Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel Taps Kahulu De Santos as Director of ʻImipoʻokela

July 21, 2022
Kahulu De Santos

Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel recently welcomed Kahulu De Santos as the new director of ʻImipoʻokela, an immersive training program for staff that strives to demonstrate the hotel’s dedication to supporting Hawaiian traditions, arts and history, enriching guest experiences through the cornerstone of Hawaiian culture. Through ʻImipoʻokela, hotel staff studies topics such as Hawaiian language, geography, religion, mythology, economics, and history, as well as participate in field trips to significant cultural sites in order to deepen their Hawaiian understanding. 

In this role, De Santos will provide cultural guidance and leadership training to staff regarding all aspects of the hotel’s management and daily operations, while liaising with each department to provide Hawaiian cultural education through music, hula, guest activities, special programming, events and more. 

“Kahulu’s experience with venerable hospitality brands and decades-long commitment to hula, combined with her formal education in Hawaiian studies and language, will serve her well in her role as our director of ‘Imipoʻokela,” said general manager Mike White. “We are thrilled to welcome her to our KBH ‘ohana, and are eager to watch her revitalize our Poʻokela employee training program.” 

Prior to her role with Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel, De Santos worked for more than a decade as a cultural advisor for Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa on Oʻahu, advising on appropriate cultural and organizational protocol, reviewing messaging to ensure accuracy and cultural sensitivity, as well as developing an educational program for all Aulani staff including basic Hawaiian language. She also served to partner with local leaders on opportunities to aid the continuation of the Hawaiian language and culture, the conservation of the natural environment and engaging with the community. 

De Santos has also held positions at Outrigger, Wyndham, Aston Hotels & Resorts, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Visitors Bureau and Bishop Museum. She received a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies with an emphasis in Hawaiian language from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She is a kumu hula graduate of Hālau Mōhala ʻIlima and has attended every Merrie Monarch Festival, the internationally acclaimed hula competition and Hawaiian fair, since 1978. 

This information is based off a press release from Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel. 

Read more recent moves and appointments in the hospitality industry. 


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Annie Smith Barkalow

Annie Smith Barkalow is a content intern with Meetings Today and a full-time student at Mount Mercy University, where she serves as editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper The Times.