The ‘First Lady of Waikiki’

Looking up at the grand entrance to the Moana Surfrider
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Have you met the First Lady of Waikiki?

A veil of classiness drapes over her sleek white facade, like the gentle morning rays over a quiet Waikiki. Although she’s more than 110 years old, there’s still a youthfulness about her that continues to play a significant role in Hawaii’s history to date. As the very first hotel in Waikiki, the Moana Hotel opened up the isle gates for visitors from near and far – marking the beginning of tourism in the state.

Amidst the bungalows and beach houses of Downtown Honolulu, the Moana Hotel became a welcomed addition to the then-neglected Honolulu area. It boasted 75 guest rooms, a billiard room, saloon, main parlor, library and the first electric-powered elevator for Hawaii that’s still used today. The very first guests paid only $1.50 per night for their rooms.

While you probably won’t find rates like that nowadays, you’ll still find the Moana Hotel standing h3 – as one of Waikiki’s premier hotels today. It is one of three buildings that make up the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa. In addition to having almost 800 rooms, the Moana has a freshwater swimming pool, three restaurants and beach bar.

As the First Lady of Waikiki, she also has a nice collection of awards and recognitions to her name. These include the National Preservation Honor Award and the Hawaii Renaissance Award. Most notably, the Banyan Wing has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you haven’t had a chance to meet the First Lady, be sure to stop by – even if just for a quick visit. Her European-influenced architecture is a marvel in itself; vintage displays of intricate woodwork and delicate detailing throughout the building.


• 2365 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815 • 808-922-3111 •

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