The Royal Hawaiian

June 15th, 2009 · 1 Comment

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We’re back from Hawaii. I had many updates while we were gone on Twitter and Facebook that gave a general idea of what we were up to. I still have many, many photos to go through, though. I guess I will just start at the beginning.

For our first week of vacation we stayed in Waikiki on Oahu at The Royal Hawaiian resort. This is a place we’d not normally consider staying because the price is way out of our league, but we were able to get a friends and family rate from a friend who works for Starwood and paid less than half of what The Royal Hawaiian usually charges. If you’re unfamiliar with the hotel, it’s the pink one. A lot of people visit Waikiki and remember “the pink hotel” but forget the name. This is the place! And it’s not just the exterior that’s pink, everything there is pink. The beach umbrellas, the staff uniforms, napkins, beach towels, wallpaper, key cards, everything. There’s no mistaking when you’ve wandered off to another resort.

the_royal_hawaiian_banana_breadWe arrived in Oahu on May 30 at about 9:30 p.m. but it felt much later. On Chicago time it was about 2:30 a.m. We were exhausted. We got our rental car (a Subaru) and made our way to The Royal Hawaiian. We were greeted by a team of bell boys and valets who took care of our luggage and our car. Before we entered the building I was given an orchid lei and Dallas a kukui nut lei. Then we were escorted into the lobby where we were seated in some really cushy chairs at a desk. No standing in line for a counter at The Royal Hawaiian. A woman came over to the desk to help us. The first thing she did was give us warm, moist clothes to wash our hands and face after a long trip. Next, a bell boy appeared and gave us a refreshing drink of hibiscus tea and acai juice. All the while we were checking into our room. The bell boy then took us and our luggage upstairs while he told us more about the hotel. When we got to our room a tray of homemade banana breads were waiting for us.

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This elaborate initial greeting set the tone for our entire stay at The Royal Hawaiian. Everyone there did a great job of taking care of us and making sure our needs were met, from the bell boys to the valets to the front desk, to the beach staff and the bartenders. Not to mention that the Royal Hawaiian had just completed a $110 millon makeover. It was probably the nicest place that I’ve ever stayed and we got to spend 8 nights there. For Dallas it was special because in all the time he lived on Oahu, he never once set foot on The Royal Hawaiian grounds. It’s too expensive and locals don’t go there. I also liked the fact that The Royal Hawaiian is a very historic building and site.

It was nice to get the royal treatment and not pay the price for the room, but everything at the hotel and around it was still really expensive. I mean, $14 – $25 per day for wireless access is a bit ridiculous. Or how about $175 per day to rent a cabana? The fact that our hotel stores were Cartier and Furla and Bulgari, let us know we’d somehow wandered into the wrong neighborhood! We just had to be careful about room charges and we were all good. Livin’ like kings. Ha. More like trying not to blow our cover that we were a bit out of our league. Where’s the ABC Store? We talked a lot with the local staff who worked at the resort because that was more of our style.

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Hawaii’s tourism is really suffering in the poor economy right now. We heard that The Royal Hawaiian was the most full it’s been for a while and it was still only at half capacity. Kind of crazy, but no one had the money to blow, especially if you have to pay full price. I’d completely recommend staying at The Royal Hawaiian if ever you have a chance to. You’ll see more of the hotel in some of my upcoming posts.

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