Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel gets a new director of ʻIMIPOʻOKELA

Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel is thrilled to announce the appointment of Kahulu De Santos as the hotel’s new Director of ʻImipoʻokela. In her new role, De Santos will provide cultural guidance and leadership training to staff across all aspects of the hotel’s management and daily operations, 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.”

Since launching in 1986, all Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel staff have participated in the ʻImipoʻokela program, from the groundskeepers to the general manager. Through regular Po‘okela classes, the team studies topics such as Hawaiian language, geography, religion, mythology, economics, and history, and participates in field trips to significant cultural sites to deepen their Hawaiian understanding. This immersive training program, now directly overseen by De Santos, demonstrates the hotel’s dedication to supporting Hawaiian traditions, arts, and history, enriching guest experiences through the cornerstone of Hawaiian culture.

Most recently, De Santos served as the cultural advisor for Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa on Oʻahu for more than a decade, 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 worked to partner with local leaders, including the educational community and travel industry, on opportunities to support the perpetuation of the Hawaiian language and culture, the preservation of the natural environment, and engagement with the community.

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Prior to joining Aulani Resort, De Santos held positions at the Outrigger, Wyndham, Aston Hotels & Resorts, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Visitors Bureau, and Bishop Museum. De Santos received her 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. From hula to aloha ‘āina to ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, her decades of study with Māpuana de Silva informs her work with an inspiring vision.

For more information about Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel, visit


Tags: Hawaii, Hotel Director, ʻIMIPOʻOKELA, Kahulu De Santos, Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel, Maui

Media, Lahaina, Hawaii

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