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“AMAZING EXPERIENCE!”

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The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Ranked #6 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
1 review
“AMAZING EXPERIENCE!”
Reviewed January 7, 2013

My husband and I just recently stayed at The Kahala for our yearly Hawaiian vacation. This was our first time staying here...what an amazing experience! The staff went above and beyond to make sure that our needs were met and we were impressed! Anyone looking for an upscale, top-notch Hawaiian vacation needs to experience staying at this resort! We can't wait to come back again next year...Mahalo!!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank fitmomm
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, January 8, 2013
Aloha, we are very happy that you had such a great vacation with us at The Kahala and are very grateful that you would share your experience with us and the rest of the online community. Nothing makes us happier than to hear that we were able to exceed your expectations and were able to deliver that special magical brand of Aloha. Thank you very much for the review and recommendation of the property. We look forward to welcoming you back! Aloha a hui ho!

With Kindest Regards,
Roseann Grippo
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2,802 reviews from our community

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  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (561)
Date | Rating
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English first
San Francisco, California
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2013

We had the best vacation ever in The Kahala, Honolulu! The staff was the best ever, they all behaved like they went through charm school and were genuine in trying to make our vacation the best ever successfully! The room was fabulous, the view brought tears to my eyes every morning. The bed makes you feel that you're on a cloud. The restaurants on the property are wonderful and responsible for quite a few extra pounds by the time we returned home. Hoku's lamb chops are out of this world!

Room Tip: Ask for an ocean view!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank IngridA A
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, January 9, 2013
Mahalo Nui Loa and thank you for staying with us. It delights me to hear that you enjoyed your stay and we were able to exceed your expectations. I will definitely let our culinary team know about your wonderful compliments of our lamb chops. Thank you for your loyalty to our resort and for taking the time to write such wonderful words about your stays with us. We can't wait to welcome you back again!

With many thanks and aloha from all of us at The Kahala Hotel & Resort.
Roseann Grippo
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Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 6, 2013

Just returned from a beautiful environment, fantastic food and caring staff experience at the Kahala. Kahala is just as beautiful as I remembered! The food was amazingly good. My absolute favorite was the hot Caesar salad as it was so different and yet so fantastically tasty and attractive. It was my first trip back after the death of my husband of 46 plus years so it was so hard to be there without him. The staff were so welcoming to me, expressed such loving sympathy and worked so hard to ake me comfortable. I watched their interaction with other guests and they showed each person individually how much they wanted them to have the best of hotel stays. Kudos to all of you!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Atlanticisland
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, January 9, 2013
Aloha and thank you for sharing your kind comments about our resort. I am so happy to hear that you were pleased with our amazing staff and wonderful culinary team. It is such a compliment that you chose to return to the Kahala after all these years. We can’t wait to welcome you back!

With Kindest Regards,
Roseann Grippo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland Ohio
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2013

My wife and i stayed at while visiting customers in Honolulu. We had dinner at the hotel and it seemed like a blast. The restaurant is truly a gem but the rooms and hotel do hold something to desire. I think it can be said it needs an update. Room was spacious but the views are stinky. We tried to get a room with a partial ocean view but the partial was left to the imagination from the balcony. We then moved to upgrade at $175 additionally each night only to find the parking lot view was worse. We went back to our keyhole view of the ocean. Room was pretty, colonial in style and old in my opinion and the interior and lower level is all dated. Service is good and the outside bar is pleasant. Frankly most of Honolulu needs the same type of face lift and any hotel taking the first step will get the benefit the investment deserves. I would certainly recommend the place especially if the golf course is available to you via reciprocity from a mainland club. Great course!!

Room Tip: Partial view is really just the keyhole glimpse and the island views are more like a parking lot vie...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TheKeeneGuy
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 8, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to send your feedback following your recent stay. I was pleased to see that you enjoyed your dining experience and the outside bar near the pool and thought that our employees provided good service. However, I was sorry to learn that you were disappointed with the room category you booked and tried other rooms only to return to your original location and view. We have many categories that offer something to meet everyone's needs. We also offer promotions during the year to highlight a specific category at a special value, which I hope you will take advantage of during the new year. Thank you again for sharing your positive comments as well as your concerns. We look forward to your return visit and the chance to see more of our improvments as we open Arancino, install new carpeting, and finalize The Veranda lounge! We welcome the opportunity to be of service to you again. Aloha and my best regards.
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
110 reviews
84 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2013

Kahala Hotel

We came here after 5 days on the North Shore at Turtle Bay Resort for the final 5 days of our vacation. It was a serious let down.

The Good
Location is great – away from the noise of Waikiki. The beach is lovely, nice sand and great swimming conditions.
The Dolphins are wonderful and the Dolphin Quest team is very friendly and helpful.
Service at Hoku’s was excellent. The food was of a good standard - not great, but better than the rest of the resort food.

The Bad
The cabanas. Normally you can rent for an hour but over the holiday period you have to take for the whole day. The second cabana we booked took over an hour to deliver and they are like mini torture chambers – very hard and not long enough to hold a standard person.
The rooms – while large they are poorly laid out and you have to perform a contortion act to get into the tiny toilet cubicle which seems smaller than an aircraft toilet room.
The food and service at Plumeria for an evening meal was ghastly.
The beds are not comfortable.

The Ugly
As previous reviewers have mentioned not getting the bedding configuration you booked and how the front desk staff handle this. We too booked back in August and ended up with the two single beds instead of a King size bed. An argument ensued at check in which was not handled at all well by the check in staff who seemed to blame us for not knowing that this was their policy. It is ridiculous when you are paying $1000 per night that this is “on request”. Imagine the plight of a honeymoon couple booking a king size room and ending up with two single beds! Beyond a joke.

The breakfast situation is the worst we have experienced at any hotel. Based on the reviews we tried booking a time for breakfast, but even that didn’t work – we were kept waiting almost 45 minutes after our reservation time for a table. First you queue to register then you queue to wait for a table – there is no waiting area so you are left standing the entire time. The frustrating part is that there is no reason for this – there are plenty of empty tables, it is just very poorly managed.

To sum up, the resort has huge potential but it is very poorly managed.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Kiwi75
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, January 7, 2013
Thank you for staying with us again and for taking the time to send your comments. I was delighted to see how much you enjoy our secluded location and the great conditions for swimming or relaxing on the beach.
I am disappointed that we did not meet your expectations and that you felt let down. I truly apologize and I can assure you that I am working with our management teams so that we can improve and exceed your expectations.
Thank you again for your feedback, your feedback is highly valued and very helpful as we move forward at the resort. 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,

Roseann Grippo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed December 31, 2012

I note there have been plenty of positive reviews of the Kahala Hotel and Resort. I would like to offer a different perspective.

First thing to consider is that this is a very expensive property. Rooms cost more than $750 a night in peak season, breakfast not included.

Second is that demand is so strong for Hawaiian hotels - 2012 will an all-time record year for visitations - that the hotels in Waikiki/Honoloulu don't have to try for business, it just walks through the door.

The knock-on effect is that some staff, especially at the Kahala's front desk, are good at saying "Aloha" and "Mahalo" but out of their depth when there's a genuine issue.

I would argue that they are blind to the basic needs and expectations of customers, such as that you'll get the room you have paid for.

In our case that was a garden view room with two double beds.

Check-in was from 3pm but our family of four - including two teenagers - was not given a room key until 40 minutes later.

No staff member approached us during this time to offer hospitality of any kind - drinks, snacks whatever. In Asia, at this kind of rate, we would have been fawned over.

Anyway, I got the key and checked out the room which had a double king bed and nothing else in it.

In other words it was not the room we had booked.

I returned to the front desk and dealt with another receptionist, told her brusquely we had the wrong room, please fix it.

She is a little taken aback and informs me that there is no guarantee at the Kahala you will get the room you have booked.

She says it's not a firm booking we have made but a "request" for two double beds in the same room.

I check the fine print and she is right. Two double beds is classified as a "service request".

There is no guarantee we will get what we paid $2,290.64 over three nights for.

We made the booking and paid 75% in August, the balance in October.

No-one from the property has contacted during this time to advise that the room we had booked, requested or whatever would not be available.

So, our expectation was that it would be.

Anyway, I get angry, we've been waiting forever, paid $750 a night for truly awful service, drop the f-bomb as in just "f_______ fix it" and walk away.

We wait another 20 or 30 minutes, again no one offers any kind of hospitality, until my wife approaches the front desk and told "great news, we have a room for you".

I take a look and there are two large single beds, a chaise lounge and a rollaway bed to accommodate our family.

Again, not what we had asked for - or so we thought. At least give us another rollaway bed and get rid of the chaise, which had no bedding.

We are later informed that we have in fact been given two double beds. Huh? They look so small. We measure and find they are 1.4m wide, big enough for a couple of honeymooning midgets but not much else.

I've just checked with Wikipedia and the official US double bed measurement is 1.9m - 500mm larger than what the Kahala is calling a double bed.

But I digress. We are still upset at the lack of hospitality we have received and ask for breakfast to be included and instead get into an argument with the receptionist who does nothing at all to defuse the situation. Instead, she further inflames matters by blaming us.

At no stage over the preceding 90 minutes has any staff acknowledged that a series of errors from the hotel has brought us to this point.

We have been offered zero hospitality. Somehow they think it is all our fault.

The customer service director is brought in one assumes to calm matters. Instead she adds fuel to the fire. Another staff member joins in and adds another voice to the argument, the hotel's voice of course.

By now the volume is up. Loud but not shouting. Again, I repeat, no effort has been made to defuse the situation.

In fact, the customer service director says something like "ok that's it, I am calling security" with the implied threat we are getting kicked out of the hotel.

For what? Sticking up for ourselves? Raising our voices in an argument that is 90% down to the Kahala not fulfilling its obligations - not one of them - as an elite hotel charging $750 a night.

Who knows. The fact is that Honolulu./Waikiki is totally told out. It is two days before New Year's Eve and there is literally nowhere for us to go. Somehow we get the keys back, go to the room and try to calm down.

My wife, who worked as a flight attendant at Qantas for 14 years, is incredibly upset. The staff have been doing nothing but sticking up for themselves and their mistakes, then call security to sort it out.

It's bizarre.

I later speak with the front desk manager who was aware of the fracas at the time it was happening but did nothing to intervene. I ask him why did this occur and he once again offers the hotel's perspective, which is essentially that nothing is guaranteed.

He does not acknowledge the lack of hospitality we received while waiting for the room ("we only say check-in is after 3pm, not at 3pm"), and also attempts to justify offering us a king room with a single bed for four people, the basic error that led to everything else.

I ask him to make my wife happy. He sends up a bottle of domestic sparkling wine and a note that offers no apology just the message: "We hope you are feeling better".

He offers also breakfast as token but, not as it turns out, for all of us. Just two people from our family of four get breakfast on the house, everyone else must pay.

As for the hotel and infrastructure, it's quite nice but nothing special.

Great location, small pool, crowded, decent beach. Guests - lot of Japanese and a mix of other nationalities.

Breakfast buffet is average, the food at Plumeria good, as is the wine list.

For these reasons I will give the property two stars. If this was only on service, the Kahala would get nothing.

In summary, front desk staff are poorly trained and have no idea of genuine hospitality or how to deal with a guest with a justifiable complaint.

A bit of customer service 101 would have nipped this whole thing in the bud.

Of course, that did not happen.

In fact it was the customer service director who called security rather than making her guests feel special.

It's so ridiculous, you just have to laugh.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
22 Thank TruMarc
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, January 3, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns regarding your recent stay at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. We do appreciate your feedback and we are deeply sorry that your experience with us was less than perfect.

I understand that our Front Office Team did extend a complimentary buffet breakfast for all in your party (they were adjusted off in the final statement folio upon checkout.) as our way of making amends. We regret that we could not provide you with the bedding type confirmed and despite how it may seem, our Front Desk team did try their best to accommodate but was not able to.

I sincerely hope that you will give us another opportunity to regain your confidence in The Kahala Hotel & Resort. And I would like to offer my personal assistance in arranging your next stay if you would contact me at rgrippo@kahalaresort.com. Please feel free to contact me directly if you wish to discuss further.

Most Sincerely,

Roseann Grippo
General Manager
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
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Medford, Oregon
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank blacklab776
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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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
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#3 Spa Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Luxury 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 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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