Kahala Resort and Spa

Having never been to Hawaii, Adrienne and I were unsure of where we should stay while we were there.  Asking our friends and family who'd been didn't point to any clear winners or losers, just a long list of Hawaiian-sounding words which were meaningless to us at the time.  We did some research on our own and settled on the Kahala Resort and Spa on Oahu.  It's a few miles away from the tourist-filled buzz of Waikiki and just east of Diamond Head.  It's intentionally secluded behind a residential neighborhood and is nestled between a PGA golf-course the the Pacific ocean.

The Kahala was the nicest hotel that Adrienne or I had ever stayed in, but the hotel is only part of the resort experience.  If we'd chosen to, we could have spent our entire vacation on the resort property eating at each of the 5 restaurants within the resort, swimming in the pool, lounging on the beach or being pampered in the on-site spa.  Even with all of the resort amenities, the perfect decor and relaxed atmosphere, it was the service that really iced the cake for us.  For example, as our cab from the airport pulled up at the bell-stand, 3 bell-hops approached the car; one to open each of our doors and one to get the bags from the trunk.  The guy picking up the luggage inferred who we were from our luggage tags, greeted us by name, escorted us to the check-in desk, waited for us to check-in, escorted us to our room, explained the A/C controls and other little things, congratulated us on our honeymoon and asked if there was anything he could do to make our stay more pleasant.  Wow!

Here's a view from the second-floor Veranda restaurant looking out across the dolphin lagoon, towards the pool with the Beachfront cafe on the far left and the Pacific Ocean in the distance:


What dolphin lagoon?  Did I not mention that they have 6 dolphins that live in a lagoon on the resort... crazy!


I'm not normally a "let's go hang out at the beach" sort of person; I don't like being hot and I don't like having the sun in my face.  It's just not me.  Of course, with a cabana shade to keep the sun out, the perfect Hawaiian weather and wait-staff serving me mohitos whenever I exert myself enough to hoist the yellow flag attached to the cabana... with that I can be convinced:



We tried to strike a balance between exploring the island and exploring our resort.  We'd arrived in Hawaii on Christmas day in the afternoon and we wanted to do something special for Christmas dinner, but we didn't want to have to work too hard for it either.  Fortunately the Plumeria restaurant (in the resort) was doing a Christmas buffet.  We'd mentioned that we were here for our anniversary to our waitress, and she congratulated us with complimentary cake:


Jason and Lara's wedding present to us was a romantic dinner.  The hotel really went out of their way to make this special and it was an amazing experience.  They'd set a table for us in a small gazebo near the ocean.  The table was decorated with white linens, sea shells and coral; the chairs were dressed up with chair covers (which coincidentally matched the chair covers we had at our wedding).  We were escorted to our table by our personal waiter, Subra.  He explained that he would be our waiter for the evening and reminded us that if we needed anything he'd be just a short distance away.  Subra filled our champagne glasses, brought us warm bread and poured ice-cold bottled water into our glasses before excusing himself to his station, a small cart about 20 feet away.  We'd arrived at the table about half an hour before sunset and were able to watch the sky transition from day to night while the sun showered us with rays of yellow, then orange, red, pink, and eventually purple before disappearing for evening.  We had three-course meal: sushi/sashimi and crab cakes for the first course, beef tenderloin and kubota pork for the second course, and banana bread pudding and guava cake for dessert.  The food was fantastic, the atmosphere was amazing, and the service was super.  Thanks Jason and Lara:



Our last night at the resort was New Year's Eve, which has extra significance for us: we met on New Years Eve 2004/2005.  We chose to treat ourselves to Hoku's Restaurant on the resort.  Our waitress, India, took great care of us and we feasted like kings while sampling from their appetizer menu over the course of a few hours:


Adrienne and I really had a wonderful time here and we're both hoping that life gives us an excuse to return again in the future.

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