The first time I stayed at The Kahala, it was the Kahala Hilton, and I was about eight years old. My younger sister and I discovered the stuffed dolphin in the mini bar and begged my dad to let us keep it (which he eventually did).
The Kahala is not just another nice hotel, it is itself a unique and special place. Of all the beautiful things about it, it is the little details that make it so special. I love playing ball at the pool, the imperial prawns at Hoku's, the ice water in plastic dolphin cups at the pool, the macadamia nut pancakes at the Plumeria breakfast buffet, and coming up from the beach to find a plate of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts in my room.
I once left my new iPod wrapped up in a towel on a chair at the beach. When I realized where I must have left it, I went down to the pool, only to find a kind and honest member of the pool staff had found it and put it aside for me.
I keep the key to the back door of my house on a Kahala wooden surfboard keychain because it makes me smile when I use it several times every day.
A few years ago, we came there with my uncle and my little cousin, who was three at the time. My dad gave my cousin (also his godson) the gift of swimming with the dolphins as his birthday present.
One of the many reasons The Kahala is so special to me is because it was my mom's favorite place in the world. For the last eight years of her life, she suffered from a rare neurological disease that caused her to become physically handicapped. As her physical faculties deteriorated, it also became more difficult for her to make the ten-hour trip from our home in Washington, DC. When she became so ill that the doctors warned her about traveling, she insisted she would be better off going because it made her so happy to be there. As always, she was right. The staff was so incredibly kind to her and did everything in their power to make her at home and feel comfortable. She loved nothing more than to sit on the grass at the edge of the sand (since she loved the shade from the palm trees), on the far left side of the beach, and sip a peanut butter chocolate smoothie and read a good book and enjoy the company of her beloved husband and children. After the inevitable afternoon rain shower, she would wait to see if she could find the rainbow.
Most recently, I came to The Kahala with my husband on our honeymoon. It was every bit as special as it always has been.
Mahalo nui loa for all the wonderful memories!
Andrea (Katkish) Mathis