On the shores of Waikiki Beach on the Hawaiian island of Oahu sits the “Pink Palace of the Pacific,” The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, The Royal Hawaiian opened its doors on Feb. 1, 1927, 32 years before Hawaii became a state (it became a U.S. territory in 1898.) The original six-story, 400-room hotel was built in 18 months at a price of $4 million, and was described in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin as “the first resort hostelry in America.” Built as a luxurious hotel for Matson Navigation passengers, The Royal Hawaiian was undoubtedly a sight for sore eyes after a minimum five-day Pacific Ocean sailing, the only way to reach the Hawaiian Islands before air travel became a reality.
The Royal Hawaiian comes by its name naturally: The 14 acres of Waikiki beachfront was once a playground for King Kamehameha, and Queen Kaahumanu’s Summer Palace once stood where the hotel’s Coconut Grove is found today. Among the elite seeking modern (at the time) royal treatment at the hotel were heads of state, the Rockefellers, the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood.
Like many historic hotels in the U.S.A., The Royal Hawaiian closed its doors in 1941 after the attack on nearby Pearl Harbor, and was leased to the U.S. Navy as a rest and recreation center for sailors serving in the Pacific Fleet. It reopened again to the public in February 1947, after nearly $2 million in renovations. In 1969, the Royal Beach Tower, now known as the Mailani Tower, was added adjacent to the historic property.
Today, guests who check into The Royal Hawaiian will find an oceanfront resort with 528 rooms, including 33 suites (18 of which are…