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Kahala Milestones & Memories

Looking Back

Several landmark moments shaped the development of The Kahala, both before and after it opened its doors in 1964. Here are some of the most important milestones that helped to make The Kahala what it is today


City planner David Wolbrink devises a plan for the best use of Bishop Estate lands in Waialae-Kahala, suggesting to retain the golf course and build a world-class hotel on a beach site to enhance and maintain the ambience of the neighborhood. 


Real estate investor Charlie Pietsch obtains a lease on the site from Bishop Estate, including the golf course with an extension of 15 acres on the opposite end. Pietsch flies to Los Angeles and puts together a 50/50 deal with friend Conrad Hilton.


Charlie Pietsch signs a contract with Hilton International and architects Killingsworth, Brady, and Smith of Long Beach. Construction begins the following year, with Hawaiian blessing ceremonies.


Hotel opens. Reverend Abraham Akaka officiates the blessing ceremony that also includes pastors of many faiths. Inaugural luncheon is held with a menu that reflects a taste of the islands.


The Hawaii Five-O debut brings many celebrities to the hotel, including Helen Hayes, Broderick Crawford, Geraldine Page, Luther Adler and Hume Cronyn, as well as Loretta Swit, Mike Farrell, Martin Sheen, Pat Morita and Ed Flanders.


Management sends trainer Randy Lewis to Gulfport, Mississippi, to bring three dolphins (Uku, Nihoa, and Kui) to the hotel’s lagoons.                


Hilton sells its shares in the hotel to mortgage holder Massachusetts Mutual life, but retains management contract.


Plumeria Beach House opens at a construction cost of $350,000.


Twentieth anniversary party is held and hotel welcomes Presidential visit by Ronald and Nancy Reagan.


Royal visit by the UK’s Prince Charles and Princess Diana requires an entourage of 100 rooms.


Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group assumes 40% ownership and management of The Kahala. The hotel is closed and undergoes a $75 million renovation which include the creation of a new signature restaurant, Hoku’s.


Grand opening of The Veranda.


Major renovations to pool and surrounding area, including the opening of a beachside eatery, Seaside Grill.


The Kahala Spa officially opens and is named the Best New Hotel Spa in America by Departures Magazine.


The Kahala Hotel & Resort is purchased by Kahala Hotel Investors, LLC, and becomes an independent hotel under the Leading Hotels of the World flag.


The Kahala embarks on a two-year, $52 million full room renovation.


Napoli-style Italian eatery, Arancino at The Kahala, opens.


The Kahala celebrates its 50th anniversary on Wednesday, January 22, 2014.


Resorttrust, the operator of 44 luxury resorts throughout Japan acquired The Kahala Hotel & Resort for $290 million on October 14th. The purchase marks the first step in the company’s global expansion. Resorttrust expects The Kahala Hotel & Resort to serve as its flagship international property as it forges ahead with plans to extend its portfolio of upscale overseas properties across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.