It’s always a joy to return to the Kahala in Honolulu. While little has changed from my two prior reviews, I was upgraded to a beautiful suite during my recent visit, which merits an updated review.
All credit for the upgrade goes to my business partner, who pushed hard for an extra category upgrade at check-in. Since we are (relatively) frequent guests, have a long history of stays, and our stay was only for one night, we were granted an upgrade to an ocean front suite, room 813 for a nominal fee. As usual, we booked via American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program. Don’t expect a similar upgrade if you book a base room.
Inside, a spacious living room included a couch, chairs, and an outdoor balcony. The bedroom/bathroom is exactly the same as a normal guest room. There’s also a second bathroom with shower, but no tub.
I noticed a couple differences from last year, though I am not sure whether it was due to the suite or a hotel-wide change. First, Bulgari amenities were in the bathrooms. Second, in addition to the normal (nasty) Keurig machine, there was a Nespresso machine that at least makes somewhat acceptable coffee.
The views from the balcony were beautiful as always. It was a very hot day, but picturesque.
Lunch at Plumeria Beach House
We arrived at the hotel around noon and our suite was not ready immediately, so we had lunch first at Plumeria Beach House. I had a grilled mahi mahi sandwich with macadamia nut pesto aioli while John had filet mignon. Both were served with French Fries.
Did I mention it was hot? I’ve never been to Honolulu with such heat and humidity.
We returned for lunch the next day and each ordered cheese pizza off the kid’s menu. This has to be the best deal on the menu…the pizza was perfect. Even the cancerous bird wanted some…
Walking back through the timeless lobby, I noticed it was set up for afternoon tea. Not something I’m into, but an endearing tradition at this hotel.
As much as I love minimalism, this hotel is so much more my style. I just love that this lobby has not changed in decades.
Dinner in Hoku’s
The package from American Express included a $75 dining credit in Hoku’s, the Kahala’s fine dining restaurant. I enjoyed a delightful toasted goat cheese salad followed by scallops while my business partner had another filet with French Fries. The Mai Tais are recommended, but the real winner was the scallops.
We were busy with work and jetlagged, meaning sleep was quite limited. I was awake early enough to catch the sunrise, but it was totally clouded over and drizzling…a first for me at the Kahala. It ended up raining the entire day.
Breakfast at Plumeria Beach House
Breakfast is such a treat at the Kahala. I love the high-quality and delicious breakfast buffet, which included a wide range of food suitable for picky eaters from around the world.
The best thing is the rolled pancakes drenched in butter. Sinfully taxing to the waistline, but oh so delicious.
Breakfast was included, including gratuity, with the AMEX packages, but cappuccinos (very suitable) ran $7/each.
Fresh-squeezed orange juice is also not included. I attempted to make some myself and ended up just having a good laugh with the waitress about my eccentric beverage demands.
The Familiar Faces at the Kahala
The highlight of the stay was the beautiful familiar faces that always greet us at this property. The bellman and valet attendants are always the same. The front desk staff…the same. The waiters and waitresses in the restaurant…the same. I love the longevity of the staff at this hotel: it always makes the stay more pleasant.
A special shout out to Lynne at the Seaside Grill. She’s such a wonderful lady and we ended up chatting about a wide variety of topics after laughing at my orange juice escapade. She has taken care of us over the years and is always delightful.
I don’t have anything bad to say about this property. It is why I am happy to avoid Hyatt properties when in Honolulu in order to stay here. I cannot wait to return with my son and show him the dolphins.