Gumbo was visiting the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, one of the first hotels located on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. The hotel's beach offers wonderful views of Waikiki and Diamond Head, the island's extinct, iconic volcanic crater. Our last puzzle clues showed the beach and Diamond Head, and the hotel was recognized by PortMoresby and Roderick Simpson -- congratulations to both!
The Royal Hawaiian is known for its bright pink color, hence the nickname, "The Pink Palace of the Pacific". Its design has a Moorish influence and the complex sits on 15 acres of land, most of which is a beautiful tropical garden. The hotel has 400 rooms, each with a balcony, and was built to accommodate the growing number of wealthy American families traveling to Hawaii by ship. It opened in 1927 and was popular and successful, but was closed to tourists in WWII when it was used as a place of rest and relaxation for members of the US military.
The hotel was sold to Sheraton in 1959. In 1974, two Japanese businessmen, the Osano brothers, purchased the Royal Hawaiian Hotel from Sheraton. The hotel remains within the portfolio of the Osano corporation, which closed it for 6 months in 2008 and completely renovated it. When you visit today, it is a beautiful and fresh -- like a tropical flower. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is an Historic Hotel of America.
The hotel's first official guest was Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, who would have been queen of Hawaii had the monarchy survived. Surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku frequently visited the hotel. It has hosted many celebrities and politicians, from President Franklin Roosevelt to John Wayne, and was the setting for several motion pictures and television shows.
I've never stayed at the Royal Hawaiian but make a point of strolling by and through it when I'm visiting Waikiki. As GarryRF and Roderick Simpson noted, it reminds one of the grand colonial hotels, like the Raffles in Singapore, or other beautiful tropical resorts.
More scenes from the the Royal Hawaiian, including its shopping arcade....
and the hotel's beautiful lobby....