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Exploring Kahala: Is This Rich Neighborhood Honolulu’s Beverly Hills?

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Much like Beverly Hills in Los Angeles or Tribeca in New York, the Kahala district, east of Honolulu, is famous for the wealth of its inhabitants. Billionaires, celebrities and business tycoons from around the world have traveled to the seaside enclave, purchasing luxury mansions and a paradise where the sandy beaches and verdant expanses of the iconic Diamond Head meet the mighty waters of the Pacific.

Kahala’s ties to the rich and famous are nothing new – this prime stretch of land on the southern end of Oahu was originally owned by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, then Bishop Estate.

In the early 19th century residential developments began, and soon after lavish estates were established along the waterfront. Since then Kahala has hosted notable residents such as billionaire tobacco heiress Doris Duke. , author and politician Clare Boothe Luce and Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Architecture in Kahala

While Kahala’s architecture is varied – styles and designs span many eras and have multiple countries of origin – there are often common features that exemplify an ideal Hawaiian home, such as Dickey roofs and porches. veranda.

Often times, design features are used to maximize the breathtaking views and move effortlessly from inside to outside. Floor-to-ceiling windows, flat courtyards with sparse landscaping, or wide hallways are used to enhance and showcase Oahu’s natural landscapes.

Space is another luxury offered to those who live in this eastern neighborhood.

“On Oahu, a lot of the lots are small,” said Erik Hinshaw, a real estate broker for Hawai’i Life Real Estate. “But Kahala is an area of ​​estate the size of lots – ten thousand and up, that’s not unusual.”

House prices in Kahala

Living in paradise is rarely cheap and Kahala is no exception.

According to Hawai’i Life, the median price of homes sold over the past 12 months was around $ 2 million. For that price, potential buyers can expect to find a smaller single-family home or to tear down.

Closer to the water, prices climb between $ 5 million and $ 10 million – along seaside sites, homes can cost over $ 20,000,000.

For those looking to develop a new property, you have to consider not only the price but also the time.

“Developing on Oahu is tricky,” Hinshaw said. “Space is limited and there is a long permitting process that can take years with public hearings and public comment.”

The price-time compromise has made pre-approved packages a hot item in luxury development circles. Beachfront properties like this 58,205-square-foot, six-townhouse luxury development, which includes permits and plans, can cost over $ 25 million.

The Kahala atmosphere

“Kahala is part of Honolulu, which is Hawaii’s main urban center,” Hinshaw said. “But it’s also on the other side of Diamond Head, so it feels more distant. It’s quieter and reserved, but sophisticated.”

While Kahala is suited to a tropical lifestyle – hiking, surfing, sunbathing and golfing all year round at internationally renowned golf resorts abound – the area also enjoys a big city feel with shopping, a vibrant nightlife and a vibrant downtown arts scene.

For fine dining, Kahala Hotel & Resort features the award-winning Plumeria Beach House Restaurant, where gourmet dishes feature exclusive ocean views.

Kahala schools

Kahala Public Schools are operated by the Hawaii Department of Education, the only statewide public education system in the United States.

Children enrolled in public school attend Kahala elementary school. Located in Kahala proper, Kahala Elementary School serves approximately 425 students, from kindergarten to grade five. In the 2018-19 school year, students performed well above state averages according to the Strive HI Performance Report, with 72% of students meeting language arts standards versus 54% nationwide. State and 69% of students meeting math standards (ie 49%).

For high school, students can attend Kalani High School, which serves approximately 1,400 students from many residential neighborhoods in eastern Honolulu, including Aina Haina and Maunalani Heights. On the Strive HI test, 73% of students were proficient in language arts, compared to 59% on the statewide average.

Kahala is also home to Mary, Star of the Sea, a private Catholic school with students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The surroundings of Kahala

The morning commute for those who work downtown is less than fifteen minutes west on IH-1.

Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is a twenty-minute drive away – an invaluable convenience for frequent travelers or anyone whose work takes them outside of Honolulu.

To get to Kawela Bay, across the Oahu, it takes an hour and a half via HI-99.


Hawaiian life is an exclusive member of Global UKTN Properties, a consumer market and a network of elite broker members selling the world’s most luxurious homes.

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