Hidden Gems in Downtown Honolulu – Capitol Place

The old is becoming new in Honolulu – the hottest places to have a drink, to dine or visit a mix of art, commerce, and entertainment in Honolulu, is in the Downtown Chinatown, whose historic roots since 1900 are being refined and redefined.

James Beard, National & International Award Winning Chefs like Alan Wong and Chris Kajioka, have recently opened new doors here while Andrew Le’s Pig & The Lady, Bar Leather Apron & Bar35 still have lines out the door and written about every week.

Just as Hawaii Theatre and Hawaii International Film Festival grow every year with global talent, attendees & International acclaim, Chinatown for the past 10 years, has been redefining her urban international chic.

Hidden Gems

So where are some of the best places to live here in the heart of town? One of my favorite hidden gems in Downtown Honolulu is Capitol Place. Built in 2008, this luxury Hi-Rise is still one of the best buildings downtown. Beautiful, quality construction, and a great location, diagonally across Hawaii’s State Capitol, she has phenomenal views of historic St. Andrews church, the Capitol and city views to Punchbowl, Diamond Head & Chinatown, day and night!

The MacNaughton Kobayashi Group are the amongst the very best of Honolulu’s residential luxury market developers and swiftly after their success with The Hokua in Kakaako, they built this huge 39 story, concrete and blue mirrored glass, iconic structure which still stands at the top of Downtown’s roster of urban residences.


The Location is so convenient! Just off both H-1 and Pali highways, as well as main thoroughfare streets, getting to and from the rest of the island is so easy! It’s just across the street to the Pali Safeway & Longs Drugstore, and a close walk to downtown establishments on Bishop, Alakea, Vineyard, Beretania, Nuuanu & Maunakea Streets and a block up to Honolulu’s timeless Pacific Club for breakfast, lunch, tennis or dinner. Capitol Place is a great place to live, with work, shopping, dining, entertainment and the best of urban chic Honolulu & Chinatown at your doorstep.

Unique Features

The ground floor or street level of the building is occupied by Pflueger Honda auto dealership, while the building’s residential lobby is located on the 2nd floor, via driveway, steps or elevator.

Capitol Place is the first condo building downtown to offer Resort-like Amenities. Philpotts designed lobby and amenity levels features dark stone, dark wood, earth tone neutral carpet, brushed steel and Hawaiian plants, art & sculpture, the building bestows a “sense of place.” The Amenities are like a luxury hotel: a large infinity pool overlooking the city, an XL hot tub, a big gathering room, 5 charming trellis covered barbeque cabanas, a state of the art theatre with large, leather reclining seats, a XL glass fitness center with top of the line equipment, a large conference room, a music room, yoga room, a safe eco friendly jungle gym for kids and a dog park. Yes, the building is pet friendly!

Like many of the Kobayasi MacNaughton buildings, Capitol Place runs like a fine-tuned machine. A 24-hour security front desk that doubles as concierge is located next to the mail room and managers office, in the lobby. Drop off your dry cleaning and pick up your mail while you say hello to the “Residential Specialist” who your knows your name, like James Bond. Outside the lobby, there’s guest parking for 5 or so stalls just on the periphery of the Porte Cochere entrance, which also leads to the gated residents parking floors and stalls. All 394 units, including Penthouses, are accessed by 5 high-speed elevators, which are called by specific floor security Fobs, which also access parking and amenities on the 5th and 6th floors of the building.

Design Elements

Architect Benjamin Woo has designed an iconic building that has redefined the downtown skyline. The views of the Capitol are incomparable along with many of the amenities. The building is well kept and overall in amazing condition. After 10 years, some of the top floors facing the sun, especially ones without any window coverings, may have kitchen cabinets which have faded or original carpet flooring that has worn, but I always thought more texture and color for the cabinetry would add to the square layout with large windows. Original units came with Subzero refrigerators, Wolf electric stovetops & Bosch dishwashers. Thick frosted glass shower doors which doubled as a toilet door was one of my favorite, efficiency-of-space design elements in the bathrooms which I haven’t seen elsewhere in Honolulu yet.

There are other luxury Hi-Rises downtown with similar amenities, design elements, 24hour security, which are newer, like the Pinnacle building across the street, but none of these buildings have the amazing Resort features or relatively low maintenance fees for its long list of amenities like Capitol Place offers. The auto dealership space at the ground floor of Capitol Place, is also a mixed use zoned commercial area, which helps minimize monthly maintenance fee costs for residents. So smart!

Individual Condo Features and Views

Even numbered units, which face Eastward, offer the best views of the State Capitol, the Pacific Ocean, and Diamond Head. The corner unit 3-bedrooms have different floorplan layouts but from the 12th floor up, they have enchanting views of St. Andrews Church, especially early morning and evening light. These corner units also have panoramic views of the mountains and city lights at night. Odd numbered units (except ‘07 units) face Westward towards Kukui Plaza’s large rooftop garden, Nuuanu Avenue, and Chinatown.

Value: over the past 10 years, with all the new projects and luxury Hi-Rises which have come on the market, Capitol Place condos have not only retained their value but individual units have gone up approximately 10-20% price since 2008!

Every building has its gems and in Capitol Place, the ‘05 (facing west), ‘06 and “07 unit’s (facing east) are the largest square footage floorplans with the best layouts of all the 2-Bedrooms on each floor. The best Diamond Head, State Capitol and ocean views of the east facing units, are the ’07, ‘08 and ‘10 units above the 18th floor, though all the east facing units have these views! The ‘08 and ‘10 units are both 1-bedroom units through the building until you get to the Penthouse levels. The top 6 floors are Penthouses and though they do not have lanais, they are larger in square footage, in ceiling height and the views are spectacular!

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