Interlaced through high fashion shops and exquisite restaurants are clusters and strings of buildings that edge along the soft sandy shores of one of the most recognized beaches in the world. In 1962, Elvis filmed Girls, Girls, Girls here. In 1968, Jack Lord showed the world that he and James MacArthur could “book em!” in Hawaii 5-0, now remade hit series. And in 1980, Tom Selleck rolled through its streets in a flashy red Ferrari. Welcome to Waikīkī, home of the beach boys and the stomping grounds of the great Duke Kahanamoku.
Prior to its “star status,” Waikiki, which means spouting water, was a swamp with free flowing rivers and springs. Kamehameha IV, Kamehameha V, Lunalilo, Kalakaua, Liliuokalani and Princess Kaiulani all held residences here. It wasn’t until March 11, 1901 when the first building, The Moana Hotel, was built. Today the The Moana Surfrider Hotel, recently renovated by the Westin, is still standing and, much like the rest of Waikiki, puts high-class amenities at your fingertips.
Getting around the 1.5 square miles that make up Waikiki is easy and can be done on foot, trolley or cab ride. Waikiki nightlife ranges from high-end hotspots like Level 4, where a dress code is strictly enforced to laid back beach bars like Duke’s, where minimal clothing is required.