Long Live Queen Kapiolani Hotel

Photo by Jill Weinlein

In the late 1800s, Hawaiians developed a fondness and admiration for their Queen Kapiolani. They appreciated her deep commitment to health, education, and well-being for the Hawaiian people. Her motto “Strive for the Highest” helped establish the Kapiolani Home for Girls and the Kapiolani Maternity Home, with her lasting legacy The Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. 

In the 1960s one of the first modernistic 19 story hotels was built across from the Kapiolani Park in Waikiki. It was named in honor of the Queen and soon became a favorite for visitors due to its location near Waikiki Beach, the Honolulu Zoo and Diamond Head. Then the luster of the Queen started to fade.

ProspectHill Group and Hawaii hotel executive Patrick Fitzgerald recently acquired the property and invested $35 million dollars in renovations. With the help of Hawaiian designer Mary Philpotts of Philpotts Interiors, the hotel is now filled with Hawaiian colors, local art, comfortable furniture and engaging public spaces. It's modern, hip and a trendy vacation destination.  

Photo by Jill Weinlein

Touring the hotel with Joy Shinobu Tomita, the Director of Sales and Marketing, I admired the large open-air lobby that fronts Kapiolani Park. In the reception and corridors, Waikiki’s Golden Age artwork is hung with classic posters from “the Good Old Days of Waikiki.” Each floor is decorated in vintage artwork of a different theme that includes airlines and cruise ships. As Queen Kapiolani helped the people of Oahu, the newly refurbished hotel is helping local artists by commissioning their wall-sized pieces and displaying them for guests to admire and appreciate.

Upstairs on the second floor, the hotel educates guests about Hawaiian royals by displaying original portraits of the royals borrowed from the Honolulu Bishop Museum. The Green Room Gallery was created in honor of the famous Queen Kapiolani peacock gown she wore to the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria of England in 1887.

To help maintain guests health, the Queen Kapiolani offer a new fitness center and Hans Hedemann Surf School and shop. On the third floor is an expansive 8,000-square-foot lanai offering a sparkling pool, lounge area and al fresco DECK restaurant perched above Kapiolani Park. This area offers one of Waikiki’s best views of Diamond Head. At sunset and early evening some of best musicians in the Hawaiian music scene perform as guests sip Mai Tai's on tap and enjoy a variety of Modern American dishes with a Hawaiian flair.

Entering room #1816, I admired how light and bright this one bedroom with a kitchenette, large outdoor lanai, and two bathroom suite was overlooking Waikiki Beach to Diamond Head. Below is the Honolulu Zoo with a bird's eye view of the flamingo pond, elephant habitat and beautiful Hawaiian flowering trees.

The hotel offers guest experiences throughout the week with Hawaiian Coffee tastings at the lobby Knot's Coffee Bar, visits to the nearby Farmers Market, surf lessons and art experiences. There is an Aloha Whip Confectionery and retail shops offering fun Hawaiian lifestyle art and gifts.

Waikiki's Queen Kapiolani regains its luster offering beauty, health, wellness and an educational Hawaiian experience to all visiting Oahu. As part of the rebranding and renovations scheduled to be completed by September 2018, the hotel has identified KoKua Hawai’i Foundation as its Community non-profit beneficiary. Established by Jack & Kim Johnson, the foundation provides educational experiences to Hawaii’s youth to better understand the sustainability and how to be good stewards of the land. Guests can contribute $1 per day of their stay to support the environmental education programs in the local schools and communities. For reservations -

Photo by Jill Weinlein

The Queen Kapiolani Hotel is located near Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head and the Honolulu Zoo.

Photo by Jill Weinlein

The renovated rooms at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel offer a Hawaiian flair.

Jill Weinlein

Los Angeles based Jill Weinlein covers travel, food and lifestyle destinations for multiple newspapers, magazines and websites. Her areas of expertise include, luxury travel, culinary reviews, cruising and family travel destinations. Born in Los Angeles, Jill studied Communications and Theatre Arts at UCLA. She has a a Dine and Travel blog - and she writes a weekly restaur...(Read More)

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