5 Iconic Hotels in Honolulu

Hawaii’s palm trees, volcano gods, luaus, and hula dancing have been symbols of tropical paradise since the 19th century. The Islands are still America’s dream vacation, drawing millions of visitors from the mainland USA (and from Asia) every year. These iconic Honolulu hotels invite you to immerse yourself in the history, landscape and legend of the Hawaiian Islands.

The Royal Hawaiian


Image via Flickr by Anosmia

The nickname of this iconic getaway is the “Pink Palace of the Pacific.” The Royal Hawaiian was was built in 1927 — when Hawaii was still a foreign country — on a stretch of Waikiki Beach that once served as a playground for King Kamehameha. Its Moorish design reflects the exotic style of that era. In those days, Hollywood stars and jet-setters would make a five-day sea passage to Hawaii, bringing servants, steamer trunks, and luxury cars with them for long sojourns on the island paradise.

The Breakers


Image via Flickr by Peg Syverson

During the 1950s, as Hawaii was gearing up for statehood, Honolulu became a top destination for Americans who could afford to use the budding commercial airlines. The Breakers was the premier place to stay among these adventurers, and it captures the spirit of that era perfectly. Many of the hotel’s guests have vacationed at the Breakers since childhood, and there is a sense of community among the guests that makes Breakers a uniquely friendly place to stay.

The Ilikai


Image via Flickr by roland

If you watched the original Hawaii Five-O TV series, you’ll recognize the 60s highrise Ilikai hotel instantly from the opening credits, where Steve McGarrett would stand on the top floor and gaze out at the ocean. The hotel sits back a bit from the water, but it offers sweeping views, luxurious swimming pools, and a penthouse restaurant. The Ilikai occupies a quiet spot at the end of the Waikiki strip, so it’s an easy stroll to the beach.

The Kahala Hawaii

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Image via Flickr by Alan Light

The Kahala Hawaii resort nestles comfortably among the mansions and movie stars of the luxurious Kahala neighborhood, which is known as “The Beverly Hills of Hawaii.” The Kahala is a picture-perfect Hawaiian resort, surrounded by palm trees on a private stretch of beach. This posh hideaway boasts over 300 rooms and suites, a world-class spa, and a private lagoon with resident dolphins. If you’re looking for world-class luxury and service, the Kahala Hawaii is your resort.

Aston Waikiki Circle Hotel


Image via Flickr by StuSeeger

If you’re seeking a more affordable option, the Aston Waikiki Circle Hotel is an important part of the Honolulu landscape with a great location and playful ambience. The 14-story circular tower, built to resemble a Chinese lantern in 1963, is an emblem of mid-century American architecture. The property is well-maintained and perfectly located for enjoying the beach and city attractions of Honolulu.

No matter where you stay in Honolulu, you’ll enjoy the tropical breezes, blue skies, sand beaches, and laid-back island lifestyle. However, if you’re looking for an experience that truly captures the spirit and history of America’s exotic island paradise, stay at one of these iconic hotels.