Have Lunch at a Historic Hotel

By Hawaii.com Team

The “First Lady” of Waikiki

Moana Surfrider. Photo: collectmoments.

Moana Surfrider. Photo: collectmoments.

The Moana Hotel is considered to be the “First Lady” of Waikiki. Now known as the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, the Moana opened on March 11, 1901 and was the first luxury hotel built in Waikiki. This lovely lady has aged beautifully and gracefully. Walking into her elegant interior is like walking back to a more genteel time, a time of wealth, leisure and afternoon tea. Actually, you can still have afternoon tea on the Banyan veranda.

best oahu hotels

Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz via flickr.

Originally, the Moana was a four-story, 75-room hotel. Considered one of the most elaborate hotels of the time, its going rate was $1.50 per room. The hotel is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The “Pink Palace of the Pacific”

Waikiki architecture Photo: The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort.

Photo: The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, which opened in 1927 just several hundred yards away from the Moana Hotel, is another Waikiki legend. No one can say with certainty why the establishment is painted pink. But her nickname, the “Pink Palace of the Pacific,” has survived.

Captain William Matson, founder of the Matson Steamship Company, built the Royal Hawaiian to accommodate passengers from the company’s luxury cruise ship. The hotel became a playground for the rich and famous even in the dark days of the Depression.

The era of opulence ended abruptly on Dec. 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Soon the military took over and used the hotel for R&R for World War II servicemen. The hotel was renovated after the war and reopened in 1947.

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