Royal Hawaiian Hotel

The Historic Hotels of America has just named the Royal Hawaiian Hotel as the newest member to their exclusive fraternity. As the first hotel from Hawaii to be accepted into this prestigious program, the “Pink Palace of the Pacific” joins 233 other resorts and hotels located throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The second hotel to open on Waikiki Beach, the Pink Palace opened its doors on February 1st, 1927. Standing six stories in height, over the last 84 years this art deco hotel has become an iconic landmark in Waikiki. Commissioned by William Matson and designed by the renown New York City architecture firm of Warren and Wetmore, the Royal Hawaiian was fashioned in an elegant Moorish-Spanish architectural style. Its opening was lauded as the gala event of the decade, a black tie affair attended by over 1,200 guests. The opulent, eight-hour affair even had three different bands play that evening: The Royal Hawaiian Concert Orchestra, the McCabe-Dunn Royal Hawaiian Dance Orchestra, and The Royal Hawaiian Band. During the ensuing years the stately hotel played host to many famous guests, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Clark Gable, and Amelia Earhart amongst countless others. In 2008, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel underwent a $85 million renovation, restoring the hotel and its 528 rooms to its former glory. The name isn’t the only thing that is royal about this place either. The plot of beach front land that the Royal Hawaiian sits on is called Helumoa. King Kamehameha I built a home in Helumoa, situated amongst the plentiful coconut trees. Kamehameha V also had a house on this hallowed ground. The land was eventually left to Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Through her will, this land was left to Bishop Estates (Kamehameha Schools), which continues to lease it to the hotel. Incidentally, Bishop Estates are the largest landowners in Hawaii. Established in 1989, the Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, requires that member hotels be located in a building at least 50 years old. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel joins an illustrious group of hotels, landmarks like The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago, and The Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. Not only will this be a prestigious honor for the hotel, but it will also become part of a booking network that specifically matches travelers searching for historic hotels. This should also improve Hawaii’s standing with heritage travelers (tourists that plan their trips around a historic attraction). As more heritage travelers make Hawaii their vacation destination, Discover Hawaii Tours will continue to offer the finest historical tours in the islands.

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