The Royal Hawaiian

Destined to become known as the “Pink Palace of the Pacific”, The Royal Hawaiian first opened its doors on February 1, 1927, ushering in a new era of luxurious resort travel to Hawaii. The concept of Matson Navigation, the hotel would provide the necessary compliment of accommodations to service their passengers arriving in Hawaii via steamship. Set on a 10 acre site boasting the majestic lineage of Helumoa and the beautiful beach of Waikiki, the hotel with its distinctive Moorish-style architecture, painted pink, was built for $4 Million and was completed in 18 months. The six-story structure, originally designed by Warren and Wetmore of New York, exquisitely detailed and fashioned with lavishly decorated rooms, was touted and the “finest resort hostelry in America.”

The design goals and objectives included: 1) Restate and Enhance the Sense of Arrival; 2) Restore and Expand the Interplay of Interior and Exterior Environments; 3) Revitalize and Embrace Connectivity; 4) Re-concept and Freshen the Idea of Food, Drink and Gathering.; 5) Create and Evolve a “Scene” for the Water and Beach Amenities; 6) Enliven and Introduce Sparkle to the Guest Accommodations; 7)  Express Distinctively the Hawaiian History and Presence of the Land; 8) Respect and Restore the Grace of this Place in a Manner Befitting its Royal Past, with an Eye on its Future.

The Design Concept for the project, since its inception, has been “The Restoration of the Royal Grounds – Helumoa, Waikiki”. This idea of the “Royal Grounds” has multiple meanings, and in so the Architects have allowed themselves to be continually guided by this principle objective. On the surface, the most obvious reference to its “Royal” nature is the hotel, The Royal Hawaiian. Arguably the most recognizable piece of architecture in Hawaii as well as one of the most renown hotels in the world, the design team recognized The Royal Hawaiian would need to be carefully studied, designed, and executed in a way that would respect its historic importance.

In addition to the “Royal” nature of the iconic hotel, as important would be the recognition and respect due the “Royal” history of the Land and its people who had called it home.

  • Location: Waikīkī, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i
  • Client: Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts, LP, Cerberus
  • Program: Redevelop approximately 400,000 sf  of hotel guestrooms, public areas, commercial areas and F&B.
  • Site: 14 Acres Ocean Front
  • Status: Complete

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