Hawaii: Celeb-magnet Kahala Resort celebrates 50th anniversary

The Kahala Resort, one of Oahu’s oldest hotels, turns 50 on Wednesday, making it one of Oahu’s oldest hotels. In its honor, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has proclaimed Wednesday as “Kahala Hotel & Resort Golden Jubilee Day.”

The hotel, away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, has hosted such guests as Elton John, Hillary Clinton, the Dalai Lama, the Rev. Desmond Tutu, the Rolling Stones, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and Richard Nixon, among the noteworthy who have checked in with the Kahala.

When it opened in 1964, the hotel was known as the Kahala Hilton. Hotelier Conrad Hilton “fashioned it as a secluded, exclusive retreat away from the boom of Waikiki.” The Kahala sits along a scenic beach on the other side of Diamond Head from the seemingly endless high-rises of Waikiki.

“Mr. Hilton thought this would be a great place to put a resort,” said Roger Bright, the hotel’s director of sales. As a young boy, the Oahu native visited the Hilton shortly after it opened. “It [the location] was quite agricultural and quite rural,” Bright said. The hotel remains the only inn in what’s now a residential area.

That isolation is partly why celebrities have chosen the resort. Hollywood celebs especially have flocked here, including Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Lemmon, Julie Andrews, Frank Sinatra and George Clooney. Photos of various high-profile guests hang in the hallways.


When first opened, rooms at the Kahala cost $26 a night. They now start at $421 for arrivals the week of Jan. 26.

Packages are being offered, including the 50thAnniversary Celebrations Special ($422 a night plus free breakfast for two and a $50 resort credit for each three nights stayed) and the Imperial Suite Golden Jubilee Package, five nights including a helicopter trip to Maui and a private chartered sailing trip — for $50,000.

Info: Kahala Golden 50th Anniversary Celebrations