posted by A.Alba


It is with great sadness that as I write this post, the famous Ilikai hotel will be ceasing their hotel operation at midnight.  The Ilikai was considered the first luxury high-rise hotel in Hawaii, first opening its doors in 1964.  While the iconic building remains along with its condominiums and time-shares, the loss of it as a hotel is yet another sad mark on the rich history of Waikiki.

Losing a part of the rich tradition of Waikiki’s hotel industry is a stinging blow to the largest private industry in the State.  While we commemorate the service that the Ilikai and its employees have brought to the tourists and locals in Waikiki, we can also celebrate many of the other long-time hotel establishments that are still standing proud and providing visitors the world over with our unique style of Hawaiian hospitality.

Coincidentally, through one of my many bird walks while surfing the Internet, I ended up on the official biographical page for the Halekulani Hotel.  The Halekulani is one of Hawaii’s oldest and decadent hotels, built on the foundation of the Hau Tree back in 1917.  While reading their brief synopsis of the Halekulani’s history, I noticed a link at the bottom of the page inviting me to download the hotel’s History Book on PDF.  The bibliophile within me rejoiced at the idea of nabbing a free e-book detailing the history of this lavish hotel.

The book itself looks and reads like the kind of coffee table book you might find in the living room of a Schuler Homes model house.  While the very beginning may read somewhat like a travel brochure, the rest of the book is chock full of interesting stories about the development of the Halekulani into what it is today.  As with any great coffee table book, one of the rewarding aspects is enjoying the wonderful visual elements that bring the story together.  Memories of Our House Befitting Heaven makes great use of the space they have by including great historical photos, Hawaiian artwork, and beautiful hotel images displaying the illustrious style of the Halekulani.  Full of great memories, this free e-book is a fun and quick read for anybody interested in Waikiki history and our famous hotel industry.

As an addendum:  I began writing this entry the night that the Ilikai’s hotel services were coming to a close.  Two days ago, we found out that the Ilikai would be returning its hotel operations thanks to some last minute negotiating.  So, congratulations to the great workers of the Ilikai!  May its grand tradition continue uninterrupted!

Halekulani Website:  Memories of Our House Befitting Heaven:  A Halekulani History.