Historic Excellence: The Royal Hawaiian

For nearly a century, The Royal Hawaiian has reigned supreme as Hawaii’s most iconic resort. Constructed in 1927, “The Pink Palace of the Pacific” was initially built to attract the wealthier cruise ship passengers docking on the island. Today, this legendary property encompasses arguably the best spot on Waikiki Beach. It boasts rooms that offer spectacular views of Diamond Head and the sparkling turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. Despite its age and iconicity, it still delights affluent travelers to this day.

The Royal Hawaiian (a Luxury Collection Resort) is an excellent combination of old-world charm and modern luxuries, making it an always-desirable place to spend your Oahu vacation. The full-service resort provides guests with exceptional amenities such as 24-hour room service, concierge, valet, two pools, dry cleaning services, on-call physicians, and The Abhasa Spa. The Royal Hawaiian is accommodating, luxurious, and embodies all that Hawaiian culture offers.

Perusing the main lobby, you’ll find a large open-air hallway-esque setting with seating options and a boutique shopping experience. The stunning archways provide the perfect picture frame for breathtaking ocean views that make for a special welcome. If you’ve booked accommodations in the Mailani Tower, a separate check-in area is located within the building’s lobby, a nice VIP touch for discrete arrivals.

The famed oceanfront resort features 528 rooms in total, with 33 suites, of which 18 are oceanfront. The hotel is split into multiple sections, so your rooms will either be located in the historic, six-story wing erected in the 1920s, the more modern 16-story Mailani tower, which was added in the 1960s, or the aptly named Prestige Suites.

Accommodations in the Mailani Tower feature lanais outfitted with plush bright pink outdoor sitting areas and oceanfront views. Contemporary decor fills these spacious rooms that offer club-level amenities. The Historic Wing is decorated with 1920s-inspired furnishings, and these rooms offer views of the ocean or the garden. Finally, the Royal Hawaiian offers four of the aforementioned Prestige Suites featuring truly elevated accommodations, allowing for a truly lavish living experience during your stay.

The Royal Hawaiian provides you with several fantastic epicurean experiences that accent contemporary Hawaiian cuisine and continental classics. On the property, you have five dining options that draw inspiration from the ocean’s bounty and other locally-sourced ingredients.

For a beachside culinary experience that is truly elevated, be sure to visit Azure Restaurant & Bar. This fine dining option is situated on the shores of the lush Waikiki Beach under cover of the resort’s striking Spanish-Moorish architecture. It is adorned with pristine table settings and intimate candles, making this one of Honolulu’s most romantic and tranquil dining choices. They currently offer a four-course, prix fixe menu.

Be sure to start your morning with an order of “Pink Palace Pancakes” at Surf Lanai as you watch the sunrise over the waves — a trademark of the Royal Hawaiian experience and a must for every guest who visits. Another must is to book a dinner reservation during your stay at the exclusive Ahaaina Luau. This “Royal Celebration” draws on the traditional Hawaiian feast known as Ahaaina and pays homage to Helumoa, the playground where Royalty used to indulge but is now home to the resort. This is perhaps the most fun way to experience Hawaiian culture and traditions.

The Royal Hawaiian Bakery is a fantastic place to stop and grab a latte and some famous banana bread before the day’s events commence. There you’ll find many types of confections, from classic desserts to custom-designed cakes. And the Mai Tai Bar (located on the shores of Waikiki Beach) is a wonderful casual dining spot where you and your significant other can sip your favorite cocktails and enjoy tasty cuisine. The bar features live music from 6 pm until 10 pm and is an intimate location where you can lounge and watch the surf as you enjoy lunch or dinner.

The Royal Hawaiian boasts two spectacular pools that offer guests the best of both worlds. The first, the Malulani Pool, resides in the shade of the Mailani Tower and is the smaller, more private pool of the options. From the Malulani, you’ll enjoy gorgeous beach views and many seating options under the hotel’s iconic pink umbrellas. This is a fantastic place for adults and couples to savor an island-inspired libation and relax in nature.

If you’re looking for a more natural oasis, then the larger Helumoa Playground is just that. This beachfront extravaganza boasts two freshwater pools, a 70-foot-long water slide, an interactive fountain for the kids, and plenty of water chaise lounges for relaxing. It’s shared among guests of the Grand Hawaiian and those staying at the Sheraton Waikiki, making it the busier of the two pools. The property also features three jacuzzis, poolside dining, beach activities, and cabana rentals.

Of course, your stay isn’t complete without first indulging yourself at the Abhasa Day Spa. One of the most memorable and iconic spas in all of the world, Abhasa (which means “illusion” in Sanskrit) is the only spa on Oahu that offers treatments in a tropical garden setting. Drift away into bliss and allow yourself to be immersed in a full sensory experience as you enjoy luxurious treatments in a tropical garden oasis full of lush green flora. Treatments include tropical facials, body wraps, steam rooms, nail and hair services, local massage techniques, and more, and there are amenities like steam rooms, a whirlpool spa, outdoor cabanas, and complementary aromatic tea.

After all these years it is easy to see why the Royal Hawaiian remains a favorite among the rich and famous. The accommodations are elegant and luxurious, while the level of service and Jetset-worthy amenities are still top-of-the-line. When you take that into account with the property’s historical significance, prime location, and conveniences, it remains a perineal prime choice to stay whenever visiting Honolulu.


About The Author

Greg is an avid adventure traveler who has visited over 40 countries and in excess of 100 events and festivals in his 10+ years at Jetset magazine. Hobbies include skiing, golf , hiking ,swimming and biking.

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