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Famous Waikiki Hotel closes

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I think I'm posting this in the right area of T.C. Thought some of you might want to know this, in case this was a favorite hotel of yours on your island trips. It has/had some vintage history, that's for sure...

A friend of mine (who lives on the North Shore of Oahu) says Hawaii's economy is really hurting, and that the state of Hawaii's financial shape is as bad as California's.

At least the building will remain as condos and timeshares. Not that I'm pro turning iconic places into condos and timeshares or anything but I'm glad it will still be in the skyline.

aku76 posted on Tue, Jul 14, 2009 6:46 PM

if i remember my vegas vic's tiki lounge podcasts, none other than Arthur Lyman played several months a year at this hotel at one time. sucks, another historic one goes, kinda like my town.



No - the Ilikai Hotel is still open; there were negotiations between the new owner and the hotel workers. From Saturday's Honolulu Star Bulletin:



It's one of the hotels that featured in the Hawaii Five-O series pretty frequently. I remember walking by it and thinking how very 60s the place looked, with it's aqua balconies and groovy signage font. Glad to hear it's staying open.


You ae absolutely correct Hibiscus.The Ilikai was used quite often for the filming of
Hawaii-Five 0 including the begining of the show when the camera pans up and Jack Lord
is standing on the balcony of the Ilikai .This place is classic Hawaii at it's finest.
I need to get over there very very soon.

If it is any consolation, Waikiki's famed Pink Palace, the Royal Hawaiian, should have reopened!

Besides, even if that hotel goes condo, anyone will still be able to rent a room from the owners indirectly, just like the Ala Moana.

Though the Ilikai is a cool example of Honolulu modernism, it can also be seen as the beginning of the end of the "old Hawaii", purported in Polynesian pop on the mainland. It was one of the first high rise towers, which then began to multiply like mushrooms and change the face of Waikiki forever, eventually turning off tourists, as it began to look like many other American downtown skylines. This fact is made even more poignant by the fact that the Ilikai tower was built right next to, and literally overshadowed that wonderful icon of Tiki style, the Waikikian Hotel, its Tiki Gardens, and its Tahitian Lanai Bar, just built five years earlier.

The effect can be compared to the original Hawaiian Village Hotel, here in the 50's, (just on the other side of the Waikikian):

..and the same Hotel, just a few years later, in its newer 1960s version:

Still cool, but not the same.

For the same reason do I count the "Hawaiian Eye" TV series as Tiki, while I consider Hawaii 5-0 as post-Tiki.

The same goes for the original International Marketplace with Don The Beachcomber's, which was conceived by him as a one story palm frond roofed village, and then got built up to a two-story shopping mall. With the jet travel and Hawaiian statehood success of Hawaii, progress and development quickly outdid Polynesian romanticism in Waikiki.

The Ili Kai was only closed for less than 24 hours and the union with the employees rehired 50% of the more senior employees the next day! Great for my ohana since my sistah and her husband have worked there many years.

That's nice to hear.:)

Congrats, that's good to hear. It must be tough these days there. Hawaii was on the up and up, until the recession hit.

Mahalo! I was very happy for my ohana!! Not good at all over on any of the islands. Too quiet and very bad for our economy as you well know. Airports are very quiet on the other islands too. If you can walk into any restaurant and get seated immediately you know we are suffering. It is mainly the airlines that are being bad and not being any help. The hotels are offering awesome packages including car, meals and credit vouchers.

Aloha a hui hou!

And now for a look back at 1965.

From the cover of an in-room information folder.

A postcard taken at twilight.

A great brochure.

A fine rendering of the hotel.

Room rendering.

Restaurant info card, matchbook and shoe shine cloth.

Photos of a couple of the rooms.

A 1965 copy of Guest.

Newspaper clipping.

We hope you enjoyed your stay.

Mahalo, Trav, nice line up. A fond memory: When I was staying at the Waikikian next door in the mid-90s, they were still selling Margaret Keane paintings at the Ilikai shop -not as a hipster item, mind you. :)

Those were the days on O'ahu!


I sure hope they are open. I'm staying there next week. Yikes!

We just returned from Waikiki last week and, yes, they are hurting over there but we still had a wonderful time. Glad to hear the hotel is open. Time shares, for better or for worse, seem to be the next wave over there. We stayed at the Princess Kiaulani Sheraton and one of the staffers were telling us that there were negotiations to tear it down and rebuild it as a timeshare. It would be a fabulous location for it, but I think it would change the vibe. The Sheraton Waikiki (the beachfront hotel) is in the middle of renovations right now and our beloved SandBar was boarded up. They say it was the worst possible time to renovate due to the economy. So....if you are on the fence about a trip out there, I suggest you go sooner rather than later because things are changing fast!


Very sad to hear this news.Really one of the nostalgic hotels on Oahu's south shore.
I think Jack Lord would roll over in his grave if he knew the Ilikai had closed down .
From my understanding the Ilikai was one of his favorite hotels in Honolulu , and that's
why he choose it to film so many of his episodes scenes there.

Pages: 1 17 replies