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Kahala is an upscale, exclusive residential neighborhood found on the southern portion of the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Kahala is easily one of the most prestigious communities in the state of Hawaii, benefitting from an outstanding location along and near the Pacific Ocean. Kahala is found at the terminating point of the H-1 interstate freeway to the east of Honolulu, and is bordered by the communities of Kaimuki and Waialae. These neighboring towns are also considered upscale enclaves, although Kaimuki has considerably more businesses and commercial properties than either Kahala or Waialae. Kahala is situated within about fifteen minutes of downtown Honolulu, and is even closer to the internationally famous Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. Depending on traffic patterns and the time of day, Kahala can be one of the most easily accessible and convenient communities on Oahu. There are a number of bus routes that run through Kahala, most notably the number one bus which travels to the central hub of Honolulu’s bus system, the Kalihi Transit Center. Kahala’s western border is the Diamond Head Crater, which divides Kahala from Waikiki beach and the even smaller residential area of Diamond Head. In terms of residential properties, the majority of dwellings in Kahala are single family homes with high appraisal values. There are also a number of condominiums and some commercial properties, but most houses in the area are homes with property values above one million dollars. Among those single family homes, the demographics break down roughly equally between older, plantation style homes and newer mansions.
The most easily recognizable commercial property in Kahala is the Kahala Resort and Hotel, a property formerly known as the Kahala Hilton and the Kahala Mandarin Oriental. Not only does it define the skyline of the largely low rise community, the Kahala Resort and Hotel has traditionally been the hotel of choice for diplomats who find themselves in the region. Over the years, the Kahala Resort and Hotel has greeted guests as well known as former presidents as well as offering rooms to ordinary kama’aina. The other largely commercial region of Kahala is Kahala Mall, which is the largest shopping center east of Ala Moana. Kahala Mall serves as a center of community events, including piano recitals, vocal performances, and food drives, and of course also includes a wide variety of shopping attractions. Kahala Mall consolidates many of the best restaurants in the area, including California Pizza Kitchen, Chili’s, and The Counter Custom Burgers, while also offering a recently opened Whole Foods. The entire mall has free WiFi, and includes a wide variety of professional offices in addition to retail shops. The primary attraction of the mall is, of course, its store selection, which includes everything from Macys and PacSun to Apple Computer and GameStop.
Kahala includes a number of neighborhood parks, recreational facilities, and playgrounds, but most notably borders Kapiolani Park. Kapiolani Park is one of the largest public spaces in the state of Hawaii, and includes numerous sports fields, practice facilities, performance venues, and even a pond. Crime is traditionally low in the Kahala area, and the local schools are generally of very high quality. The University of Hawaii at Manoa is about ten minutes away, and Kapiolani Community College is found just beyond the borders of the community. Because of these numerous conveniences and offerings, it is not at all unusual to find properties in Kahala worth more than two million dollars. Even properties that are not located on the beach front and have unusable homes situated on them regularly sell for a million dollars or more on account of their property value.