Not much has changed since Mandarin Oriental stopped managing the Kahala. Service is certainly better now and the staff seem genuinely happier than before. The place is in a bit of a time-warp but we like that aspect and the food has improved too. Rooms are getting a little shabby but are still quite comfy. We stayed a few days at the Hilton for convenience due to some commitments downtown but it was nice to get back here after that experience.
Just returned from a wonderful 5 days at the redecorated Kahala and had a terrific time. We had a lanai room in the Koko Head wing overlooking the pool and the dolphin lagoon and the ocean which was spectacular. Our flight arrived very late and when we got to the hotel we had been pre-checked in so we were addressed by name, given our key and went to our room which had a good bottle of champagne and chocolate strawberries awaiting us. Having stayed at this wonderful property regulary over the years since it was the Kahala Hilton and watching it decline and come back up, I can happily say that this is the best place in Oahu. We did go to Waikiki and spent some time at the Halekulani which is nice, but it is always a pleasure to get away from the maddening crowd (although the downturn in economy has certainly hit Honolulu as it has hit elsewhere and it certainly wasn't as crowded as in the past), and we look forward to our return to the Kahala again soon