The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, is an Old World standard. The “Pink Palace of the Pacific” opened in 1927 and has never gone out of style. A little renovation now and then has kept it in tune with the times, though.
The hotel’s latest upgrade debuted April 1, and Travel Agent was there for a preview.
The Royal Beach Tower has been spiffed up and renamed The Mailani Beach Tower. The idea is to provide an enhanced experience for tower guests. It’s not quite a hotel-within-a-hotel, but close.
Upon arrival, guests are whisked off to a dedicated Mailani Beach Tower reception desk. It’s next to a new open-air “lounge” that transforms the tower rooms into a club level of sorts.
Mailani Beach Tower rooms have been refreshed with a more beach-inspired feel. We especially like the Pink Frette bathrobes and amenities by Malie Organics. (Reed diffusers in island-inspired scents are best-sellers in the resort’s Malie Organics shop.)
Top-level accommodations at The Royal Hawaiian are its four Prestige Suites. Only one, the 17th-floor Alii Suite, is in the Mailani Tower. It can be connected to an adjoining room to create a second bedroom. The other three Prestige Suites: The King Kamehameha and the two-bedroom Royal Hawaiian and Queen Kaahumanu Suites, are in the Historic Wing.
In contrast to The Royal Hawaiian, the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk is a modern marvel. The 38-story tower across from Waikiki Beach is a favorite of celebrities such as Rihanna. It’s big with the baby-stroller set as well.
That’s probably due to its residential-style design. Rooms and suites range in size from 355 to 2,050 square feet. Configurations include studios, one, two and three bedrooms. All feature gourmet kitchens with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances; marble-accented baths; and washer/dryer units.
The Trump’s top digs are located on its top three floors. Trump Executive Suites feature upgraded furnishings and décor, along with impressive Waikiki views. Even more over-the-top (this is Trump after all) is the Diamond Head Penthouse Suite. Its eclectic, modern décor includes a glass-walled bedroom, sleek Italian cabinetry plus a hot tub on the terrace. Its best feature, however, is the panoramic view of Waikiki, the Honolulu cityscape, and Koolau Mountains.
On Hawaii Island, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu holds a perennial spot on global “best of” lists. It’s easy to understand why. The expansive property on the south Kona-Kohala Coast is surrounded by white sands, lava rock and the mesmerizing surf. Always popular with high-profile guests, it’s introduced new features for top suites.
The new Suite Experience Managers program provides an around-the-clock concierge team for the top 10 of the resort’s 51 suites and villas. Those top suites are the most in-demand, especially for extended family groups. They include the Hawaii Loa Presidential Villa and Makaloa Villa. Both feature three bedrooms.
If you don’t book a suite, make sure to secure an Oceanview Deluxe Room. Our favorites are the downstairs versions, featuring outdoor lava rock garden showers.
Twenty miles up the Kohala Coast, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is marking a milestone. It’s been 50 years since Laurance S. Rockefeller built the region’s first resort on the edge of Kaunaoa Bay.
The classic of mid-century architectural design is now part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Its 252 guest rooms are newly refreshed in time for the half-centennial. Festivities began in December 2014 and will continue throughout 2015. A gala week celebration takes place from July 21-24.
If you plan to catch any 50th festivities, book as soon as possible. The most-requested room categories are on the eighth floor and include the Premium Ocean View Deluxe category and the 1,610-square-foot Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa Suites.
The Mauna Kea’s Beachfront Wing is popular with guests who want direct beach access. Renovations in 2013 created rooms with huge walk-in closets and a new bathroom floor plan. The resulting tub and shower room is big enough to live in.