The Kahala Hotel & Resort, also known as the Kahala Hilton or the Kahala Mandarin, has changed hands a few times in recent years. Two years ago, however, the fabled property was acquired by Resorttrust Hawaii LLC, the Hawaii subsidiary of Japan-based Resorttrust. The previous owner was Kahala Hotel Investors LLC, a subsidiary of Honolulu-based Trinity Investments LLC. And now, Resorttrust Hawaii has announced their Kahala Hotel renovation plans.
The last time the 336 room property received a refresh was five years ago. At that time, the owners conducted a $52 million refurbishment that touched the rooms, the spa, meeting spaces, and porte cochere. However, it was recently discovered that building permits worth $570,000 were filed with County agencies. This renovation will focus on the lobby and retail areas of the property. And while small, this renovation is just the first in what’s said to be a series of renovations to improve the property.
In fact, according to the Pacific Business News, Resorttrust will be focusing its initial renovations on “improving guest safety and security.” Subsequent renovations will focus on the physical property, services, and dining experiences. The company has expressed an interest in bringing in some of the dining experiences it has become known for in its home market, Japan. They’d also like to make the Kahala more appealing to locals by having events and dining options for local residents.
These are encouraging tidbits of information for sure. The Kahala Hotel & Resort is, after all, a unique and special and deserves some TLC. In recent years, however, the hotel has seemed to become a little lost, so it’s good to know a clear vision is beginning to fall into place. My only hope, though, is that through these changes the property doesn’t lose its original character. The lobby, for example, isn’t a chic, modern design, but I find it to be rather timeless and regal. I hope the new owners will strike a good balance between modernization and preserving what’s already a great and unique place to visit.