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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

1947

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. 

1959

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.

1961

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.

1964

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.

1968

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.

1971

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

1973

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

1981

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

1984

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

1985

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

1996

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.

2000

Grand opening of The Veranda.

2002

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

2003

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

2005

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

2007

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

2013

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

2014

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

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.