Learn about the historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel


Waikiki Beach is home to the Royal Hawaiian, which is a Historic Hotel that beckons visitors from all over the world with its iconic grandeur, unrivaled authentic Hawaiian friendliness, and tribute to older times. Learn about the history of this resort to understand why Hawaii and the rest of the world hold them in such high regard.

The “Roaring Twenties”, was a time of flappers, radio, and the Art Deco movement also saw the development of The Royal Hawaiian. The Royal Hawaiian has a rich history that spans decades as one of Honolulu’s first hotels. It took just a year and a few months to finish a four-million-dollar construction project when it initially opened. To stand out from the competition, a group of investors led by the Matson Navigation Company wanted to build a spectacular resort hotel near Waikiki Beach. Thanks to the extraordinary skills of the famous architectural company Warren and Wetmore, their dream came true.

The building’s façade has a stunning fusion of Spanish Revival and Moorish-inspired design, which many claims was influenced by Rudolph Valentino movies. The Royall Hawaiian’s stunning pink façade dominated the neighborhood skyline when development eventually came to an end.

Opening of Royal Hawaiian Hotel

The resort opened its doors on February 1st, 1927, with a lavish black-tie event that attracted over 1,200 guests. The Royal Hawaiian quickly became one of Honolulu’s top vacation spots in what seemed like no time at all. Many prominent celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Frank Sinatra, began vacationing at The Royal Hawaiian, earning the stunning hotel the endearing nickname “Pink Palace of the Pacific.” But its association with Hollywood goes beyond only acting as a retreat for its legendary A-list stars; it also served as the setting for several significant movies. Movies such as Big Jim McLain and Gidget Goes Hawaiian featured The Royal Hawaiian prominently within their stories.

Several well-known American figures, notably General Douglas MacArthur, spent extended periods at the resort. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, two notable American presidents, have had the honor of staying at The Royal Hawaiian.

The Royal Hawaiian has been a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2011. It is renowned across the globe as a haven of unrivaled romance and luxury. The “Pink Palace of the Pacific” resort gained new recognition across the world after undergoing a thorough a major $110 million renovation and reopened in 2009. Along with the elaborate architectural features that the hotels’ original owners initially constructed, it still has the same unique pink color as it had in the 1920s. Now that it has been updated for the twenty-first century, the carefully selected historic design elements blend inseparably with them to create a decisively sophisticated ambiance that is nevertheless irresistibly Hawaiian.

Glimpse into the Past of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel

A new era of luxurious resort travel came to Hawaii on February 1, 1927, with the opening of The Royal Hawaiian. The million-dollar resort took 18 months to construct and cost $4 million in total. The six-story, 528-room building was designed in the era’s fashionable Spanish-Moorish style, which was influenced by actor Rudolph Valentino and his movies with an Arabian theme.

The hotel’s first general manager, Arthur Benaglia, had a 300-person crew that included 10 elevator operators and lobby boys decked out in “Cathayan” garb. Over 1,200 guests were entertained by musicians of the Honolulu Symphony for the grand opening’s black-tie gala celebration, which cost $10 per dish.

Luxurious Features only at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Local Attractions – Access to the many stunning and unforgettable experiences to be found on Oahu.

Room and Suites – This historic part of the hotel has unique rooms that have been refurbished and updated.  The newer part of the hotel provides a great experience and beautiful views of the ocean, diamond head as well as city views.

Pool and Beach – Guests at The Royal Hawaiian may choose the pool at hot tub at the hotel as well as access to the family pool and hot tubs at the Sheraton Waikiki.

Royal Dining – The Royal Hawaiian’s chefs give a high priority to superb preparation and excellent presentation including an amazing luau experience.

Meetings and Events – There is no location better for a truly unique and luxurious meeting experience than the Royal Hawaiian.

Dream Weddings – The name “The Royal Hawaiian” conjures one of the most picturesque wedding locations on earth.

The Abhasa Spa – Waikiki’s Premier Garden Spa is The Abhasa Spa at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel offers the following:

  • Vallet parking service
  • Doctors-on-call
  • Florist
  • Currency exchange service
  • Concierge service
  • Laundry and dry cleaning
  • Wireless internet access in rooms and all public areas
  • Multi-lingual staff
  • 24-hour room service
  • Beach and pool services


Today the Royal Hawaiian Hotel welcomes the whole family, and they offer a selection of programs, activities, and amenities and of course beach front access to the world famous Waikiki beach.  All that is included in a rich history and a truly unique mystique that is unrivaled.

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