House Without A Key has long been celebrated as a premier oceanfront destination for live Hawaiian entertainment, traditional hula performances and sunset cocktails.
The legendary venue boasts a rich history, dating back to 1919 when American novelist and playwriter Earl Derr Biggers visited Hawaii following doctor’s orders to rest and relax. Biggers stayed at Gray’s-By-The-Sea, a family temperance hotel located next door from Sheriff Arthur Morgan Brown, the Marshall of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Sheriff Brown’s house had no locks or keys and thus was nicknamed “house without a key.”
Mr. Biggers befriended the neighbors of Gray’s-By-The-Sea – Clifford Kimball (General Manager of Halekulani), Sheriff Arthur Brown, and Detective Chang Apana of the Honolulu Police Department. They would meet under the Kiawe Tree at Halekulani, discussing crime in Honolulu and the courageous exploits of Detective Chang Apana.
These fascinating stories inspired Mr. Biggers to write “The House Without a Key,” a murder mystery taking place in Honolulu, introducing Hawaiian Chinese Detective Charlie Chan. This six-foot-tall, lavish gentleman quoted “Pearls of Confucius Wisdom” into his sleuthing style. Published in 1925, “The House Without a Key” gave readers a peek into the life of 1920s Hawaii.
Over the years, readers have come from all over the world to seek out locations mentioned in the book, hoping to relive the days of the 1920s. Many even visit Halekulani with the sole purpose of finding Detective Charlie Chan himself!
House Without A Key now features a new shaded outdoor bar, Earl’s, named in honor of the acclaimed 20th century novelist. A rare first edition of the novel is also on display to welcome guests to one of the most famous and desirable settings in the world.
Learn more about Earl’s and take a look at the new cocktail menu (we even added a Coconut Cake Martini, an ode to our famous coconut cake).
Share your experiences at House Without A Key and Earl’s by tagging us @halekulanihotel.