The Magical Kahala Hotel and Resort in Oahu
Mark Twain called Hawaii, “The loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.” Twain had a lifelong love affair with the Sandwich Islands, as they were called in the 1800s, confessing to having Hawaiian daydreams even when he was not there. “No alien land in all the world has any deep strong charm for me but that one,” he wrote. “No other land could so longingly and so beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done.”
Today, visitors to Hawaii arrive first in Oahu, the third largest island in size but first in population. It is also the location of the famous sands of Waikiki Beach and its exclusive shopping mecca. Just around the corner from Waikiki is the quiet residential neighborhood of Kahala. This is where we are headed.
At the end of Kahala Avenue, in an exclusive residential neighborhood, is the 10-story Kahala Hotel and Resort. It is situated between the Pacific Ocean at Kahala Beach and a sprawling golf course. The hotel features a private lagoon inhabited by a family of Atlantic bottle-nose dolphins who can be seen swimming and breaching within the resort’s lush tropical landscape. At Dolphin Quest, guests can kiss, cuddle and play with the friendly animals - and watch in wonder as they jump and spin.
As we enter The Kahala’s lobby, the elegance of the hotel is revealed in the signature sparkling chandeliers, fresh flowers decorating comfortable seating areas and the airy white curtains framing floor-to-ceiling windows. A cooling “oshibori” towel is handed to us as we dip our heads to receive the traditional flower lei. An efficient check-in process completed, we head to the elevators to find our room.
Rooms and suites are decorated in the neutral tones of sand and earth, complementing the vibrant blues of the Pacific Ocean, visible from the lanai. Picture windows open up to a spacious balcony complete with lounge furniture. This is the Ocean View Lanai, and when we step outside we are greeted with a view of Diamond Head, the iconic profile instantly recognizable. The ocean stretches out in front of us, and we can imagine lingering sunsets complete with rum drinks.
The dolphins beckon us from their lagoon, and we will be swimming with them soon, but the white-sand beach, with its 800 feet of ocean frontage, is the place to be on a glorious Hawaiian morning. It’s a short walk across the landscaped grounds to the ocean, and constant breezes make it a refreshing treat for our senses. Complimentary lounge chairs are perfect for napping, people-watching and soaking up the sun.
Lessons are available for stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), surfing and yoga – or for the very brave – SUP yoga. The CHI Health and Energy Fitness Center has an array of high-tech equipment and a schedule of classes, all with an ocean view. After some time at the beach, a stop at the temperature-controlled pool is welcome. The oval pool is refreshing every day of the year, and all in view of the Pacific Ocean.
We arrange a trip to the award-winning Kahala Spa and ask about a couples’ massage. We are delighted to find that the services are performed in private spa suites, and we are provided with luxurious robes and slippers. Ancient Hawaiian flower essences and traditional island treatments are part of the experience, and the massage begins with a Ho’omaka foot ritual, a calming and memorable sensory delight. The spa visit is a highlight of our Hawaiian journey and brings us to the reason for our trip.
Why have we come to Hawaii? We are looking for the most romantic and memorable spot for our destination wedding. The wedding services offered by The Kahala Hotel and Resort are simple and elegant. Services can be arranged on the beach or inside the hotel. Chairs, flowers, an ivory carpet, a dedicated culinary team and professional photography are all on hand along with special rates for blocks of rooms. An overnight stay for the bride and groom and a bottle of sparkling wine are provided too. The best part is the wedding planner – all details are covered by an experienced staff member and team to provide “the wedding reception of your dreams,” as the hotel promises.
Our minds are made up and arrangements are made. My fiancé and I will be back in one year’s time for the ceremony. Meanwhile, we are taking in the sounds of the surf, the aroma of flowers and the lush natural beauty of this place, our magical oasis in Hawaii.
Other things leave me, but it abides; other things change, but it remains the same. For me the balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surfbeat is in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud wrack; I can feel the spirit of its wildland solitudes, I can hear the splash of its brooks; in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago.” – Mark Twain
By Kay D. Harrison
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