THE KAHALA HOTEL & RESORT
hot e l & r e s ort
a member of
c e l e b r a t i n g 5 0 y e a r s , 1964 -2014
5000 kahala avenue kahala honolulu, hawaii 96816-5498 u.s.a. www.kahalaresort.com telephone: 808.739.8888 facsimile: 808.739.8800 us/canada reservations: 1.800.367.2525 japan toll-free: 0120.528013
hote l & re sort
t he l e ge n d i n spir e s .
t he pr o m i se c o n t i n u e s .
THE LEGEND INSPIRES...
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hotel & resort
The Legend Inspires. The Promise Continues.
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Copyright ÂŠ2013 Morris Visitor Publications, LLC All rights reserved No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher Published 2013
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0 5 hotel & resort
The Legend Inspires. The Promise Continues.
EDITED BY GEORGE FULLER
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c on t en t s 13 Our Thanks 15 Introduction 18 50 Y E A R S OF A LOH A
30 K A H A L A CL ASSICS
40 A M AJEST IC SOU NDSCA PE
50 MOMEN TS TO R EMEMBER
52 THE A RCHIT ECT UR E OF OP T IMISM
64 PORTA L TO HE AV EN
70 SERV ICE W ITH A SMILE
72 MEMORY WA LL
78 Acknowledgment s and Photo Credit s
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January 22, 2014 Aloha, We are very pleased to have this opportunity to be part of the 50th-anniversary celebrations of The Kahala Hotel & Resort. Through its five decades, The Kahala has been a symbol of true Hawaiian hospitality. The true mark of success for a hotel is when guests return year after year because they feel the warmth and care of the staff. It is to the wonderful people through the years who have come to work every day with the spirit of service, who have taken that extra step to make a guest feel special, to whom we dedicate this book. We have many people to thank for the 50 years that have passed and who will be our future. Mahalo to our current staff and managers—we are so proud of you all for what you do every day. Mahalo to our return guests—you have made these 50 years a pleasure to be of service. Mahalo to our first-time guests in this jubilee year—we hope you will return soon and be a Kahala “passionista.” Mahalo to our partners in travel—you put The Kahala on the world map and we will always appreciate what you do for us. And last but not least, Mahalo to the Honolulu community—your support and your patronage has been a true gift of aloha. Celebrate with us as we pledge to continue the Promise. Yours sincerely,
Charles M. Sweeney
Shawn F. Sweeney
Chairman, Trinity Investments, LLC
President, The Landmark Hotels Group
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It is the only supremely delightful place on earth. â€”MARK TW AI N
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A CELEBRATION BY GEORGE FULLER
THE GRACIOUS LAND on which The Kahala Hotel & Resort sits—in the shadow of Diamond Head and
gazing out onto the Pacific Ocean—has been prized since the first Polynesian voyagers arrived in Hawai‘i centuries ago. Over the years, its fertile lands were perfect for farming crops and grazing livestock, while its protected beach proved the perfect spot for fishing and recreation. In 1866, Mark Twain visited the area, riding a horse around Diamond Head. He later said of Hawai‘i, “It
is the only supremely delightful place on earth,” and it’s no stretch of the imagination to think he had the soft sand, swaying coconut trees, gentle trade winds and warm waters of Wai‘alae Beach specifically in mind. In 1887, Paul Rice Isenberg, of the well-heeled Kaua‘i sugar-planting family, leased 3,000 acres from Bishop Estate—which owned much of the area—for 40 years at an annual rent of $12,000 that included the lands now occupied by The Kahala and neighboring Wai‘alae Country Club. Calling it Wai‘alae Ranch, King David Kaläkaua was a friend and frequent visitor, and Isenberg’s barn was used as the first clubhouse when Wai‘alae Country Club opened in 1927. As the decades passed and the population of Honolulu grew, the Wai‘alae-Kahala area developed into a community of homes and beach cottages, with the beachfront land once again being most dearly prized. Residents included many of Honolulu’s most prominent citizens, who cherished the relaxed privacy of their secluded coast. The late 1950s and early 1960s were a time of great change and excitement in Hawai‘i. The struggles of World War II had largely receded. The Space Age had dawned. Statehood was achieved in 1959, the same year James Michener’s seminal novel Hawaii was published and the first jets landed at Honolulu International Airport. In 1961, the Elvis Presley film Blue Hawaii hit movie theaters, and a prosperous nation began dreaming of visiting this unspoiled paradise of the Pacific. 15
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It was into this ethos of reaching for the stars, and with an unbridled spirit of enthusiasm, that local developer Charles Pietsch and his friend the hotelier Conrad Hilton began plans for a grand hotel.
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It was into this ethos of reaching for the stars, and with an unbridled spirit of enthusiasm, that local developer Charles Pietsch—whose family had deep roots in Hawai‘i, having built much of the Wai‘alaeKahala community—and his friend the hotelier Conrad Hilton began plans for a grand hotel. It was to be just far enough from Waikïkï to establish an air of exclusivity and privacy, yet close enough that their future guests could venture there for shopping and entertainment if they so chose. The hotel they conceived and built—then called The Kahala Hilton—opened in 1964. Within a few short years the resort became a retreat for Hollywood stars. As early as 1966, NBC booked The Kahala for its annual meeting of affiliates and brought with them a host of luminaries, including Andy Williams. In 1966, President Lyndon Baines Johnson stayed at The Kahala while in Honolulu for a conference on the Vietnam War, and soon thereafter many other heads of state also made the new hotel their stopover of choice in Hawai‘i. The rest, as they say, is history. The Kahala has thrived for five decades now, and this book celebrates those 50 years with articles documenting the resort’s rich history, distinctive architecture, musical traditions and award-winning cuisine. There is so much to tell. Guests over the years have included royalty, rock bands, heads of state and Oscar winners. Television shows—notably the bar scenes from Magnum P.I. with Tom Selleck—were shot on property. And though the celebrities and dignitaries add to the resort’s lore, its long-standing success lies more in the fact that guests truly do fall in love with the property and the memorable experiences they have here. Generations of families from around the world make The Kahala their annual getaway; songs and poems of tribute have been written honoring the hotel; and the resort is proud to be where Honolulu residents celebrate important anniversaries, birthdays and graduations. It is a property conceived and built at the dawn of the Space Age, its modernist architecture reflecting the reach-for-the-sky optimism of the era. For guests, for Hawai‘i, the optimistic spirit of The Kahala remains as true today as it did on the day it opened, January 22, 1964. It is an allure that will continue to attract discerning travelers for generations to come. 17
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“While showcasing the aloha spirit, The Kahala Hotel & Resort has served as a luxury destination here in Hawai‘i for the past 50 years. From the Dalai Lama and Frank Sinatra to every U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson, the resort’s historical guestbook is a veritable ‘who’s who’ of dignitaries and celebrities that rivals even the Hollywood Walk of Fame.” —Governor Neil Abercrombie, State of Hawai‘i
five decades of
BY THELMA CHANG
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Atlantic bottlenose dolphins leap in the hotelâ€™s lagoon, circa 1964. Shortly after their arrival, the hotel established a dolphin program, which it has maintained to this day.
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In those yesterdays, who could have envisioned that a tropical oasis would one day rise to become a world-renowned resort symbolic of elegance by the sea? FOR COUNTLESS CENTURIES before the arrival of ancient Hawaiians, the Pacific golden plover, of
THIS PAGE: The Kahala groundbreaking is the lead story in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 2, 1961. OPPOSITE PAGE: The building and grounds during construction.
speckled feathers and thin spindly legs, would alight in the thick bushes and tall sorghum grass that thrived at the oceanfront site where one day in the distant future a grand hotel would be built. These hearty birds—still common in the Islands—brave the 3,000 miles between Hawai‘i and the Siberian tundra to appear every summer, spend their winters in the warm Pacific air and leave by late spring to repeat their herculean feat. You could call them the original tourists. As the centuries passed into modern times and the land was settled, the Wai‘alaeKahala area became home to a dairy and workers who tended to the cows, pigs, chickens and horses. Even an elephant could be seen at the dairy’s “mini-zoo.” Old-timers recall the open ocean nearby and how their childhoods were spent swimming, torch fishing at night or hunting for limu, a tasty seaweed enjoyed by early Hawaiians, locals and others. “I used to catch and cook white crabs at the nearby park,” said longtime area resident Robert Sing. “Back then, we could see lots of fish.” In those yesterdays, who could have envisioned that a tropical oasis would one day rise to become a world-renowned resort symbolic of elegance by the sea? Today, as the 10-story, 338-room Kahala Hotel & Resort celebrates its 50th anniversary, visitors are able to see and feel the visualization of a dream that made its debut in January 1964; a serene haven of 6.5 acres, which includes deluxe suites, waterfall, fine dining, gardens, a luxurious spa, two man-made peninsulas at each end of the resort and the inviting blue Pacific just footsteps away. Throughout the decades, guests have relished the resort’s atmosphere of solitude and gracious hospitality. “To The Kahala, this place is what moved me to Hawai‘i—thank you, thank you, thank you,” wrote actor Jim Nabors, an early hotel guest whose
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The décor echoes a sunny spirit of optimism that prevailed in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the seeds of a resort away from Waikïkï Beach filled the minds of several dreamers. autographed photo may be seen on a hallway wall filled with pictures of distinguished guests. A simple walk through the spacious lobby presents a striking view of the way it was decades ago. Floors of teak parquet from Thailand glow with their original beauty. Massive chandeliers overhead reflect nature’s light with some 26,000 colorful pieces of fused glass chunks made to resemble seaglass found on Hawai‘i’s beaches. And when sunlight streams through the lobby, the pieces sparkle with color—from topaz golds to emerald greens—just as they did in 1964. The décor echoes a sunny spirit of optimism that prevailed in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the seeds of a resort away from Waikïkï Beach filled the minds of several dreamers, including real estate investor Charles Pietsch and hotelier Conrad Hilton. Hawai‘i in those years was on the cusp of booming growth, and Pietsch and Hilton were determined to be part of it. They overcame such challenges as zoning issues and public debates; hired noted architects Killingsworth, Brady, Smith and Associates of Long Beach, California; and started construction in summer 1962. The building soon revealed its “bones” in the open postand-beam style of architecture that became a Killingsworth hallmark. In January 1964, the Beatles’ song “I Want to Hold Your Hand” rose to the top of the charts. People paid 30 cents for a gallon of gas, a nickel for first-class postage and 21 cents for a loaf of bread. U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.” Having rebounded from the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, and despite the distant rumblings of Vietnam, in 1964 hopes were high around the country and much of the world. The hotel made its own mark when it formally opened on January 22, 1964, with the esteemed Reverend Abraham Akaka officiating at a blessing ceremony that included pastors of different faiths. Guests enjoyed a dinner called “Polynesian Fantasy,” wearing lei of highly polished kukui candlenut made by O‘ahu prison inmates. Travel writers reported glowingly about the hotel. “A fairyland of utter elegance,” reported Francis Harris of the Honolulu Advertiser. Room rates were around $30 a night on opening day, depending upon the accommodations. Gaylynne Sakuda experienced the hotel’s growth almost from the start. “I was a college student and in 1967 received an internship cleaning rooms for the summer,” said Sakuda, who worked at the hotel for 45 years, retiring only recently. “I never worked so hard in my life,
THIS PAGE: Presidential Suite living room. OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Aerial view; Hala Terrace (now the Plumeria Beach House); future site of condominiums; Presidential Suite bedroom.
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Already the resort enjoyed a stellar reputation among celebrities and world leaders. No wonder that noted Honolulu columnist Ben Wood dubbed the hotel “the bunkhouse of the stars.”
THIS PAGE: Entertainer Ray Kinney. OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Danny Kaleikini (right) with friends; Prince Charles and Princess Diana; Tom Selleck on location at The Kahala; Rod Stewart, Kelly Emberg and family.
but it was a great way to work up. I served with three regimes (Hilton, Mandarin Oriental and Landmark) and wore many hats: executive housekeeper, payroll controller, administrator and food and beverage assistant before becoming human services director in 1981.” Soon after The Kahala opened in 1964, Sea Life Park asked the hotel to temporarily host two Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. The dolphins were so popular with guests that The Kahala has maintained a dolphin program ever since. The program, now run by Dolphin Quest, focuses on marine animal education as one of its major activities. The hotel soon began to attract celebrities such as actress Jill St. John. Through word of mouth, including praises from other celebrities, the resort’s renown gradually grew. From 1967, for instance, locals and visitors packed the showroom at the Hala Terrace (today the Plumeria Beach House) night after night to watch Hawaiian entertainer Danny Kaleikini perform with warmth and aloha. Sometimes an audience member turned out to be the sensation, as in the case of actor Shintaro Katsu, otherwise known as Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman, who was one of Japan’s most revered samurai film stars of the day. The low-key Katsu was almost invisible in the audience until someone pointed him out. “When Danny brought Zatoichi to the stage, the Japanese people there went berserk and stormed the stage,” said Adam Suapaia, the Hala Terrace’s assistant manager and another hotel veteran (1972-1995). “The show closed very late that night.” Kaleikini’s popular show lasted for 27 years. Hotel occupancy grew steadily from the 1970s. Already the resort enjoyed a stellar reputation among celebrities and world leaders, from Johnny Carson and Queen Elizabeth to Sammy Davis Jr. and Emperor Hirohito. No wonder that noted Honolulu columnist Ben Wood dubbed the hotel “the bunkhouse of the stars.” The public spaces of the hotel resonated with music and laughter, especially from the staircase which led from the lobby to the Maile Lounge where guests could hear jazz artist Kit Samson or dine at the Maile Restaurant (today, the large space is the Maile Ballroom). At least one young Hawai‘i-born diner would become a member of the U.S. Congress a few decades later. “It was such a treat to go as a family—three generations of us—to the Maile Room,” said U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa of her first visit there. “Most of the family would be
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The lobby’s iconic chandeliers, designed by Seattle artist Irene McGowan for the 1964 debut, will be sparkling anew as the resort honors five decades of elegance and history. enjoying Chef Martin Wyss’ famous baked kümü (fish). Fortunately the staff was mostly local, so they understood when my grandparents wanted the head of the kümü more than the filet. We all left that evening carrying little ceramic cups, each with a chocolate in it. We collected them to remind us of those special dinners at The Kahala.” The Kahala welcomed U.S. President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan in 1984 when the hotel was celebrating its 20th anniversary. Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited the next year, their royal entourage and security team requiring 100 rooms. Later, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton stopped by, signifying yet another change, another decade. “The Clintons were surrounded by a huge crowd but they took the time to shake hands with just about everybody,” said Nancy Daniels, an employee when Louis Finamore was the resort’s general manager. “And they made an eye-to-eye connection with each person so that we felt very special. Mrs. Clinton remembered some of our names. That made an impression.” The Kahala closed in 1995 when the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group assumed partial ownership of the property, renaming it The Kahala Mandarin Oriental, Hawaii, and invested $75 million for major renovations. For instance, the lounge, terrace and Maile Restaurant were closed, the space transformed into the Maile Ballroom. What was once a shuffleboard site became Hoku’s, the property’s finedining and award-winning restaurant. Reflecting different needs for guests, the Mandarin Fitness Center now stood where a festive hukilau, complete with fish, poi, floor mats and entertainers, had been a Sunday ritual. In 2005, The Kahala Hotel & Resort was purchased by Kahala Hotel Investors, LLC, placing the now-independent property under the umbrella of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World. Since then, the hotel has received some $60 million in upgrades and refurbishments to its guest rooms, ballrooms, restaurants, the spa and fitness center. In the summer of 2013, The Kahala launched a Golden Jubilee Celebration program in which the 1960s are remembered in menus, stories and Hawaiian music. The lobby’s iconic chandeliers, designed by Seattle artist Irene McGowan for the 1964 debut, will be sparkling anew as the resort honors five decades of elegance and history.
THIS PAGE: Resort bellstaff greet guests at hotel entrance, circa 1964. OPPOSITE PAGE: The lobby with its distinctive chandeliers, circa 1964.
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T hrough the Years
1887 Paul Rice Isenberg,
Mark Twain visits the area, riding a horse around Diamond Head. He later said of Hawai‘i, “It is the only supremely delightful place on earth.”
of the Kaua‘i sugar-planting family, leases 3,000 acres at an annual rent of $12,000 for 40 years that includes the lands now occupied by The Kahala and Wai‘alae Country Club. Calling it Wai‘alae Ranch, King David Kalakaua was a friend and frequent visitor.
A city planner suggests the best use of Bishop Estate lands in the Wai‘alae-Kahala area is to keep the golf course and build a worldclass hotel on the beach. A fullpage ad announces the availability of the site in the local paper, but there are no takers.
Honolulu real estate investor Charles Pietsch obtains a 10-year lease from Bishop Estate that includes the golf course with an extension of 15 acres. Pietsch negotiates an extension to 65 years if a hotel were to be built. With lease in hand, Pietsch travels to Los Angeles and puts together a 50/50 deal with friend Conrad Hilton (left) to build The Kahala.
1961 Pietsch signs a contract with Hilton International and architects Killingsworth, Brady, Smith and Associates of Long Beach. Later this year the groundbreaking occurs.
Construction begins with Hawaiian blessing ceremonies.
Trainer Randy Lewis travels to Gulfport, Mississippi, to bring three dolphins (Uku, Nihoa and Kui) to the hotel’s lagoon.
1972 Richard Nixon is the first U.S, president to visit the People’s Republic of China.
Hilton sells its shares in the hotel to mortgage holder Massachusetts Mutual Life, but retains the management contract. Massachusetts Mutual Life sells its shares to MEPC, one of the largest property development companies in the world, at a price of over $20 million.
Star-Bulletin writer Ben Wood calls The Kahala “the bunkhouse of the stars” after visits by Rod Stewart, Helen Reddy, Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence, Merv Griffin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson, Lucille Ball, John Wayne, Burt Reynolds, Ted Williams, Reggie Jackson and many other sports and entertainment notables.
Hirohito and Empress Nagako of Japan visit the hotel on their official U.S. visit. Other royal visits include Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and Tonga’s King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV.
1990s 1992 Bill Clinton is elected president.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan visit.
The first film in George Lucas’ “Star Wars” series is released.
Bette Midler, Cary Grant, Henry Kissinger, James Stewart, James Garner and Henry Fonda visit the hotel.
Former President Gerald Ford comes to The Kahala for lunch; later that same day his successor, Jimmy Carter, has dinner at the resort. William Weinberg initiates a plan to buy the hotel for between $26 and $28 million. The contract takes two years to negotiate.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group assumes 40 percent ownership and management of The Kahala and renames it The Kahala Mandarin Oriental, Hawaii. A $75 million renovation includes the creation of Hoku’s restaurant.
1996 The first cloned animal, Dolly the sheep, is born.
1998 The Japanese television series “Hotel” uses The Kahala for location filming.
1997 The Magnum Bar, seen in the show “Magnum P.I.,” reopens as Kahala O Ke Kai. Hoku’s is voted Best New Restaurant by the readers of Honolulu Magazine.
The Veranda debuts. Zagat names Hoku’s the top eclectic/ international restaurant. Dolphin Quest is named to manage The Kahala’s dolphin and marine animals visitor education programs. Japanese restaurant Tokyo Tokyo opens.
Hoku’s is named Restaurant of the Year by the Honolulu Advertiser and takes honors from Food & Wine magazine as one of America’s 50 Best Hotel Restaurants.
The Kahala Spa officially opens and is named Best New Hotel Spa in America by Departures magazine.
The television series “Lost” debuts. Stars and guest stars often stay at The Kahala, and the hotel serves as a site for filming.
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1964 “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
hits the top of the charts and the Beatles rise to international stardom.
Sea Life Park asks The Kahala to host two dolphins while a pool is being built. NBC selects The Kahala for its annual meeting of affiliates, bringing a parade of major stars including Andy Williams.
1964 The hotel officially opens on January 22nd; Reverend Abraham Akaka officiates at the blessing ceremony which also includes pastors of many faiths. Room rates are about $30 a night.
More than 10,000 people converge on the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco and declare the “Summer of Love.”
1967 Danny Kaleikini signs a five-year contract to sing at the Hala Terrace. His run lasts nearly 30 years.
1968 Pietsch sells his half of The Kahala to Hilton International for $16.5 million. President Richard Nixon visits the hotel. Soon thereafter high-profile heads of state visit from Mexico, Italy, Jordan, Japan, Britain, Indonesia, The Philippines, Vietnam and many other countries. Television series “Hawaii Five-0” debuts, bringing guest stars Helen Hayes, Broderick Crawford, Geraldine Page, Hume Cronyn and others to the hotel.
Nobel Prizewinning novelist Yasunari Kawabata (“Snow Country”) lives in the Japanesethemed bungalow on the Dolphin Lagoon while teaching at the University of Hawai‘i.
Celebrities continue to visit, among them Jack Lemmon, Danny Thomas, Julie Andrews, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Jerry Lewis, Bob Newhart and Don Rickles. The Kahala hosts the Rolling Stones, The Who, The Beach Boys and Sha Na Na on their concert stopovers.
1981 The Plumeria Beach 1984 The Macintosh House opens.
128K is introduced.
1984 The hotel holds a 20th-
Visiting dignitaries include Premier Zhao Ziyang of China, Secretary of State George Shultz, First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Monaco’s Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, Vice President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush and King Birendra of Nepal.
anniversary party and welcomes President Ronald Reagan and wife, Nancy. During a light–hearted moment, President Reagan picks up a coconut and tosses it, football style.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit; their entourage requires 100 rooms.
The Kahala Hotel & Resort is purchased by Kahala Hotel Investors, LLC, and becomes an independent hotel in early 2006 under the Leading Hotels of the World flag.
The Kahala embarks on a two-year, $52 million full room, suite and restaurant renovation. The 40-plus-year-old laundry is replaced with a state-of-theart facility with air conditioning.
Hawai‘i-born Barack Obama becomes the 44th president of the United States; The Kahala is the venue for his Hawaiian presidential fundraiser event.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds important diplomatic meetings with the Japanese foreign minister at The Kahala. The remake of “Hawaii Five–0” debuts. The Kahala is again a location site for filming and frequent visits by guest stars of the show.
1987 Danny Kaleikini
1989 The Berlin Wall falls
celebrates 20 years of performing at The Kahala. The Maile Restaurant earns another Travel-Holiday Magazine Award. The dean of Hawai‘i painters, John Young, is named Artist in Residence. Richard Pryor, Liza Minnelli, Tony Curtis, Sylvester Stallone, Barbara Walters, Michael Caine, Jesse Jackson, Senator Robert Dole, Arthur Murray and Carol Burnett visit.
and the Cold War ends.
The Kahala hosts a James Beard Foundation Dinner, establishing a scholarship for Kapi‘olani Community College’s Culinary Arts Program. Sir Elton John is once again a guest for his Honolulu concert. The Dalai Lama stays at The Kahala during a major peace summit. Bishop Desmond Tutu also visits The Kahala.
1989 The hotel’s 25th anniversary is commemorated with the publication of “The Kahala: The Hotel That Could Only Happen Once,” by Ed Sheehan.
New Napoli–style Italian eatery, Arancino at The Kahala, opens. The Crown Prince of Brunei visits. The Kahala launches its Golden Jubilee Celebrations program in the fall, with many special events planned.
The Kahala celebrates its 50th anniversary on Wednesday, January 22, 2014. The theme for the Golden Jubilee Year is “The Legend Inspires. The Promise Continues.”
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KAHALA CLASSICS At the Forefront of Hawaiian Cuisine
BY MARI TAKETA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CARIN KRASNER
FOOD STYLING BY KAREN GILLINGHAM
PROP STYLING BY KIM WONG
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to quick-fried ahi musubi, from duck à l’orange to the beloved Kahalasadas, for 50 years The Kahala’s cuisine has not only kept pace with the Islands’ ever-evolving dining scene, for much of the time it has led it. That was exactly its creators’ original intent. “Beautiful rooms and marvelous food in a lovely setting,” was how Conrad Hilton phrased his vision even before the first stone had been turned. The inaugural luncheon when the hotel opened in 1964 included North Sea crab, beef with a baby mushroom tartlet and buttered string beans, and a frosted macadamia nut soufflé. The menu reflected the height of continental cuisine and was a huge success—the last that chefs Andreas Knapp and Martin Wyss would see for a long time. “We spent the first two years worrying if the Maile Room was going to make it,” recalls Wyss, who opened the restaurant under Knapp and succeeded him as the resort’s executive chef the following year. For its first year the resort ran at a dismal 20 percent occupancy, and the upscale Maile Restaurant, designed as the pinnacle of elegant dining in the Islands, was similarly empty, devoid of both hotel guests and local diners. “We started offering a five-course dinner for $9,” Wyss says. “You got escargot, salad, a fish course, a meat dish and a dessert. That’s how we built up the local business.” Soon enough, the Maile Room caught on with locals and hotel occupancy improved, and as Wyss says, “We were booked up all the time.” For the next 18 years the Swiss-born Wyss steered the culinary direction of the resort, racking up 10 consecutive fine-dining awards from Holiday magazine. By the late 1960s occupancy had reached 90 percent, and President Richard Nixon became the first American head of state to dine at the Maile—still Wyss’ favorite memory. “He was very happy. He gave me a bottle of wine. I still have it,” he says. “I also remember a lady who stayed about 11 months of the year. She expected me to cook lunch for her every day. If somebody else cooked it, she would know and say something. Usually she was right.” The Maile Restaurant and the less formal Hala Terrace were filled with locals and hotel guests, among them Hollywood stars, athletes, business tycoons, Nobel laureates and foreign heads of state. Regulars included Jack Lord, star of the original Hawaii Five-0 television show, and his wife, Marie, who lived in the condos next door. Ex-President Gerald Ford came for lunch one day in 1977; a few hours later President Jimmy Carter came for dinner. Wyss’ quest to maintain the standards of the finest European kitchens on a menu that also reflected modern Hawai‘i resulted in favorites like opakapaka with beurre blanc sauce and ulua in ti leaves with coconut milk. He introduced the addictive Kahala thin pancakes to the breakfast buffet, a favorite even today. The coconut cake was becoming legendary. The chicken salad in a papaya boat, anathema to a rom traditional filet wellington
PREVIOUS SPREAD: Ahi Poke Musubi with King Crab Namasu; Kahala Chicken Papaya Salad. OPPOSITE PAGE: Kahala Thin Pancakes with Maple Butter.
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traditionally trained chef who loathed mixing salad and fruit, taught Wyss a lesson when he removed it from the Hala Terrace’s menu; complaints from diners forced him to put it back. Not far from the resort, meanwhile, in the McCully district of Honolulu, a future chef was growing up. “When I was in high school everyone knew of the Maile Room. It was the fine dining restaurant,” says Wayne Hirabayashi, who is now The Kahala’s executive chef. “It was European. The executive chefs were European. They brought in their style, their savvy with dishes like steak Diane and cherries jubilee, flambés served at tableside.” Such fare was the height of cuisine in the 1970s. By the time Wyss left in 1982, haute cuisine was undergoing a renaissance. The 1980s saw fresh thinking, with chefs breaking out of the mold of cooking beef strictly with beef stock, for example, and experimenting with different stocks. By the end of the decade and the beginning of the next, the sweeping new movement known as Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine had taken root, and local chefs schooled in traditional European techniques and recipes were fusing them with the Islands’ multicultural cuisines. For the first time Hawai‘i soared onto the global culinary map with its own eclectic signature style, one that showcased a growing bounty of Island ingredients. The Kahala signaled the sea change in 1996 by closing the Maile Room and replacing it with a new signature restaurant, Hoku’s, which was voted Best New Restaurant by readers of Honolulu magazine. The following year Hoku’s was named Restaurant of the Year at the magazine’s Hale Aina awards; and in 1999, Honolulu-born Hirabayashi—trained at the Culinary Institute of America and having worked at the Halekulani, at Ritz-Carltons on the Big Island and in Laguna Niguel and at Singapore’s Raffles Hotel—became the resort’s first non-European executive chef. He was supremely well-suited to the new era. Diners now wanted to taste Hawai‘i, foods that were of its cultures and the vibrant flavors of its fields and sea. Under Hirabayashi, Hoku’s created the ahi musubi, a deceptively simple ball of rice stuffed with ahi poke, coated in briny furikake and quickly deep-fried into a crispy, creamy, meltingly fresh snack. It’s a perennial favorite along with seared foie gras dressed with a
THIS PAGE: The Kahalasada, influenced by the Portuguese malasada. OPPOSITE PAGE: Veranda Café’s Signature Lamb Roganjosh, a highlight of the popular Wednesday curry buffet.
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After 50 years, The Kahala’s cuisine is as much a landmark as the resort itself. It draws as many celebrities as it does locals celebrating birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other happy moments in life. It is, after all, marvelous food in a lovely setting.
OPPOSITE PAGE: Hoku’s Wok Fried Whole Fish, made with onaga or opakapaka.
balsamic reduction and mango sautéed in lemongrass, and short rib tempura topped with kalbi jus. And the Kahalasadas—Portuguese deep-fried malasada donuts dusted with sugar and li hing mui powder—are a hands-down winner. Whereas Wyss sourced his French herbs and garnishes from the only local source he knew of—a lone farmer on the Big Island—and flew in the bulk of his produce and proteins from out of state, Hirabayashi sources at least 75 percent of his ingredients from the Islands. The Kahala’s menus feature melons from O‘ahu’s Ewa plain, salad greens from Waimanalo and asparagus from Waialua. There’s Kaua‘i shrimp, Kona abalone and line-caught ahi fresh from the morning’s Honolulu Fish Auction. “I call my two fish suppliers every morning. They tell me what they have, what’s coming into season,” Hirabayashi says. “Or I call Glenn Shinsato at Shinsato Farm and say, ‘We have a party coming up, we need to roast a kalua pig.’ “We’ve always kept our menus in-season, but now it’s farm-to-table, working closely with farmers, growers, fishermen,” he says. “That’s so important. So is being organic and non-GMO. But if I have to choose between something that’s organic from the mainland or something that’s not organic but is locally grown, I’ll pick the locally grown. It’s much fresher.” Hirabayashi has shaped The Kahala’s culinary focus longer than any of his six predecessors except Wyss. The domain is vast, encompassing today not only Hoku’s, the all-day Plumeria Beach House, The Veranda jazz and afternoon tea lounge and the poolside Seaside Grill, but room service, catering and the staff canteen as well. The busy kitchens employ 60 cooks and five chefs. Without skipping a beat they’ve cooked for the Dalai Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Elton John (all wanted preparations of fresh Island fruits and vegetables) and Emperor Akihito of Japan, for whom an allwhite breakfast was ordered. The Wednesday curry lunch buffet—created in the early 2000s and still going strong today—for which the kitchens create curries from all over the world, is a favorite of O‘ahu resident Jim Nabors, who partakes practically every week. The awards they’ve racked up are impressive: Zagat’s top Eclectic/International Restaurant; Food & Wine magazine’s America’s 50 Best Hotel Restaurants; OpenTable’s Top 100 Outdoor Dining Restaurants and Best 100 Restaurants for Brunch; Best Fine Dining Restaurant from The Honolulu Star-Advertiser; and many reader’s choice awards from Honolulu magazine. After 50 years, The Kahala’s cuisine is as much a landmark as the resort itself. It draws as many travelers and visiting celebrities as it does locals celebrating birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other happy moments in life. It is, after all, marvelous food in a lovely setting.
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The Recipes The following recipes represent not only five decades of cuisine at The Kahala, but the evolution of Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine itself. All the recipes were
Ahi Poke Musubi with King Crab Namasu
created over the years
SERVES 1-2 AS APPETIZER
exclusively for the hotel by its resident chefs.
Crab Namasu 2 tbsp Japanese Cucumber, seeds removed, sliced 1⁄4” cut, lightly salted for 1 hour, drained (2 oz) 1 tbsp Daikon, sliced 1⁄4” cut, almost the same size as the cucumber (1 oz) 1 ⁄2 tbsp Green Onion (1⁄2 oz) 1 tbsp King Crab Meat, picked through and squeeze off excessive liquid, keep chunky (1 oz) 2 tbsp Namasu Marinade (see recipe below) Salt to taste
8 oz Grapes 4 pc Strawberries (cut in half) 4 pc Mint Sprigs Small dice the oven roasted chicken breast, place in a bowl and mix with the celery and mayonnaise. Clean papaya by slicing lengthwise, then remove seeds and rinse. Prep wedge fruits—you can use your favorite fruits or seasonal fruits. Place chicken salad mix in papaya, place papaya on plate and garnish with fruit and serve.
Combine all ingredients, mix well and serve. Namasu Marinade: PLATE COMPOSITION: 1 pc Ahi Musubi 3 tbsp Crab Namasu (3 oz) 2 oz Baby Romaine Leaves 1 tbsp Ponzu Mayonnaise (1 oz) TO ASSEMBLE: Cut the ahi musubi in half or in 4 pieces. Place 3 baby romaine leaves equally spaced apart in a circle. Place the crab namasu in the center of the leaves. Using a squirt bottle, drizzle Ponzu mayonnaise around plate. Place cut musubi pieces in between leaves. Serve. 4 oz Cooked Sushi Rice 2 tbsp Ahi Poke (2 oz) 2 tbsp Furikake 2 c Vegetable Oil (for frying)
1 3⁄4 c Rice Vinegar ⁄4 c Sugar to taste 1 tbsp Ginger (finely chopped) Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Reserve until needed. Sushi Su (Vinegar): 1 ⁄4 c Rice Vinegar (Japanese) 3 tbsp Sugar 1 1⁄2 tsp Salt Combine all ingredients in saucepan, warm up over low heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Adjust seasonings according to your taste.
YIELDS 16 PANCAKES Kahala Thin Pancake Mix (10 oz) contains bread flour, sugar, salt. To be added to the pancake mix: 4 Eggs 2 2⁄3 c Milk 1 ⁄4 tsp Vanilla Extract
Place plastic wrap on metal cups. Spread 2 oz of sushi rice on bottom of plastic wrap and spread evenly, about 2 inches thick. Place 2 oz of ahi poke in center of rice and cover poke with remaining rice. Form a ball using plastic wrap and bind rice to create a well-packed rice ball (musubi). Coat with furikake and deep fry just before serving. Ahi Poke 2 tbsp Ahi (medium dice) (2 oz) 1 ⁄2 tbsp Green Onion (finely chopped) (1⁄2 oz) 1 ⁄2 tbsp Maui Onion (finely sliced) (1⁄2 oz) 1 ⁄2 tbsp Ogo (rough chop) (1⁄2 oz) Sesame Oil to taste Hawaiian Salt to taste Chili Water to taste Kukui Nut to taste
Kahala Thin Pancakes with Maple Butter
Kahala Chicken Papaya Salad 4 PORTIONS 16 oz Oven Roasted Chicken Breast 4 tbsp Mayonnaise 4 oz Diced Celery Hawaiian Sea Salt to taste 4 leaves Lola Rosa Lettuce 4 pc Honeydew Melon Wedge 4 pc Watermelon Wedge 4 pc Mango Wedge 4 pc Pineapple Wedge
Mix the eggs and pancake mix until smooth. Gradually add in milk and vanilla, then strain. Preheat a Teflon non-stick pan over medium heat, gently ladle in 1 - 1 1⁄2 oz of the thin pancake batter. Allow to cook 1 minute or until light golden brown on each side. Remove from pan and place on a sheet pan to cool or serve immediately. Maple Butter YIELDS 18 OZ 8 oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature 1 c Maple Syrup Cream butter while gradually adding in maple syrup.
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Now add the ginger, garlic and chili paste and fry. Add rock salt to taste.
3 tbsp Cornstarch 3 tbsp Cold Water
Next add the tomato paste and enough water to dissolve the paste. Cook for 10 minutes on a slow heat.
Veranda Café’s Signature Lamb or Beef Roganjosh Curry
Now add the fresh tomatoes and 2 cups water, cook on slow heat for at least 45 minutes or until the meat is tender. Turn off heat and let cool for a few minutes, then gently stir in the yogurtsaffron mixture followed by the cilantro. Check for salt and enjoy!
YIELDS 2-4 PORTIONS
SERVES 4-6 2 ⁄2 lbs of Leg of Lamb cut into chop-size pieces 2 tbsp Tomato Paste 2 large Yellow Onions sliced 2 c Fresh Chopped Tomatoes 2 oz Fresh Peeled Ginger 1 oz Fresh Peeled Garlic 4 Red Fresh Chili Peppers 1 ⁄2 c Plain Yogurt A few strands of Saffron 2 tbsp fresh chopped Cilantro
2 1⁄2 - 3 lb Onaga or Opakapaka (Clean Entrails)
Egg Wash: 3 ea Whole Eggs 16 oz Warm Water 4 oz Salt
Kahalasadas YIELDS 20 PIECES
Roganjosh Curry Powder 4 Cloves 4 Green Cardamoms 2 Cinnamon Sticks 2 Bay Leaves 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds 1 tbsp Fennel Seeds 1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns 1 ⁄4 tsp Turmeric Powder 2 tbsp Paprika 1 ⁄2 c Vegetable Oil Rock Salt to taste
Mix the saffron to the yogurt and leave aside for the end. Blend to a smooth paste the chili peppers, garlic and ginger, set aside. Dry toast the curry powder ingredients lightly in a frying pan and then using a clean coffee grinder grind to a powder. Add half the curry powder to the meat and set aside for a few minutes. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan; add the onions and fry on a medium heat until they get golden—this takes a good 15-20 minutes! Add the meat and fry until brown followed by the remaining curry powder.
Hoku’s Wok-Fried Whole Fish
6 oz Evaporated Milk 6 oz Cold Water ¾ oz Dry Yeast 1.66 lbs All Purpose Flour 1.33 lbs Liquid Eggs 1.33 lbs Unsalted Butter ¼ tsp Vanilla 1∕8 tsp Nutmeg, Ground 2.67 oz Sugar Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl with spiral hook attachment. Mix on first speed for 3 minutes, then increase to second speed and mix for an additional 3 minutes. Turn out dough onto table and let ferment for 40 minutes. Scale dough into 50gr (1.75 oz) pieces and round off. Proof for 45 minutes until doubled in size. Fry in 350F/176C oil, turning once until golden brown. Roll in li hing mui powder sugar mixture (1 oz to 2 pounds). After frying, Kahalasadas can be filled with various custards. To fill pastry, fill piping bag fitted with a nozzle, with jam or custard. Pierce pastry with nozzle and squeeze bag while pulling nozzle out of pastry.
Garnish: 1 oz Julienne Red Chilis 1 ⁄2 oz Chinese Parsley Leaves 1 oz Julienne Green Onion Fresh Edible Flowers (Nasturtiums, Marigolds and Pineapple Sage – Optional) Slice fish on each side (4 slices) from outside in and forward 4 slices so meat will be sliced from bone but still connected to fish. Brush fish thoroughly between all slices with egg wash inside. Set in pan, cover all over with cornstarch inside and outside between filets and shake off excess corn starch. Slide fish in wok, hot oil 350o F – 400o F holding spatula on belly to spread split belly so fish will stand on plate when finished. Adjust heat, pull back filet to check doneness. Should take 5-8 minutes to cook. Remove from oven, place on perforated pan to drain oil. Place on large serving plate, garnish (see above) and serve with sweet sour sauce, black bean sauce, ginger onion sauce and fried rice or steamed white rice and wok fried vegetables. Sweet and Sour Sauce YIELDS 6 4-OZ PORTIONS ½ c White Vinegar ½ c Hot Water 6 oz Sugar 1 tsp Salt 3 1⁄2 oz Ketchup 1 1⁄2 tsp L&P Worcestershire Sauce 1 oz Ginger, Crushed 1 tsp Red Food Color ¼ tsp Egg-shade Food Color
In a 1-quart sauce pot, bring the water to a boil and dissolve the sugar. Add in the ketchup, ginger, L&P and salt and mix and bring back to a simmer. Then add in the vinegar and food coloring and bring back to a simmer. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and cold water to make a slurry and add in to the sauce while stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Black Bean Sauce YIELDS 6 4-OZ PORTIONS 2 c Chicken Stock 2 1⁄2 oz Round Onion, Minced 1 tsp Ginger, Minced 1 tsp Garlic, Minced ¼ tsp Dried Chili Flakes 1 oz Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine) 2 oz Preserved Black Beans 2 oz Chinese Sweet Black Soy 1 tsp Salt 1 tbsp Sugar 1 tsp Sesame Oil ¼ tsp White Pepper 3 tbsp Cornstarch 3 tbsp Cold Water 1 tbsp Salad Oil In a 1-quart sauce pot, add the salad oil and heat just until smoking and add in the onion, ginger and garlic. Sauté until light brown and deglaze with the Shaoxing, then add in the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer then add in black beans and simmer for 5 minutes, then add in the chili flakes, salt and sugar and white pepper. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water to make a slurry and add into the black bean sauce slowly while stirring constantly so there are no lumps. When the sauce is thickened, add in the black soy and sesame oil, then serve. Ginger Onion Sauce 1 ⁄2 c Round Onion, Small Dice 1 ⁄4 c Ginger Garlic Mixture 1 ⁄4 c Green Onion, Finely Chopped 1 gal Chicken Stock 1 ⁄4 c Salt 1 ⁄2 c Sugar 1 tsp White Pepper 1 ⁄4 c Shao Xing Wine 3 ⁄4 c Salad Oil 1 ⁄4 c Sesame Oil 1 ⁄2 lb Cornstarch 1 1⁄4 c Water
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HAWAI‘I’S MUSIC THROUGH THE DECADES By ELIZA ESCAÑO-VASQUEZ
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serenades from the moment one arrives at her shores. Sublime as paradise, glorious as sunsets, complex as fine wine, the cadence of ancient spiritual hymns, a beautiful falsetto, the gentle slack-key guitar or a lilting ‘ukulele jam session bear witness to a rich history of perseverance and reinvention. When The Kahala debuted in 1964, American rock and pop music dominated the airwaves. Beatlemania was in full effect and one of Hawai‘i’s brightest young stars, Don Ho, was set to become a worldwide phenomenon. A kind of optimism swelled with the tourism boom that followed Hawai‘i’s statehood in 1959, and a tidal wave of creativity manifested in the state, as throughout the country, bringing to the fore many talented musicians. One such talent was Danny Kaleikini, a musician who learned his craft in the showrooms of Waikïkï, who became The Kahala’s headliner in 1967, an engagement that lasted three decades. Known as the Ambassador of Aloha—a title bestowed upon him by Governor John Waihee in 1988, succeeding in that honor the legendary surfer and Olympian Duke Kahanamoku—Kaleikini brought a nightly Polynesian show to the Hala Terrace (now the Plumeria Beach House), and with the ocean as his backdrop, he sang alternately in Hawaiian and English and played the ‘ohe hano ihu (traditional nose flute), sharing the spotlight with a fire-knife dancer and hula dancers. Across the elegant lobby, a spiral staircase led to a grand piano at The Maile Lounge, where Hawaiian jazz musicians including crooner Jimmy Borges and pianist Kit Samson regaled the resort’s growing number of well-heeled guests. And the guests themselves were regal. Presenting a novel combination of aloha and refined luxury, The Kahala drew a most impressive list of world leaders, international dignitaries and larger-than-life celebrities. From Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor and Liza Minnelli, to Muhammad Ali and nearly every American president since Lyndon Baines Johnson, these luminaries appreciated
THIS PAGE: Over the years, entertainers—including (from left) Jim Nabors; Don Ho, second from right; and Frankie Avalon—have frequented The Kahala. OPPOSITE PAGE: Legendary performers (from left) Gabe Baltazar, Betty Loo Taylor, Jimmy Borges and Danny Kaleikini have delighted hotel guests and locals. PREVIOUS SPREAD: Makana photographed on Koko Head, O‘ahu.
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THIS PAGE, FROM LEFT: Faith Hill, Neil Sedaka and Dolly Parton are among the stars to have enjoyed performances at The Kahala. OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Hilo Hattie; Jimmy Borges; Ray Kinney; and Danny Kaleikini (here and in inset).
Known as the Ambassador of Aloha, Kaleikini brought a nightly Polynesian show to the Hala Terrace (now the Plumeria Beach House), and with the ocean as his backdrop, he sang alternately in Hawaiian and English and played the ‘ohe hano ihu (traditional nose flute), sharing the spotlight with a fire-knife dancer and hula dancers.
the zone of privacy and congenial hospitality for which the hotel quickly became known. Consummate showbiz personality Tom Moffatt recalls the day Barbra Streisand, who was staying at the hotel, desired to go on a boat, but she was petrified of the ocean. “When they finally reached a good distance, surrounded by the blue water, she felt so exhilarated that she started to sing,” shared the legendary concert promoter. Over the decades, Moffatt would reserve rooms at The Kahala for touring musicians he worked with including the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and Elton John. A RENAISSANCE OF CULTURAL PRIDE In the early 1970s, America’s civil rights movement fostered a revival of cultural pride and identity which reverberated in the Islands. The climate was ripe for the classic yet contemporary sound championed by the likes of Herb “Ohta-San” Ohta; Sunday Manoa with Peter Moon and brothers Robert and Roland Cazimero; and The Sons of Hawai‘i with Eddie Kamae and Gabby Pahinui. This emerging Hawaiian Renaissance, fueled by the technical prowess and captivating melodies of these virtuosos, propelled the rediscovery of the kï hö‘alu or slack-key guitar. Borges, who had a three-month contract at the Maile Lounge in 1971 where he entertained such luminaries as Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones and The Beach Boys, recalls, “There was a burgeoning of nightclubs in Waikïkï from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s. Music became the engine of Waikïkï.” Hawaiian music became prolific and even lucrative. Nightclub tourism on the island flourished, and packed tour buses shuttled visitors to multiple venues every evening. “Music was abundant,” shared Pali Ka‘aihue, president of Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA). “It was a different time. Radio stations would play an album from start to finish. Artists
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could go to the station with a box of manapua (meat buns), sit down with the DJ and get airplay and a review on air right there and then.” While the ‘uke has always been a standard accompaniment in Hawaiian music, this golden era witnessed the evolution of the ‘ukulele as a solo instrument. Ohta’s apprentice Roy Sakuma, who opened his first studio in 1974, is credited with teaching thousands of children the art of strumming the ‘uke. His passion for the unassuming and versatile instrument led him to open three more locations, produce an annual ‘ukulele festival and build his own record label, Roy Sakuma Productions—endeavors which still thrive today. From pioneers Jesse Kalima, Kamae and OhtaSan to today’s 11-year-old sensation, Aidan James, the ‘ukulele’s folksy splendor continues to awe. Perhaps its most marvelous moment comes from Hawai‘i’s own Jake Shimabukuro, whose intricate finger work and razor-sharp precision have taken the ‘ukulele to epic heights. Shimabukuro’s most recent album, released in 2012, The Grand ‘Ukulele, finds the young prodigy backed by a 29-piece orchestra brought together by legendary producer Alan Parsons. Parsons, known for his work on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and The Beatles’ Abbey Road, sought Shimabukuro for this collaboration after attending a couple of his shows.
THIS PAGE: Performers and visitors to The Kahala have included (from left) Kit Samson’s Sound Advice, Leilani Petranek and Elton John, seen here wth Tom Moffatt. OPPOSITE PAGE: Glen Campbell tapes a television segment at The Kahala.
A BEACON THROUGH CHANGING TIMES Through these changing times, those nostalgic for the Hawai‘i of yore can step into The Kahala’s open lobby and feel transported to those glorious days. Standing below the bronze and glass chandeliers, one senses The Kahala’s timeless elegance and old-world charm. Since Kaleikini retired in 1997, local musicians have honored the hotel’s musical tradition. HAPA, whose original members 47
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THIS PAGE, FROM LEFT: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lionel Richie and Dr. Dre have been entertained at The Kahala. OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Hawai‘i-based singers Jake Shimabukuro, David Swanson, HAPA and Shari Lynn.
“ The way I approach Hawaiian music is this: eternally going back in time to be immersed in the wisdom and experience of our kupuna (ancestors), and at the same time always pioneering new ways of creating and expressing that are relevant to now. Tradition is a living entity; it is a banyan tree with roots deeper than we can conceive and branches caressing our futures. It is our role as artists to imagine past, present and future, and express such through our art. And I am honored to be able to do this through Hawaiian music.” —MAKANA
included founder Barry Flanagan and Keli‘i Käneali‘i, has performed at The Kahala; and Flanagan composed the resort’s theme song, “My Kahala.” The Veranda kept jazz swinging with legends like pianist Betty Loo Taylor, Tony Award nominee Loretta Ables Sayre, guitarist Robert Shinoda, bassist Dean Taba and drummer Harvey Mason. David Swanson has held court at the lounge from Tuesdays to Saturdays for the last six years. “Swanson is a fabulous performer who reaches all audiences,” says Kika Matsumoto of Kika, Inc., a veteran entertainment consultant for The Kahala, who has produced many events for the resort’s high-profile guests over the years. “The Kahala is a unique property. It’s like being on a neighbor island. It’s close to the action but it’s secluded and private.” As The Kahala approaches its golden jubilee in 2014, the hotel chose rising star Makana to usher in a new era of Hawaiian music. Makana’s soulful repertoire weaves modern elements while paying homage to the slack-key masters—namely Bobby Moderow and Sonny Chillingworth—who were his mentors. Makana, who gained worldwide publicity for performing the protest song “We Are the Many” in front of President Barack Obama and 20 world leaders during an economic summit in 2011, graces the stage the last Sunday of every month at the Plumeria Beach House, where Kaleikini once performed. “The legacy of The Kahala is legendary, and somehow through all of the modernization of society it continues to serve as an irresistible oasis of that Hawai‘i we all love and cherish,” said Makana. “And I am thankful for that, because it inspires me to create in honor of those legendary musicians that came before me, the ones who put Hawai‘i on the map. Today, with both our show and the world-class jazz offered at The Veranda, The Kahala is once again a place where one can come to enjoy live, passionate musical performances in a setting second to none.”
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MOMENTS TO REMEMBER Favorite memories from The Kahala’s guests
“THERE’S JUST SOMETHING special about
The Kahala. It’s hard to describe except to say that once you go, you become part of the ohana, part of the family. My family first visited the property when it was under construction ... must have been 1963. They promised each other that if they ever had a chance to return to Hawai‘i, they would bring the kids and stay at The Kahala. As it turned out, we went back a year or two later; when we went to check in, our room wasn’t ready so they put us in the Tea House that used to sit out near the Dolphin Lagoon ... Frank Sinatra had stayed in the Tea House the night before. Talk about a first impression! Now, 50 years later, the fourth generation of our family just visited for the first time. I have so many wonderful memories from my stays over the years. We surprised my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary with a party on the beach. I’ve spent many birthdays at The Kahala. Just as much as we are part of their ohana, they are part of ours. Having traveled around the world and stayed at many amazing hotels, there is truly nowhere I’d rather be than The Kahala.” —Susan Tanzman, Los Angeles, CA
“I HAVE MANY FOND memories of The KaClockwise from top left: Carole Spencer (center), husband (right), daughter Leslie; Susan Tanzman (center), mother Joy (right), sister Debbi; Ann Corley (center), with her mother and Danny Kaleikini; Amit Holckner (left) and husband David, son Jed. Opposite page, from top: Leslie Spencer; Corley and husband Mark; Holckner with son Jed.
hala. The first time I stayed there I was three years old ... the year was 1966. Of course, I don’t remember much from that first stay; but I visited often with my family, and with my husband after that. I call The Kahala my home when in Hawai‘i. The Danny Kaleikini Show was definitely a highlight of several of our trips, one in particular. My family and I went to his dinner show almost nightly during one of our stays (circa 1969) and Danny gave me a cute flowered bikini
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that his wife made. How thrilling for a six-year-old little girl! He was my new boyfriend! The round stage outside of the Hala Terrace ... as a little girl I would get up there and dance to my own tune. The huge tree in front of the hotel, middle of entrance, filled with birds. We loved sitting in the Plumeria in its old location, listening to the birds at dusk. And last, but not least, the lovely Maile Room, where we enjoyed many wonderful dinners. We sure miss it!” —Ann Corley, Watsonville, CA
“MY FAMILY FIRST VISITED
The Kahala around 1970. I was a young mother, age 29, with two adventurous children, Vincent (age 8) and Leslie (age 5). Around dinner on our first day I started looking for the kids who had discovered—on their own—the pool. I spotted my daughter, Leslie, in the pool with no one around except a petite woman in a turned-down sailor hat. I told Leslie that it was time for dinner and that we had to go. She had been talking to the woman, who was sitting in a chaise. ‘Is this your daughter?’ the woman asked me? ‘Yes,’ I answered with a quick look. Leslie poked her nose over the edge of the pool and said, ‘Mom, this is Carol Burnett.’ I took a second look, and it was! Not wanting to invade her private time by the pool, I simply smiled and
continued trying to convince Leslie to get out of the pool. ‘Leslie says she loves my show and watches me all the time with her brother,’ Carol said. ‘But she says that when her dad walks into the room he makes her turn the channel.’ OMG! I was embarrassed at the blatant honesty of my little girl, but Carol was just wonderfully amused. During the rest of our vacation, she and her children joined us for breakfast.” —Carole Spencer, San Mateo, CA
“ON MY MOST RECENT stay,
it was a pleasure to be welcomed by Craig the doorman and Jackie at the front desk. They always remember us and make us feel so welcome. When they say, ‘Welcome back Mr. and Mrs. Holckner,’ we know they really mean it. I have been coming to The Kahala for more than 40 years, first with my parents when I was a child as a stopover on the way to Los Angeles; in those days all flights from Australia stopped in Honolulu on the big trip to the USA. As children we marvelled at the pool and the beach being so close to one another. We felt so safe and so at home. The staff looked after us and always knew our names. It gave us the feeling of coming home to somewhere really familiar. When my husband and I had a child we decided it was time for the third generation to experience the wonderful Kahala. Now, year after year, we return with our son, Jed. He now feels totally at home in the hotel.
Now Craig greets not only us at the front door but our son, too! I will continue to bring my family to The Kahala as long as I am able, and hope to enjoy The Kahala with my son and his children one day and continue the tradition.” —Amit Holckner, Melbourne, Australia
EVA SCHIFF and her husband have many
memories of their stays at The Kahala through the years. A poet in her spare time, Eva wrote the following poem of tribute in the late 1980s. KAHALA You slept in peace in tousled sheets The rain blew in the lanai I worked away on a stance While the curtain moved in tropical dance Dolphins awakened in the pool below Waiting for their breakfast treat Little children splashed in puddles With their tiny, barefoot feet The sun appeared, then disappeared Fluffy clouds then gray ones came They played with each other in the sky Like a chasing game I was waiting for a sign Far in the horizon A spray of water, a broad, wide tail Hoping to find a wintering whale White doves rose, flew in flocks The sky had a break of blue Rainbow drew a semicircle And the peace in my heart was true —Eva Schiff, Tiburon, CA
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THE ARCHITECTURE OF OPTIMISM The Kahala stands as an enduring symbol of a brighter future. BY MICHAEL WEBB historical PHOTOGRAPHY BY JULIUS SHULMAN, 1964
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Conceived in the early 1960s at the dawn of the Space Age, The Kahala’s modernist architecture reflects the great, reach-for-the-sky optimism of the era. Tailored to the natural beauty of its site and the climate of Hawai‘i, The Kahala epitomized one of the two developing partners’ desire to build hotels around the world in the post-World War II era that would be the recreational equivalent of an American Embassy, an ambassador for a way of life and a high standard of service. Conrad Hilton’s flagship hotel in Hawai‘i had to be as special as the luxuriant beachfront property that he and Honolulu-based real estate investor Charles Pietsch acquired via long-term lease from the Bishop Estate. Although Hilton may have had the international name recognition, it was Pietsch—having already developed much of the Wai‘alae-Kahala community—who had the financing contacts and experience in Hawai‘i to make the proposed hotel a reality. When the six acres of prime oceanfront and the golf course that protected it from encroachment were first put on the market, there were no takers. It was 1947, and the world was still recovering from war. By 1959, though, it presented an irresistible opportunity. That was the year Hawai‘i achieved statehood, and commercial jet service from the United States began. Tourism was about to take off, and Pietsch and Hilton were determined to be part of it.
T he v i s i o n ar i es
(Left to right) Edward Killingsworth; Charles Pietsch; interior designe r s R o l a n d Te r r y ( l e f t ) and David Williams.
HOPES FOR A PROSPEROUS FUTURE
To design The Kahala, the developers selected the architectural firm of Killingsworth, Brady, Smith and Associates (KBS), based in Long Beach, California. The architectural team was formidable: Jules Brady, a classmate of Killingsworth, had worked as a planner in Honolulu, as had Waugh Smith. Killingsworth—his firm’s creative force—was part of an extraordinary flowering of modern architecture in Southern California in the postwar decades. Like many of his contemporaries, he had graduated just before WWII, joined the Army (Corps of Engineers), grew up fast during the fighting in Europe and emerged full of hope for a peaceful and prosperous future. Though a few European immigrants—notably Richard Neutra and R.M. Schindler from Austria— had introduced modernism to Southern California in the 1920s and had tutored native talent, the Great Depression limited opportunities to build. After WWII, however, there was an urgent need for housing, especially for the ex-servicemen who settled in the West and wanted to start families. John Entenza, who had turned Arts + Architecture magazine into a beacon for all that was progressive in design, wanted to be sure architects were involved in this imminent building boom. Throughout the war, copies of the magazine were mailed to Killingsworth who devoured them eagerly, especially the issue of January 1945, which announced the Case Study House program. This was
(Opposite page) The 30-foot-high ceiling with its now-iconic chandeliers created to simulate drift glass.
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intended as a series of model dwellings commissioned from leading architects, which would inspire a wave of creativity and broaden the market for modernism. Twenty-four of the 36 designs were built over the next two decades—most in Southern California—and all were on public view for several days before being turned over to their new owners. KBS would contribute four designs to the program, more than any other firm, and the two houses they realized are still much admired to this day. Killingsworth and his associates were extraordinarily prolific, designing projects of every kind. Initially they focused on houses, switching to hospitality in later years; but they brought their skills to almost every other building type, from schools and offices to military installations and a women’s federal prison. Killingsworth worked on early Hilton projects in Long Beach, demonstrating his ability to build eye-catching designs on time and on budget. He won the trust of Hilton, who hired KBS to design a succession of inns across the United States. From the 1930s on, Richard Neutra enlisted the brilliant photographer Julius Shulman to shoot his work and get it published; in the 1960s, Killingsworth followed the same course, and Shulman’s original black-andwhite photographs still exude a feeling of glamour from the Mad Men era. A QUANTUM LEAP
e x te r i o r s
(Above) View from the entrance and parking lot. (Opposite page) The ocean side of the hotel.
For KBS, The Kahala marked a quantum leap over their previous work, in prestige and complexity. It allowed them to develop ideas they had tested in their houses and smaller commercial structures, but they made sure to enlist an expert structural engineer, as well as artists, interior designers and a local landscape designer. The goal was to blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, giving the 288 rooms and suites a sweeping view of ocean or mountain from bowed balconies on two offset 10-story blocks. The mass of this tower is dematerialized by the elegant concrete structural frame, an exoskeleton of pre-stressed concrete posts and beams. It was planned as a giant trellis that would be covered with bougainvillea growing from below, as well as from pots on each balcony and rooftop planters. The hotel would have become a mass of colorful flowers in every season, contrasting with a backdrop of greenery and mountains. The flowers didn’t materialize, but the spare frame gives the hotel a light, airy quality. (One original floral design that did materialize and thrives today is the Orchid Wall across from the check-in area, where more than 100 species of orchids bloom.) The 30-foot-high lobby anticipates the grand atriums that are a distinctive feature of many contemporary hotels, but it was a great surprise for the first guests. The architects drew on their experience of designing in Southern California, which has the most benign climate of any region in the continental
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rooms with a view I Bowed lanais (above); framing the golf course and Koko Head (opposite page) 58
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(Above) The Maile Room. (Opposite page) The lagoon.
United States. They also studied the royal palaces and vernacular architecture that had evolved over the centuries in response to the warm climate of Hawai‘i. The lobby was conceived as a separate pavilion with louvered wood shutters to filter the sunlight, opening onto a lanai. That extends forward from the main block, and columns raise the buildings above a salt-water lagoon. Lighting was a key element from the start, with low-level spots to create a dramatic atmosphere, and massive art-piece chandeliers suspended from the lofty ceiling. These now-iconic lobby chandeliers are a prime example of an original design element that is still relevant today. Designed by renowned Seattle artist Irene McGowan, each chandelier weighs over a ton and contains 26,580 pieces of Italian-fused glass dangling from bodies of oxidized bronze. The blue-, emerald-, topaz-, amethyst-, turquoise- and moonstone-colored glass McGowan used was meant to simulate the drift glass found on Hawai‘i’s beaches. A contemporary review in Architecture West magazine described The Kahala as “a hotel that looks like no other, it makes news which the Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce might note: there is neither a tiki nor a Japanese fishing ball nor a fish net in sight.” Instead, indigenous motifs such as the hala leaf and heliconia flower are integral elements of the décor. As Waugh Smith explained, “While using modern concrete, the planners sought a building that wouldn’t seem to be going 60 miles an hour. The goal they sought was a concrete building that, when finished, will look much like a wooden one and look as though it has been there for 50 years.” That prediction has come true in part, though the shock of the new has worn off, and the exposed concrete frame has acquired a classic serenity that refers back to wood-frame structures without trying to mimic them. The building is unabashedly modern for maximum contrast with the beauty of nature. Neutra wrote that a modern house should be like a machine in the garden, its sharp edges and smooth planes softened by luxuriant plantings. Wilbert Choi did the landscaping that gives the hotel so much of its character. The double file of royal palms that flank the curved driveway provide an impressive approach to the hotel and the tropical garden that surrounds it. The Kahala has undergone many cosmetic changes and the interiors have been reconfigured several times over the past five decades, but its bone structure has not been touched, and the exterior still looks much as it did at the opening in January 1964. With its lobby chandeliers still emitting their seaglass glow, the original Orchid Wall still blooming with more than 100 varieties and an exterior architecture that bespeaks an enduring optimism, The Kahala is at once classic, contemporary and timeless. It is one of Hawai‘i’s cherished landmarks, one that is certain to thrive long into the future.
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B AC K TO T H E F U T U R E In late 2005, The Kahala was purchased by its present owners, Trinity Investments, who with its partners put a $60 million refurbishment plan to work, completely contemporizing the hotel’s spacious rooms and suites, ballrooms and restaurants, as well as expanding and improving the spa and fitness center. Back-of-house improvements, such as a new electrical system and laundry room were also implemented. The most recent undertaking was an update and modernization of the popular Veranda lounge. Landmark Hotels Group (management company of The Kahala since 2006) vice president of projects Todd Sherman has been involved in all aspects of The Kahala’s renovations. “You can say it is the same hotel, yet it is very different,” he notes. “Guest expectations change. Today’s traveler is demanding—as he or she should be— and we work hard to make The Kahala everything our guest wants it to be. But there is also a deep respect for the legacy of the building and its unique features.” Chairman of Trinity Investments, Charles Sweeney, agrees completely. “This is a magical place,” he says. “It can’t be replicated. Of all the hotels I’ve been involved with, The Kahala is the most unique because of its age, location and history. The Kahala is recognized around the world as one of the few icons among luxury properties. All of the changes and enhancements we’ve made R e n o va t i o n s
are aimed at providing our guests the very best level of service and making sure this resort remains Hawai‘i’s reigning luxury resort hotel.”
Mid-century modern with 21st-century amenities (above and opposite page).
Sweeney, who has been intimately involved in resort and real estate development and management in Hawai‘i over his career, overseeing properties throughout the Islands as well as in Japan and Mexico, says, “The Kahala is a very special place, a landmark hotel, and it is our commitment to our longtime guests, and to Hawai‘i, to properly caretake this property for many years to come.”
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HEAVEN Embracing Past and Present at The Kahala Spa BY CHERYL CHEE TSUTSUMI
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SOFT MUSIC; PRETTY BOUQUETS; the sweet scents of plumeria, pïkake (jasmine)
and red currants; candles, lotions and aromatherapy oils arranged in baskets, on counters and on shelves like little works of art—one portal to heaven is just down the hall from the front desk of The Kahala Hotel & Resort. “When guests walk into our reception area, subtle touches awaken all of their senses,” says Spring Chang, director of The Kahala Spa. “We welcome them with a cool oshibori (hand towel) and pure iced water infused with green tea and natural fruit flavors. They might be jet-lagged, but they have big smiles on their faces. They’re looking forward to their transformation from real life to renewal.” The cultural renaissance of the 1970s ignited new interest and pride in Hawaiian history and traditions, including the healing arts. Over the years, the movement has grown and picked up momentum; it’s now especially evident in the hospitality industry, as visitors appreciate the opportunity to learn about na mea Hawai‘i (things Hawaiian). To reboot during their Island getaways, they’re seeking wellness experiences that connect them to the heart of Hawai‘i. The Kahala Spa does exactly that. After check-in at the spa, guests are escorted to one of 10 spacious treatment suites that reflect the tropics with ceiling fans, live plants, rattan furniture and gleaming hardwood floors. Each serene sanctum has its own private changing area, wardrobe closet, glass-enclosed shower and deep soaking tub. One suite is reserved for manicures and pedicures; another is just for gentlemen, complete with a barber’s chair for shaves. Ho‘omaka (to begin), a sea salt and ‘alaea (red clay) foot soak and aromatherapy foot scrub, is the complimentary prelude to the spa’s signature treatments—combinations of sensuous pleasures that heal, hydrate, relax, beautify, detoxify and rejuvenate. “All of our practitioners have many years of experience,” Chang says. “They’ve been trained in multiple disciplines, including authentic Hawaiian healing techniques that have been handed down by küpuna (elders) through the generations. The oils, lotions and aromatherapy products that we use are made with fresh, natural, organic ingredients.” Those ingredients harken back to ancient times, when nature was the Hawaiians’ esthetician. They squeezed fragrant, sudsy liquid from the ‘awapuhi (a type of ginger)
“When guests walk into our reception area, the subtle touches awaken all of their senses.”
Treatment suites reflect the tropics with bamboo ceiling fans, live plants and Polynesian-themed art.
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for shampoo. Coconut and kukui (candlenut) oil smoothed, softened and moisturized the skin. Forest greenery yielded seductive perfumes: nänü (gardenia), ‘iliahi (sandalwood), maile (a native twining shrub) and more. From nature, too, came remedies for ailments. Pöhaku wela (warm stones) were used to alleviate pain and stiffness. After the stones were heated in a fire pit, they were loosely wrapped in ti leaves and placed on the areas that needed relief. The Hawaiians assert there is divine power in all natural forms, even inanimate stones. One way to transmit this healing energy to the body is through pöhaku wela. Many of The Kahala Spa’s treatments have been inspired by such beliefs and practices. For example, the Ali‘i Detox features an invigorating body scrub that changes seasonally (during the spring and summer, it might be tuberose cane sugar; in the fall and winter, a mixture of passion fruit, citrus and sea salt). A deep-tissue massage employs a hand-carved lomilomi stick and pöhaku wela to release stress and tension. Attention is paid from head to toe, including an ‘awa (kava) and volcanic mud wrap for the legs and feet. Lovely Hula Hands doubles the pampering. It begins with a cleansing and exfoliating scrub, followed by a full-body massage performed simultaneously by two therapists who choreograph lomilomi techniques and the graceful gestures of the Hawaiian dance to oldtime and contemporary Hawaiian music. The treatment concludes with a soothing facial. Strength of body, mind and spirit are the cornerstones of total well-being. The beachfront CHI Health Energy Center addresses all three elements, offering state-ofthe-art cardiovascular and resistance equipment; Pilates, yoga and aerobics classes; meditative walks along the scenic coast; and private and semi-private exercise programs that help guests achieve their fitness goals. “Our personal trainers can customize workout regimens,” Chang says. “The center also offers virtual cardio programs, heart-rate monitors and machines with iPod docks and cable TV connections. Even better, guests can access the gym round the clock. “A vacation at The Kahala is very special ‘me time,’” Chang says. “At the spa in particular, guests can step away from their hectic everyday lives; forget about their problems and worries; and linger in a peaceful, beautiful place where they can experience aloha through every touch, sight, sound and aroma.” The Kahala Spa’s treatment rooms are restful sanctums that allow guests to transition easily “from real life to renewal.”
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SERVICE WITH A SMILE Favorite memories from The Kahala staff
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Gale Nishidaâ€™s daughter, Christine, greets Emperor Akihito of Japan; President Bill Clinton arrives in the hotel lobby; Denise Anderson welcomes former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
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GALE NISHIDA H.R. Administrator/Benefits Manager
“When the emperor and empress of Japan came to The Kahala, my five-year-old daughter, Christine, was a member of the hotel’s official welcoming party. Dressed in traditional Hawaiian mu‘umu‘u and grass hula skirts, she and another little girl welcomed these high-profile dignitaries with flower lei. Nearly 20 years later when the emperor and empress returned for another visit, Christine, now a college student, once again served as a greeter, this time along with another staff member’s daughter, Dacotah Dooley. To Christine’s surprise, she was remembered fondly by the royal couple. It’s always been such a blessing for my family and me to have been a part of these high-profile visits to Hawai‘i. These are memories we shared as a family and are so special to us.”
LORNA BARBOSA BENNETT MEDEIROS Reservations “Richard Gere was drop-dead handsome in his T-shirt, jeans and leather jacket. All the front desk staff swooned every time he walked by. Then his girlfriend at the time, Cindy Crawford, left a passionate message which staff member Lucy Ashley had to relay to him over the phone. Did she giggle? Well of course, but only after she did a reading worthy of Elizabeth Taylor.” “When the Rolling Stones band members checked in for a Hawai‘i concert, their visit was kept under wraps and security was extremely tight. Two fans crept across the golf course lawns and back of the property entrance, only to be met by a security team
as soon as they stepped off the elevators. They were quietly escorted away, hearts broken for not having been successful in sneaking in to meet Mick Jagger and other band members including percussionist Charlie Watts, Keith Richards and guitarist Ronnie Wood. At another point in their stay, the entire front desk staff came to the aid of Wood. On a break between two soldout concerts and the next night’s hana hou performance, Ronnie packed up an ice chest and was heading to the beach when he accidentally dropped it, sending canned beverages sliding and rolling across the lobby floor.”
Rihanna asked if she could have her picture taken with the soaking wet waiter. Of course, he happily obliged.” “It is customary during high-profile visits for the staff to provide a special Kahala ohana welcome. When President Bill Clinton and his entourage arrived, the entire staff made a big Kahala Ohana receiving line in the lobby. The president graciously stopped and shook hands with every single staff member, and continued the practice throughout his stay, with staff and patrons alike.”
DENISE ANDERSON Purchasing Director
KAINOA HOHU Bartender at Seaside Grill
“One afternoon during his stay, Luciano Pavarotti was enjoying the buffet lunch in the seaside restaurant formerly known as the Hala Terrace. When he finished his lunch, he promptly stood up at his table and belted out an aria from an opera for all the surrounding diners to enjoy. It was completely impromptu, without a mic or musical accompaniment. I remember how clear and vibrant and loud his voice carried, even over the sound of the nearby surf. When he finished, everyone in the room stood up and cheered! His voice was truly amazing.” “Singer Rihanna was floating on a raft in the ocean when she called out to the beachside waiter to please bring her a beverage. The eager-to-please waiter kicked off his shoes and waded into the ocean chest deep to deliver the singer a nonalcoholic afternoon libation. When she came ashore,
“I was working the front desk when Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway were checking in. When Conway signed in, I asked, ‘Is your family with you?’ since the registration card said Tim Conway & Family, and there were still groups of people approaching the desk. Tim turned nervously around toward the lobby and said, ‘Oh, did I forget them at the airport??’ I realized later that he actually didn’t bring his family, and that he was humoring me with a little joke. Later, I saw a small blurb in the newspaper telling this cute story.” “Another unforgettable moment was when former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger checked in. I greeted him at the front door with a lei. It was so epic to meet someone who is so important to our history and I was absolutely thrilled. But imagine my surprise when I went to give him the ceremonial kiss on the cheek, and he turned toward me ... and kissed me smack dab on the lips!”
memory book In its 50 years, The Kahala has welcomed world leaders and movie stars, athletes and royalty, politicians and performers. Name any famous person and chances are he or she has at one time been a guest at the hotel. On the hotelâ€™s Wall of Fame hang photographs of many of these luminaries.
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The 1960s From the start, The Kahala attracts some of the worldâ€™s most famous people. 1. Writer and Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata at his hotel bungalow 2. Hilo Hattie 3. Sammy Davis Jr. 4. Heiress Barbara Hutton
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The 1970s Within a few short years, the hotel has achieved world renown. 1. Singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka 2. Sumo wrestler Takamiyama DaigorĂś (second from right) 3. Britainâ€™s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
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The 1980s In its third decade, the hotel sees a never-ending parade of stars and world leaders. 1. President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan 2. Billy Joel 3. Princess Diana and Prince Charles 4. John Travolta and Kelly Preston
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The 1990s Renowned for its seclusion, the hotel remains a favorite getaway. 1. Elton John 2. Luther Vandross 3. Golfer Paul Azinger and family
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The 2000s A half-century old, The Kahala looks forward to welcoming past and new guests. 1. Dustin Hoffman and Flora Lamontagne, director of guest services 2. Alicia Keyes 3. Gloria and Emilio Estefan 4. Drew Barrymore
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ACK N OW LEDGMENTS
PHOTO C RE DI TS
TRINITY INVESTMENTS, LLC Sean Hehir, Ryan Donn, Adam Feil, Kevin Hayashi
Cover: ©Tropicals JR Mau/PhotoResourceHawaii.com Inside front cover and page 1: ©Dana Edmunds Pages 4-5: ©Douglas Peebles/Corbis Pages 6-14: ©Kyle Rothenborg Page 16: ©Dana Edmunds Pages 18-27: Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort Pages 28-29, first row, left to right: ©Shutterstock; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort; ©United Press International; ©Shutterstock; ©United Press International; ©AP Photo/Robert W. Klein; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort Pages 28-29, second row, left to right: ©White House Photo Office/wikimedia; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort; Shutterstock; ©AP Photo/Scott Stewart; ©Wikimedia; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort; ©Wikimedia Pages 28-29, third row, left to right: ©Corporal Joe Battista, United States Marine Corps/Wikimedia; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort; ©Mike Pennington/Wikimedia; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort; ©Petty Officer 1st Class Leah Stiles; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort Pages 30-37: ©Carin Krasner, Kim Wong prop styling, Karen Gillingham food styling Pages 40-41: ©Lexi Mackenzie (www.makanamusic.com) Page 42: ©Olivier Koning Page 43-46: Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort Page 47, left and center: Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort Page 47, right: ©Tina Lau Page 48, all photos: Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort Page 49, clockwise from top left: ©Dana Edmunds; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort; Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort; ©Olivier Koning Page 50, clockwise from top left: Courtesy of Carole Spencer; courtesy of Susan Tanzman; courtesy of Ann Corley Page 51, from top: Courtesy of Carole Spencer; courtesy of Ann Corley; courtesy of Amit Holckner Page 52-61: ©J. Paul Getty Trust. Used with permission. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute (2004.R.10) Pages 62-63: ©Dana Edmunds Pages 64-66: Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort Page 67, from top: ©Jennifer Cheung/Botanica/Getty Images; ©Linny Morris Page 68: ©Shutterstock Page 69: Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort Page 70: Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort Pages 72-77: Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort
LANDMARK HOTELS GROUP Todd Sherman, David Mellein, Glynis Esmail, Scarlett Dooley, Suzanne Schooley, Chiaki Funaoka, David Flemate, Danny Breatchel, Cyndy Holmes SPECIAL THANKS Gaylynne Sakuda Thanks to the many department heads who make The Kahala such a special experience for its guests. Paul Ajifu Romel Edeleon Alcantara Naomi Asia Amakawa Denise Q. Anderson Tracie Asayama Brett Ballinger Stefa Bascon Mildred Bright Roger Bright Tony L. Bumphus Roy Butteling Steven J. Byrnes Sau Ming (Grace) Chan Eun Jung Chang Yueh Chun Spring Chang Jacki Ching Sahngwoo Chun Micheal Colber Mercy R. Constantino Reynold F. Dacquel Reginald Deguiar Ryan J. Fitzgerald Shayne Fujihara Joy Garzon Joy M. U. Goto Jamie Gottlieb Aimee N. Graham Kumi Hall Corey Higaki Annabelle O. Hinkley Wayne C. Hirabayashi Reiko Hirose Carmine Iommazzo Desiree S. Iseri Kari Itamura Chester Kahalepuna Mayumi Kaita Brenda K. Kim Juan King William (Bill) Kirk Naoko Komiya
Pok Kung Ricky Y. Kusuda Shannon Ladd Flora Lamontagne Shane K. Lani Wai Sze Judy Leung Florian Leven Jennie Manlutac Ellen Peralta Mansfield Joseph Mauricio Michael Moorhouse Kathleen T. Morse Yoshimi Nakano Gale F. Nishida Joy Ohata Aaron Okajima Todd Oldham John B. Osburn Thushara Perera Danny Rank Melissa Rocha Brendan Ryan Wakako Kamiya Sasaki Jeremy R. Shigekane Kenneth Sumpter Kelli-Ann Takasane Crystal P. Tan Kara Tsuneda Jon K. Ushijima Daniel M. Uyejo Nandi Waidyatilleka Jason S. Watanabe Donna Yu Nishimura
Page 80 and inside back cover: ©Kyle Rothenborg
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T HE K A HA L A
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. . . THE PROMISE CONTINUES
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THE KAHALA HOTEL & RESORT
hot e l & r e s ort
a member of
c e l e b r a t i n g 5 0 y e a r s , 1964 -2014
5000 kahala avenue kahala honolulu, hawaii 96816-5498 u.s.a. www.kahalaresort.com telephone: 808.739.8888 facsimile: 808.739.8800 us/canada reservations: 1.800.367.2525 japan toll-free: 0120.528013
hote l & re sort
t he l e ge n d i n spir e s .
t he pr o m i se c o n t i n u e s .
Published on Jan 16, 2014