< UNITED STATES | HONOLULU: The Royal Hawaiian

1927



The Royal Hawaiian


Honolulu


2259 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
United States

Phone: +1 808 923 7311
Fax: +1 808 931 7098

www.royal-hawaiian.com

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GPS: 21° 16' 38.8" N 157° 49' 44.7" W


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Built in 1927, the iconic Royal Hawaiian Resort, known as the "Pink Palace of the Pacific," ushered in a new era of luxurious resort travel to Hawaii. The construction cost $4 million and it was completed in 18 months. New six-story building featured 400-rooms and was designed in a Spanish-Moorish style popular during the period and influenced by screen star Rudolph Valentino and his Arabian movies. It opened its doors to guests on 1st of February 1927 with a black-tie gala celebration attended by over 1,200 guests.


Set on ten acres of prime Waikiki beachfront, the site of The Royal Hawaiian boasts a majestic lineage. The area was used as a playground for King Kamehameha after he conquered the island of Oahu. Queen Kaahumanu’s Summer Palace was previously located on what is now the hotel’s Coconut Grove garden. The resort was the brainchild of Ed Tenney, who headed the “big five” firm of Castle and Cooke and Matson Navigation, and Matson manager William Roth. The Royal Hawaiian was conceived as a luxurious resort for Matson passengers.

Before the advent of air travel across the Pacific, the only means of reaching Hawai‘i was a minimum five-day sea voyage. Travelers arriving to the islands would stay for a considerable period of time, bringing numerous steamer trunks, servants and even their Rolls Royce vehicles. Child actress Shirley Temple created a stir by strumming the ukulele on Waikiki Beach when she visited the Royal in the 1930s.

The Royal Hawaiian played host to numerous celebrities, financiers, and heads of state until World War II. In January 1942, the hotel was exclusively leased to the United States Navy as a rest and recreation center for those serving in the Pacific Fleet. The Royal Hawaiian was re-opened to the public in February 1947 after a nearly $2 million renovation.

ITT Sheraton purchased The Royal Hawaiian from Matson in June 1959. The Royal Tower Wing was added to the existing structure in 1969. The resort was sold in 1974 to Kyo-ya Company, Ltd., with Starwood Hotels & Resorts operating it under a long-term management contract.

The classical elegance of the guest rooms and public areas in The Royal Hawaiian has been preserved through extensive restoration and renovation. Meticulous research into the hotel’s historical archives was used to recapture the grandeur of the past. The legendary “Pink Palace of the Pacific” began restoration on June 1st, 2008. The Royal Hawaiian closed for seven months and reopened in late 2008 as one of the world’s elite collection of hotels for luxury and romance. The restored resort reopened to usher in a return to grandeur in Waikiki — recapturing the essence of the destination where the world fell in love with Hawai‘i and all things Hawaiian.


Additional literature:



#Stan Cohen: The Pink Palace, Royal Hawaiian Waikiki
Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1986 | ISBN-10: 0933126824; ISBN-13: 978-0933126824
English language | 95 pages | Paperback


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