jakarta, Indonesia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

I went there last week and stay a week in Kahala Hawaii on Apr 14-19, 2013, my first step to Kahala is just amazing, I greeted by friendly staff and receive a beautiful garland as a souvenirs, along they way to lobby for check in meet with other friendly staff and was help by them for check in process...once entering the room i found another awesome view of facing the ocean and the mountain, and i can tell that all rooms in Kahala have an amazing view from any any aspect! really just so great!
I highly recommend you all to visit there and stay there to experience by your self, you may will agreed with me that all just a great!.

Room Tip: Since the rooms is come sometimes high, try to find best deal from hotel offer, who know you find th...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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, April 22, 2013
It was thoughtful of you to send your feedback following your recent stay with us. I was so pleased to see how much you enjoyed our guest services along with the great view from your room. It was also reassuring to know that you found our traditional lei greeting on arrival to be especially welcoming. I hope you will plan many other trips to Honolulu in the future as my staff and I look forward to being of service to you again. Aloha and best wishes.
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Waterloo, Canada
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

I wish I had good things to say about our stay at the Kahala. This was a big disappointment and by far the biggest waste of money. I've put my point form review below.

- First impression was one of bad service. Not greeted very well as our car, then rushed through the check-in process. Literally rushed, and told they were busy.

- The room was adequate, the view over the parking lot did distract from the sea. I would hesitate to call is an ocean view room. The washroom amenities were definitely not 5 star, more a 3 - 3.5 star if I'm generous.

- The cleaning staff did not speak english (those we dealt with) and was very difficult to communicate our needs.

- the concierge was ok, although woefully out of date on restaurant changes.

- the staff at breakfast were excellent and very well trained, the view was also spectacular, although every morning at that same time there were workmen grinding the tree branches that they had previously cut down. This happened every day.

- They were terribly stingy with their water, they only gave us 2 bottles at turndown and wanted to sell us more at an exorbitant price. That left us with no choice but to go off site and buy our own water. I had not seen this at any 5 star hotel in the past

- The staff at the pool was non-existent. There were staff there, but they didn't acknowledge us or help us in any way. All of the chairs were stacked up and not available to use and the pool was uncleaned, with debris floating in it. There was also no shade available. Needless to say this was not an inviting environment.

- Since we couldn't be by the pool we went back to our room. But there were people smoking on the balcony beneath us and we could not sit outside. This is a non-smoking hotel. I think what amazed me the most was that the valet could clearly see what was going on and did noting. We did call and they came but am not sure what the resulting action was.

- during our last 2 days there was construction taking place and shook our entire room so we couldn't even be inside, we decided to leave the hotel as that was our only option. I told the front desk about the problem and they said upon our return they would have a solution. When we arrived back, they said we could have a choice of some different rooms that were better than ours. That was untrue as they were the exact same, only offering a reprieve from the noise. However, the rooms they were recommending were in the same area just a little higher and still had the sound of the construction. I was paying full price for absolutely horrible service and a horrible environment.

- the equipment in the gym was old with only 2 of the 5 treadmills functioning properly. You could see that the other equipment was not properly functioning either.

- this hotel has a lot of hype that is not at all true

- Unfortunately I can't recommend this hotel to others, as it was by far and away our worst overall hotel experience on the islands and even compared to other trips we have done. I only hope they make some changes to improve the customer experience.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The_Kahala_Hotel, General Manager at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, April 22, 2013
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We are always listening and are so sorry to hear that you felt your stay was a disappointment. Most disheartening is hearing that you were left with the impression that our staff don't care – It is not up to our Kahala standards and we are so sorry for these incidents but thank you for bringing them to our attention so that we may address this with management and ensure such atypical issues do not occur again in the future. The Kahala has a reputation for a caring staff and genuine service; and we are glad that you did receive that from our wonderful Plumeria Beach House staff. We so hope for the opportunity to deliver the true Kahala experience for which we are known sometime in the future.

Should you wish to discuss your stay further, please contact our Director of Guest Services, Flora LaMontagne, 808.739.8888, she would be grateful to chat with you in detail. Thank you again for your feedback; we look forward to turning your experience around.
Aloha and best wishes
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Orlando, Florida
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

My husband and I were invited for a company trip to experience The Kahala Hotel and Resort. From the moment we stepped into the lobby everything was exceptional. The location was perfect and the shuttle to some of the desired attractions was quick, efficient and appreciated. '

The housekeeping team was pleasant and kept our room fresh the entire stay. We had some of the best nights sleeps in their beds!

We loved our stay at the Kahala and would definitely recommend it!

  • Stayed April 2013, 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
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, April 22, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to send your comments following your recent stay. It was a pleasure having you with us, and I was delighted to see that you had a good time during your business trip.
I appreciate your positive input concerning our Housekeeping Department and the exceptional performance by those employees. It will be a pleasure to welcome you back on another occasion, perhaps a leisure trip to 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:
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#3 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#6 Business Hotel in Honolulu
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#7 Family Hotel in Honolulu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Kahala Hotel & Resort 5*
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 Honolulu
The Kahala Hotel And Resort
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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