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Kahala Hotel & Resort, Honolulu

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Oahu, Hawaii, United States, North America: Kahala Hotel & Resort
5000 Kahala Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 800 367 2525 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 739 8888's insider take:

Set on a sheltered beach just a ten-minute drive from Waikiki, this 338-room resort was a Mandarin Oriental until 2006. With the new ownership came a much-needed room renovation. Now, Art Deco–style furnishings and silky gold- and cream-colored fabrics have replaced the '60s decor. You really never need to leave the property: There are five on-site restaurants (though only one, Hoku's, which serves Hawaiian-Asian-European fusion cuisine, is truly noteworthy); the Chi fitness center, with a variety of classes and a phalanx of very eager personal trainers; plenty of pampering in the ten private Spa Suites; and every kind of water sport imaginable on the 800-foot beach. Kids are catered to with special Keiki Club activities, like reef walking, hula dancing, and, unfortunately, a "Dolphin Encounter," where they can swim in a pool with the live animals. The dolphins appear to be healthy, and the program promotes environmental awareness, but it's odd to have what feels like a circus attraction in the center of an otherwise glamorous resort.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Overall Score: 87.5
  • Activities: 86.8
  • Design: 89.7
  • Food: 87.6
  • Location: 90.5
  • Rooms: 86.0
  • Service: 84.7
Rooms at this resort at the base of Diamond Head have tropical ceiling fans and "a classic island style." Suites add Brazilian walnut floors and handwoven rugs to the equation. The dishes at Hoku mesh Hawaiian, Asian, and European cuisines, while Plumeria's breakfast buffet is an "excellent spread served by the beach." The staff "surpassed my expectations, and I'm so jaded."

(338 rooms)
—2011 Gold List

Amenities: Beach, Golf, Pool, Spa, Tennis, Water sports

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.