Honolulu’s Pink Lady Is Still Classy.
Mainland friends planning Hawaii vacations frequently ask me to recommend hotels here. My first suggestion is to advise against any of the several elegant and pricey “resorts”. Their whole marketing strategy is to keep you and your money on the property with the lure of all their amenities and many tourists spend a week here without actually experiencing this magnificent island.
For couples planning to spend several days on Oahu—I guess I should qualify that by saying couples over 40—I always recommend the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It was built in 1927 and still occupies a choice spot right on Waikiki Beach, although back in those days there were just one or two other hotels there.
I’ve always wished I could have experienced the halcyon days in Hawaii when visitors arrived by steamship, there were only a few hundred tourists here at any one time, and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel was the epitome of a classy hotel.
For weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, there were serious concerns that the Japanese were planning to invade Hawaii and great spools of barbed wire were coiled on the beach in front of the hotel. Throughout the war, officers from the Navy’s submarine fleet were billeted in the Royal, an unspoken acknowledgement of the extreme danger the men faced every time they sailed.
From Day One, “The Royal”, as we locals call it, has been pink and it’s also lovingly referred to as “The Pink Lady”. Twenty or 30 years ago, when the hotel was run by the Sheraton people, word leaked out in the local media that there were plans to repaint the hotel another color. There was a huge uproar and the startled Sheraton people hastily assured the local community that The Royal Hawaiian Hotel would indeed be repainted, but in its original color.
Today, she’s surrounded by high-rise competition and Waikiki is overcrowded with tourists but, as far as I’m concerned the Pink Lady still has more real class that the rest of them put together.