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Honolulu and Oahu Hotels

The Kahala Hotel & Resort

  • 5000 Kahala Ave. Map It
  • Luxurious Retreat
  • Fodor's Choice

Pros

  • Away from hectic Waikiki
  • Beautiful rooms and public spaces
  • Heavenly spa
  • Pet-friendly

Cons

  • Waikiki is a drive away. 5000 Kahala Ave., Kahala, Honolulu, HI, 96816. 808/739–8888 or 800/367–2525. www.kahalaresort.com. 306 rooms, 32 suites. In-room: a/c, safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, pool, gym, spa, beach, children's programs, parking

Updated 01/17/2014

Fodor's Review

The Kahala Hotel & Resort. Hidden away in the upscale residential neighborhood of Kahala (on the other side of Diamond Head from Waikiki), this elegant oceanfront hotel has played host to celebrities, princesses, the Dalai Lama, and nearly every president since Lyndon Johnson as one of Hawaii's very first luxury resorts. The Kahala is flanked by the exclusive Waialae Golf Links and the Pacific Ocean, surrounding it in a natural tranquillity. Pathways meander

out along a walkway with benches tucked into oceanfront nooks for lazy viewing—only a 10-minute ride from Waikiki by free shuttle. The expansive oceanfront CHI Health Energy Fitness Center offers outdoor yoga and Pilates. Fine dining is available at Hoku's; the poolside bar and grill will serve you at your lounge chair on the beach. The reef just offshore makes the waters here calm enough for young kids. You can also sign up for dolphin interactions in the 26,000-square-foot lagoon. The 550-square-foot guest rooms, decorated in an understated Island style with mahogany furniture, are spacious: bathrooms have two vanities, and the lanai is big enough for a lounge chair. If you're a golf fan visiting the second week of January, ask for a room overlooking the course for a bird's-eye view of the PGA Sony Open from your lanai.

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Hotel Information

Address:

5000 Kahala Ave., Honolulu, Hawaii, 96816, United States

Map It

Phone:

808-739–8888; 800-367–2525

Hotel Details:

  • Credit cards accepted
  • 306 rooms, 32 suites
  • No meals

Updated 01/17/2014

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating

By esernel

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Mar 2, 2009

Paradise Renewed

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

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By AaronZZ

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Feb 9, 2007

Consistent

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.

By Maureen

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Feb 5, 2006

A TRUE 5 Star Hotel

This was not our first stay at the Kahala Mandarin and won't be our last. This is what a 5 star hotel should be. Service was outstanding. We booked for our Anniversary and were met with leis and sinful dessert in our room upon arrival. Hotel shows a bit of wear but I understand is headed for a renovation. Atmosphere of this secluded hideaway is perfect. Hoku's restaurant is a treat. At least twice daily maid service and of course "turn down"

at night. Room price is the same as Bellagio/Vegas, but Kahala Mandarin could definately teach the Bellagion a thing or two in every aspect.

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By David

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Feb 1, 2005

Would you like some attitude with that mold?

This was our second stay at this hotel. Last time (Feb 2003), we were told that room renovations were going to be made imminently. Unfortunately, they weren't, and now aren't planned at all. Even back in '03, rooms were showing their age, and we had to move a couple of times to find an acceptable room. This year, we found the room conditions to have declined considerably. Our first room had a very strong musty smell--imagine Grandma's cobwebbed

attic--and you have an accurate picture. This came on the heels of the front desk refusing to give us the room type they had promised, (even though we had re-confirmed with them the day before check-in, and were able to name the person who had confirmed the stay and room type). After much arguing, the hotel finally offered to get us into the promised room type the next day, so we decided to stay the night in a lesser room (no price reduction for the lesser room). They also offered to move us from the musty first room to one of two alternates, which were the same size and type as the first. Unfortunately, both of the alternates had small amounts of black mold growing around the air conditioning vents, and both smelled (if possible) worse than the first room. We decided to stick with the first room. In the hotel's defense, a few minutes after we were checked into our room, a maintenance guy knocked on the door, and offered to "ozone" the room, using an ozonator machine. We declined, but he confirmed that room smell here is a problem for guests. This story does not end well, and we hope to discourage travelers expecting a great experience from this hotel from suffering the same fate that we did. Bottom line for us: great hotel property with beautiful grounds and excellent food, but terrible service and rooms that are in serious need of renovations.

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By Charles

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Jan 5, 2004

Clean and friendly

I cannot believe the comments below about worn carpeting, cigarette butts and wallpaper falling off the walls. I've stayed here many times and it's always been luxury at its best. Do you think Ben Affleck would settle for a dump? He stayed there while making Pearl Harbor.

By Stuart

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Aug 28, 2003

Wow! What a Room!

Spent 3 days here at the beginning of our Hawaiian vacation. This might be the nicest hotel room I've ever had. Very spacious, comfortable and classy, with a HUGE bathroom. We had a nice private balcony with a ridge view. The hotel propery is very nice and the beach is beautiful - excellent for swimming. The location is much more tranquil than in Waikiki. I'm definitely glad we chose to stay in Kahala. Waikiki is very nice, but not my idea

of a tropical vacation spot . . . a little too "Inner City" for me. The grounds, lobby, etc. were beautiful and of course, I loved the dolphins, Rays and Sea Turtles that inhabit the garden pools. The service was OUTSTANDING . . . everywhere I went, everyone called me by my name and was very eager to help. This is a great place to stay in the Honolulu area . . . convenient (as long as you have a car), yet away from the hussle and bussle. Only one slight flaw . . . the restaurants were a little disapppointing. Oh, they were beautiful, but the food was a little underwhelming.

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By William

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Jul 16, 2003

Wonderful experience

I don't understand the criticism from the person below. All rooms are the same size (but only half have balconies), and are fairly large at over 600 square feet. It wasn't busy or crowded when I was there; in fact, the lobby had a quite relaxing, luxurious feel to it. It is always a pleasure to sit there. Staff is always quite friendly and is known for this. True, the swimming pool is not one of those mega-pools with waterfalls and multiple segments,

but that is what I like about it, although to be honest I don't swim in it I just lay around the edges. This is a wonderful hotel. If I have any criticism at all, it is that while the bathrooms are luxurious, the actual "water closet" with the toilet is very, very small - large enough only for the toilet. Also, it can be windy at this location. Weather is better in Waikiki, on average, but you also get the hoards of tourists and bus exhaust. One final note: When you make your reservation, ask if there is an early departure penalty. I recently got surprised by this one, and resented it. Right now, the hotel has great special package offers, such as "every 4th night free". The last time I stayed at the Kahala I had the pleasure of speaking with Jim Nabors ("Gomer Pyle") who was lunching there with friends. Many celebrities stay here. Over the years I have seen many stars - Dolly Parton Stallone, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, Jackie Cooper, O. J. Simpson (pre-murder), John Davidson, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, and dozens of others. If it's good enough for them, it's great for me.

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By MH

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May 31, 2003

Wow!

My first visit to the Mandarin Oriental and definitely not my last. Set in an upscale residential area, the hotel has terrific service, beautiful views of Diamond Head and Koko Head, a nice beach and very cute and lovable dolphins to boot. We got a rate of $235 a night from the Mandarin Oriental website making this an outstanding value. Without a doubt I will stay at the Mandarin on my next trip to Honolulu.

By Tina

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Apr 12, 2003

Kahala Signature Silver Dollar Pancakes are worth their weight in gold

The food at the Kahala can't be beat. The Kahala burger was the best burger in all of Waikiki.

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Dec 14, 2002

Highly Recommended

Great hotel, great location with wonderful service Recommend

By Kathy

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Nov 30, 2002

Not worth the price

I just spent two nights at the Mandarin, capping off a 7-day cruise around the islands. I liked the location--Kahala is nice and relaxing, and much different than the craziness of Waikiki. I was, however, quite disappointed after reading all of the great reviews of this hotel. While the room was large and nice, (particularly the bathroom!) I thought the service was second rate. It simply does not compare to a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons in terms

of service. The room was not cleaned until around 4:00 in the afternoon each day, which was very surprising to me. I also thought the restaurant service was slow and relied heavily on overpriced buffets to accommodate its guests. Finally, while I have no problem with children, the place was overrun with kids, both at the pool and the beach. There was not a lot of control of the situation, either by the staff or parents, so it felt more like Disney World. You don't see this kind of behavior condoned at other premium hotel chains. Skip it, unless, of course, you have a lot of unruly children!

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By Gordon

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Oct 25, 2002

Luxury abound, but at a price

This hotel looks and smells like money. This is the hotel for the rich and famous or for anyone that can appreciate the best that money can buy when in Honolulu. Spacious rooms and luxurious appointments that won't dissapoint one of which is a huge bathroom with his and her areas.

By Ken

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Sep 12, 2002

Went there for honeymoon....

So I didn't exactly paid attention at the bill (hence the 3 points in value). Room was excellent (esp. bathing facilities). Could have done without lots of small kids, but that's no fault of the hotel. Restaurant Hoku was simply excellent,and the lobby cafe had atmosphere. The other restaurants were plain okay. Great getaway place, if money was no object.

By T

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Aug 19, 2002

Fantastic Hotel

Beautiful rooms, great food, gorgeous grounds, close enough to town but secluded enough for relaxation. Worth the trip from anywhere!

By L

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Jul 11, 2002

Amazing service, but lots of kids

Just returned from 2 weeks on three islands. Best service at any hotel I ever stayed at!! Room was nice, great bathroom.

By Amy

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Jul 8, 2002

If You Stay Here, You Won't Regret It

This has to be the best hotel that I have ever stayed in. My husband and I stayed here recently, and we loved every minute of it. From the moment we checked in we felt like valued guests. Everyone was extremely friendly and went out of their way to make our stay as memorable as possible. The hotel and grounds are beautifully decorated and landscaped, and very well maintained. We stayed in a spectacular ocean view room, and had a great view.

The lagoon in the back is not to be missed and the food at the Plumeria Cafe was wonderful. It is a little on the pricey side (the only reason I didn't give it all 5's), but it is well worth it. The hotel is a little ways out from downtown, so if you're looking for something a little quieter, this is a great place. I can't say enough good things about this place, you have to experince it for yourself. We will definately be returning!

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By Eric

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Apr 14, 2002

The best hotel in the world - PERIOD!

I went there several times as a child when it was the Kahala Hilton and I returned for my honeymoon after 12 excruciating years without having been back. I talked it up to my wife for the entire year preceding our wedding and after the honeymmon she said that I didn't even do it justice. You get all of the benefits of the great restaurants and places to go in Oahu without the hustle and bussle of Waikiki Beach. Anyone who doesn't love this hotel

has no taste. The rooms, the atmosphere, the pool, the beach, the food are perfect!

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By John

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Mar 29, 2002

The BEST Choice on Oahu, by far !!!!! Loved It!

For some reason my first review did not save, so here we go again- I spent a LOT of time researching a place to stay on Oahu. As a frequent traveler, I have been fortunate to stay as some wonderful places. It was our 10th wedding anniversary and I had to fulfill my promise of returning to Hawaii, as we spent our Honeymoon on Maui. I chose Honolulu for a change of pace and many things to keep our interest. Here's why to stay at the Mandarin: -

Upscale and classy but NOT snobby - Understated elegance all around you - Lush grounds, "private" beach (all beaches are technicaly public, but...) - Room to roam - Outdoor dining is serene, beautiful - Staff is wonderful, caring and relaxed, yet formal when needed - Away from the bustle of Waikiki, but only a few minutes away by FREE shuttle which makes 12-15 round trips per day. - Dolphins and exotic fish on property, as are a waterfall, gazebo for weddings, watersports, pool, snack bar, etc., etc. - Rent a cabana on the beach and get fresh fruit and Evian from faithful host Lloyd. - GREAT cozy rooms with unique bathrooms with 2 separate sinks and separate shower/tub. HUGE terraces with views. Don't waste time thinking about other places. Visit other places and explore. We were going to stay at Halekulani and after visiting there we were SO glad we didn;t stay there. It is a crowded postage stamp lost in the bustle of Waikiki, complete with a Denny's across the street. Kahala Mandarin is like an old friend that you are sad to leave when it is time to go.....

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By Peter

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Mar 15, 2002

unimpressive

Service and restaurants are not first rate.

By Karen

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Feb 20, 2002

A lovely oasis

We found this hotel to have understated elegance. Its Asian atmosphere was calming. The beach and vistas are quiet and lovely, the food in the various restaurants was creative and delicious, and the service was tops. Tucked away from the crowds of the city! The room had a four poster king bed, fabulous linens, and luxurious bathroom with heavy terry robes. Only slight disadvantages were that our second story (1st floor)corner room was close to the

garbage collection area, which made a bit of noise in the a.m. and the bath, toilet, and closet areas were all in one room, which made it a bit tight for a couple.

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By A

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Feb 17, 2002

Disappointing

Stay at a better hotel like the Halekulani or go to another island to really get good service.

By Kristi

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Jan 31, 2002

Great with or without kids!!!

Stayed Jan. 2002 with our 3 children. We can't wait to go back! The kids loved the dolphins and swimming in the ocean. We (the adults) loved the beautiful beach, the Veranda for cocktails after dinner, the traditonal hawaiian feel that you don't get in Waikiki even at the Halekulani..rave rave rave!!

By Hal

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Dec 17, 2001

Heaven

Everything here is PERFECT! There is a lot of privacy and cordial service here. The room was beyond expectations. WE had a mountain view room overlooking the golf course. Talk about quiet and serene. The front desk staff that took us to the room apoligized because we didn't have an ocean view. We didn't need it.

By Kerry

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Oct 1, 2001

We've never seen anything like it!

We stayed here for the first four nights of our honeymoon, before heading to Maui. No hotel that I've been in even comes close to this place! We liked being out of the hustle and bustle of Waikiki but still on a great beach. The staff is 100% friendly and is eager to help plan outings for you. We felt like royalty! The rooms are huge and beautiful (and we had the cheapest grade room), the restaurants are fantastic, and the atmosphere is peaceful.

I can't think of one bad thing to say about this place.

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By Frank

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Aug 19, 2001

Class all the way!!!

We stayed here with our two teenage children (17 & 14) last week. They even loved it. Great service and atmosphere. Everyone says "hello", front desk personnel accompany you to your room, at breakfast they don't refill your coffee - they give you a new filled cup,.

By Robbie

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May 9, 2001

The best in Oahu!

I spent 5 nights at the hotel and think its the best in Oahu but remember its really a hotel and not a resort. I wouldn't stay anywhere else on Oahu. If your into true Hawaii make sure you don't miss Kauai. I have a feeling that Kauai is today what Oahu was 100 years ago. The Kahala staff is awsome and the little things the hotel does for you really add up in the end such as ice cold face clothes given to you during your day at the beach or pool

or the free use of CD players while sunning. Hoku's was not our best meal but definitely worth it for the view and good service. The pool is realtively small and there is no real pool bar. Definitely do the dolphin experience.

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By Kim

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May 6, 2001

BEST ON OAHU

Halekalani is nice if you want to be in Waikiki, but this is the ultimate hotel address on Oahu. I have been coming to this hotel since I was a child (when it was the Kahala Hilton). the Mandarin has done a beautiful job renovating, but keeping its character. Nice beach, excellent restaurant - Haku, and very nicely appointed rooms. Be sure to get one facing the ocean with a balcony. Our favorite on Oahu! And love the neighborhood!

By Beth

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Jan 6, 2001

The nicest hotel I've ever stayed at.

The rooms are great!! After sleeping on their bed with the goose down feathers and the so comfortable matress, I came home and bought a matress that compared to it. We had a mountain view room and the lights twinkled at night on the mountain. I thought I was in a dream world, it was so pretty. My kids enjoyed the dolphin encounter at the hotels own laggoon. The food was equally as nice as the room. Roy's resturant is just down the road and

faces KoKO head crater. That is a must if you stay at the Kahala. Also keep driving pass Roy's and the drive is abosultey breath taking. The Kahala is the nicest world class hotel I've ever stayed at!!! It seems worlds away from the caios at Wakkikii.

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By Judy

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Nov 2, 2000

Absolutely Loved It

This is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed in. The rooms were large, bright, and tastefully decorated. I appreciated the comfy pillows and down comforter, the hardwood floors covered with area rugs, and the lack of outside noise. I especially liked the marble bathroom, with its separate "his" and "hers" facilities and large soaking tub. The staff was extremely friendly (that aloha spirit) and attentive. I use this hotel as my yardstick for

other hotels, which is unfortunate since most other hotels fail to measure up.

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