I for one have always wondered what it must be like to be a celebrity or royalty and only stay at the finest hotels in the world.
Then I came across The Kahala Hotel & Resort in Honolulu, Hawaii – a legendary property that as it turns out, can provide a small glimpse into that lifestyle.
As evidence of this fact, one need look no further than a non-descript hallway on the ground floor of the hotel, just off the lobby, where there’s a seemingly endless and mind boggling display of photographs of all the distinguished visitors who have stayed at The Kahala over the years.
Truly, The Kahala’s visitors are a who’s who of world leaders and notables. Past guests have included Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Sammy Davis Jr., George Clooney and more. All of their autographed photos and personal thank you notes, hundreds of them, are hanging on the wall, providing a fascinating stroll through the property’s colorful history.
It is not just the celebrity clientele that makes The Kahala so noteworthy. The hotel occupies prime beachfront property in one of Honolulu’s lushest, mansion-filled neighborhoods. It’s tucked away at the end of a quiet street in the Kahala district.
The property includes 338 rooms, five restaurants, a stellar spa, pool and an onsite lagoon that’s home to dolphins and turtles.
Quiet strolls on the beach (an 800-foot stretch of pristine ivory sand), afternoon tea on a restaurant balcony overlooking the ocean and indulgent pampering in the spa, are just some of the ways to pass time here.
Rooms with picturesque views of the Ko'olau Mountains
Guest rooms at The Kahala have a lovely colonial plantation vibe and décor. They are light, clean and beautiful, many decorated in yellow and beige tones, with hardwood floor accents and bathrooms that include tile and marble details.
The hotel has 306 Rooms and 32 Suites. Even the most basic rooms have picturesque views of the Ko'olau Mountains. Bathrooms are oversized with deep-soaking tubs. Room amenities include dressing robe and slippers, wireless high-speed internet access and 40-inch flat screen LCD television.
Suites on the other hand, are a sight to behold. The two-bedroom Presidential Suite, for instance, has quite literally hosted presidents and other international VIPs and luminaries. With its unobstructed panoramic views of the ocean, Ralph Lauren furnishings, and nearly 2,200 square feet of space, including a formal entertaining area and a less formal space for the children, the suite is nicer than some people’s primary homes. Soak it all in, this is what it is like to be among the planet’s wealthiest travelers.
Kids at The Kahala
One of the nicest things about The Kahala is its attention to even the youngest of visitors. Nowhere is this more evident then the hotel’s inner courtyard lagoon, where children can swim with two resident Bottlenose dolphins and get an up-close look at sea turtles.
One of the most popular activities offered here is the Dolphin Quest Encounter, which involves a personal meeting and swim with the two lovable marine animals. As I strolled around the lagoon, I watched two young children beaming with excitement while enjoying their encounter.
The Keiki Club for Kahala Kids meanwhile, offers a full schedule of full day or half day activities for children, allowing parents some of their own downtime.
Variety dining choices at Kahala
There is a variety of dining choices at The Kahala, none of which will leave you disappointed.
The Veranda, as its name implies, includes a balcony overlooking the beach and lagoon. It is one of the best locations in the hotel to sit and enjoy a dazzling Hawaiian sunset, or to people watch, while enjoying appetizers, cocktails or tea and finger sandwiches.
Hoku’s on the other hand, is the hotel’s fine dining offering. It specializes in an intriguing new take on contemporary island fare, mixing Hawaiian, Asian, Mediterranean and European approaches to cooking. The restaurant has developed a reputation for such items as a seafood tower and deep fried whole fish. But be prepared, this can be a premium dining experience, with some entrees costing as much as 170 USD.
Plumeria Beach House, located on the hotel’s ground floor, is a casual, bright, sunny space, that serves a la carte menu items ranging from burgers to steamed clams and mussels. The restaurant, which has both indoor and outdoor dining, also serves a fabulous breakfast buffet (with many healthy options including acai bowls and gluten-free French toast) that at 35 USD per person, is very reasonably priced.
There’s also Seaside Grill, by the beach offering light meals, and Arancino at the Kahala, which specializes in Italian fare.
The Kahala Spa
Spa treatments here are a small slice of heaven. Really. That’s not an exaggeration. My treatment began as I sat in a chair in a private treatment room, looking out through the open balcony windows at the tropical Hawaiian landscape, while a therapist washed and massaged my feet. It’s an experience that’s hard to beat after a long, stressful week.
There are nine treatment rooms at The Kahala Spa, each with its own relaxation area, glass-enclosed shower, deep soak tub and personal changing area. The treatment rooms look as if they’re former hotel rooms that were converted for spa use, and it’s a lovely touch – having what amounts to an entire spa suite to yourself.
Treatments here are designed to heal, relax, detoxify, rejuvenate and renew. Among the noteworthy offerings is the Golden Glow Facial & Body Experience, which includes full body skin brushing, a scrub and body wrap followed by a lomilomi massage. And just when you think you couldn’t get any more relaxed, the treatment shifts to hydrating your skin, including a Hyaluronic infusion from Intraceuticals and gentle micro-current technology.
You will float from the spa back to your room, trust me.
At The Kahala, they like to say “from the moment you arrive, you will know that you are truly somewhere special.” I, for one agree.
It’s a hotel that offers not only stunning beach views, fine dining and and an incredibly indulgent spa, but it also has carefully thought through entertainment for the entire family.
What’s more, the property gives you a chance to live like Kate Middleton for a day. Although the Duchess’ picture isn’t among the photographs hanging on the hotel’s wall yet, she very well could be up there in the future, given this property’s history.
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