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“Romantic and wonderful”

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The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Ranked #4 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Romantic and wonderful”
Reviewed November 4, 2012

We stayed at the Kahala resort for only a couple of days, but they were magical. Had a room on the 9th floor with a spectacular view of the ocean. We could look down and see the dolphins at the dolphin quest enclosure swimming to their hearts content. Very spacious and well appointed room. The resort is a quiet refuge.. on the opposite side of Diamond Head from Waikiki beach. Very charming and sedate! Just what we were looking for. Staff was very accomodating and friendly.

Room Tip: Ask for an ocean front with a balcony.. it's worth the extra money!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank c k
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, November 8, 2012
Aloha and thank you for sending all of your wonderful comments following your recent stay with us. Nothing makes us happier than to learn that our secluded location, guestrooms, resident dolphins, and friendly staff have surpassed our guest's expectations. It was a pleasure having you with us, and we look forward to being of service to you again the next time you plan a trip to Honolulu.
Best regards.
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Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2012

Just gotten back from a stay at the Kahala Resort. We booked 2 rooms @ Mountain Lanai overlooking the lush Waialae Golf course. Ocean-view will cost a lot more. We had stayed here a few times in the past. In its glory days, it was an exclusive enclave built by the late Baron Hilton where the Rich and Famous and Holloywood set gravitated. There is an impressive photo-ops and words written by past famous guests lining a wall, including Kings and Queens. The latest movie guest staying here was George Clooney when he was filming the movie 'The Descendants'.

PRO:
* Subliminal beach setting
* Extremely private and relaxing. No cell phones heard at the beach.
* Friendly staff
* Staff Karen/Roger coordinated & arranged a seamless tennis day at the Waialae Country Club down the road.
* Great customer service from Dianah (sp ?) at the Business Center & Randy at Plumeria restaurant

Con:
* Rooms are older, no rain showers or up-to-date stuff like phones & TV's in bathrooms
* Better buffet spread and quality of towels and bed linen when the hotel was managed by Mandarin Oriental Hotel
* For value rendered, would not pay rack rates, but special deals like stay 4-and-pay-3 with breakfasts included are value for the money. Must stay at a lanai room inorder to fully enjoy the super views
* Free shuttle serive got booked up quickly when we were there. At high season, it would likely be hard to get by. On previous occasions, we rented a car or took taxi to Waikiki, Ala Moana and dinners.

SUMMARY
This is more like a place to kick off your shoes and totally relax. I would not compare Kahala Hotel to the 4-Seasons or Mandarin Orientals except perhaps to the Oriental in Bangkok for its imbued history. When in Honolulu, we stay at either the Halekulani or Kahala. They are different. You're buying a particular kind experience with each. 'No muss, no fuss' if you don't go looking for deficiencies at Kahala due to the age of the property.

Room Tip: Must book a room with lanai.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank cy33
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, November 6, 2012
Thank you for sharing your recent parking experience at our resort. Our new parking rules and rates have been posted for a few months, and it was unfortunate that you missed the "validation after at $25 purchase" information. While our parking rates are consistent with other upscale properties on Oahu, I understand your views and am sorry that you were not able to enjoy any of our popular guest attractions when you visited our secluded property. It would be a pleasure to welcome you to our resort, and I hope that you will be able to spend some time with us on a future occasion. Aloha and best regards.
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New York
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed November 1, 2012

We recently stayed at the Kahala for 9 nights. The room overlooking the dolphin pool and ocean was beautiful. Breakfast that was included daily with the room was incomparable with fresh fruits and juices and an enormous variety of foods. The staff was great. The only downside was the up-charge for an umbrella on the beach and for lack of flexibility for a late check-out. We requested a 4-hour extension of check-out time because of a late flight time and were offered a 2-hour extension for an $80 up charge.

Room Tip: choose a room with a balcony and a view of the dolphin pool. You also get both Diamond Head and Koko...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gabpt
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, November 2, 2012
Thank you for staying with us during your recent trip to Honolulu and for sending your comments. I was delighted to see how comfortable you were in your room and how you particularly enjoyed our breakfast buffet. However, I was sorry that we were not able to extend the late check out you requested. We do have to consider times for new arrivals and the room categories they booked as well as the time required for Housekeeping to clean and prepare the rooms needed, and we are not always able to be as flexible as we would like. Please accept my apology for any inconvenience caused in that regard. Again, thank you for sharing your comments, and be assured that we look forward to being of service to you on another occasion. Aloha and best regards.
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Glendale, Arizona
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2012

The keyword to this review is $35.00…remember, $35.00.
I just returned from an 8 day vacation to Honolulu, HI, and had a great time EXCEPT for my short visit to the Kahala Hotel & Resort.
A friend of mine who lives in Honolulu wanted to take me there to see the dolphin lagoon and the sea turtle pond, and to see the grounds.
We pulled up to the parking lot, he pulled a ticket out of the machine, and drove around to find a parking space.
I enjoyed seeing the dolphins and the sea turtles, and took a few pictures of the waterfall and the lava rock orchid wall.
We considered eating lunch there, but decided not to because I didn’t feel like paying $20 for a hamburger or $18 for a chicken sandwich, figuring it would probably be ho-hum, typical hotel restaurant food/service. So we left. (Turns out other reviewers on this site confirmed my suspicions.)
Upon exiting my friend handed the ticket to the guy in the parking booth, and the guy said, “$35”. That’s it – just said, “$35”.
So I said, “What?!?!”, and my friend asked, “How long were we here?”
The answer: “1 hour”
We were both in shock, and the guy said if we’d spent $25 in the hotel they would have validated the ticket, but there was no clear signage as we entered the parking lot that showed that!
o.k. we decided not to argue the issue, and my friend handed the parking attendant his Visa card, and was told, “Cash only”.
Friend didn’t have that much cash on him at the time – and luckily I’d put some cash in my wallet for the days outing; I don’t usually carry cash with me, but it’s a good thing I did that day!
Hmmmm, I wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t had the 35 dollars in cash?
All that said, I realize Honolulu is a very expensive city to visit, and typically parking garages/lots in big cities are very expensive – but 35 bucks for ONE HOUR?!! C’mon!!
I realize, too, that we should have probably stopped to read the fine print on the sign before we pulled in to the hotel – but we didn’t. Actually, I’m not quite sure it was even posted; in hindsight we should have looked closer. But when I’m a passenger in a car, I don’t think of such things.
Another reviewer wrote of a similar experience back in June of this year. Apparently the Kahala has started this parking fee policy since my friend had lasted visited, and he wasn’t aware of it.
The grounds were nice – nothing particularly special – the Hilton Hawaiian Village is way more spectacular! The dolphins & turtles were cute, but I sure as heck don’t think seeing them was worth 35 bucks!
Doing some research after our “$35 Kahala experience”, I learned that the Kahala Hotel & Resort is supposedly one of Honolulu’s more “classy” hotels, so they figure they can charge this outrageous parking fee for the casual visitor. Apparently they figure that’s the “price of admission for looking at 'classy'”.
Personally, I think it’s ludicrous to have that kind of a minimum parking fee, and I will never, ever go back to that place again. I think their parking rate and policy sucks!
So, I’m just writing this to warn others: BEWARE!! If you plan to visit the Kahala for a short visit, be prepared to pay for it.
Final note: In view of the fact that I paid just $70 (with a discount coupon) to park my car in a parking lot near Phoenix Airport for the entire 8 DAYS I was in Honolulu, it makes the whole “$35 Kahala experience” seem even more ludicrous!

Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
Helpful?
15 Thank Cacata42
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, November 6, 2012
Thank you for sharing your recent parking experience at our resort. Our new parking rules and rates have been posted for a few months, and it was unfortunate that you missed the "validation after at $25 purchase" information. While our parking rates are consistent with other upscale properties on Oahu, I understand your views and am sorry that you were not able to enjoy any of our popular guest attractions when you visited our secluded property. It would be a pleasure to welcome you to our resort, and I hope that you will be able to spend some time with us on a future occasion. Aloha and best regards.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
70 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2012

We just returned from the Kahala after a 10 day/9 night stay.

I would echo MikeK's review completely actually but would also like to add a few other points.

To the good. The valets greeting you are exceptional. Always with a smile wishing you a good day and welcoming you back. They easily and freely gave directions, and recommendations for local attractions and eateries. Far more knowledgable than the concierge actually.

Housekeeping was okay. They did an excellent job tidying up but timing always seemed to be off. Given we had a few days with a conference with set itineries I felt that the staff should be aware of when guests would be in room or out and make them up accordingly as well as turn down service. (they generally showed up at the door at 6pm for turndown as we were trying to get ready for evening events or activities on our own)

The concierge was not very knowledgable about dinner recommendations, or general hotel policy truth be told. Without someone at the activities desk all the time or at guest services full time the logical next choice would be the concierge. Take my word for it and ask the Valets.

Wifi in our room was spotty at best. Two days it was excellent. 7 days I had little luck staying connected. I had a much better connection on the beach. On our last two days I mentioned it to the concierge and our modem was replaced but it was placed on top of the garbage can. I would advise whomever placed it in the room that perhaps the desk above would have been a better location.

The electrical plug in our bathroom was also faulty. If you fiddled with your curling iron just so you might get it to stay working. It was a gfi plug so I reset it assuming perhaps it had tripped. No...it was just poorly wired. Fortunately there was another mirror in the toilet room. There actually were very few plugs in the room at all. We had utilized all the plugs around the desk to charge phones, and ipads. I need a cpap so I had to unplug the light beside the bed if I wanted to charge my camera battery overnight and use my cpap.

Overall the hotel was nice. It could use some updating. The rooms are very spacious. Our "ocean view" was hardly that. (Leaning off the edge of the balcony to see the ocean is not what I call an ocean view. ) Given we spent little time in the room and we were paying a conference rate that did not bother me too much but we also stayed an extra 6 nights in addition to the conference so one would hope that would have been taken into consideration when allocating rooms. If I had paid regular rates I would have been less than amused.

We had no issues with the beach staff unlike the previous poster. $26 for an umbrella is a little pricey and I hate being nickel and dimed after checking in but we bit the bullet and learned not to rent an umbrella again. The wait staff in the restaurants were wonderful. The quiet beach delightful.

There just seemed to be something lacking. Looking at their regular rates (not corporate conference rates) I would expect exceptional. Other 5 stars in that price range we've stayed in have been exceptional. Ritz Carlton, Fairmont, etc. It seems the Kahala is trying to catch up to the times living off it's former glory. I think it can be exceptional again. When paying top dollar for a hotel one expects not to have to worry about a broken coffee pot, electrical plug, modem. etc.

I would stay again for under $325 a night but would not stay again over that rate.

Room Tip: Be sure to ask for a Lanai and that your ocean view actually sees the ocean without body contortions...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Frozenrose
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, October 30, 2012
Thank you for sharing your experience with us and for your kind words about our valet and housekeeping staff. However, I am very concerned that you felt you did not receive exceptional service throughout. Moreover, I am sorry to hear that you felt a bit nickled and dimed, and that concerns us as we certainly don't wish for our guests to leave feeling that way. Kahala is an expensive location and we do all we can to make the facilities and dining prices as affordable as possible for our guests, and we greatly value feedback so that our management team can further assess our policies and offerings. Thank you again for sharing this important feedback with us and for letting us know that other than the price point you had a very enjoyable stay. With kind regards and many thanks.
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2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 24, 2012 via mobile

While the beach property is terrific and the rooms spacious, I have been disappointed with very average & disinterested service, overall feel of the pool area being run down and unappealing, all while the prices of everything are more expensive than a Four Seasons. This is the final stop on a three island vacation (with a work conference for 3 days) - I could not be more positive on all aspects of our stay at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai and at the Four Seasons in Kona -- 2 hotels that exceeded my expectation for beauty, fantastic service, exceptional food and stunning pool and ocean areas.

As I read the reviews, maybe the hotel stills believes in its legacy as a leading hotel - but management should visit some of the higher ranked hotels to figure out what it will take to bring this place back to its legacy. More importantly, the service staff are not fitting for a top-notch hotel, for example: concierge staff had limited knowledge or willingness to help, even getting a couple of chairs set up by the pool seemed to be a hassle - while others in the hotel have been better, just not excellent.

It is clearly time to revisit what the Kahala wants to be; either lower prices and be a four star, or make some substantial changes to compete with a Four Seasons or even Grand Hyatt.

Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
Helpful?
4 Thank Mike K
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, October 26, 2012
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We are listening and are so sorry to hear that you felt your stay with us was a disappointment. And most disheartening to hear is that you were left with the impression that our staff doesn’t care, we are so sorry that is how you were made to feel and we want you to know that this is absolutely not the case. Please accept my apology for any inconvenience, and thank you for expressing your concerns, I greatly appreciate inputs good or bad as they help us to deliver a better Kahala experience.
Should you wish to discuss anything further, one of our Guest Service Manager's would be grateful to chat with you in detail. You may reach the Manager on duty at 808.739.8888. Thank you again for your feedback; we look forward to turning your experience around. With kindest regards
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Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2012

Hello.

We visited here for our Honeymoon in October. Mr Kalozois.

The following review is 100% honest and not seeking anything from the hotel, for either good or bad comments.

Room Type: Partial Ocean Lanai - $700 p/n including breakfast.


Check-in:

Lays on arrival. Extremely friendly staff, from bell staff to check in desk. 5/5 here.


Rooms:

Complimentary Brut for our honeymoon was appreciated.

Unfortunately we found an empty water bottle underneath our dresser on arrival.

Bath tap dripping.

Strange tapping noise from air conditioning.

Nice CD music - hawaiian music playing on arrival.

Nice wicker fan adds to look of room.

Great beds.

Awfully large LCD screen bolted to wall, smaller LED tv would be expected in hotel of this standard.

Expensive pay per view movies, and very limited non HD offerings on television.

Very nice bath robes.

Good selection of bathing products.

Poor floor tiling in bathroom area.

Broken thermostat in shower, didn't compromise use, but plastic handle easily came away from fixing.

Excellent room service.

Excellent housekeeping after initial bottle under dresser. Very very friendly housekeeper. Extra coffee left upon request.

Nice view.


Dining:

Excellent buffet, but expensive if not included. Valued at $90+ per couple.

Spotty service, good one day, not so great the next. Even when breakfast is included the bill is shoved under your nose immediately after sitting down.

Our table was completely cleared when we went to get a plate of food together. Overly eager to get you out. One would expect sincere apology and a rush to get cutlery and drinks back to table. Not so, some ten minutes waiting for this. No apology, but laughs from the staff. Not impressed here.

Hoku restaurant barman asked for ID from us even though we were in their system, we are 27 and 31 respectively. Not worried as is law, but expect they could check ages on system instead of embarrassing us in front of other guests. Very expensive, and cocktails so so. Better value in Waikiki beach. Service impeccable from waiting staff they received a very large cash tip, as we did not want bar staff to share.

Complimentary water at various points within hotel.

Overall dining could be improved but buffet at breakfast offered great choices and quality.


Beach/ pool area:

Exceptional service upon asking for towels and chair covers. Staff will set you up on the beach or by the pool without you asking and do so with a smile. I tipped $2 each time for this. Very happy with this service.

Quiet beach area was appreciated.

$25 charge for umbrella was steep, but considering the staff have to dig a hole and position it each time, is understandable.

$100 for cabana was very steep and not necessary. Quality low. Not net curtains but canvas, and steel not wood.

Small pool but not many using it so this was acceptable.

Excellent service at pool side bar, very pleased here. Excellent staff. Prices reasonable. $15 for burger and fries.

We were told that the hotel is non smoking so we paid extra for a partial ocean lanai which is smoking. We waited until in the room or went to designated smoking area to have a cigarette. Unfortunately double standards allowed guests to smoke on the beach as it is classed as public property. Upon complaining I was informed there was nothing that could be done. In terms of law, fair enough, but feel this double standard let the hotel down wildly. This upset me greatly.


Additional services/ amenities:

Shuttle service into town is booked up extremely quickly and no second run if overbooked. They would also take you out and leave you there if not return space is available forcing between $20-40 return taxi dependant on drop off point. Surprised at this.

Dolphin lagoon is dreamlike. Early morning feeding was wonderful, impromptu show of jumping was spectacular and the trainers were friendly and informative about the dolphins and lagoon. Excellent addition to the hotel. $125 experience, seemed good value.

Shops in hotel expensive, but cater for the type of clientelle expected.

Limited evening activities, forces you into Waikiki too often.


Overall:

Service was exceptional. Let down by a few points of carelessness and double standards with smoking.

We would stay again, but would hope these points of contention are ironed out before returning.

Hotel manager and staff do their jobs very well, and cannot control everything, but one would hope the information filters to the people who can make a difference.


Aloha!
x

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jkalo
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, October 30, 2012
Aloha and congratulations on your recent honeymoon. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, I am so pleased to hear that you found the hotel ambiance to be peaceful and service to be exceptional, however I am very sorry to hear that your were let down in other areas and most of all that we didn’t live up to our usual luxury standards. Thank you for bringing up all your concerns, I have discussed them with our management team and will be working on ways to ensure that your stay is perfect. Thank you again for expressing your concerns - we appreciate it - and we are truly sorry that you left disappointed. We so hope for the opportunity to deliver the true Kahala experience for which we are known sometime in the future. Aloha and best regards.
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Additional Information about The Kahala Hotel & Resort

Property: The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Address: 5000 Kahala Avenue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96816-5411
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:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#3 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#3 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Business Hotel in Honolulu
#6 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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