A Weekend Exploring Kahala
Kahala has long been considered one of O‘ahu’s most affluent and exclusive neighborhoods. This relatively small community, known for its architecturally stunning homes and beachfront estates, lies at the end of the H-1 Eastbound and is the gateway to the sought-after district of East O‘ahu. It is home to the prestigious Waialae Country Club, where the Sony Open golf tournament is played every January, as well as the distinctive Kahala Hotel and Resort, a luxury property that attracts celebrities, world leaders, and holidaymakers seeking a quiet, upscale alternative to Waikiki.
The face of Kahala is changing, as younger families discover the area’s large lots and spacious homes—a feature that is difficult to find in many parts of the island, particularly in newer developments. The Kahala neighborhood is at sea level, and flat relative to many other O‘ahu neighborhoods, which are built alongside, on top of, or climbing against mountain ridges and valleys. Add in a short commute to the island’s leading private schools and downtown Honolulu’s business district, and Kahala is increasingly becoming a coveted choice for working professionals.
We’ve outlined a weekend itinerary in this delightful neighborhood. Whether you’re a resident, vacationer, or enjoying an on-island staycation, you too can get a taste of what makes Kahala a fantastic place to live and play.
Kick off your weekend with dinner at Arancino at the Kahala, a top-rated Italian restaurant located just to the left of the Kahala Hotel and Resort’s valet stand. Unlike its sister locations in Waikiki, Arancino at the Kahala focuses on modern interpretations of Italian classics. The sumptuous à la carte dinner menu features a range of antipasti, pizza, pasta, and seafood dishes. Try their wagyu beef or prime cuts of beef. Prix fixe menus, with or without wine pairings, are also available, as is a special children’s menu. The restaurant has a wine list curated by renowned Japanese sommelier Shinya Tasaki, featuring a selection of 100 Italian, New & Old World wines. Reservations are available on Open Table or by calling the restaurant directly.
Arancino at the Kahala
Kahala Hotel and Resort
5000 Kahala Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816
Saturday morning is an active time in Kahala. You’ll encounter walkers, runners, and cyclists taking advantage of the wide streets, scenic views, and perfect weather. Join these outdoor enthusiasts while admiring the neighborhood’s beautiful homes and tropical landscaping. While many properties are hidden behind privacy gates, others are on full display. Take a break and catch your breath at Kahala Community Park, which has a baseball field, tennis court, playground, and restrooms.
Kahala Community Park
4495 Pahoa Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816
Sip or savor a juice, smoothie, or açai bowl at Lanikai Juice, an O‘ahu-based juice bar with locations around the island. The healthy menu has something for everyone, whether they’re looking for a light lemonade or a hearty pitaya bowl loaded with bananas and strawberries, and topped with crunchy granola, coconut chips, and even more fresh fruit. The long line, which sometimes snakes out the door, lets you know that the treats inside are well worth the wait!
4346 Waialae Ave. #103. Honolulu, HI 96816
No weekend in Kahala would be complete without a stop at Kahala Mall, one of O‘ahu’s best neighborhood shopping complexes. There are more than 100 unique stores, including major retailers like Apple, Macy’s, and Whole Foods. Browse the boutique selections at shops like Carousel Candyland, a local candy shop, or at 33 Butterflies, a women’s boutique stocked with trendy designer brands.
While at the mall, enjoy dinner at Kuru Kuru Sushi, an extremely popular and highly-rated casual sushi restaurant with fresh selections served on a conveyor belt. Orders are also taken by the friendly and efficient wait staff. Kuru Kuru’s low prices make it a particularly great choice for small or large appetites. You’ll know you’re at the right place when you see the crowd of people waiting outside. But don’t let the line deter you, it moves quickly. Round out your evening by catching a movie at the eight-screen Kahala Theatres next door, one of the few venues on O‘ahu showing arty and foreign films alongside mainstream blockbusters.
4211 Waialae Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816
Start your morning with a stroll and refreshing dip in the ocean at Waialae Beach Park, located right on Kahala Avenue, with shaded and open-air picnic tables and bathrooms. Plan to arrive early, as parking spaces fill quickly at this beach park, where golden sand and picture-perfect blue skies await you at this convenient oceanside locale.
Waialae Beach Park
4925 Kahala Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816
Afternoon Tea at the Kahala Hotel & Resort
Afternoon tea at the Kahala Hotel and Resort is a beloved local tradition and a perfectly pleasant way to spend a Sunday. Served daily from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Veranda, the afternoon tea here is one of the island’s best. The elegant lanai setting, which the hotel bills as “Honolulu’s living room of the stars,” offers a relaxed resort environment, and a tranquil setting in which to relax, unwind, and enjoy easy conversation.
The Veranda offers three levels of tea service, beginning with the “Classic Tea Service” featuring your choice of tea, alongside sandwiches, sweets, and scones. At the top end, the “Imperial Tea Service” starts with the selections offered with the Classic Tea, but also includes a glass of champagne and a take-home box of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. If you’re looking for something beyond tea and small bites, a light lunch menu is also offered, as are cocktails.
Kahala Hotel and Resort
5000 Kahala Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816
Wrap up the weekend with dinner at the Olive Tree Café. This small, casual, and cash-only restaurant serves a variety of fresh Mediterranean food and has attracted has a loyal island-wide following. People flock from all corners of the island to savor its delicious offerings, ranging from traditional Greek Salad with cucumbers, feta, tomatoes, and olives, to falafel with tahini sauce. Outdoor seating is available. You can bring your own wine from Oliver, the delightful little wine shop and deli next door that’s owned by the same family.
The Olive Tree Café
4614 Kilauea Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816