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The Case of House Without A Key

Historical Halekulani

House Without A Key has been a gathering place for entertainment for almost a century.  Most people, however, do not know the origins or how the name came to be.


In 1919, Earl Derr Biggers wrote the first Charlie Chan novel, House Without A Key, while staying at Gray’s-By-the-Sea, near the original Halekulani location.

Clifford and Juliet Kimball, owners of the original Halekulani, continued to purchase lands near their hotel.  In 1926, they purchased Gray’s-By-the-Sea, which included a young Kiawe Tree planted in 1887.  This property was renamed House Without A Key after the nickname given to the lanai area adjacent to the tree. Earl Derr Biggers’ first Charlie Chan mystery novel then carried the same name. It became a popular place for guests would meet to play cards and have tea.

House Without A Key is symbolic of a more casual and simple time in the islands when many homes did not lock their doors and was always open to guests.  Over the years and to this day, it has become the center for informal entertainment with its casual and relaxed atmosphere, and the now 135-year-old Kiawe Tree as its backdrop.

Newly reopened, our iconic poolside restaurant continues to welcome guests and residents alike featuring sunset cocktails, Hawaiian entertainment and hula dancer, and local style comfort food from various cultures.  Our new viewing kitchen features dishes using different grilling techniques, lunch carving station, brick oven pizza, as well as local favorites using fresh seafood, steaks, and burgers.  Come and see for yourself the refreshed look of our new dining room, now with a pool bar which overlooks the ocean.


For more information, please visit House Without A Key or watch our Living episode Heart of Hula.

Be sure to tag us @halekulanihotel and share your favorite House Without A Key moments with us #halekulanimoments.

Historical Halekulani
House Without A Key novel
Historical Halekulani
Historical Halekulani

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