Royal Hawaiian Hotel
|Royal Hawaiian Hotel|
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Royal Hawaiian Hotel, also known as the Pink Palace of the Pacific, is a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places located at 2259 Kalakaua Avenue in Honolulu, Hawai'i on the island of O'ahu. One of the first hotels established in Waikīkī, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is considered one of the flagship hotels in Hawai'i tourism. It opened its doors to guests on 1 February 1927 with a black-tie gala attended by over 1,200 guests. The hotel quickly became an icon of Hawai'i's turn-of-the-century glory days. It was the Hawai'i residence or Western White House of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and boasts the bar that invented the Shirley Temple cocktail.
Captain William Matson
With the success of the early efforts by Matson Navigation Company to provide steamer travel to America's wealthiest families en route to Hawai'i, Captain William Matson proposed the development of a hotel in Honolulu for his passengers. This was in hope of profiting from what Matson believed could be the most lucrative endeavor his company could enter into. Matson purchased the Moana mansion, fronting the 'Āinahau royal estate. Christening it the Moana Hotel, it opened in 1901 as the first hotel in Waikīkī. With its overwhelming success, Matson planned and built the Royal Hawaiian Hotel which opened in 1927.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel cost USD $4 million and took one and a half years to build. The six-story structure had 400 rooms and were of Spanish and Moorish styles popular during the 1920s. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel was influenced by Hollywood legend Rudolph Valentino and his Arabian movies. Cupolas were created to resemble Spanish mission-style bell towers. The pink color was taken from a popular American obsession of the era. The architects were Warren and Wetmore of New York City.
Rich and Famous
As soon as the Royal Hawaiian Hotel opened, a non-stop flood of tourists from the mainland United States poured through the Royal Hawaiian Hotel's doors. It served as the Pacific home to the world's most influential statesmen and early Hollywood stars.
Its first official registered guest was Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, who would have been queen of the Kingdom of Hawai'i had the monarchy survived. Duke Kahanamoku, the legendary olympic swimmer and popularizer of the sport of surfing, frequented the Royal Hawaiian Hotel restaurants and private beachfront. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel became a favorite stomping ground for Kahanamoku's famed group, dubbed the Waikīkī Beach Boys. During World War II, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel became the "White House" of the Pacific. Surrounded by barbed wire and heavily armed guards, it served as the Hawai'i residence of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1974, Japanese businessmen and brothers Kenji Osano and Masakuni Osano purchased the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, along with two other properties, from the Matson Navigation Company for USD $104 million. The market price for the property was undervalued and the Osano brothers made millions of dollars in profit.
The Osano brothers formed Kyo-Ya Company Limited, a subsidiary of Kokusai Kogyo Company Limited as the corporate entity charged with overseeing the hotel properties that included: Moana Hotel, Princess Kaiulani Hotel, Surfrider Hotel and the Waikīkī Hotel. All are managed today by Starwood Hotels under the Sheraton brand. The purchases put the Osano brothers on the Forbes List of World's Richest People in 1999.
After the death of the Osano brothers, Takamasa Osano, inherited the billions of dollars owned in properties. Along with the Moana Hotel, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel continues to be one of the flagship hotels in the Osano corporate empire and is the part-time residence of the Osana family.
- Glen Grant, Waikīkī Yesteryear, Mutual Publishing Co., 1996
- Don Hibbard and David Franzen, The View from Diamond Head: Royal Residence to Urban Resort, Editions Ltd., 1995
- George S. Kanahele, Waikīkī, 100 BC to 1900 AD: An Untold Story, University of Hawai'i Press, 1996
- Royal Hawaiian Hotel
- Sheraton Hotels Hawai'i
- King Kyo-Ya, Hawaii Business Magazine, 2003
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