"Service still an issue, but we love it there"
My wife and I spent a week at Kahala. This was our fourth trip there. Overall, it was, as expected, wonderful. But.....we once again experienced some of the restaurant service issues that I have noticed in the past. We will start with the good news: Our room was magnificent, with a great view of the mountains. We pretty much left our door to the lanai open at all times and enjoyed the fresh air. The king bed was super comfortable and the hotel has replaced its older, seemingly first generation flat screens with modern televisions. The maid service was, as usual, first rate, as was the hotel staff generally. We loved waking up early each morning--we were on west coast time--and going to Plumeria for breakfast. Watching every sunrise from the patio there was magnificent. As I have written in the past, I think the breakfast buffet is excellent and a good value, especially if you can make it last until dinner (but hard to do on west coast time when you are eating before 7 am.) After breakfast each morning we took a walk down the beach and imagined that we had enough money to buy one of the empty beach front mansions. Try it at least once: when you walk back the view of the hotel against the mountains is worth it. We loved hanging out at the pool and swimming in the ocean. One really positive development is that service around the pool and beach has totally improved. For the first time ever on our trips they seemed to be fully staffed. And, they wisely put nachos back on the menu outside, which now seems to have something for everyone. This brings us to the bad news: service at the Veranda was, inexplicably, inconsistent at best and terrible at worst. Every time we went there it took way too long to get drinks. In fact, there were times when we would be seated and not see staff for more than fifteen minutes. It was strange because they seemed to be sufficiently staffed. At times it appeared that the staff did not have specific area assignments. We could never figure out their system. In fairness, it must be said that the staff there was friendly and seemed to be trying (especially the obviously new staff). I also loved their marinated mushroom salad and the shrimp cocktail was a surprisingly good value. Not incidentally, the Veranda has new tables and chairs and seems to be upscaled a bit since our last trip. I suggest--if anyone in management is listening--that the Veranda go back to, and stick with, the Mad Men cocktail bar theme. Sometimes what the adults want is a stiff Martini and a big plate of food. Also on the negative side were the menu options at Plumeria. Even on normal nights it isn't a particularly expansive menu. But what we really objected to was the nearly non-existent menu on Saturday and Sunday, when Plumeria offered their seafood buffet. It just doesn't make sense; their room service menu was operational, so why should you not be able to get the very excellent Kahala burger for dinner on the weekend' A cynic might say they are trying to get people to spend the $60+ on the buffet.... I will try to write an official review for Arancino, the Italian restaurant at the hotel, but suffice say that the drinks and service there are excellent but as far as the food goes stick with their excellent pizza. The shuttle to Hanauma bay, which includes gear, was quite reasonable at $29. But understand that you are just paying for a taxi ride and the gear, not any kind of expertise or guidance at the beach. But go there for sure, as the snorkeling is incredible. Also, if you like to fish you can sign up for a fun canoe trip straight out into the surf from the Kahala beach. Every year I go and always catch some really strange fish. Thumbs up to their guide Peter, whom you will see around the pool running their surfing and paddle boarding services. I am being generous giving Kahala a five on this trip; probably a four or four and a half is more accurate. But despite our criticisms we always love the style and class of the Kahala. As I have said before, if you think this place needs an update go stay at the Hilton at Waikiki. I hope that we will be able to go back to Kahala next year!
"Best drink in Oahu!"
Around 11 on 10/17 the nice lady bartending at the pool grill made me the most wonderful drink I had during our 13 day stay. It was named South of the Border. Lunch was fabulous. The resort & grounds were stunning, relaxing, & peaceful.
"Amazing stay at the Kahala"
We stayed at the Kahala Resort for our wedding anniversary celebration and it was such a wonderful experience. The staff are amazing, especially Jacqui at the front desk who helped us out with our early morning arrival. The hotel rooms are spacious and lovely. The restaurants were great. We enjoyed a special anniversary dinner at Arancino and were totally spoilt. It was a very relaxing stay and we would love to stay there again on our next visit to Hawaii.
"The Veranda restaurant"
Considering how expensive the rooms are at $400+ a night, you would expect that the management would put effort into making the flagship restaurant as good as it could be, but the evening we went both the food and service were a disappointment. The Japanese cook was more interested in flashy design than content, and the quantity hardly qualified as a meal. In the dessert he used a stale Unagi pie, instead of baking it himself. The waitress was out of her depth, even though there were only five covers at that time that evening. We sat outside on the veranda and when the candle blew out we couldn't see our food to eat it! We asked various people to relight it, but it took nearly fifteen minutes to get it relight. The waitress brought a glass of water first, then the silver, then menus and bread as an after-thought after the meal was over! Inattentive, easily distracted and unprofessional, we really didn't want to leave a tip. Conversely the room was excellent and we loved the bed so much that we photographed the manufacturer's label, and the pillow, so that we can order them for our home too. Meal with 2 beers $140 - worth $60'
"Love the Kahala!"
The Kahala is just east of Diamondhead which means it's a little quieter than Waikiki. We were greeted with an orchid lei, and it just got better from there. Had a room facing the hills/mountains with a lanai. The rooms are beautifully appointed, with a large bathroom. I felt like royalty as we strolled through the lobby and around the grounds. Everyone was professional and so friendly. If we get the opportunity to return to Hawaii, we will definitely be staying at the Kahala.
Credit cards accepted by the hotel: Visa - MasterCard - American Express - Diners Club - Japan Credit Bureau (JCB) - Discover
Check-in: 3:00 PM , Check-out: 12:00 PM