The Pink Palace

Current mood:  quiet
Category: Travel and Places


I have never understood my fascination…my…obsession with the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, otherwise known as The Pink Palace. It doesn’t appeal to me visually. It’s a little too Miami and just too…pink.
But in the past twelve months I have come here, seeking solace in the wonderful grounds, learning more about the hotel the Honolulu Advertiser once described as “colorful and semi-barbaric.”
I’ve found staffers who’ve told me wonderful nuggets of history, such as the lengths the builders went to in 1927 went to in order to prevent the new hotel from sinking into what was then the swamp of Waikiki. Outside, not much has changed since its opening days, with its two acres of exotic plants and flowers, including tree ferns brought from KilaueaVolcano on the Big Island.
Inside plenty has changed, but I swear I hear the ghosts of the original 40 room boys, 20 bell boys, 10 elevator operators and five telephone operators.
And I can just promise you I hear the rustle of grass skirts from the eight Chinese lobby boys dressed in native Hawaiian costumes.
I have been trying to understand my yen for this place, when quite frankly, the Moana Surfrider just a few blocks down Kalakaua Avenue is so much more appealing.
Two days ago, my father casually mentioned he brought my mother to The Pink Palace shortly before she died.
My cousin Chris and I went down to the hotel yesterday and sat in the garden. Some days I can talk about her, some days I can’t. Since she died after a grim battle with cancer when I was six, my gap in knowledge of her is enormous since my father can hardly talk about her at all.
He only recently told me about the battle to save her, the race to a cancer specialist in Los Angeles. On their way home to Australia to me and my brothers, she sought solace in the gardens of the Pink Palace.
So it’s here where I hear her voice too, her laughter my father says sounds just like mine.
When I need to feel her, to just…be with her gentle presence, I know I will always come and find her here.
In this colorful, semi-barbaric palace.

Aloha oe,


Currently listening:
One Foot on Sand
By Justin Young
Release date: 2003-11-25

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