HISTORY OF THE MOANA SURFRIDER HOTEL
From her vantage point on Kalākaua Avenue, the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa has seen many changes the years have brought upon her home in Waikīkī. Where mule-drawn trolleys once escorted guests to her front entrance, a line of cars now forms with guests from around the world waiting to experience the unique elegance of the “First Lady of Waikīkī.”
The Moana Hotel officially opened on March 11, 1901, ushering in the birth of tourism for the islands. Designed in the old colonial style architecture of the period, it boasted 75 rooms and was the costliest, most elaborate and modern hotel building in the Hawaiian Islands at the time. Each room on the three upper floors had a bathroom and a telephone – innovations for any hotel of the times. The hotel also had its own ice plant and electric generators. The first floor had a billiard parlor, saloon, main parlor, library, office, and reception area.
The Moana, which from Hawaiian is translated to “broad expanse of ocean,” lived up to its name with the crowning achievement of a rooftop observatory 120 feet off the ground, lit by more than 300 lamps. The hotel’s first guests in 1901 were a group of 114 Shriners hosted by the local Aloha Temple Shriners. They paid a costly $1.50 per night for their rooms.
Today, the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa takes its place among America’s leading hotels with its original Banyan Wing listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The elegant architectural features of the hotel have remained intact and an important piece of Hawai‘i’s history has been preserved. Contemporary amenities, enhanced guest facilities and Hawaiian cultural programs are the hallmarks of the Moana’s signature hospitality.
As a testament to its rich history, the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, offers a complimentary historical tour at 11 a.m. every Mondays and Wednesdays. The tour takes guests to the second floor of the Banyan Wing where the hotel has constructed its own historical room, displaying memorabilia dating back to the early 1900s. For more information about the Moana Surfrider, please call toll free 1-866-716-8112 in the United States and Canada.