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Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii 

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2259 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 923 7311
view web site ›'s insider take:

After a multimillion-dollar renovation, completed in 2009, fans of the iconic pink palace can breathe a sigh of relief: The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is more glorious than ever before. (Purists may regret that the color scheme is a little less bubble-gum, though; the palette of pinks has expanded to include more sophisticated coral, magenta, fuchsia, and even maroon.) Playing off the historic hotel's original decor and Moorish design, all 592 refreshed guest rooms have a Moroccan flair and a nice balance of crisp white and lime linens with dark woods set against coral pink wallpaper with silver scallops. While the pink sheets and towels that reminded you of Grandma's house are gone, the pink robes remain. Modern public spaces, such as the Mai Tai Bar and Azure restaurant, which both have panoramic views of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, definitely bring sexy back—and, along with the adjacent, amped-up Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, are helping Waikiki in its bid to become the new South Beach.—Cathay Che

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
This 529-room landmark spent the past couple of decades chugging along on the fumes of nostalgia. When the iconic property opened in 1927, it became a retreat for film stars, presidents, and the early jet-set. Now, after a much-needed $50 million restoration, the so-called Pink Palace has reclaimed its past glory. Although not every problem can be resolved—it's still incongruously wedged between a sprawling Sheraton resort and the depressing Royal Hawaiian shopping pavilion—the facade has been refinished, and the impeccable interiors are an inspired blend of textiles, artwork, and woodwork that pay tribute to the hotel's heritage while remaining fresh and contemporary. Indeed, the renovation's greatest triumph may be its restraint; while the rooms (and particularly the bathrooms) may be small, they're also boldly outfitted with Art Deco-inspired metallic wallpapers and color-blocked curtains. —2009 Hot List

When to go: Year-round, but late spring and early summer bring big waves and sunny skies.

Which room to book: Be sure you're in the historic wing, in a Beachview room.

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