If you plan to travel to Oahu, visiting Waikiki is a must. It’s home to the iconic Waikiki Beach, which attracts countless visitors with its beautiful white sand beaches. Not to mention, Waikiki is one of the most walkable cities in all of Aloha State. Best of all, many see Waikiki as Hawaii’s number one attraction. With that being said, of course, Waikiki has plenty of accommodation options. But if you’re interested in history, staying at a historic hotel is a must! By staying in the oldest hotel on Waikiki, you’ll be able to feel the old-world charm while enjoying modern conveniences. Whether you’re here for a quick getaway or celebrating your anniversary, these hotels will not disappoint! Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best historic hotels in Waikiki!
Table of contents
- The Laylow
- Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
- Prince Waikiki
- Shoreline Hotel Waikiki
- Sheraton Waikiki
- Kaimana Beach Hotel
- White Sands Hotel
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
- The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
- Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
- Recommended Bars/Restaurants in Waikiki
- Recommended Things To Do in Waikiki
The Laylow may not be the oldest hotel on Waikiki, but it sure is one of the most historic ones. Fun fact, Laylow is the first Waikiki Autograph Collection hotel in the area. Originally named The ‘Okina, no one knows why the hotel was renamed last minute before it was opened to the public. But what we all know is that this hotel is in a way a reincarnation of the Aqua Resort’s Wave Waikiki Hotel. The Wave is a budget-friendly accommodation. But after an expansive renovation, it has reopened as a fancier hotel.
Unique is the perfect word to describe the hotel. A stay at this hotel means you can expect a hotel room with striking wallpaper, a midcentury sofa, and a ukulele for you to strum. All of the 251 guestrooms are filled with retro-tropical touches, which we adore. Best of all, each room comes with a private lanai! Not to mention, it’s only a five-minute walk away from Waikiki Beach!
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
Overlooking Waikiki Beach, the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort is another great option for those looking for historic hotels. Built in 1956, this isn’t the oldest hotel on Waikiki, but it sure is one of the biggest, with 658 spacious guestrooms on-site. The hotel is also one of the earliest mid-century hotels built on Waikiki Beach. You can see a seamless transition from timeless local history to modern elements throughout the hotel.
With a long history of honoring surf culture, this hotel is the perfect example of old meets new. The hotel’s design is hugely influenced by Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures. Today, it remains one of Waikiki’s most popular hotels, featuring top-notch amenities like a spa center, fitness center, swimming pool, and numerous on-site activities.
You won’t be disappointed if you decide to stay at Prince Waikiki. Everything you need, the hotel offers. Yes, it isn’t the oldest hotel Waikiki has to offer, but it sure is one of the most popular ones. First constructed in 1953, the hotel quickly rose to fame along with the rise of Oahu‘s post-war tourism industry. Additionally, the hotel was named after Prince Jonah, a prince of the Kingdom of Hawaii. After he died in 1922, his impact and legacy remained, and this hotel was proof.
Ever since its initial construction, this hotel has undergone multiple renovations and updates. However, the biggest one occurred in 2016, which resulted in the addition of a huge ballroom, a massive infinity pool, and a remodeled design of 563 suites. By the way, this hotel is also rumored to be haunted! A long-time staff has claimed to witness ghostly blue orbs. Others also have reported hearing whispering voices in the hallways.
Shoreline Hotel Waikiki
Eccentric and colorful, the Shoreline Hotel Waikiki is where nature meets neon! However, just like the oldest hotel on Waikiki, this hotel isn’t like what it used to be. It was originally The Seaside Hotel, which was built in 1968 and owned by United Airlines. It was then rebranded and renovated to be the hotel that we all love today. The hotel is now under the management of Filament Hospitality.
After the transformation, the top floor was turned into eight beautiful guestrooms, and two more were added to the floor below. Furthermore, the renovation was inspired by 1970s architecture, with bold shapes and colors. Today, many love to stay at this hotel because of its location. Waikiki Beach is only two blocks away, and popular shops and restaurants are only around the corner.
Up next is Sheraton Waikiki, a popular hotel that’s prominently located near Waikiki Beach. If you’re searching for the oldest hotel on Waikiki, this one is worth taking into consideration. This hotel was built back in 1971. It was constructed during a time when the neighborhood was gaining popularity and countless newer and larger hotels were almost finished. Though there were many competitions, the hotel managed to stand out.
Three years after the hotel started operating, Japanese brothers Kenji and Masakuni Osano purchased the hotel. That transaction put them on the Forbes list of the World’s Richest People in 1999! Today, it’s owned by Kyo-Ya Management Company, Ltd. and operated by Marriott International. It was so famous that it was even featured in “The Brandy Bunch” season 4 opener in 1972, just a year after it began welcoming guests!
Kaimana Beach Hotel
Another Waikiki hotel that’s brimming with stories is the Kaimana Beach Hotel. Built in the year 1963, this is Waikiki’s only boutique hotel that’s set directly on the set. The property where the hotel now sits was the former residence of the McInery family. For those who are wondering, they were the founders of a prominent retail chain back then. Their Victorian beachfront home had an oceanfront lanai, which was covered by a hau tree. It was also often visited by famed author Robert Louis Stevenson.
After the family’s home was replaced by Kaimana Beach Hotel, it continues to awe travelers. Inspired by the hau tree, this boutique hotel in Waikiki is home to the popular Hau Tree restaurant. Like the oldest hotel Waikiki has to offer, the hotel’s location is also worth praising. Some of the area’s top attractions are literally only a short walk away. Moreover, the kind staff will go above and beyond to help you plan tours and excursions.
White Sands Hotel
The White Sands Hotel is a hidden gem that deserves more recognition than it currently gets! Built in 1957, the hotel was designed by local architect Edwin Bauer. Throughout the years, the hotel has been renovated multiple times, adding facilities that cater to travelers’ needs. But its biggest renovation was probably the one in 2018. The 94 rooms were all renovated and it was completed in 2019. Then, it was the common areas’ turn to be revamped, and it was completed a year later in 2020.
Today, this lush, tropical oasis greets travelers from all around the world with modern amenities and luxurious furnishings. It’s where you can feel the tropical charm of old Hawaii. Set in the heart of Waikiki, many adore this hotel because of its location. Similar to the oldest hotel Waikiki has to offer, it’s only a short walk away from some of the area’s top shopping, dining, and nightlife options. What’s more, it’s pet-friendly!
Introducing you to Halekulani, a historic oceanfront hotel on Waikiki Beach that’s loved by many. Established in 1917, the hotel features over 400 guestrooms in 5 buildings. Since its opening, Juliet and Clifford Kimball, the owners of the hotel, keep making the resort bigger and better. They managed to buy the neighboring plot of land and built additional buildings. After their death in 1962, the hotel changed hands multiple times. It was in 1981 that it was bought by Mitsui Fudosan USA, and after renovating the hotel, the current hotel structure opened in the year 1984.
The original hotel was simple. It offered budget-friendly accommodations with simple food. Then, to compete with other hotels in Waikiki, it slowly became a more conventional hotel with modern amenities. Today, Halekulani is a luxurious hotel that has everything you need and more. It currently has three restaurants, and all of them make guests want to extend their stay at the hotel!
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort may not be the oldest hotel on Waikiki, but it sure is one of the most luxurious. Plus, it also has a lot of tales to tell. The hotel was originally The Niumalu Hotel, and it began operating in 1928. In 1955, the construction of guest cottages, gardens, and three swimming pools for the hotel began. Since then, the hotel only grew bigger and bigger. Then, in 1961, Conrad Hilton bought most of the hotel, which was one of the largest hotel transactions at that time.
Like the oldest hotel Waikiki has to offer, this hotel is nothing short of impressive. It has been the site of countless major events. For instance, it’s the site where the Blue Hawaii cocktail was invented in 1957. On top of that, in 1968, the hotel’s Rainbow Tower opened with the earth’s biggest ceramic-tile mosaic. This hotel has also been featured in many TV shows, including Hawaiian Eye, Baywatch Hawaii, and Wheel of Fortune.
The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
Want to experience the ultimate luxury and romance? If so, you should consider spending your days at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort! Nicknamed the “Pink Palace of the Pacific”, this surprisingly has plenty of history. While it’s not the oldest hotel on Waikiki, it is listed as a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2011, and it dates back to 1927. It debuted as a resort hotel that cost more than four million USD to complete. Because of its unmatched service, amazing amenities, and pink exterior, it quickly became one of the area’s top landmarks just in a matter of months.
Like some hotels, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the hotel was used as a Rest and Recuperation Center. It would remain as that for the duration of World War II and reverted back into a resort in 1947. Throughout the years, the hotel has changed hands multiple times. It was 2009 when Starwood Hotels reopened the hotel as part of its “The Luxury Collection”. Then, in 2010 the hotel was renovated again. Today, this Waikiki Beach hotel is one of the most popular accommodation options in the city. With unmatched hospitality and an unbeatable location, who can resist staying here?
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Since you’ve been wondering what is the oldest hotel on Waikiki, we’re finally going to tell you the answer! Yes, it’s none other than the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa! This first-class hotel has been a luxury destination for more than 100 years. As a member of the National Register of Historic Places, it began welcoming guests in 1901. Originally named The Moana Hotel, it was the first hotel on Waikiki Beach. The hotel was designed by Oliver G. Traphagen, and when it first opened, it featured 75 spacious guestrooms and upscale amenities like private baths, a library a salon, and the first electric-powered elevator in Waikiki.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor and World War II, the oldest hotel Waikiki has to offer became a rest area for soldiers and sailors. The hotel ended up being their final stop before going to war. But once the tourism industry was revitalized, The Moana quickly regained its popularity. Then, in 1952, The Surfrider hotel was built just east of The Moana. When sold to Sheraton in the year 1969, a new tower was constructed on the hotel’s west side. Eventually, The Surfrider became a wing of The Moana. Since then, Moana Surfrider has undergone plenty of renovations and restorations. But it still maintains its reputation as one of the best luxury hotels in Waikiki.
Recommended Bars/Restaurants in Waikiki
- ZIGU – If you’re in the mood for Japanese cuisine, ZIGU is the place to be. This Japanese restaurant and bar serves menus that are cooked using only the fresh ingredients found in Hawaii. The Fried Octopus Ball is a must-try!
- Island Vintage Wine Bar – Offering an award-winning wine list and fresh food, this place won’t let you down. This modern wine bar is loved because of its organic wines, craft beer, and warm hospitality.
- Pesca Waikiki Beach – For something fancy, you should try dining at this restaurant. It’s a Mediterranean seafood restaurant that offers panoramic views and lip-smacking breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Recommended Things To Do in Waikiki
- Waikiki Trolley Hop-on Hop-off 1, 4, or 7-Day All-Line Pass – Purchase this all-line pass and get ready to enjoy the best of Honolulu from an open-air trolley! You’ll have the chance to explore Diamond Head, Sea Life Park, Waikiki, and other top attractions.
- Oahu: Afternoon Glass Bottom Boat Tour in Waikiki – If adventure is what you want, you should join this boat tour. Bring your favorite drinks and wines and have fun taking in the mesmerizing views of the sea. Don’t forget to take pictures of the sea turtles and dolphins!
- Waikiki: Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion – Those who love snorkeling should make use of this rare opportunity! You’ll snorkel together with Hawaiian green sea turtles and the tropical fish at the Turtle Canyons.