The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort

2259 Kalakaua Ave Honolulu, HI 96815

Built in the Roaring Twenties, the Royal Hawaiian ushered in the glam age of Waikiki Beach. The so-called Pink Palace, a Spanish Moorish–style confection set on bright-green lawns was, at the time, the priciest hotel project in the Pacific and a fast favorite of Hollywood royalty and East Coast blue bloods (who, in those early years, arrived by steamship, along with their piles of trunks and chauffeured cars). For those first few decades, anyone who was anyone, it seemed, stayed at the Royal Hawaiian; on any given day, you might see the likes of Spencer Tracy autographing a coconut or Joe DiMaggio surfing off the hotel’s beach. Once other luxury hotels sprouted up on Oahu, the Royal Hawaiian’s star faded some, but after a massive renovation in 2008, it became a member of Starwood’s Luxury Hotel Collection and, once again, one of the top spots on the island. The makeover managed to keep those graceful old bones and art deco flourishes (miles of tile, sweeping arches), while giving the whole place a long overdue upgrade. Genteel surroundings aside, the hotel is as lively as ever. But at night, when the oceanfront Mai Tar bar is rocking, guests can still scope out quiet corners. Retreat to the gracious portico lined with rocking chairs or the garden pathways dreamily lit by torches, and you’ll discover that the romance of old Waikiki lives on.

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The Pink Palace

If you go to Hawaii a number of times in your lifetime, be sure to stay at The Royal Hawaiian at least once. At the luxury end of accommodation, the hotel was recently renovated and looks magnificent. We stayed in a garden room and whilst at the lower end of rooms in the hotel, it still felt like a totally indulgent stay. Situated at the quieter end of Waikiki beach, you’ll be given your own spot on the beach and feel like a bit of a celebrity (even if only for a couple of days!). At night there are great Mai Tai’s to be had at the bar whilst you watch the sun set. I even got to sit next to Tim Robbins whilst I enjoyed my drink one night. Beautifully designed and decorated. One of the best hotels with history I have had the pleasure of staying in.

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