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In the first half of the 20th century, before there were mega-resorts and trendy boutique properties, Hawaii welcomed visitors with a handful of distinctive lodgings.
Today, these historic hotels feature lovingly-preserved architecture and decor that evoke a bygone era. At the same time, they are in tune with the needs of modern travelers, offering refreshed furnishings, amenities and infrastructures.
Following are five of the destination’s longest-running hotels, blending the best of Hawaii’s past and present.
Halekulani, OahuDating back to 1917, this 453-room oasis has evolved over the decades to its current, classy combination of then and now. Courtyards and gardens create a timeless aura not often found in Waikiki hotels. A 1930s-era mansion-style building serves as its centerpiece.
Guests enjoy luxuries such as in-room deep soaking tubs, a 5,500-square-foot spa, award-winning restaurants and a heated pool with 1.2 million glass mosaic tiles.
Hotel LanaiEver since pineapple mogul James Dole launched this 11-room inn in 1923, it has served as a charming home-base for island visitors. Local influences abound, from Hawaiian quilts on guestroom beds to works by Lanai artists.
Over the years, upgrades including in-room Wi-Fi access and refrigerators as well as free continental breakfast have maintained the comfort level while preserving a time-honored sense of plantation hospitality.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort and Spa, OahuUpon its 1901 debut, the Moana boasted innovations including Hawaii’s first electric-powered elevator. Today, it still turns heads with touches such as hardwood lobby floors and guestrooms with flat-screen televisions.
With a century-old banyan tree as its focal point and a floor devoted to history and artifacts, the Moana never loses its sense of place. The resort also focuses on the future with eco-friendly initiatives, farm-to-table dining and a state-of-the-art spa.
Pioneer Inn, Maui This Lahaina hotel opened in 1901, 30 years after the last whalers left town and 50 years before any other hotels came to west Maui. Its country-inn architecture and harborside perch have landed it roles in movies such as “The Devil at 4 O’Clock.”
Authentic whaling memorabilia sets an appealing tone. Its 34 rooms cater to budget travelers looking for easy access to Lahaina’s dining, shopping and nightlife.
The Royal Hawaiian, Oahu A new era of glamorous travel hit Waikiki with the 1927 unveiling of this pink, Spanish-Moorish architectural gem. It places one foot firmly in the past through cultural activities and vintage decor.
Meanwhile, upgrades such as in-room perks, a contemporary seafood restaurant and cutting-edge spa treatments keep it at the top of its game. When indulging in drinks in its open-air Mai Tai Bar, it’s easy to lose track of time.