Royal Hawaiian Hotel


The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is a beachfront luxury hotel located in Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. It is part of The Luxury Collection brand of Marriott International. One of the first hotels established in Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian is considered one of the most luxurious and famous hotels in Hawaiian tourism, and in its 90-year history has been host to numerous celebrities and world dignitaries. The bright pink hue of its concrete stucco façade with its Spanish/Moorish styled architecture and prominent location on the wide sandy beach have earned it the alliterative nickname of "The Pink Palace of the Pacific".

The Royal Hawaiian
The pink palace.jpg
General information
Location2259 Kalākaua Avenue
Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawai'i
Coordinates21°16′39″N 157°49′44″W / 21.27750°N 157.82889°W / 21.27750; -157.82889Coordinates: 21°16′39″N 157°49′44″W / 21.27750°N 157.82889°W / 21.27750; -157.82889
OwnerKyo-ya Company Limited
LandlordKamehameha Schools
Technical details
Floor count6; 17
Floor area12,000 square feet (1,100 m2)
Design and construction
ArchitectWarren and Wetmore
Other information
Number of rooms528
Number of suites34
Number of restaurants3
Self parking at adjacent Sheraton


With the success of the early efforts by Matson Navigation Company to provide steamer travel to America's wealthiest families en route to Hawaii, a series of resort hotels were built in Honolulu at the start of the twentieth century, including the Moana Hotel (1901) and Honolulu Seaside Hotel, both on Waikiki Beach, and the Alexander Young Hotel in downtown Honolulu (1903).

In 1925, the Territorial Hotel Company, by then owner of all three hotels, decided to demolish the Honolulu Seaside and replace it with a large, modern resort.[1] They contracted Warren and Wetmore to design the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The sprawling pink stucco concrete façade Spanish/Moorish styled complex, built at a cost of over $4 million (1927 prices), was surrounded by a fifteen-acre (60,700 m²) landscaped garden. The H-shaped layout featured 400 rooms, each with bath and balcony.[1] The complex had an offsite golf course, today known as the Waialae Country Club.

The hotel commenced operations on February 1, 1927, with a black tie gala attended by over 1,200 guests, and quickly became an icon of Hawaii's glory days. The hotel was a huge success, and in 1928 the islands counted over 20,000 visitors for the first time.[1]

The Great Depression struck in 1929, bankrupting the Territorial Hotel Company. In 1932 the Matson Line purchased the company's hotels.

During World War II, the Royal Hawaiian was used exclusively by the US military as an R&R center.[2] Barriers of concertina wire blockaded access from the adjacent beaches.

The hotel recouped much of its clientele after 1945. It was sold, along with the rest of Matson's hotels in Hawaii, to the Sheraton Hotels and Resorts chain in 1959.[3]

During the 1960s, the "Pink Palace" was home to "Concert by the Sea" which broadcast daily through the Armed Forces Radio Network (AFN).

In September 1974,[4] Japanese businessmen-brothers Kenji Osano and Masakuni Osano purchased the Royal Hawaiian Hotel from ITT Sheraton. They formed Kyo-ya Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Kokusai Kogyo Company Ltd as the corporate entity to manage all their hotels.

After the Osano brothers' deaths, Takamasa Osano inherited their properties.

The ground upon which the hotel is built is owned by Kamehameha Schools, which leases the land.[5]

The Royal Hawaiian closed on June 1, 2008 for renovation. It reopened on January 20, 2009[6] as a member of The Luxury Collection. An extended renovation of the Royal Beach Tower was completed in 2010.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America,[7] the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


The six-story structure has 400 rooms. It was designed in the Spanish and Moorish styles with stucco façades. Its design was influenced by Hollywood film star and legend Rudolph Valentino and his Arabian movies. Cupolas were created to resemble Spanish Mission style bell towers. The pink color was deemed popular in modern US architecture of the time. The architects were Warren and Wetmore of New York City.[citation needed]

The hotel's public rooms were redecorated in 1946 by Frances Elkins, the sister of architect David Adler.[8]

Notable guests and tenantsEdit

As soon as The Royal Hawaiian opened, a non-stop flood of tourists from the mainland United States poured through its doors. It served as the Pacific home to the world's most influential statesmen and early Hollywood stars.

Its first official registered guest was Princess Abigail Campbell Kawānanakoa. Duke Kahanamoku, the legendary Olympic Games swimmer and popularizer of the sport of surfing, frequented the Royal Hawaiian Hotel restaurants and private beachfront. The hotel became a stomping ground for Kahanamoku's group, dubbed the "Waikiki Beach Boys".

Prior to the 2008-2009 renovation, a framed replica of a Guest Registration Card bearing the signature of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt was displayed in the hotel. The card was dated during the "Great Depression". FDR also stayed at the hotel during World War II for military conferences, tours of nearby Pearl Harbor naval base, and to meet with his Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific Theater, General Douglas MacArthur in July 1944. During that time the hotel was in service as a military R&R center.

In popular cultureEdit

The hotel has featured in numerous media projects.

In filmEdit

In televisionEdit

  • The hotel's exterior appeared in the 1968-1980 procedural drama Hawaii Five-O.
  • The hotel appeared in the 1977 Charlie's Angels episode "Angels in Paradise".
  • The hotel appeared in the 1979 Eight Is Enough episode "Fathers and Other Strangers" Parts 1 and 2.
  • The hotel appeared in two episodes of the series Murder She Wrote.
  • The hotel appeared in the 2002 episode "The Kyles Go To Hawaii" of My Wife and Kids.
  • The hotel appeared in the 2013 Mad Men season 6 premiere, "The Doorway".

In musicEdit

In video gamesEdit

In books and novelsEdit

  • The hotel is featured in the 1953 A A Fair novel "Some women won't wait" (Cool and Lam series)

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Glen Grant (1996). Waikīkī Yesteryear. Mutual Publishing Co. ISBN 1-56647-107-9.
  • Don Hibbard and David Franzen (1995). The View from Diamond Head: Royal Residence to Urban Resort. Editions Ltd. ISBN 0-915013-02-9.
  • George S. Kanahele (1996). Waikīkī, 100 BC to 1900 AD: An Untold Story. University of Hawaiʻi Press. ISBN 0-8248-1790-7.



  1. ^ a b c Hibbard, Don (January 1, 2006). Designing Paradise: The Allure of the Hawaiian Resort. Princeton Architectural Press – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Richard O'Kane (1977). Clear the Bridge!. Rand McNally.
  3. ^ Hawaii Hotel Organization Archived December 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Timeline". Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Royal Hawaiian". Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  6. ^ "Royal Hawaiian has renovation deal". Star-Bulletin. January 11, 2009.
  7. ^ Historic Hotels of America
  8. ^ Stephen M. Salny (2005). Frances Elkins: Interior Design. W. W. Norton. pp. 146–147.

External linksEdit

  • Official website