Did The Royal Hawaiian popularise Millennial Pink way before its zenith? One thing is for certain: this stately stucco-sheathed hotel, with its soothing on-site spa, fascinating history and sprawling beachfront location on Waikiki Beach, is still a classic, even 100 years after opening. Read on for the full review.
This Waikiki Beach resort has seen a few upgrades in its time, of course. While the rose-tinged façade remains, the interior of the Historic Wing nods to its Hollywood-era heyday (when the hotel hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra and Shirley Temple) with bold jacquard fabrics and pineapple print wallpapers. The on-site dining at Azure Restaurant & Bar, a waterfront eatery heroing seafood and local produce, is similarly contemporary and brings this old-world hotel firmly into the present.
Where is The Royal Hawaiian Resort?
Just back from a slab of shorefront on Waikiki Beach, The Royal Hawaiian occupies a prime location right on the sand. It’s about half an hour’s drive from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.
What’s near The Royal Hawaiian Resort?
The hotel points directly to Waikiki Beach, a vast ocean dotted with surfers and sands crowded with sun soakers. Kalākaua Avenue, a lengthy strip of shopfronts, ice-cream-gripping tourists and longboard-touting locals, is just a few minutes away on foot.
Your wing will decide your decor. The most striking interiors are housed in the Historic Wing, with more muted offerings in the Mailani Tower, where the ocean view becomes the leading feature. Decor aside, the most discernible difference is that the latter have balconies. Whatever room you’re in, all guests are treated to luxury Frette linen-dressed beds, small coffee makers, organic bath amenities and baby pink cotton bathrobes.
Restaurants and bars
Serving pretty tangles of local herbs, veggies and seafood gathered daily from the Honolulu Fish Auction, Azure captures the inimitable freshness of Hawaiian produce in its dishes. Offering a four-course tasting menu (with a wine pairing option), the food is bang on – especially the ahi crudo laced with ponzu, pickled hearts of palm and sugar snap peas – and the views of the bay just as spectacular.
There’s also a beach bar that serves the hotel’s signature Mai Tai, a casual all-day restaurant under pink beach umbrellas and a bakery for sweet tooths.
Travel for work
Each room houses a full-sized work desk and comfy chair for remote working but there are also seven on-site event spaces, with the largest indoor accommodation hosting up to 392 people, and a small business centre, with printing facilities.
Pool and gym
The saltwater Malulani pool, open from 8am, is ringed with pink loungers and backed by the stunning stretch of Waikiki Beach. (If you’re prepared to fork out USD$60 a day, you can hire a set of two loungers and an umbrella stationed next to the pool.) There are an additional two freshwater pools at the Helumoa Playground, a huge area for water slides and other splash play, which are shared with neighbouring Sheraton Waikiki. For parents, there are two jacuzzis to recline in, within watching distance of the pools.
Ranking first in the world for energy efficiency across all Starwood resorts, the hotel harnesses solar power for water heating, which has reduced the hotel’s energy consumption by 60 per cent. Eighty per cent of the food served in the kitchens is locally sourced from the islands.
Entry to the hotel, spa, fitness and business centre are all accessible and the hotel also has dedicated accessibility rooms, with features such as roll-in showers and lowered vanities.
What you need to know
On Monday and Thursday evenings, the property hosts Ahaaina Luau, a traditional Hawaiian outdoor feast for the senses combining food, music and dance. Seafood and locally sourced produce is front and centre on the multi-dish menu.
Best for: History buffs
Number of rooms: 528
Rates: From USD$426
Parking: USD$45 (plus tax) per day for self-parking
Address: 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honoluu, HI 96815
Phone: +1 808-923-7311
Earn 3 Qantas Points per $1 when you book your next stay at qantas.com/hotels