Thursday, February 27, 2014

Moana Surfrider Hotel: The First Lady of Waikiki

The 'First Lady of Waikiki', the Moana Surfrider Hotel stands as an icon of sophistication and elegance, with its historic Beaux-Arts design of detailed woodwork, charming arched porticos and grand porte-cochère. Built in 1901 by wealthy British-born Honolulu businessman Walter Chamberlain Peacock at a cost of $150,000, the Moana Hotel marked the beginning of tourism in Oahu, becoming the first large hotel in Waikiki. Chamberlain's vision to establish a luxury hotel in the deserted area of Waikiki, once a vast swampland, the Moana became the costliest, most elaborate and modern hotel in Hawaii at the time, featuring 75 guestrooms that included amenities that were regarded as the ultimate luxury at the turn of the century: telephones, private baths, a billiard room, saloon, reception area, library, and the first electric powered elevator in the islands, which is still in use today.

The pool and private beach

In the centre of the Moana's oceanfront beach bar stands a large banyan tree planted in 1904

A $50 million restoration in 1989 restored the Moana to its 1901 appearance and cemented the hotel as still one of Waikiki's premier hotels. It now includes over 750 rooms and suites, a freshwater swimming pool, three restaurants, oceanfront beach bar under the hotel's iconic banyan tree, and a new piano bar with live entertainment every evening. A surprise gift from my parents this past Christmas, the Moana Surfrider was to be our home-away-from-home for the next 10 days, and the perfect base from which to explore all that Oahu has to offer.

The Moana Surfrider in 1908

The modern day Moana Surfrider lobby 

The outdoor walkway to the beach

The outdoor veranda which overlooks the main entrance

The Beach Bar and Surfrider Café for beachside casual dining and cocktails

The Veranda Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch at afternoon tea

The elegant Beachhouse Restaurant serves modern island-inspired cuisine

Bin 1901, the wine bar and lounge with live piano each night 

Aloha kakou!

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