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Oahu Neighborhoods

Oahu Neighborhood Profiles: Diamond Head

Prime Southeast O'ahu

"Land of the Splendid Gentry"

The peaceful, eclectic, mid- to upper-priced neighborhoods of Aina Haina-Kuliouou-Niu Valley are tucked into the foothills and up the sides of Koolau Mountain ridges along Kalanianaole Highway. On the makai (ocean) side, the Maunalua Bay beachfront is graced with lovely beach parks, lavish homes and Paiko Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary.

The base of Diamond Head, the extinct volcano that is Oahu's most famous natural landmark, is embroidered with affluent homes and condominiums. At Kupikipikio (Black Point), the portion of the Diamond Head community that swoops out into the Pacific Ocean, the late billionaire Doris Duke built her beloved Shangri-La.

This ideal location is where Kaiser built his 7.2-acre, $1 million waterfront estate in 1959. It sold last year for $19.7 million.

Another millionaire's neighborhood and one of the most famous communities in the world is Kahala, where elaborate front gates can cost as much as some people's homes. Upscale Kahala Mall caters to this discriminating population.

Kaimuki-Kapahulu are two of Oahu's most lively communities, dripping with appeal to yuppies. The houses along the neat, hilly streets have personality and character. Waialae Avenue, which is downtown Kaimuki, looks like 1940s-50s Main Street, U.S.A. Kapahulu's colorful businesses and restaurants face off across busy Kapahulu Avenue. Both areas have plenty of quaint coffee houses to keep the population energized and happy.

In the fertile depths of Palolo Valley, crops and orchids still grow. Working-class Palolo is a homey, multi-ethnic suburb of affordable homes. Each September, the community holds a good, old-fashioned Palolo Pride celebration in Palolo District Park.

For decades, the wealthy community of Waialae-Kahala has been the playground of royalty, movie stars and the rich and famous. The Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel is the legendary host of the world's discriminating travelers, and the Waialae Country Club is the stage for the $4 million Sony Open golf tournament.

Wilhelmina rises above it all like a jewel in an elevated setting. The well-established mid- to high-priced community of Wilhelmina Rise offers mountain ridge-high panoramic views of the blue Pacific and the glittering lowlands of southeast Oahu.

*Content provided courtesy of the Honolulu Advertiser