Well folks, this is it for the first class travel. We've now crossed to new territory, which this was sitting on when this card was made. Hawaii was a territory of the United States, a serious offense if there ever was one fueled by greed.
Click on either image to see them larger.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel opened to guests on February 1, 1927. The hotel was built by Captain William Matson of Matson Liner fame. It was built specifically to house and entertain those who sailed to Hawaii for vacations on his ships.
With the success of the early efforts by Matson Navigation Company to provide steamer travel to America's wealthiest families en route to Hawaii, Captain William Matson proposed the development of a hotel in Honolulu for his passengers. This was in hope of profiting from what Matson believed could be the most lucrative endeavor his company could enter into. Matson purchased the Moana mansion, fronting the Ainahau royal estate. Christening it the Moana Hotel, it opened in 1901 as the first hotel in Waikiki. With its overwhelming success, Matson planned and built the Royal Hawaiian Hotel which opened in 1927.
During World War II, the Royal was closed to tourists and instead served as a place of rest and relaxation for U.S. submariners. While the Royal Hawaiian's lush tropical garden was (and still is) tranquil and poetic, on the beaches fronting the Pink Palace (sometimes referred to as the Pink Lady) one saw reminders of the war with rolls and rolls of barbed wire planted in the sand. The hotel was sold, along with the rest of Matson's hotels in Hawaii, to the Sheraton Corporation in 1959.
During the 1960's, the Pink Palace was home to "Concert by the Sea" which broadcast daily through Armed Forces Radio Network (AFN). Soldiers would listen to sounds of home all across Vietnam, and then on R&R would come to Waikiki to visit the Pink Palace in person. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
This card was sent by my mother to her folks when we stopped over on Oahu on our way to live on Midway Island for a year in 1953. Somewhere I have a slide of my wee self standing on a step at the Royal Hawaiian.
If you've read my blogs for a few years you'll know that I met my best friend on a Matson Liner, the Matsonia, when our families were both transferred from the East Coast to Hawaii in 1959. Click here to read an old post about the Matson Liners.
For the first few months after arriving on Oahu in '59 we lived just a few blocks from the Royal in a hotel called the Islander until we got military housing. The Islander was a dump, but the military paid for it so you kept your mouth shut.
We used to walk to the International Marketplace in the evening for the shows and then walk along Kalākaua Avenue looking in shops and maybe stopping in to the Jolly Rogers for a piece of coconut cream pie and a root beer float.
The gardens at the Royal abutted the avenue and were beautiful, tropical, magical. There was a man who used to walk along the avenue with a parrot on his shoulder which impressed the heck out of me. If you were really lucky Duke Kahanamoku would walk by. A stunning man. If you don't know who Duke was I recommend you do a little side reading about him here.
When we moved to Oahu the Royal was one of the largest buildings in Waikiki. It was stunning and special. Then the jets started flying into the islands and things began to change. Developers moved in and by 1966 it looked like this in Waikiki. I've added a slight blush so you can find the Royal.
Photo: from Here's Hawaii by Tongg Publishing Company, Ltd.
Photo: Gerald Farinas
I hope you've enjoyed this odd little journey, first class and not so first class, around the United States of yore. There will be more travel adventures to come.