Hawaii's Pink Palace Turns 80

Lynn Blocker Krantz
Lynn Blocker Krantz
Candice Kraughto
Candice Kraughto

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - The Royal Hawaiian Beach is where the world fell in love with Waikiki.

Visitors from all over the world started to flock here back in the 1920's and this is the first luxury resort that was opened in the area, said Lynn Blocker Krantz of Matson Archives.

Many people don't know that Matson, known for its shipping containers, helped to spark Waikiki's tourist movement. They built the Royal Hawaiian, and tourists cruised in on their luxurious "white ships".

"When people would come into the Aloha Tower from the ships, they would be decked out in beautiful coats and suits, and even furs. Can you imagine wearing a fur coat here in Honolulu,? asked Krantz.

"The Rockefeller's stayed here, the Duponts, President Roosevelt sons learned how to surf right outside and Shirley Temple learned how to play the ukulele right outside of our hotel, said Candice Kraughton.

"What's standing behind me today is one of the original art pieces that they used to make those famous matson menu's," said Krantz.

It was classic hawaiiana, and people fell in love.

"I think I was probably about 14 years old and I came to the Royal Hawaiian Luau, walked around to the lawn and I said I love this place, there is something magical, said Krantz."

This coconut grove was a playground for King Kamehameha. Lots of movie stars have played here too.

"Movie stars travelled here. Betty Davis, Clark Gable, Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple used to come here when she was a little girl almost every single summer, said Kraughton."

And it still attracts plenty of celebrities.

"Celebrities still come here, said Kraughton. "But I can't tell who, my lips are sealed when it comes to celebrities staying at the hotel. We like to remain a beautiful hidden oasis is the heart of waikiki," she said smiling.

If you want to take a step back in time, the hotel offers free historic tours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2-pm.