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Discover the History and Heritage of Halekulani

The original Halekulani began in 1907 as a residential hotel, owned by Robert Lewers

The captivating history of Halekulani began long before the founding of the hotel – when the land on which the property sits became the very first site where Polynesians settled in Waikiki Beach. Waikiki, meaning “freshwater springs” in Hawaiian, has long been considered a place for hospitality and healing, known for its curative waters. Today, Halekulani is recognized as an icon by locals and one of the world’s finest independent luxury hotels.

Want to know more about why the art and architecture of Halekulani are so distinct? About some of the significant trees located on property? Or about the special fishing shrine, Ku’ula, that was in one of the original Halekulani bungalows and now moved to a special location of the historical Main Building?  We invite you to join Hi’inani Papapa Blakesley, a native of Honolulu, on the hotel’s weekly Historical Tour, where you will be invited to learn about the first Hawaiians, their traditions and the legacy of Halekulani.

“It’s important that the tour be not just about the hotel. It’s also about the first people, Waikiki and how Halekulani has been an integral part of this area for more than a century,” Hi’inani says.

Guests partaking in the tour meet at the Gatehouse, where they then follow Hi’inani as she guides them around the hotel to explore various aspects of the property that many visitors pass, several notice, but very few fully comprehend. Over the course of the 90 minute tour, participants discover more about Halekulani’s cherished beachfront location on Waikiki and gain a deeper understanding of why Hawaiian royalty chose to relax in these cherished waters.

During the tour, Hi’inani also shares the history behind the Mahiole, the large marble sculptures in front of the hotel and the background of the Main Building’s distinctive “Dickey roof.”, Guests then visit the Main Building, where Hi’inani explains the origins of the fictional Honolulu police detective, Charlie Chan, and story behind House Without A Key  and its tie to Earl Derr Bigger’s famous mystery novel. “Some of the people who come on the tour have long links to Honolulu or Halekulani. One guest had family ties to the creator of Charlie Chan, while another had connections to the Lewers family, who originally owned the property. You never know who is going to join the tour and add their own perspective to our history,” Hi’inani says.

The complimentary Historical Tour runs once a week (Fridays at 8:00 a.m). Please contact our Concierge to secure your place in an upcoming tour.

Hawaiian music and culture is a part of Halekulani's legacy
Black and white photo of people standing near a canoe, wearing maile lei
Early Hawaiians viewed Waikiki as a place of hospitality and healing
Black and white silhouette of two men around a palm tree with coconuts
Halekulani has a legacy as a stylish resort for vacationers

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