The Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu – The Pink Palace of the Pacific

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu | Oahu | Aloha | Pink Palace | Waikiki | Bubbly Moments

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu is one of Waikiki’s finest grand old hotels. It’s proud to be called the “Pink Palace of the Pacific” and is just as stylish and luxurious today as it was almost 100 years ago. The grand opening on 1 February 1927 marked the start of a new era of travel by the rich and famous to Honolulu.

After spending a couple of nights at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu on Oahu I can testify that it has withstood the test of time. Let’s take a look at what makes it so special.

The History of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu

The original 6-story, 400-room hotel was built in only 18 months at a cost of $4 million – a huge price tag for the time. It earned its “Pink Palace” nickname because of the stucco facade in bright pink complemented by the Spanish-Moorish architectural style. Warren and Wetmore of New York City, the architects, were apparently inspired by the Arabian movies of Hollywood film star Rudolph Valentino.

The introduction of weekly flights to Honolulu by Pan-American Airways in 1936 introduced a new era of opulence at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu. It was an icon of Hawaii’s glory days which ended with the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu | Oahu | Aloha | Pink Palace | Waikiki | Bubbly Moments

In the following years, the Royal Hawaiian became a rest and relaxation center for Navy personnel. It was only restored to its pre-war state by 1947 and remained the dominant luxury hotel on Waikiki Beach until the 1960s.

Since then, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu underwent many upgrades. This included the addition of the Royal Tower Wing and the Mailani Tower. The hotel is now a Luxury Collection Resort with more than 500 rooms.

If you like to learn more about the history of the Royal Hawaiian, historical tours are conducted every Tuesday and Thursday at 13:00.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu | Oahu | Aloha | Pink Palace | Waikiki | Bubbly Moments

5 Reasons to Stay at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu Today

1. Location, Location, Location

The Royal Hawaiian is spectacularly located on the famous Waikiki Beach. Hotel guests have access to a variety of beach activities and water sports. You can choose to go parasailing, surfing, snorkeling, or simply relax on the sand or next to the seaside pool.

Restaurants and shops of Kalakaua Avenue are only minutes away. Buy yourself an Aloha shirt at Newt’s, Reyn Spooner or Tori Richard. Or vintage-style Hawaiian flip-flops at Island Slipper. At the eastern end of Waikiki, Kalakaua Avenue follows the beach and the parks. And for something else, why not explore the Fort deRussy military reservation?

2. Rooms Fit for Royalty

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu has no less than 528 rooms spread out in the Historic Wing and the Mailani Tower. This includes 33 suites of which 18 have ocean views. If you’re lucky enough, you can stay in one of four Prestige Suites where there is someone to attend to your every beck and call.

All guest rooms feature historic photographs and indigenous objects d’art to remind you of the special place you are staying in. I love the rooms in the historic wing with their boudoir pillows and bold pink and silver headboards. In the Mailani tower, each room offers a lanai experience for private ocean views.

3. Wining and Dining

Of course, the dining experience at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu matches the general 5-star quality and service experienced everywhere on the premises. Recommendations are:

  •        Mai Tai Bar – Sipping on the hotel’s famous variation of the Mai Tai cocktail at sunset is a must while staying at the Royal Hawaiian.
  •        Azure Restaurant & Bar – World-class food in a world-class setting under the Spanish-Moorish canopy on the beachfront. You must order some of the locally caught fish or other fresh seafood.
  •        Surf Lanai – More casual and relaxed that Azure, serving classical Hawaiian dishes. Like the others, it also has a prime beachside location.

4. The Abhasa Spa

You will find no other spa in Oahu in such a beautiful tropical garden setting. No wonder it’s ranked the no. 1 spa in Hawaii. You wouldn’t want to get up after enjoying a hot stone massage. Or how about a detox de-stress massage to get you in the holiday spirit?

Abhasa, which means illusion in Sanskrit, naturally also offers facials, body wraps, waxing, nail, and hair treatments. If you can’t settle for just one, there are some pretty attractive spa packages to choose from.

5. Guest Activities and Entertainment

If you can’t sit still even though you are on holiday, there is enough to keep you busy at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu. A range of sporting and fun activities are organized every day to keep guests happy and entertained. They include:

  •        Yoga classes
  •        Surfing introduction lesson
  •        A traditional Hiu Wai sunrise cleansing ceremony
  •        Flower lei making
  •        Live entertainment at the Mai Tai Bar
  •        Hawaiian quilting demonstrations
  •        Island music, dances, and cuisine at the Aha Aina Luau show
  •        Making your own shell bracelet
Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu | Oahu | Aloha | Pink Palace | Waikiki | Bubbly Moments

Fun Facts about the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu

  • Several rich and famous guests have laid their heads on the pillows of the Royal Hawaiian over the years. In fact, it was very popular among important statesmen and Hollywood stars shortly after its opening. The first official guest was Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, who would have been queen if the Hawaiian monarchy survived. Other early guests included Franklin D. Roosevelt.

  • The Royal Hawaiian has been featured in many motion pictures from 1931 to 2014. It started with the Charlie Chan film The Black Camel. The 2002 film Punch-Drunk Love and Big Eyes (2014) are the last two in which you will recognize the “Pink Palace”.

  • Murder She Wrote, Charlie’s Angels and Eight is Enough are three of the popular television series in which the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu appeared.

  • The Royal Hawaiian is even immortalized in a song. Joni Mitchell refers to it as the “pink hotel” in her 1970 song Big Yellow Taxi.

Nearby Things to Do and Places to Visit

Aloha Tower

Dating from 1926, the 184-feet tall Aloha Tower in Honolulu Harbor is almost as old as the Royal Hawaiian. The tower was originally built with two reasons in mind: it was to serve as a lighthouse and also to tell residents what time it was through a loud siren that went off 3 times a day.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu | Oahu | Aloha | Pink Palace | Waikiki | Bubbly Moments

Diamond Head

Diamond Head State Monument is Hawaii’s most recognizable landmark. The monument parking area is a short drive from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu or can even be reached on foot along the beach.

This unique crater was formed 300,000 years ago by a single volcanic eruption. Hiking to the summit on a clear and sunny day is a very rewarding activity. You can see so far across the ocean from up there, that the US Military used it as a post to prevent attacks against Honolulu.

Iolani Palace

The royal residence of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs. The first occupant was King Kalakaua who had it built in 1882. Besides serving as the royal living quarters, Iolani Palace was also the political and cultural epicenter of Hawaii. Queen Lili’uokalani was the last official resident when the monarchy was overthrown in 1893.

At the turn of the 19th century, Iolani Palace was the capital of Hawaii when it became a United States Territory. It also served as military headquarters after Pearl Harbor was bombed. It has now been restored to its former grandeur and enjoys the status of a National Historic Landmark.

Kailua Beach Park | Pillbox Hike | Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu | Oahu | Aloha | Pink Palace | Waikiki | Bubbly Moments

Kailua Beach Park

If you can manage to pull yourself away from the Royal Hawaiian and Waikiki Beach, a day at Kailua Beach Park is a great alternative. The 2,5-mile long beach on Oahu’s easterly shoreline has beautiful calm turquoise water and every facility for an enjoyable day on the beach.

What’s more is that the town of Kailua is a charming oceanfront community. The fine sandy beach, protected by Kailua Bay, definitely deserves its place as the 2nd best beach on Oahu.

Waimea Bay

Another famous beach on the north shore of Oahu. Waimea Bay is at the end of the Waimea Valley and the mouth of the Waimea River. Waimea means “reddish water”.

Waimea is most famous for its legendary surfing events. Winter storms create exceptionally large waves, making Waimea a popular destination for big wave surfers.

While you are here, make time to visit the Pu’u o Mahuka Heiau State Monument, a Native Hawaiian historical site. It is just above the bay off Pupukea Road. From there you will enjoy magnificent views of Waimea Bay and the Waianae mountain range.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu | Oahu | Aloha | Pink Palace | Waikiki | Bubbly Moments

About Honolulu

Hawaii’s largest city, Honolulu stretches across Oahu’s South Eastern shore, all the way from Pearl Harbor to Makapuu Point. Somewhere in between lies Waikiki Beach and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu. The name means “sheltered bay” in Hawaiian.

The cosmopolitan city is home to the majority of Hawaii’s population. Nearly one million people or 80% of the state’s residents live here. Despite the fact that it is highly populated, Honolulu was ranked one of the safest cities in the US in 2015.

Honolulu’s climate is moderate and tropical. There is very little variation in temperature during the course of the year. At the highest end of the spectrum, the temperatures reach around 90°F and at the lowest around 65°F. The ocean water is 82°F in summer and 77°F in winter, making it the warmest in the US.

The chances of your vacation being interrupted by rain are slim. The average rainfall in summer is less than half an inch compared to almost three inches in winter.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu | Oahu | Aloha | Pink Palace | Waikiki | Bubbly Moments

Have you been to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Honolulu and the Waikiki? Any tips and recommendations?
How was your experience? 
Comment below!

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  1. Jerrin Soman April 16, 2018 at 5:42 am - Reply

    Nice blog

  2. Jerrin Soman April 16, 2018 at 5:44 am - Reply

    great blog

  3. Nancy Bowers April 16, 2018 at 6:53 am - Reply

    Absolutely beautiful! Love all the color.

  4. Jennifer Dugan Murphy April 16, 2018 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Hawaii is On my bucket list!

  5. Kim G April 16, 2018 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Hawaii is on my bucket list and I hope to visit one day. Thanks so much for highlighting this resort!

  6. Arcadian green April 16, 2018 at 10:12 am - Reply

    I would love to visit Hawaii. It looks so beautiful.

  7. Phyllis A Huebbe April 16, 2018 at 11:11 am - Reply

    I’ve always wanted to visit Hawaii and this hotel looks spectacular

  8. Barrie April 16, 2018 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Wow…what a huge, decadent hotel! We’ve been to Kauai in Hawaii but never the main islands. Very nice!

  9. Gwendolyn Jordan April 16, 2018 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Beautiful locations

  10. Robert Hogan April 16, 2018 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    I lived in Hawaii for 15 years and when we first moved there stayed at the Royal Hawaiian for a week while we looked for a house. Fond memories indeed.

  11. Gabrielle April 16, 2018 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    That hotel is so architecturally appealing.

  12. Calvin April 16, 2018 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    I have been near there. I went to hawaii once to all the islands on a cruise, we did stay at waikiki and honolulu for a few days. It was a nice experience. Lots of nice blue ocean and waves.. surfing.. etc.

  13. Deb Pelletier April 16, 2018 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    Very nice, we love going to the beach, maybe we ‘ll try this place.

  14. shannon fowler April 17, 2018 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    This looks so amazing. Ive never been to Hawaii, but I have always wanted to go. This may be the place to stay when we do go.

  15. nyxnyx April 18, 2018 at 7:09 am - Reply

    absolutely amazing!

  16. Darlene Carbajal April 18, 2018 at 11:15 am - Reply

    So beautiful!!

  17. Kim Lynch April 18, 2018 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    I love this hotel! I hope to stay there one day soon.

  18. Stephanie Z April 18, 2018 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    This hotel looks awesome! The location looks really beautiful. I have always wanted to visit Hawaii. I would definitely think about staying at this hotel.

  19. Debbie P April 18, 2018 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I would love to go there some day.

  20. Carol G April 18, 2018 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    I would love to go to Hawaii. The hotel looks awesome.

  21. Susan Hartman April 18, 2018 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Wow! I have never been to Hawaii and would really love to go. The Pink Hotel looks so glamorous.Hopefully someday.

  22. Kayley April 18, 2018 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Wow, almost 100 years old! I love their landscaping.

  23. Christine McMeo April 19, 2018 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Gorgeous photos! I’ve been thinking about Hawaii and the other islands recently and how much I want to visit. There is such an amazing culture to experience there. Creating everlasting memories would come so easily.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  24. Leanne April 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Wow those are beautiful pictures . Would love to go to Hawaii one day . The pink hotel looks incredible.

  25. Lanie April 19, 2018 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    wow you are blessed. I can’t even imagine getting the chance to take a trip like this.

  26. Mic Gir April 20, 2018 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Hawaii is one of future destination

  27. raymond kimmell April 20, 2018 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    very nice place to go to

  28. Virginia April 21, 2018 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Beautiful place!

  29. Joshua April 22, 2018 at 4:06 am - Reply

    What about #walking #distance to #attractions ? ?

  30. Sajida Begum April 22, 2018 at 7:20 am - Reply

    Sounds like an amazing place to go and visit!!

  31. Sajida April 22, 2018 at 7:25 am - Reply

    Sounds amazing! Lucky enough for you to go, wish i could one day

  32. Frida April 22, 2018 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Que lindooo

  33. Sarah L April 23, 2018 at 12:35 am - Reply

    What a beautiful place to stay. Someday I’ll visit Hawaii…..

  34. Alina April 23, 2018 at 7:24 am - Reply

    Just the images themselves make me want to go there!

  35. Stafford April 23, 2018 at 7:58 am - Reply

    I have never been to Hawaii but boy do these photos make me want to go on my next big vacation!

  36. Sean C April 23, 2018 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    I love that you posted recommendations and tips for different islands. The photos are gorgeous.

  37. Kim Pincombe-Cole April 24, 2018 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Just found out that I’m going to Honolulu in Sept ~ I’ll have to check this out!!

  38. kathy Persons April 25, 2018 at 6:26 am - Reply

    Would love to vacation in hawaii

  39. Audrey Stewart April 28, 2018 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful place to vacation at. One can only dream.

  40. Valentina López April 28, 2018 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Que hermosas fotografías <3 VAMOS A VIAJAAAAAAR

  41. cheryl carothers April 29, 2018 at 9:09 am - Reply

    very nice place

  42. Minta Boggs April 29, 2018 at 9:33 am - Reply

    OMGosh! I want to go to Hawaii so bad!! and after seeing these pictures it has really ignited my dream to go. Thanks so much for sharing!

  43. Gord April 29, 2018 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    We have never been to the Hawaiian islands but should go someday soon.

  44. Jennifer Dugan Murphy April 29, 2018 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Another addition to my bucket list!

  45. Ronald Gagnon April 29, 2018 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    My best friend and her 19 year old daughter (who just completed a fantastic second year of University are right now on Maui..I f you meet Wendy and Ashley…tell them Ron says hi…and just keep doing what you are doing…inspriarational

  46. Richard Hicks May 12, 2018 at 6:50 am - Reply

    This is a place where I could do some real R&R

  47. Sarah Cool May 13, 2018 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Looks like you had a blast! The hotel looks so glamorous and the spa sounds amazing

  48. Rust May 13, 2018 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful place to vacation!

  49. Brandon Sparks May 13, 2018 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    I have always wanted to go to a place like this. It would be like a dream come true.

  50. Zoey May 15, 2018 at 3:22 am - Reply

    Hawaii looks so beautiful! It is definitely on my bucket list.

  51. Susan Smith May 15, 2018 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    The hotel looks beautiful. We want to go to Hawaii some day. Pearl Harbor is on the list of places we want to visit.

  52. Sarah L May 15, 2018 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful place. Glad it’s not on the Big Island right now.

  53. Lindsay A. May 15, 2018 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    Wow this post was jam-packed with info & various sights to see! & The Royal Hawaiian Hotel looks gorgeous! I’ve never been, so this post was great! Thank you!

  54. Tamra Gibson May 17, 2018 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Wow so old yet so beautiful. To think it took my hubby 2 years to remodel our bathroom and this was done in 18months. The pictures are beautiful but I bet it’s even prettier in person. Congrats for going

  55. Kelly Kimmell May 30, 2018 at 6:32 am - Reply

    Looks like a magical place to stay. I have always wanted to visit Hawaii.

  56. gloria patterson June 3, 2018 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    First off love the way you have your web page set up. This hotel would be something special to go to. I kinda like going places that have some history. And it sounds like this place does the things it could tell.

  57. Phyllis Huebbe June 20, 2018 at 10:31 am - Reply

    I like the view of the cabanas from above

  58. Lorna Patrick July 10, 2018 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Some day I hope to be able to go to Hawaii. The hotel looks so amazing and to get to see a beach so blue would be incredible!

  59. aimee monette August 13, 2018 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    This looks incredible! I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, but am dreading the plane ride!

  60. Germaine Harrison August 13, 2018 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    I have always wanted to visit Hawaii. I heard it was one of the happiest places to be.

  61. cleo August 14, 2018 at 10:27 am - Reply

    The hotel looks amazing, would love to stay there.

  62. Tammy Catterton August 24, 2018 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    wow amazing hotel not been to Hawaii as of yet someday love to go right now no thanks with the hurricane there

  63. Sarah Bihms September 8, 2018 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    This is excellent information! My family is planning a trip next summer and we are seriously considering this hotel. Thank you for the info!

  64. tiffany dayton September 11, 2018 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful place to stay and visit.

  65. Emily Dickens September 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Dying to go to Hawaii!!!

  66. Jonel Thompson October 29, 2018 at 4:22 am - Reply

    This is absolutely breathtaking. It is so gorgeous. I’m still trying to find the time to plan a trip there.

  67. Rita M November 2, 2018 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Our last stay in Hawaii was at the Royal Hawaiian – every time you step into the hotel – that heavenly smell of gardenias gives you the feeling that you never want to leave!

  68. Paula Pennachio November 2, 2018 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    My mom and I dream of going to Hawaii. This seems beautiful

  69. Paula Pennachio November 2, 2018 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Such a beautiful place to stay. My mom and I dream of going to Hawaii.

  70. Paula Pennachio November 2, 2018 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    This really is a beautiful place to stay. My mom and I dream of going to Hawaii.

  71. D3SPAIR November 2, 2018 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Makes me remember my trip to Hawaii. Now I want to go back

  72. Darla Peduzzi November 3, 2018 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Such a beautiful place to stay! I really enjoyed the history of the hotel along with the gorgeous pictures.

  73. Cindy M November 8, 2018 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    Beautiful! I would so like to go!

  74. Sarah Phillips November 11, 2018 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    This hotel looks incredibly beautiful! I’m afraid if I stayed there I would never want to leave! lol I can’t imagine a more scenic place to vacation. Thanks for sharing your trip & these gorgeous photos!

  75. josephine vargas November 13, 2018 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    Hawaii is so beautiful and to make it more magical that hotel is breathtaking. It’s so huge and so siren looking. Sweet paradise.

  76. Hailey gallup December 3, 2018 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    This looks absolutely perfect! Hope to go one day

  77. Darren Scrubb December 3, 2018 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Impressive looking place to travel and enjoy a wonderful vacation.

  78. Wanda B December 4, 2018 at 6:18 am - Reply

    Pink is one of my fqvourite colours. I would love to stay at this beautiful hotel.

  79. Jared Ruman December 5, 2018 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    I would love to go to Hawaii. Looks like you had a great time!

  80. Sandra Watts December 11, 2018 at 6:10 am - Reply

    It is really quite lovely. Would love to travel there.

  81. Terri Shaw December 21, 2018 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    It sounds completely wonderful!

  82. shannon zeidan December 30, 2018 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    We still havent made it to Hawaii. I really want to get there some day. This sounds like a great place to stay.

  83. Michael Smart January 5, 2019 at 5:23 am - Reply

    Looks like an amazing place

  84. Nerlande St Vil January 22, 2019 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    never been to Hawaii looks so beautiful and serene??

  85. Judy Thomas January 23, 2019 at 4:27 am - Reply

    This place is gorgeous! Hawaii is on the top of my bucket list.

  86. Veronica Christensen January 26, 2019 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Oh yes this will be our next getaway absolutely beautiful

  87. rita leonard January 28, 2019 at 9:05 am - Reply

    This looks lovely. Hawaii is one of the places I really want to visit

  88. Brandon Sparks February 3, 2019 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    It would be so amazing to stay here

  89. Ronald Gagnon June 29, 2019 at 12:00 am - Reply

    We have been to Maui and Kauai and never seen such a beautiful place…on the “Bucket List”

  90. Paula D July 13, 2019 at 2:06 am - Reply

    Isn’t it lovely? I’ve always dreamed of staying at this hotel. Want to go back to Hawaii soooo badly!!!

  91. Cindi Knowles February 18, 2020 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    I lived in Hawaii when my ex husband was in the Navy and I’ve seen this hotel… It’s beautiful!

  92. Kim Lambert February 19, 2020 at 12:15 am - Reply

    Lived on Oahu for 6 months. So beautiful.

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