HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Kahala Hotel & Resort, one of Hawaii’s most famous luxury hotel properties, subdivided today, opening a second location in Japan.
The 146-room Kahala Hotel & Resort Yokohama opened Tuesday (Wednesday, Japan time) on the Minato Mirai (“Port Future”) waterfront.
ResortTrust, which acquired the Hawaii resort in 2014, dropped a previous affiliation with Mandarin Oriental hotels and said it envisioned turning the Kahala into a new luxury brand.
Hilton opened the Kahala in 1964. It cost $12 million to build. Sand was brought from Molokai and two manmade peninsulas were added to the shore.
It was billed as the first major resort to have air conditioning in every guest room.
For years it had dolphins in special pools. This became a tourist attraction for people staying at other hotels.
The location, not in Waikiki but on the other side of Diamond Head, next to a golf course but still on the ocean, drew wealthy and celebrity guests. When condos went up next to the hotel, “Hawaii Five-0” star Jack Lord made one his home.
There are more choices today — Turtle Bay and Ko Olina are more remote — but an expensive renovation a few years ago gave the guest rooms a more Hawaiian look. A banquet area beneath the lobby often hosts fundraisers for local charities and community business meetings.
The new owners see Yokohama, a city of 4 million, as a logical expansion point because of the Japanese city’s close ties to Hawaii. King Kalakaua visited Yokohama in 1881.