In normal times, Hawaii is a popular vacation spot for those living within the continental US; a large portion of these travelers head for the high-rise-lined beaches of Waikiki on the island of Oahu. The locale’s most frequent sight: easily marked tourists with Hawaiian shirts walking down bustling boulevards, which spool palm-tree-dotted sidewalks with inviting shops and restaurants. Waikiki Beach is the perfect place for one’s first surfing lessons, advantageous with its bevy of instructors and made-for-learning wave breaks.
When we’re in Waikiki, there are two hotels where you can catch us. First on our list, The Royal Hawaiian (@royal_hawaiian). Often called the “Pink Palace,” the iconic hotel sits right on Waikiki Beach, where it has endured a rich past since its opening in 1927. From elaborate celebrations that welcomed royal elite, to the US military temporary leasing the retreat for army member use during WWII, to it being the premier 1950s hotel when jet service became the world’s most popular mode of transportation, the Royal Hawaiian has a long assemblage of history. In addition to an almost-centennial story, the hotel has a garden spa with a number of Hawaiin-inspired treatments and ambrosial-with-a-view restaurants like Azure, where diners enjoy their meal peering out to the Pacific and Diamondhead State Monument in the distance.
If in the mood for a 1960s décor, The Surfjack (@thesurfjack) is the place for you. The hotel was reimagined to encompass the true soul of Waikiki and its mid-century heyday. With that, The Surfjack tasked a couple of Honolulu’s most visionary designers to enliven the space, an outcome that led to a confluence of creativity and revitalized retro glamour. With 112 rooms, the hotel has earned a reputation as “the place to stay” for discerning travelers coming to Oahu. Décor-wise, rooms are equipped with handcrafted coffee tables, floral-patterned bedframes, cool-toned furniture, and locally sourced artwork. Although, visitors almost all agree its best hallmark is its oval pool and floor that reads “Wish You Were Here,” a greeting visible from up above balconies.