The The Royal Hawaiian in Oahu deserves every one of its 5 star accolades and should be on everyone’s list should they visit the island – which I highly recommend. I had the pleasure of staying with the hotel for a week in September over Labor Day and everyday I asked myself “I don’t have to leave, I can stay here forever, right?” There are many great hotels in the world, but the Royal Hawaiian left a lasting impression making me want to return every year for a week to rejuvenate.
Opened since 1927 – the hotel is in its 90th year of operation this year and celebrating.
I selected the Royal Hawaiian primarily for its location on Waikiki Beach. I could walk out of my hotel in less than a minute and enter a pool or continue walking an additional 30 seconds and hit the beach. I really could not have asked for a better location. As an added bonus, this sun chaser was blessed with getting both sunrise AND sunset views from the beach and balcony of my room. Already I have everything I want and I haven’t even told you about the hotel, the staff, the food, the activities – you are in for a treat!
The hotel is notable for being the “Pink Palace.” You really can’t miss it if you find yourself on Waikiki Beach. Another item they are known for is their Mai Tai – which you can find at Mai Tai, a bar on the hotel grounds that overlooks the beach. Trust me when I say, you are going to want to drop in and have one – it was not my drink of choice prior to arriving and now I make them at home ALL the time. THAT GOOD.
When you arrive to the hotel, you are family. You are welcomed by the staff and given a lei. From the moment you arrive and are welcomed into this beautiful oasis on the beach, you become a part of something special. You can feel the Aloha around you and I just get chills writing this – but you can feel that your time is going to be amazing during your stay, and it was.
The hotel reception, lobby and shopping areas have an open air concept, which traditionally I don’t like in warmer regions, but the way the hotel is designed, there is always a breeze and it was never hot, hot. It was the perfect paradise weather you would expect in Hawaii. I actually love the grounds of the hotel and did not mind that it was outside. I feel like it gave me more of the Hawaiian vibe I was after and that I could truly be in the moment there and not surrounded by walls.
The hotel offers two buildings for lodging: Historic Building and the Mailani Tower. The Historic Building is the original hotel, and the Mailani Tower came later, offering a more luxurious experience to its visitors. Mailani means “treated in a royal manner” and that you will be. However, the grand suites that the hotel offers are located in the Historic Building with traditional decor.
During my stay I did stay in the Mailani Tower and it was everything I imagined. When I arrived I was escorted to the tower for a private check-in with the concierge staff there. Once checked in, I entered the doors to the private lounge and used the elevator to go up to the 8th floor where I stayed. When I got off the elevator, I realized the hallway only had rooms on my right hand side and windows to the left – which I quickly realized, it meant every room HAD A VIEW!! This was not an ordinary view, no. This was the BEST view one could ask for. I could see sunrise and sunset from my balcony, overlooking Waikiki Beach. I could list a million reasons worth of booking this hotel – but the views are my number 1. I rarely get up before 5:00-6:00am – but every morning here I was happy to be awake and most mornings, the sky was layered like cotton candy during the sunrise. One of the most marvelous things I have ever seen.
I checked into the Mailani Premier Ocean Room. Located on floors 8-17, these rooms have a contemporary design (which does not include the gorgeous wallpaper you see in the rooms of the Historic Building) but they are still beautiful.
- 2 double beds
- 37″ LCD TV
- Work Station
- Balcony with 2 chairs and a table
- Luxurious bath amenities
- Toto washlets
- In-room coffee and tea
- Ipad for ordering room service and exploring
The Mailani Tower experience is a bit different from staying in the Historical Building. Your trip here will be amazing no matter where you stay, there are just a few more luxury options when you stay here in the Mailani Tower.
Mailani Tower Benefits:
- Private check-in
- Dedicated concierge
- Mailani Lounge access overlooking the pool area
- Continental breakfast each morning from 6:30-9:30am
- Cocktails and canapes each evening from 5:00-7:30pm
- Occasional music guests or activities
What I loved about the Mailani Lounge was the amazing staff and the food. The food is plentiful and it was different everyday, giving you the opportunity to taste the chefs favorites. They say they offer continental breakfast – but believe me when I say, it was more than enough, and I ate here every morning. Think flaky pastries, breads, fresh fruits, yogurts, fresh juices, champagne, and so much more.
The hotel has so much to offer! My favorite place to spend my days was the pool. I mean, look how beautiful it is! You can see how easy it is to go between the pool and beach as well – just a quick walk through the sand.
I did spend two days in a private poolside cabana – and highly recommend this to anyone visiting. There are only a handful of cabanas around the pool but what I liked was that each one had two chairs outside of the cabana for sunning and two spacious couches inside. I love the Millennial Pink color of the chairs, and the poolside umbrellas match. If you needed a break from the sun, you could just head underneath the covered cabana to reapply sunscreen and take a break.
**Chairs and towels are available free to guests around the pool. The private cabanas are available for a fee.
**Side Note: as someone with very fair Irish skin, I want to note that I did spend a lot of time outside by the pool and did not burn at all. I do however wear SPF 100.
Definitely book the Luau. The Royal Hawaiian offers the only Waikiki beachfront Luau and everything about it was sensational. This was actually my second Luau and I loved the location on the beach and seeing the sunset, the food options were endless and the show was amazing. It is a wonderful story of the Royal Hawaiian and its heritage and a must do when visiting Oahu even if you don’t stay here at the hotel.
**Tip – book in advance AND I highly recommend booking a premier seat in one of the front tables. I did sit in the front row and the seeing the show from that vantage point was an incredible experience, especially during the end scenes of the show with the fire.
The Luau is composed of two parts: the food and the show. Both equally amazing. Try as much of the food as possible as it was all scrumptious.
POI AND POKE STATION
Poi With Fresh Salted Salmon,
Ho Farm Tomatoes And Maui Onion
Ahi, Shrimp And Tako Poke On Ice Bar
ISLAND FRUIT STATION
Sliced Pineapple, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew,
Kula Strawberries, Mojito Style Mango
ISLAND SALADS STATION
Island Coleslaw, JA Farms Caesar Salad With Portuguese Bread
Croutons, White Anchovies And Pipikaula
Ho Farms Tomato And Cucumber Salad
JA Farms Baby Greens With Assorted Dressings And Condiments
REAL ABOVE-GROUND KALUA PIG LIVE CARVING STATION
HULI HULI GRILL ACTION STATION
Local Island Chicken, Garlic Fried Rice
Wok Fried Choi Sum With Crispy Shallots
Roasted Vegetable Curry
KIAWE WOOD BBQ STATION
Korean BBQ Kalbi Ribs
Chinese Steamed Mongchong With Ginger And Scallion
Royal Hawaiian Bread Pudding, Pink Haupia Cake
Halo-Halo Flan, Waialua Estate Chocolate-Coffee Tiramisu
**Gluten-Free, Vegetarian and Vegan Options Available
Waikiki Beach is gorgeous and the water is a blue that exudes the paradise vibe you feel while visiting. The hotel has umbrellas you can rent on the beach if you need some added coverage or want to stay out all day or you can grab a towel and pick a spot on the sand.
Each morning in front of the hotel surf lessons are available for those interested.
Sunrise or Sunset:
The beach is a great place to see both! Every morning and night the sky lights up in a variety of colors that were so spectacular – this was easily my favorite thing to do every single day.
Other Resort Activities:
- Royal Hawaiian History Tour
- Floral Lei Making
- Hawaiian Quilting
- Lauhala Bracelets
- Shopping – think all things Pink and Pineapple
The Royal Hawaiian offers a variety of dining to its guests. During my stay I ate at Mai Tai, the Luau, ordered room service, ate in the Mailani Lounge, and grabbed a treat from the bakery. All of the food was very delicious.
If I had to pick a favorite, I would say the fresh pineapple scones from the bakery and the chicken wings from Mai Tai were the absolute best!
Absolutely loved the hotel and the staff. The hospitality was excellent and every need was met and every expectation far surpassed. If you want to visit Oahu, The Royal Hawaiian IS the hotel to stay at. They have everything at the hotel – and if you really wanted to relax, you would not have to leave if you did not want to.
- Address: 2259 Kalakaua Avenue Honolulu, HI 96815
- Phone: 808.923.7311
- Airport: Honolulu – distance to hotel ~25 minutes depending on traffic
- Parking and Valet available
- To Book the Luau –> here
Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with The Royal Hawaiian Hotel & The Luxury Collection