“Uluwehiwehi ‘oe i ka‘u ‘ike la, e ka Royal Hawaiian Hotel.” The 1927 song composed for the opening of the now-pink hotel celebrated the velvet beds, green marble walls, and the arching rainbows of Waikiki of the new hotel.
“If you are going to be very grand, go to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It’s quite the last word financially and otherwise.” So proclaimed the pamphlet Highlights on Honolulu (1930). A world-class hotel for a world class destination, the 400 room hotel changed the character of Waikiki forever.
The largest construction project in the Pacific at the time, the $5,000,000 hotel represented a quantum leap for the visitor industry. Its rate of $14 per night in 1929 was 40% higher than its nearest competitor, the Moana. Guests included the Rockefellers, Fords, du Ponts, Henry J. Kaiser, the Shah of Iran, Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Franklin D. Roosevelt and a host of other celebrities.