Waikiki's Crown Jewel: My Unforgettable Experiences at The Royal Hawaiian

Travel advisor Francesca Iannaccone in a white top
Curated By

Francesca Iannaccone

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  • Food & Wine

  • Family Travel

  • Hawai'i

  • Hotel Guide

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Waikiki's Crown Jewel: My Unforgettable Experiences at The Royal Hawaiian
Curator’s statement

The Royal Hawaiian has a special place in my heart. I grew up attending family reunions there, while visiting my grandmother (born and raised on the island). This hotel has very special personal memories for me as a child, and as an adult! I will always recommend this hotel to any of my clients for the beauty and luxury of the grounds, the historic and modern room options, the famous Mai Tai bar, and so much more. Let's dive in.

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Where to stay

The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki

Iconic pink-walled property on Waikiki Beach with 528 warmly decorated rooms and suites.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Having stepped onto the grounds of The Royal Hawaiian numerous times, each stay unfolds as a welcoming retreat into the heart of Waikiki. The iconic 'pepto bismol pink' facade, standing proudly as the "Pink Palace of the Pacific" since 1927, is a familiar sight and strangely has come to feel like a sort of home to me. (This was the first hotel ever built on the island!). The meticulously landscaped gardens, adorned with fragrant plumeria and swaying palm trees, have become a cherished backdrop, creating a truly stunning backdrop that takes you back to the era of Hawaiian glamour (and yes, that was a thing).

Mornings at The Royal Hawaiian have always been a culinary journey, with breakfasts at the Surf Lanai restaurant serving as a timeless tradition. The famous pink guava pancakes with flavors that perfectly balance the sweet tropical essence of guava with the fluffy perfection of the pancakes, have become a staple of my stays....as well as some slices of the best papaya you will ever taste! This breakfast experience, etched into my memory, sets the tone for days filled with indulgence and the unmistakable charm of Waikiki.

Another great feature here is the room choice option; historic or modern. The historic wing is the true original building (with some necessary upgrades of course). Think fancy Hawaiian wall paper, regal dark wooden bed frames and ocean and garden views. While the modern wing (built about 15 years ago) is more of a sleek, all white with clean lines type of room. These modern rooms have a special feature though-- they ALL have ocean views!

For the adventure-seekers among us, the ease of surfboard rentals at The Royal Hawaiian remains a constant delight. The prime beachfront location ensures seamless transitions from the elegant comfort of my room to the excitement of the Pacific Ocean. It is the perfect place to teach kids and adults alike how to surf, because the ocean is famously calm, with nearly a mile of only 4-6 foot deep water right off the hotel. Whether lounging by the historic pool or testing the waters with a surfboard, every return visit is infused with the genuine warmth of Hawaiian hospitality. The Royal Hawaiian is more than a place to stay; it's a familiar immersive journey into the heart of Waikiki's allure, where luxury, history, and the spirit of aloha seamlessly converge, beckoning me back time and time again. (**PLUS! their famous Mai Tai Bar boasts the legendary 'Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai' and is where the traditional Mai Tai was first invented!)

Need to Know

I can not recommend this gorgeous hotel enough. From the delicious breakfast to the world famous mai tais, the gorgeous gardens and the surf-friendly beach, you truly have everything you need for a perfect Hawaiian getaway. It's great for couples, families and solo travelers alike.

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Hawaii. In need of further inspiration? Check out Christina Kauffmann’s Trip Report, Luxury to Low-key Oceanfront Stays in Hawaii.

Travel advisor Francesca Iannaccone in a white top

Travel Advisor

Francesca Iannaccone

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