Afternoon tea in Honolulu is a must-do! The Kahala Hotel is one of the Hawaii’s most famous afternoon tea spots. From beautiful sweets and savories to warm scones, here are insider tips and everything you need to know about Kahala Hotel afternoon tea.
Afternoon Tea in Honolulu
You know how much I love afternoon tea ^_^
Whether it’s catching up with a friend, or spending the weekend with mom and grandma, doing it over afternoon tea always makes the moment feel extra special.
We have a whole post about afternoon tea in Honolulu here – it is a must do whether you’re a visitor or local on the island. There are only a few afternoon tea spots in Honolulu (including Halekulani Hotel and Moana Surfrider), but they are all so wonderful and unique.
I mean where else in the world do you get afternoon tea on a breezy, open veranda (often with ocean views and sometimes oceanfront!) all year round? Call me biased but there’s nothing quite like afternoon tea in Hawaii.
Kahala Hotel Afternoon Tea
One of my all time favorite places for afternoon tea is Kahala Hotel. Afternoon tea is served at The Veranda every Sunday afternoon.
Locals love the Kahala Hotel because you feel like you’re on vacation, but it’s away from busy Waikiki. It’s the perfect mix of local and vacation vibes!
Visitors love the Kahala Hotel because they feel like they’ve stumbled upon a more secluded spot. Most of the hotels on the island are located in Waikiki. So to enter in a hotel in the Kahala neighborhood…wow feels kind of special!
Kahala Hotel has been offering afternoon tea for as long as I can remember. I had afternoon tea here in middle school and high school…and I still continue to do so as an adult. I wish I had saved photos from every afternoon tea here (before digital cameras, I took afternoon tea photos with a film camera, printed and scrapbooked the photos!)
It’s been super neat to see how Kahala’s afternoon tea service has evolved over the decades (and also under different management and ownership). I’m excited that it is still going strong ^_^
Kahala Hotel is located in a neighborhood called Kahala. It is a 10-minute drive from Waikiki. Don’t get on the freeway. The best route to take is the scenic route, which takes you from Kalakaua Avenue to Diamond Head Road and then Kahala Avenue. At the very end of Kahala Avenue is the The Kahala Hotel. You have arrived!
Come a little early or stay a little late so that you can walk around and explore the property before or after you have tea. The beach is right out front and it is incredible, especially at sunset.
The Veranda Kahala
Afternoon tea is served in The Veranda, a big open air room (with super high ceilings) located right off the hotel lobby. The tables are generously spaced and every seat feels like a good seat.
The tea selection includes 12 teas:
White and Green Teas:
- Silver Needle
- Pikake – Green tea scented with pikake flowers.
Black Tea blends:
- Ali’i – A black tea from Maui tea farm. Learn more about tea farms in Hawaii here.
- Ku’uipo – Think Earl Grey, but also with local lavender and rose petals.
- Vintage 1795
- The Hukilau – Black tea with rose, marigold, red safflowers, and blue cornflowers.
- Lilikoi Cacao – Black tea with roasted local cacao shells and lilikoi.
- First Flush Darjeeling
- Mamaki – learn more about this wonderful Hawaiian herbal tisane here.
- Olena – Olena is the Hawaiian word for turmeric.
- Ho’onanea – A blend of peppermint, chamomile, moringa, and mamaki.
I had afternoon tea with a friend and we ordered Pikake and Lilikoi Cacao. Best to order two very different types of tea and share ^_^
Here’s a peek at the menu. I love collecting afternoon tea menus!
When you first sit down, the server will roll over a trolley which holds the tea selections. Feel free to ask any questions about the tea.
Sometimes people get overwhelmed or intimated by the tea menu and just pick the first name they recognize to “get it over with.” But don’t do that…
You might as well learn about the different teas since you’re already here. There’s a big variety and nothing to lose by trying something new.
The tea samples in the little dishes are for you to see and smell. That way you can get a better sense of which teas you’d like to try.
Ready to eat? After the tea is brewed and poured, you’ll receive a three-tier stand of savories and sweets. Each stand holds enough for two people. If you’re a group of four, then you’ll receive two stands.
They put the sweets on the bottom tier and two savories tiers on top. The scones come in a separate basket served on the side. Each afternoon tea place does it differently (eg. some hotels do savories on the bottom, scones on the middle, and sweets on top).
Savories, Round 1
Let’s get to the food ^_^
- Cucumber, Dill, and Whipped Butter on Sprouted Wheat Bread.
- Cucumber sandwiches are an afternoon tea classic. They often come with cream cheese or mayo, so it was very nice to have it with whipped butter. Am definitely going to remake this at home.
- “Deviled” Egg Sandwich, Radishes, and Caviar on Rye Bread.
- A fun upgrade from the typical egg salad sandwich.
Savories, Round 2
Ready for more:
- Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich with Green Apples on White Bread.
- Man it’s been so long since I had a curried chicken salad! Bright, fresh, and simple.
- Hawaii Smoked Fish Baguette
- Always thoughtful to include local Hawaii ingredients into any offering.
Ready for sweets? Ok here we go. Clockwise from top:
- Pot De Crème
- Red Velvet Madeleine
- Chocolate Éclair
- Green Tea Mille Crêpe
Warm basket, warm scones. A delight! You get three types of pastries in this basket:
- Orange Cranberry Scone (triangle)
- Blueberry Scone (circle)
- Coconut Palmier
What to eat with the scones?
Three types of creams and jams:
- Clotted cream
- Lilikoi curd
- Pineapple marmalade (I love this!)
The pineapple marmalade is a real treat, don’t miss it. I love how hotels have signature jams and marmalades. Next time you try afternoon tea at Halekulani Hotel (which just reopened, afternoon tea starting back up soon!) make sure to ask for the secret poha berry jam.
Put a bit of each on your plate and enjoy ^_^
Insider Tips and Questions
Afternoon tea is served every Sunday from 2-3:30pm. Because it’s only served during a short period, reservations are required. You can make the reservations and pre-pay online.
They note that the afternoon tea is $65 on the website. When you reserve and pre-pay, you will be charged $80 a person. The $80 includes tax and service charge.
If you order any additional items during afternoon tea (eg. champagne and certain teas like the Silver Needle, Ali’i blend, or Mamaki), you’ll receive a separate check for those items at the end of afternoon tea.
There is free validated self-parking for everyone dining at The Veranda Kahala (where afternoon tea is served). Look for the garage on the right hand side, entrance located right before you turn into the hotel. There’s also free validated valet parking (don’t forget to tip).
One question we always receive about afternoon tea is: can I take home leftovers? The answer is YES.
No one expects you to finish all those sweets. And no one wants you to waste any of those sweets either. So by all means, ask for a small box which they will happily provide. Then you can enjoy those sweets later in the evening or at breakfast the next morning.
Make sure to note that on your reservation. We were celebrating a birthday and they sent a complimentary slice of rainbow birthday cake. We love rainbow cake in Hawaii (post on this coming soon) ^_^
Make sure to budget some time before or after tea to explore the hotel and property. It’s located right on the beach, perfect for a peaceful and beautiful afternoon walk.
Kahala Hotel Afternoon Tea: Info
- Afternoon tea is served at The Veranda at the Kahala Hotel
- Address: 5000 Kahala Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
- Phone: (808) 739-8760
- Price: Afternoon tea is $80 per person
- Hours: Sunday 2-3:30pm (pre-paid reservations required)