While my sister and I were in Hawaii we wanted to have afternoon tea. The Kahala Resort is actually the first place I ever had afternoon tea ten years ago, and I had amazing memories of the experience. At the risk of tainting the memories, and after calling to confirm a gluten free menu for Julie, we decided to give it a shot.
We arrived half an hour late, entirely because I mixed up the reservation, but they seated us graciously, and we never felt rushed. We were given tea menus, and selected the two teas we wanted to order, but then our server brought out samples of the teas to smell and we ended up changing our order. The White Rose tea is out-of-this-world delicious, and I only wish they sold it to take home! We also had the Kahala Signature Blend, which was a little disappointing. Black tea is the first ingredient listed, with hibiscus close to the end. I expected a slightly tart tropical black tea, but this was bright pink and basically like drinking Red Zinger. Not bad, but if I had understood I wouldn't have ordered it. At the Kahala you can have hot water refills, but you can't change the tea you ordered. We happily refilled the White Rose, but didn't finish the original pot of the Kahala Blend.
The Kahala was wonderful about preparing a gluten free menu for Julie that was creative and appealing. You just need to give them a day or two of advanced notice. Honestly, her savories looked more delicious and bountiful than mine! I think my favorite from the meal was a deviled egg with crab and bacon - I now realize all deviled eggs need a chunk of crunchy bacon stuck in them!
The atmosphere was really relaxing and the service was extremely friendly. And I don't mean to diminish them at all when I say that has overwhelmingly been my experience everywhere in Hawaii. We were seated outside on the veranda with views of the dolphin pools (that's right, they have dolphin pools!), the swimming pool, and the ocean. This is a mild complaint, but I believe the seating area has shifted from ten years ago, and is now farther from the dolphins. It also seems just a little more worn, or perhaps I've developed a more critical eye. I should admit we went on a kind of rainy gray day, so that must have influenced my impressions to some extent.
If you have the chance to visit the Kahala, be sure to walk around and explore. There is a beautiful spiral staircase with dozens of orchids growing along it, and while we were there before Christmas, the Christmas tree was filled with live orchids as well.
The Kahala Mandarin
Address: 5000 Kahala Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816
|The Orchid Staircase|
|Always so relaxing|
|The bottom tier is gluten free|
|Gluten free desserts|
|The dolphin lanai|
|The orchid filled Christmas tree|
Read about other afternoon teas:
The Aman Tokyo
The Palace Hotel Tokyo
The Metropole Hanoi
The Ritz Carlton Tokyo
Peninsula Hotel Tokyo
The Mandarin Oriental (second time)
Park Hyatt Shinjuku
Four Seasons Marunouchi
The Mandarin Oriental