Classic Hawaiian style and contemporary comfort live in harmony at this beloved, beachfront favorite.
A storied hotel fondly known as “The Pink Palace of the Pacific,” The Royal Hawaiian abounds with tales from decades of history as the area's lodging of choice. Most notably, during World War II the U.S. Navy took over, reserving the hotel for submarine crews to use for R&R between dangerous patrols. The Navy wanted the best possible accommodations for its personnel taking the gravest risks. Of course, the Navy had far fewer options to choose from back then, but such rich history is now part of why The Royal Hawaiian continues to be a standout. When the hotel closed to the public for a second time, it was so that the original 1927 Spanish-Moorish-style property could undergo a major overhaul. It emerged after a $70 million renovation, honoring its heritage while bringing its level of comfort and luxury into the 21st century. Of the 528 guest rooms, 33 are suites — 18 oceanfront and six with two stories. Traditional Hawaiian style is showcased throughout the accommodations, with wicker, bamboo and rattan accents and a blend of imported fabrics with indigenous materials and cultural artifacts. As well, guests will find amazing views of Diamond Head or the ocean. More than 66,000 square feet of outdoor event space with a Waikiki Beach backdrop includes the Coconut Grove garden, once the location of Queen Kaahumanu’s Summer Palace. Also taking advantage of the natural setting are Abhasa Spa with garden treatment cabanas and the private Royal Beach Club. Away from the sand, the Tower Pool offers a more sedate atmosphere, and Helumoa Playground features a water slide and interactive fountain area for kids. Those wanting to immerse themselves in local culture can take hula, surfing or ukulele lessons. And those seeking local flavors need only meander to one of the on-site dining venues, beginning with Azure Restaurant, serving fish fresh from Pier 38. Also of note is the weekly luau on the beach. While some things have changed, the old guard need not fear. The Mai Tai Bar maintains its status as one of the most influential bars in the world — the Mai Tai cocktail is reputed to have been created here. Like the abiding spirit of the hotel, this bar is a nostalgic reminder of why luminaries such as Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks once made this place their tony island retreat.