When we think of Oahu we think of the wild North Shore and the high-rises stretching to the sky in Honolulu's beach district Waikiki. Clark Gable and Shirley Temple loved Waikiki resorts and now those same resorts are luring travelers with multimillion-dollar makeovers, serious food, and gentle surf.
Waikiki has recently been focusing its efforts on restoring Waikiki to its retro 1920's glamour when Duke Kahanamoku gave surfing demonstrations to crowds of thousands. There are three hotels that really showcase the revival that is taking place there.
The Royal Hawaiian
In 1927, the Royal Hawaiian was built with pink-stucco walls and welcomed guests likes Clark Gable, Franklin D Roosevelt, and the Shah of Iran to name just a few. With its Moorish arched doorways guests are greeted by an open-aired reception hall and framed sepia toned photographs. Ceiling fans turn lazily overhead near the tiki-style Mai Tai bar. Guests can also check out the hotel's newest restaurant Azure- bright and modern with patio cabanas and marble topped tables flush against the beach sand with long white curtains waving hello to the sea. The guest rooms pay homage to its history by being designed in pink and silver.
The Moana Surfrider, built in 1901, just received a $30 million dollar overhaul in 2007. With its Beaux Arts-style the Moana Surfrider is bathed in shades of white from its bed linens to the architectural details you see everywhere. Banyan trees shade its Colonial-style white columned verandas and set the stage for a proper English afternoon tea in their Beachhouse restaurant.
The Halekulani Hotel is almost ready to celebrate its centennial. If you are familiar with Charlie Chan's work it's the setting for his 1925 novel The House Without a Key. Its newest restaurant, Orchids, showcases its six-seat Table One where chef Vikram Garg experiments with local produce and takes advantage of Hawaii's new farm-to-table movement by using the rich volcanic soils to enhance his experimental menu.