santa barbara travel visits the royal hawaiian waikiki
“Aloha is being a part of all,
and all being a part of me”
Aloha – a Hawaiian greeting, a sendoff, a way of life. This is what the Hawaiian people live and breathe, and it shows greatly in their hospitality. We were lucky enough to have had the opportunity to visit a spectacular and unique property in O’ahu – The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, in Waikiki Beach.
The royal hawaiian, a luxury collection resort
The minute we drove into the Royal Hawaiian’s entrance surrounded by cascading trees and smiling faces, we knew this would be a property we would revisit again. Entering the Royal Hawaiian is like taking a step back in time. Everywhere you turn there is early-mid century inspiration and a totally retro vibe. The historic pink palace was built in 1927 and you can still stay in the original building. Protected by hand-carved wooden doors and adorned with glamorous pink wallpaper, their beautifully appointed rooms invite you to finally relax – you’re officially on vacation. Walking down the open air breezeway on our way to our room was a perfect welcome to O’ahu – it was the moment where we finally let ourselves settle in to the idea that this is our home for the next few days. Upon arrival, the staff was so friendly from the minute we pulled into the driveway, until the exact moment we drove away. From our welcome amenity of Royal Hawaiian Rosé, and then macarons and almond cookies each day after that, we were truly pampered. The hotel even leaves delicious pink chocolate coins on your pillow to enjoy once you return from your adventure each day. See some of our favorite must-do’s at the Royal Hawaiian below!
COCONUT GROVE- You must take a photo in the coconut grove. This is right outside of the lobby and acts as a venue for many weddings.
HIU WAI CEREMONY- This traditional Hawaiian cleansing ceremony was one of my most memorable experiences in O’ahu. It starts right before sunrise on Friday mornings on the beach so you can experience how beautiful the Waikiki coastline is at dawn (you practically have the whole beach to yourself). The ceremony is about an hour long, and begins with traditional Hawaiian chants before you are invited to wade into the ocean to ‘cleanse’ your body, mind, and spirit, helping you to focus your mind toward a greater future. At your own pace, you come back to shore and end the ceremony with a Hawaiian chant, welcoming the new day. A relaxing, refreshing start to the morning, and you still have some time to kill before breakfast!
PINK PANCAKES- If you haven’t had enough pink yet, you can always order (and you should) the Royal Hawaiian Pink Palace Pancakes – and yes, they are actually pink. These delicious hotcakes are made with guava raspberry shortcake, topped with strawberry relish and coconut kaffir creme. Sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
TIP: Order them with in-room dining and enjoy them while taking in your uninterrupted ocean view from your balcony.
AHA AINA LUAU SHOW – This is an event not to be missed. The Royal Hawaiian’s Luau is one of the best in O’ahu and is a great way to dive into the rich culture and history of both the hotel and the island. Their talented dancers and actors make for great entertainment while the attentive service ties it all together. Enjoy a delicious traditional Hawaiian meal, fantastic cocktails, and even some fire dancing, right next to the glistening Pacific Ocean. Gaze upon the sunset, and watch the sky light up to match the Pink Palace.
BANANA BREAD AT THE BAKERY- Visiting the bakery is a must at the Royal Hawaiian. It is located right off the lobby in the Coconut Lanai. This confectionery offers everything from freshly baked desserts to coffee, and of course, the famous Royal Hawaiian banana bread. This bread deserves it’s title – fresh, moist, and just the right amount of nutty.
MAI TAI BAR- This legendary bar is true to it’s name and boasts seven different Mai Tai recipes, and a plethora more of your favorite umbrella drinks. Relax beachfront while sipping on your liquid aloha and munching on some appetizers.
Fun Fact: Each bar stool has a plaque on the back that has the name of a regular engraved. Some are frequent guests to the Royal Hawaiian, and some are Waikiki locals. Either way, you can’t pull the ‘Is your name on it?’ excuse when someone takes your seat at this bar!