Queen Kapiolani Hotel’s new retro-chic renovation

The Queen Kapiolani Hotel’s lobby, with its new open-air design, is just one of many changes at the hotel, which began a $35 million renovation project late last year. Originally opened in 1967, the Queen Kapiolani Hotel has always been known for its large art collection and excellent brunch, attracting as many locals as it does visitors. These recent renovations serve as a breath of fresh air for the hotel.

The most notable shift is its new aesthetic, which mixes contemporary design choices with artworks, furnishings and layouts that recall 1970s Waikiki.

New shops are also moving into the lobby, such as Greenroom Gallery, Hans Hedemann Surf Shop and Aloha Whip, and the hotel’s pool deck has been given a modern face-lift, now sporting fresh AstroTurf around the pool and laid-back, lounge-worthy furnishings.

The rooms, with their retro chairs, hairpin-leg nightstands and snug breakfast nooks, are all decked out in a vintage color scheme—think creamy oranges, pastel reds and ocean greens—and make for a cozy base camp as you venture around Oahu. All rooms also feature modern and eco-conscious amenities, such as Wi-Fi, a Bluetooth alarm clock and reusable mugs.

Guests to the refreshed hotel have plenty of activities to take part in, such as haku (braiding) lei making classes with master lei maker Meleana Estes, tours of Waikiki and a Friday Pau Hana Surf Club—an end-of-week group surf session for wave riders of all skill levels.

Knots Coffee Roasters has also moved in, serving 100 percent Kona coffee, as well as a lighter gourmet roast, the 100 percent Maui “Mokka” coffee.

On the third floor, Deck bar and grill serves modern American cuisine on a recently renovated 8,000-square-foot pool deck hovering just above Queen’s Beach and Kapiolani Park.

And as much as the Queen Kapiolani Hotel changes and shifts, there’s one thing that will always remain the same: the hotel’s amazing close-up view of Diamond Head.