The Kahala Hotel and Resort
The Kahala Hotel and Resort.

Huy Vo talks agent rates, holiday celebrations and why The Kahala Hotel and Resort boasts that neighbour island feel

There are a fair number of Hawaii travellers out there who flock to neighbour islands like Maui and Kauai for their Hawaiian vacation, thinking that there is no ‘quiet-time’ to be had on Oahu (and especially Waikiki).

But for travellers looking for the best of both worlds – luxury accommodations and amenities, and the truly restful vacation experience Hawaii’s neighbour islands are known for – The Kahala Hotel and Resort offers just that.

During a recent interview, Travelweek sat down with Huy Vo, Public Relations and Marketing Manager, at The Kahala Hotel and Resort, to learn more about this legendary property.


Travelweek: The Kahala Hotel and Resort is one of Oahu’s most iconic properties, can you tell us a little bit about its history?

Huy Vo: “The Kahala Hotel & Resort opened in 1964 as The Kahala Hilton. Hotelier, Conrad Hilton, together with real estate developer, Charles Pietsch, fashioned the property as a secluded retreat away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki to establish an air of exclusivity and privacy, yet close enough that guests could venture there for shopping and entertainment.

“After its opening, The Kahala was soon embraced by the Hollywood community and became a draw for celebrity, dignitaries, royalty and other wealthy world travellers seeking a luxurious and private hideaway. In 1966, President Lyndon Baines Johnson stayed at The Kahala while in Honolulu for a conference on the Vietnam War and soon thereafter many other heads of state made the resort their stopover of choice in Hawaii. Additionally, The Kahala has served as the home-away-from-home for every standing U.S. president since President Johnson.

“Today, The Kahala Hotel & Resort is currently owned by Resorttrust, a luxury hotel operator with more than 50 properties throughout Japan, and currently boasts 338 rooms and suites, an award-winning spa, five exceptional restaurants and 26,000-square-foot lagoon that is home to six Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.”


Travelweek: Can you point out a few of The Kahala’s key selling features?  What are guests going to experience at The Kahala Hotel and Resort that they may be hard pressed to find anywhere else?

Huy Vo: “Location, location, location. We market ourselves as an Oahu property with neighbor island amenities. Many visitors to Hawaii feel that they need to drive far from Honolulu or travel to another island to receive privacy and exclusivity. That’s not true at all. The Kahala Hotel & Resort is located only five to 10 minutes away from Waikiki and truly feels like a world away from everything. You have your own personal space on the beach and can participate in fun activities like SUP yoga without having to worry about getting disturbed by other people in the water as you would in Waikiki.

“In addition to our unique location, we are Oahu’s iconic resort destination that boasts understated elegance, exquisite accommodations and exceptional service. We are home to five award-winning restaurants along with a world-class spa. Most importantly, our service and reputation sets us apart from the rest. For 51 years, The Kahala Hotel & Resort has developed and maintained a revered reputation for impeccable service and has garnered many awards and accolades as a result.”


Travelweek: The resort just debuted a new health and wellness series. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Huy Vo: “We find that when travellers are looking for a hotel, many of them take into consideration what types of health and wellness offerings the hotel provides beyond just having a fitness center on property. Whether they’re travelling for leisure or business, many travellers want options on how they can stay fit or be well while they are away from home.

“Additionally, we are always looking at different unique programming to offer our guests on property and The Kahala Life: Health & Wellness Series is perfect for our guests. Every month we explore a different wellness activity. We kicked off the new series with Sunrise SUP Yoga. In December, we will be offering Moonlight Meditation. We received many calls for this particular event so it’s going to be a very good one!

“By offering programming with a variety of services like The Kahala Life, our travel agents will have more amenities to pitch to their health-conscious clients when mentioning The Kahala Hotel & Resort.”


Travelweek: What are some of the special plans The Kahala has in store for guests this coming holiday season?

Huy Vo: “The holidays truly are our favourite time of year! We kick off the holiday season with our Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony the day after [American] Thanksgiving on Nov. 27. We unveil a massive tree in the centre of our lobby with very high-end decor and lighting provided by Yvonne Designs. Every year we support a different charity through our Angel Tree giving program. This year, we selected Helping Hands Hawaii. This event also attracts a very elite and socialite gathering to our resort.

“Additionally our resort is known for our food and beverage offerings. We have special Christmas Eve, Day dinners and brunches planned for Plumeria Beach House and Hoku’s. Executive Chef Wayne Hirabayashi is putting an island twist on the traditional holiday menu. These brunches and dinners sell out every year so advance reservations are highly recommended.

“In the days leading up to Christmas, we will have a different community group performing in our grand lobby in the afternoon as guests arrive to check-in.

“To end the year, we will have a very special New Year’s Eve celebration in our pool and ballroom area featuring live entertainment, food stations, champagne, private cabanas and a special fireworks display right on Kahala Beach. More information about our holiday events and dining calendar are available online at kahalaresort.com.”


Travelweek: Are there any deals or special packages The Kahala is offering at present or in the near future?  Does The Kahala offer special travel agent rates?

Huy Vo: “Our Celebrations Package is currently a popular one. It includes daily breakfast buffet for two at Plumeria Beach House, a special Kahala commemorative gift, US$100 resort credit issued for every three nights of stay, complimentary Internet, complimentary use of CHI Health & Energy Fitness Center and welcome lei upon arrival.

“Our special travel agent rates start at $325/night and include buffet breakfast for two ($84 value) at our award-winning, oceanfront Plumeria Beach House. For more information, call (808) 739-8888 or email sales@kahalaresort.com.”