The Kahala Hotel & Resort in a Nutshell:
Kahala, the mansion-lined residential area a 10-minute drive from Waikiki, has been called the Beverly Hills of Oahu. In this idyllic setting, the Kahala Hotel & Resort stands alongside a wide crescent of white sand beach adorned with lush green gardens, a cascading waterfall, and lagoon where colorful tropical fish and dolphins cavort. Stunning views of Diamond Head crater frame the 6.5 acre oceanfront property. Presidents (Reagan, Clinton, Obama), royalty (Charles and Diana) and celebrities have vacationed at this traditional hotel, formerly known as the Kahala Mandarin Oriental.
Guest Rooms at The Kahala Hotel & Resort:
The 306 guest rooms average 550 square feet. Suites, about twice that size, and a lavish Presidential Suite are also available. Our room featured pale yellow walls, a comfortable mattress and soft pillows. Each unit includes a 40-inch flatscreen TV, complimentary bottles of water upon arrival, and mini-refrigerator. From our ocean view room, we viewed the dolphin lagoon and beach below our balcony. Our bathroom included a deep bathtub for one and walk-in shower that fits two. Floris of London soaps, loofahs, and toothbrushes are provided, and you can step out of the shower into a chenille bathrobe.
Dining at The Kahala Hotel & Resort:
Although the Plumeria Beach House offers a buffet breakfast, we savored a la carte omelets with boursin cheese, mushrooms, and crabmeat. Service was friendly and we enjoyed the outdoor portion of the eatery at an umbrella-covered table overlooking the Pacific. One evening, we enjoyed Hoku's contemporary Island cuisine. Seafood chowder was savory and creamy but not heavy, and Chilean sea bass was well-prepared. Call ahead to make sure there are no large parties reserving that night. A gaggle of teenage girls made for a noisy background when we dined, but the caring maitre d' suggested another table far from the crowd.
Destination Weddings at The Kahala Hotel & Resort:
Walk through an orchid-adorned arch to exchange vows at a beachfront gazebo with spectacular views of Diamond Head framing the scene. Then celebrate with your guests under an outdoor tent or in a ballroom. Choose one of three wedding reception packages. Mau Loa Me Ke Aloha (“Forever with Love”) includes an overnight stay for the couple and a romantic turndown service with a colorful orchid cascade on the bed, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and sparkling wine. Also included is a relaxing, 75-minute Hawaiian lomi lomi couples massage and the services of a butler to pack your wedding dress and luggage.
Honeymoons/Romance Packages at The Kahala Hotel & Resort:
The “Romantic Kahala” package includes accommodations in a room or suite and dinner for two at Hoku’s contemporary Island cuisine restaurant. Inside your room or suite you’ll find a complimentary CD of Hawaiian love songs as well as champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. From time to time, the Kahala also offers other specials and packages, such as a fourth night free.
Activities at The Kahala Hotel & Resort:
The Kahala offers one of the most private stretches of sand on Oahu. All Hawaiian beaches are public, but this one features a secluded, serene setting, with a coral reef that breaks the huge waves that roar into places like Waikiki. You can watch dolphins frolic in their luxurious lagoon home at the hotel. For an extra charge, you can swim with these gentle creatures at the hotel’s Dolphin Quest. Play tennis, enjoy a free intro to scuba session at the pool, or join Keawe Adventures to learn stand-up paddling, embark on an outrigger canoe, and more. Or opt for a soothing couples massage in a private spa suite.
Nearby The Kahala Hotel & Resort:
Hop on the Kahala Hotel's free shuttle to Waikiki to experience world-class shopping, a variety of restaurants, and night-time entertainment. Drive or take a taxi to the historic U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and the U.S.S. Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Or visit the Bishop Museum, steeped in the history and culture of the Hawaiian islands. Iolani Palace, the former residence of Hawaiian royalty, offers tours of the opulent structure and often features free concerts of Hawaiian music. Or rent a car and drive to Oahu’s North Shore for spectacular surfing at the legendary Banzai Pipeline.
Drawbacks at The Kahala Hotel & Resort:
Although the hotel offers a free shuttle service to and from Waikiki for shopping excursions and more, it does not have one to pick guests up or drop them off at the airport (although The Kahala will arrange for limo service at high prices). Occasional promotions do include transfers.
Vibe at The Kahala Hotel & Resort:
If you’re looking for a romantic, luxurious hotel offering a more secluded vibe than nearby Waikiki, the Kahala is for you. Honeymooners as well as celebrities, heads of state and affluent travelers from as far away as Japan frequent this upscale resort. My husband and I celebrated our anniversary at the Kahala and the ambience and service were perfect for us. Children are allowed at the Kahala, but during our stay, we didn’t hear any crying babies or notice young children running on the grounds.
Kahala Hotel & Resort Info and Reservations:
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
5000 Kahala Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
Official Hotel Web Site
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As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation and meals for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy .