Royal Hawaiian Hotel

My Complete, Honest, Unfiltered Review of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel

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The clear, turquoise water and tan sand immediately gave me my answer. I walked down the long stretch of sand as far as my exhaustion would take me and stopped to stare at the giant pink palace exuding elegance and luxury in front of me. My mission for my return to Hawaii would to be stay here with my family and find the best things to do in Oahu. This is my completely honest, unfiltered review of The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Historic Background of the Famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is a stunning example of classic Hawaiian architecture deemed a National Historic Landmark. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel stands where the palace once stood of King Kamehameha I, the King of Hawaii.  It was recreated into a hotel in 1927 and unique architecture has a distinct Spanish-Moorish style, with its signature pink façade rising six stories above the beach.

Guest Book - Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Arrival and Check-In

Walking up the stairs to The Royal Hawaiian Hotel you are immediately welcomed by the sweet, floral scent of its signature Tahitian Gardenia. You are gifted a kukui nut lei which symbolizes the traditional welcome and hospitality of the Hawaiian people. The check in area is decorated by historic memorabilia housed in glass cases. Looking in, you see pictures and guest books of yesteryear signed by famous patrons such as Theodore Roosevelt, Marilyn Monroe, and Shirley Temple. 

Marriott Bonvoy Status

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Gold Status comes with great perks here like room upgrades and late check out. The Bonvoy app is my favorite thing about staying at the Marriott properties. I can easily check in, communicate with the front desk, and request items via the chat option.

Perfect for an introvert like me. I notified The Royal Hawaiian Hotel of my schedule that day needing to check in extremely early at 9:00am. To my surprise, they were able to accommodate. My husband and River were able to have a lazy morning while I rushed off to Tattoolicious Waikiki.

The hotel front desk clerk knew we were traveling with a young child. She ensured that we were in an area of the hotel that was away from noise. Our family was upgraded from a historic no view room to a historic garden view room on the top floor. River’s favorite perk though was the three free bakery items from The Royal Hawaiian Bakery for those who were Marriott Bonvoy Elite members of any status.

We were also given celebration drinks for my husband’s birthday!


Every day there are activities held at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Cultural delights are in abundance like lei making, lauhala bracelet weaving, kukui nut bracelet making. You can even participate in hula lessons, historic tours, surf lessons, and more. River is a huge fan of crafts

So, I knew that I had to take advantage of the creative classes. That being said, she and my husband were signed up for lei making in the morning and lauhala bracelet weaving in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, the instructor who led the lei making was less than welcoming to River. She said she was too young to participate which made River cry. This was the activity she was most excited about. I used the chat feature on the Marriott Bonvoy app to inform them what had transpired. There are no age limits on any of the activities or events listed for The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Craft Classes - Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Customer Service

Management confirmed that everything should have been fine with an adult attending as well. An apology was given with the promise that if River were to come to the Lauhala Bracelet Weaving Activity, they would make it extra special. 

A few hours later, I received pictures from my husband of River building her lauhala bracelet and a flower crown. Her itty bitty wrists wouldn’t have been able to wear the traditional lauhala bracelet; so, they taught her to make a crown for her and a bracelet to give to me.

The class more than made up for the previous incident thanks to the new instructor.


Stepping into the elevator all the way to the room was like taking a trip back in time. In the hallway, there are hand-carved wooden tables featuring things like rotary dial phones and more. 

Walking down the historic wing of the The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, you notice intricately carved wooden doors. Crafted by local artisans, each door features unique carvings depicting traditional Hawaiian motifs. Some of these doors are original from when The Royal Hawaiian first opened in 1927. Other designs were added throughout the years as a nod to the hotel’s rich history.

Another unique characteristic of the Royal Hawaiian is The Bather’s Elevator. It served as a way for those in beach attire or bathing suits could travel between lodgings and the beach without walking through the main area of the hotel. This is actually a nod to the history of the hotel, when people had to dress up for public outings or dinner.

Garden View Queen - Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Hotel Room

Our room features a beautiful view of the lush gardens below, with blooming hibiscus and plumeria flowers hinting at the tropical paradise around us. Decorated in bright colors featuring traditional Hawaiian tapa-patterned bedspreads, intricate wood carvings, and native artwork, the room feels like you are stepping into classic luxury. 

The furniture is upholstered in vibrant patterns, and the windows are adorned with wooden shutters. Each room includes two of the signature pink and white striped Frette bathrobes with fuzzy slippers. The attention to detail was astounding; every little thing was a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern luxury.

Eating Breakfast Bakery - Royal Hawaiian Hotel

The Royal Hawaiian Bakery

The next morning, The Royal Hawaiian Bakery was calling our name. Our family devoured delicious items like a chocolate croissant, the famous banana nut muffins, and macadamia flavored Kona coffee.

The open air seating area in front of the bakery at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel had a truly magical ambiance. The morning sun shone brightly through the lush, tropical foliage of the Queen’s Gardens. Warm ocean air surrounded us bringing the scents of the banana nut muffins, Kona coffee, and Tahitian Gardenia. Perfection doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling that morning. Alas, I was off again for a day of pain and beauty at Tattoolicious Tattoo Waikiki.

Malulani Pool - Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Relax at the Pools

The Malulani Pool is one of the many luxurious amenities that The Royal Hawaiian Hotel offers its guests. Located in the center of the Queen’s Gardens, this pool features a stunning view of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach with its crystal-blue waters. Perfect for lounging in the sun or taking a relaxing dip, this pool is more for relaxation and adults than those who want to actively swim or play.

For guests seeking a bit more fun and adventure, the Helumoa Playground pool  is at the Sheraton Waikiki next door. It is much more family friendly with its two freshwater swimming pools, water slides, interactive fountain area for the kids, and water chase lounges. This was the highlight of River’s time in Waikiki as she is a fish to water.

She was constantly going down the slide and ate a refreshing Hawaiian Honey Cone in the shape of a snorkel. Leaving this area was next to impossible due to the fun she was having.

Experience Paradise

Overall, The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is a perfect luxury getaway for vacationers looking to experience paradise in an elegant, luxurious setting. Located on the world-famous Waikiki Beach, the hotel offers stunning views of Diamond Head and the Pacific Ocean. Guests can also enjoy easy access to all the great attractions that Waikiki has to offer such as great shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.

With its iconic architecture and luxurious amenities, The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is sure to provide visitors with a truly unforgettable experience. Discover the timeless elegance of The Royal Hawaiian Hotel for yourself! Book your stay today and discover why this historic destination continues to be one of Hawaii’s most popular attractions.

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