by Amanda Geronikos
Like Turtle Bay Resort on North Shore, The Kahala Hotel & Resort is isolated from other hotels on Oahu, allowing families to enjoy an authentic beach vacation in Hawaii. Yet, the property is close to Waikiki (about 15 minutes away), and provides complimentary shuttle service to a few attractions nearby.
The resort perfectly blends luxury and value, wowing guests with its beautifully furnished lobby, accommodations, amenities and overall setting, but without the additional resort fee required at most island resorts. The beachfront hotel has two swimming pools, including a small one just for kids; children’s programming; a spa; shopping; and several onsite dining options.
The best part about a stay at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, however, is Dolphin Quest. The program offers a unique opportunity for children as young as 5 to interact with dolphins. It’s a truly amazing experience your family won’t soon forget.
Our Editor Loves
- Dolphin Quest
- Kids' programming
- Private beach
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The hotel's rooms and suites feel particularly spacious, thanks to high ceilings and sliding doors that open on to patios or balconies. There are 338 rooms in total, and most feature separate showers and deep soaking tubs.
Note: Room rates are based on single or double occupancy, but children ages 17 and under stay free. If sharing a room with additional guests over the age of 17, there is an extra charge of $100 per person, per night. Only four people are permitted in most rooms, with the exception of the two-bedroom suites; they sleep six. Connecting rooms are also available.
Rollaway beds are available for $75 per night; there is a limit of two per room. Cribs can be requested free of charge for infants, and the hotel provides special amenities just for babies.
This room has one king or two double beds, and faces the Ko'olau Mountains.
This room type also comes with one king or two double beds and views of the Ko'olau Mountains. Instead of a patio, it has a balcony.
This is the best option for families, offering full views of the dolphin lagoon! It comes with one king or two double beds, and has a full balcony.
This room has a Juliette balcony -- allowing just enough space to step outside and take in the views. It comes with one king or two double beds.
Ocean View Lanai
This room affords views of both the ocean and famous Diamond Head from its full balcony; it comes with one king or two double beds.
This room is truly located on the water, with fantastic views and a Juliet balcony. It has one king or two double beds.
Ocean Front Lanai
Look to your left and you'll see Koko Krater; look to your right, and there's Diamond Head. Talk about a room with a view! This room has one kind or two double beds and a full balcony.
Beach Front Lanai
These rooms are located on the ground-level and allow guests to literally walk right out on to to the beach from their patio. They come with one king or two double beds.
Scenic Ocean View Family Suite
"Scenic" is an understatement for these suites, which feature views of the Ko'olau Mountains, Waialae Country Club and Koko Crater. This room has a separate bedroom with one king bed or two doubles, and a large living area.
Ocean Front Suite
This room offers panoramic views and has one king or two queen beds.
These rooms are located on the ninth floor, affording gorgeous, unobstructed views from above. They have one king or two double beds.
Kahala Kai Suite
This room is located in the Dolphin Lagoon Wing -- a totally secluded area. It has one king bed, and is best for couples, though a rollaway bed or crib can be added for a child.
Kahala Beach Suite
This room is similar to the Kahala Kai Suite, except it also has a wrap-around patio just steps from the beach.
The Presidential Suite can sleep six, with a king bed in the master bedroom and two double beds in a second (connecting) room. This suite is situated on the ninth floor.
The Imperial Suite is located at the highest point of the resort. It sleeps six in one master bedroom with a king bed and a second room (connecting) with two double beds.
We are finishing a five night stay at the Kahala and our expectations have been exceeded. As regular travelers to Hawaii, the Kahala rates in the top 1% of of our trips. The location is ideal with a serene vibe and view of the water.
What really elevates the Kahala is the service. Bart was very responsive and professional with our pre-trip requests. All of our requests were meticulously taken care of without reminders.
The twice daily housekeeping service was perfect and Delia, our evening turn-down attendant, was delightful. We were out of the room during the day and did not get a chance to meet the daytime attendant, but the room was serviced just as nicely.
From afternoon tea and drinks on the Veranda (the manager greeted us by name each time) to room service, our stay was fabulous from beginning to end. We are sorry to be leaving tomorrow and will return.
by monique c
-From Daneen at checkin through my housekeepers Jamaica and Marylou, the service was outstanding
-The 2 room Fitness Center is excellent as is the steam and sauna
-The hotel body lotion is high quality
-The orchid wall gorgeous, with a chocolate orchid!
We enjoyed out stay
The hotel has two pools, including one just for kids. Both pools are open all day. There is also a Jacuzzi.
The Keiki Club (kids' club) provides activities for children ages 5 to 12 in a small room that reminds of us a preschool; the 8 to 12 set could easily get bored here. Staff also incorporate outdoor activities in the fun, and hope to plan excursions offsite in the near future.
Full ($85), half-day ($65) and evening programs ($65) are available, with lunch or dinner included.
Prices are steep, but totally worth this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with dolphins. Dolphin Quest offers several programs, including some designed for children as young as 5 (when accompanied by an adult). More advanced programs include Trainer for a Day (or Week!).
Kids will get a kick out of the turtles, stingrays and fish that frequent the lagoons that wind through the resort.
Cabanas are available for half-day ($45) or full-day ($65) rentals, and water sports rentals are available via an outside vendor.
Hoku's is open for dinner only (5:30 to 10), with a focus on fresh seafood, including sushi. It also serves a fantastic brunch on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It is closed for dinner on Sundays and Mondays. Children under 12 are not permitted; shorts and tank tops are also not permitted.
Plumeria Beach House
This is the most family-friendly restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual outdoor setting by the ocean. A kids' menu is available. Be sure to try the Best of Kahala Buffet at least once during your stay -- it's served Thursday to Saturday, and children's pricing is available.
Plumeria Beach House is open from Thursday to Monday, 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; it is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Seaside Grill serves lunch, appetizers and cocktails by the pool, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Veranda is best for parents or families traveling with older children, who enjoy afternoon tea or cocktails and jazz music in the evenings. Afternoon tea is served from 2 to 5:30, with cocktail service offered from 2 p.m. to midnight; food is served until 10.
Arancino at the Kahala
Italian food with a twist -- that's what you'll find for lunch and dinner at Arancino at the Kahala. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner is offered from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Kids' options are available.
In-room dining is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Wi-Fi is included in rates and works well throughout the resort, even at the beach and pools! There is no resort fee.
Dogs weighing less than 25 pounds can stay at the resort for an extra free of $150.
The resort's CHI Fitness Center is an expansive, full-service gym with all manner of equipment -- treadmills, elliptical machines, recumbent bikes, row machines, free weights, and resistance machines. The gym is open 24 hours.
There are a few stores located onsite, selling everything from snacks and beverages to clothing.
Check-In and Check-Out
Check-in time is at 3 p.m., with check-out at noon.
The Art of Smart Timing
The resort is busiest during the winter holidays, and also around spring break time. Summer, of course, is also a busy time. You'll find fewer crowds if you visit in January or February or in the fall, ahead of Thanksgiving.
Honolulu International Airport is about 20 minutes from The Kahala Hotel and Resort; the drive is mostly highway.
The resort provides complimentary shuttle services to Waikiki, Ala Moana Shopping Center and Kahala Mall. You'll likely want a car to explore other areas of the island, however. Self and valet parking are available for $32 per night, with in and out privileges.
For Mom and Dad
Have a romantic dinner by the ocean, courtesy of the resort's private dining options. Dinners include three or four courses, and some packages also add a bottle of Champagne. At least 24 hours notice is required.
The Kahala Spa
For the ultimate splurge, try the Romance for Two Package at The Kahala Spa. The deluxe package includes a scrub, massage and facial for both guests. It's a 3.5-hour experience you won't soon forget!