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“We Loved This Beautiful Piece Of Paradise” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Kahala Hotel & Resort

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The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Ranked #5 of 84 Hotels in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“We Loved This Beautiful Piece Of Paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 14, 2006

We were really excited and looking forward to staying at this resort but started to get a little apprehensive after reading some of the latest reviews that had been posted on Trip Advisor. Well, we needn't had worried, from the moment we walked into the beautiful, light filled lobby and were warmly met by everyone from the front door man to the desk person until the last minute of our stay when we were saying good-bye to everyone and presented with our leis to take home, our whole stay was just a wonderful experience that we just can't wait to repeat. Our Ridge View room without lanai on the second floor was exactly as pictured and as expected. We had a beautiful view of the hills and of the peaceful green golf course below. The room was spotless and was kept that way every day of our stay by the very friendly and attentive staff. It had two beds as requested since we were traveling with our two daughters, 6 years old and 7 months old. The hotel layout is so well done that no matter where in the hotel you are staying, you are no more than about 5 minutes away from the pool, lagoon, restaurants, spa, shops, or their perfect little beach. The beach was one of the most peaceful places we've ever seen. Due to two breakwaters which are dotted with palm trees on each side of the beach/cove, the water at the beach was always calm, sorry no waves for those of you that may want to do any type of surfing. We were looking for a nice, peaceful getaway with our daughters at the end of the summer and that's exactly what we got. Even our 7 month old enjoyed the ocean in her floatie. The food at the beachside bar was excellent and even though it wasn't inexpensive it wasn't outrageously expensive. The most expensive item on the menu was a Lobster salad at $25.00 which I splurged on our last day at the beach and it was delicious with huge pieces of lobster in it. The rest of the menu items ranged from salads to burgers and hot sandwiches for between $12.00 and $17.00 dollars each, including fries. There was also a kids (or "keiki") menu with burgers and large hot dogs for about $10.00 each that also came with fries. Drinks were on the expensive side with most drinks in the $8.50 to $9.50 range. However, the waiters roaming around the pool and beach area are not allowed to bring alcoholic drinks to the beach due to State restrictions only food so, you can either go to the bar and get a drink and bring it back down to the beach yourself or enjoy your drinks by the pool which is a skip and a jump from the beach. You might also opt for bringing a couple of nice bottles of champagne (or your drink of choice) from home or your room and enjoy them at the beach. You may have to do the mixing and/or pouring yourself but the staff will be more than happy to provide you with cups, wine chiller, napkins, etc., as needed, and you save yourself the drink prices - just an option! Please note, the hotel is in a quiet residential area (no other hotels around) so the only shopping and restaurants are at the hotel. This may sound very limiting except for the quality and variety of food at their four restaurants make up for this slight deficiency. They were all excellent. These were however, expensive (entrees between $25.00 and $40.00 each) with options for the children at about half those prices. We enjoyed room service a couple of nights and it was great. Again, the delivery staff was extremely friendly and always going out of their way to be nice to everybody. There is a complementary shuttle service that can take you into Waikiki everyday, throughout the day and night where you can try their abundance of restaurants at varying prices, shopping until collapsing, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the large crowds, and daytime and nightime excitement. We did it once and enjoyed the convenience of this service. Our 6 year old daughter also enjoyed their "formal" (hawaiian laid-back style) afternoon tea in the beautiful lobby. This was a great, fun experience for her. The server was so nice to our daughter and explained to her all the nuances of having afternoon tea. Also, for the $22.00 charge you get quite a lot of food, you may also get "a la carte" sandwiches for about $8.00 each which are whole sandwiches (egg salad, cucumber, duck with hoisin sauce) that they then cut into triangles, so you get 4 triangles (a full sandwich) for $8.00. A good, delicious value. We didn't make it to the spa but it looked very nice. The breakfast buffet at the Plumeria Restaurant each morning was excellent (and between the 4 of us we have some picky eaters!). It had everything from the sweetest fruits you ever tasted (pineapple, mango, melon, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, bananas) to yogurts - homemade and store bought, cold and hot cereals, chocolate and regular milks, juices (orange, pineapple, guava) , salads, cheeses, meats, breads, homemade morning pastries, bacon, at least 2 different types of sausages, potatoes, made to order eggs and omelettes and a full Japanese breakfast (my daughter had miso soup every morning and loved it). It was a great way to start the day. The shops are limited to only a couple of boutiques and a small sundries and souveneer shop. For large scale shopping, take the shuttle to Waikiki, you'll be there in about 15 minutes. You can buy "Kahala" logo wear at the hut by the pool along with any pool item you may have forgotten at home. The pool is average size but perfect, never too crowded and if there happens to be a little too many kids jumping in for your taste, just head to the beach, plenty of chairs there. We opted for a "cabana" on a couple of days. You should reserve these the day before though if you are interested. They cost $30.00 for the day and it's basically two chaise lounges covered with a yellow canopy which someone comes to setup for you right at the beach, this way you have shade all day, you also get a little cooler brought to you mid-day filled with cold fruits and water. It was private and nice. The days we didn't rent the cabanas we were able to find plenty of room to sit under the trees on the beach by the pool area. I almost forgot the Dolphin Quest entertainment. The hotel hosts Dolphin Quest which provides children and adults with an opportunity to swim and feed the dolphins. The prices are varied (from about $199.00 to over $500) depending on the type of venture you choose and it looked like everyone was having a good time. We decided to just watch on this trip. That was a lot of fun in itself. You can stand on the little bridge leading from the hotel to the lagoon/pool/beach area and watch all day if you want, the trainers and dolphins doing tricks or just swimming around the large lagoon. There are also two stingrays, some turtles and fishes which swim around the lagoon all day. Our daughters both enjoyed watching these. There is a kiddie pool but most kids seem to like using the big pool. Most kids were very well behaved. There were a lot of families staying at the resort when we were there and it created a nice atmosphere FOR US, more than a few were visiting from Japan. We rented a car for one day at the lobby and enjoyed driving around the island (the Dole Pineapple plantation was fun). We were able to return the car that same night at the lobby and save the daily valet parking fee which is between $17 and $24 for those who bring a car. Well, I think I've hit on most everything. We went to the Kahala to have a nice peaceful time and got every penny of our money's worth. If you decide to go - and you should, don't look for warts where there aren't any, just let go and enjoy yourselves, there is NOTHING perfect in this world, but the Kahala sure came close.

  • Liked — The location and beach
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
20 Thank MJWhite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,617 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (520)
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English first
San Francisco, CA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2006

This hotel seemed to have everything going for it: far enough removed from the mess that is Waikiki, but close enough if you want to spend an afternoon or evening there; an idyllic location on a small, but calm and beautiful beach; large rooms with incredible views of the ocean; a legendary reputation for understated elegance and service. This seemed exactly what we were looking for in a hotel for our first visit to Oahu. We have deliberately avoided Oahu over the years, thinking the entire island was a combination of Miami Beach and LA. The North Shore of Kauai (Princeville Hotel) and the Big Island (Four Seasons Hualalai) were our typical choices for islands and resorts over the years. The Kahala seemed a reasonable but similar option for Oahu. I read with concern the mixed reviews on this website about the Kahala, but thought we'd give it a try nonetheless. Besides, the only other option was the Halekulani which sits in the heart of the worst traffic and construction chaos in the Hawaiian islands. It also has a sliver of a beach that disappears in high tide.

We desperately wanted to love the Kahala. But, in the end it was a MAJOR disappointment. The service is fabulous -- from check-in to the impossibly quick valets to the incredibly helpful staff. The setting and beach for the hotel are wonderful. But everything else is one big disappointment. You have to remember that this hotel was built in 1964. Hotel designs and guest priorities were completely different then. The design and flow of this resort are completely flawed. I've never seen a hotel whose parking garage sits oceanfront, while the hotel rooms are set back overlooking the porte cochere. You hear mufflers and accelerating cars all night long (not waves crashing against the surf). The hotel rooms are probably 20 years past their prime. Our entire room smelled of such strong mildew, we had to burn incense at night to tolerate the odor. The ceilings are stained with nasty mold near the A/C vent, all the wood furniture is dinged and chipped, the flooring is stained and worn, the mattress was hard and lumpy, etc. etc. etc. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Every negative comment you read on this website about the condition of the hotel is accurate. The best possible solution? Sell the property to the Four Seasons and let them bull-doze the entire resort.

You should also know that the hotel is in the middle of major work to its roof (of course you're only notified of this at check-in, not when you make your reservation). Forget about enjoying a quiet morning or afternoon in your room with the balcony door open or sitting at the tiny pool. You should also know that the Kahala area because of its southern-most location on Oahu, gets exposed to far more wind and clouds than other parts of Honolulu, particularly Waikiki. One night we were walking in the warm sun and gentle seabreeze in front of the Hilton Village in Waikiki around 5:00 p.m., only to return to tropical storm-level trade winds and sunshine blocked by buildings or afternoon clouds a few minutes later at the Kahala. This hotel was always windy and felt about 10-15 degrees cooler than Waikiki, especially when the trades kick in during the afternoon. I'm beginning to understand why people choose to stay in Waikiki over other parts of the island. Also know that the hotel hosts probably 3-5 weddings per day, so be prepared for noisy receptions into the night (which you can hear from your room with the slider closed).

Having said all this, we didn't find a decent alternative to the Kahala. So I'm not sure where would stay if we ever return to Oahu. We absolutely loved the island -- the eastern shore mountains are incredibly beautiful, the snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is an amazing experience, the drive along the north shore serene and beautiful. Just don't expect anything near a Four Seasons-level resort in Oahu, which is very unfortunate. I'm hoping they'll buy the Kahala someday soon and fix it.

  • Liked — Setting, beach area
  • Disliked — Property condition, design
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
39 Thank sfpals
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 8, 2006

rooms need work and the level of service for such an expensive resort was terrible. Definitely not up to their rating. Provided surf lessons and then neglected to provide the right gear resulting in serious injury to one of us.

  • Liked — beach
  • Disliked — service, staff
  • Stayed October 2005, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
17 Thank mfcinla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montclair,NJ
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 6, 2006

If you want a beautiful hotel, great service, great food, friendly staff and a semi-private beach (as private as you can get in Hawaii where all beaches are public) that is minutes away from all the action of Waikiki, then the Kahala is for you. Did I mention the dolphins?

True, it's expensive. Plus the daily valet charge and all the taxes hurt. But, if you want to have a nice, relaxing and elegant stay in Honolulu, consider the Kahala. You get what you pay for....

We booked our room through American Express Platinum Travel Services and where upgraded to a prime ocean with balcony room.

The room was spacious: king size bed, couch, desk, side chairs, etc. Bathroom had tub, shower and 2 sinks and plenty of closet space. The view of the ocean was magnificent. Make sure to ask for a high-floor. Our 10th floor (top floor) room as excellent.

Our package included breakfast at Plumeria which was terrific. We were greeted everyday by charming hostesses and sat outside. One day we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. Some guests make reservations. We read the paper and waited.

Go for the breakfast buffet and enjoy all the fresh fruit, waffles, cereals, baked goodies, breads, meats and made-to-order omlettes.

Hokus for dinner was a special event. Way too pricey: Appetizers where $25. Best value was a bottle of wine for $32.

Hotel can use a little sprucing up but overall it was a piece of heaven: spacious public rooms, friendly staff and great location for relaxation.

Stayed August 2006
Helpful?
6 Thank DCinMontclair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oahu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
93 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2006

My wife and I stayed at the Kahala at the end of August. We were promptly greeted and recognized as returning guests. Service was excellent. (Front desk as well as maid service) Our room was not ready (it was 1pm when we arrived) so we to Ala Moana and they called on my cell phone to let me know the room was ready. Our luggage was already taken to the room when we got back.

The restaurants are very good, although somewhat pricey (what isn't in Honolulu).

The rooms are nicely appointed with very large bathrooms. We had a room with a lanai with a Diamond Head view.

The beach is very nice although my only complaint was with the beach service center which was understaffed when I used it.

You can spend hours whatching the dolphins and turtles on the property .

We have stayed there before and would continue to recommend it for anyone that wants the convenience of being close to Honolulu without the traffic of Waikiki. It costs more than a Waikiki hotel but the quality of the service is worth it.

  • Liked — Quality of the service
  • Disliked — Beach Service center understaffed and not as customer friendly as the rest of the hotel
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank South_Pacific_Seas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
48 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 28, 2006

What ridiculously high room rates for a mediocre property that doesn't yet have its act together. I used to love the Kahala Hilton, and then Kahala Mandarin Oriental. New owners have a long way to go. There's more to running a new property than jacking up the rates and cutting back on service.

Stayed August 2006
Helpful?
19 Thank AlanLight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2006

What a disappointment. When you are paying 600.00 a night for a room you expect Four Seasons quality rooms and hotel. What we got was Quality Inn. When walking down the hall you cannot help but notice the that the halls are not air conditioned. When you walked in our rooms 929 and 927 you were overwhelmed with the smell of mildew. The bathtub ( which you had to walk to the shower to get to) was rusting, peeling wallpaper and the parkay floor was coming up, due to the mold growing underneath it. They obviously have a mold and mildew problem. I cannot believe that this hotel is a Leading Hotels of the World and a part of the American Express Platinum travel program. Someone form the respective companies really needs to go visit this hotel. The only thing would improve this hotel is a bulldozer!

  • Liked — Hoku's restaurant
  • Disliked — rooms
  • Tips/Secrets — do not go!
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
29 Thank Muchotravelo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 On the Beach Hotel in Honolulu
#2 Romantic Hotel in Honolulu
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Business Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Luxury Hotel in Honolulu
#4 Spa 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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