Famed for its lush coastline, an endless supply of warm rays and world-class waves that march to shore and lure surfers year-round (particularly in the winter months, when the swells are bigger and the stakes higher), Oahu – the most iconic of the Hawaiian islands – is both a postcard landscape and a prized natural jewel that commands respect.
Since the early 20th century, people have flocked to Oahu to sample the Aloha spirit and escape the daily grind. As such, some of the most luxurious and contemporary hotels are nestled within the Hawaiian island chain. And the most iconic of them all is Oahu’s Royal Hawaiian Hotel, known colloquially as ‘The Pink Palace of the Pacific’
Situated right on the Waikiki beachfront in the tourist mecca of Honolulu, the Royal Hawaiian is a giant, fairy floss-coloured, Spanish-influenced luxury landmark, surrounded by a sea of green palms and an actual sea – the turquoise blue Pacific – and is as much a part of the Waikiki skyline as nearby Diamond Head crater.
The striking hotel was built back in 1927 (one of the first hotels to be constructed on Oahu) and represented the height of luxury, featuring 400 rooms with balconies overlooking the sea, surrounded by 15 acres of landscaped tropical greens.
It’s no surprise that it was quickly adopted as the Hawaiian home to the rich and famous, hosting everyone from Clark Gable to The Beatles, Joan Didion and was the honeymoon hideaway for Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio.
You might recognise the Pink Palace from such TV shows as Mad Men (it now offers a VIP Draper package featuring a personalised concierge service and four nights in the King Kamehameha Suite), or as the hotel in 2002’s Punch Drunk Love where Adam Sandler passionately reunites with Emily Watson in the hotel’s grand arched lobby.
Today, it’s more of a symbol of a bygone era, which, if anything, adds to it’s appeal. The place exudes romance, so it’s likely you’ll be sharing the hotel with a cavalcade of loved-up newlyweds should you choose to stay here. And considering you can walk from the hotel gardens right onto Waikiki beach, it’s top-tier so far as prime locations go.
Even if you don’t choose to stay at the Royal Hawaiian, a visit to the hotel’s chequered terrace is a must for all travellers to Oahu. Grab a cocktail, sink into a chair and let the retro vibes of the Pink Palace pull you back in time for an afternoon. Pastel polo and Clubmasters optional.