Hotel about two blocks from Waikiki Beach and within walking distance of stores and restaurants; suites have private balconies
Pearl Hotel Waikiki sits only about two blocks from Waikiki Beach, where clear Pacific waters wash over soft sand dotted with palm trees. When you’re not swimming or surfing, you can check out the neighborhood’s inland attractions. Right across from the hotel you’ll find Saks Fifth Avenue and other luxury retailers at International Market Place.
In 1911, local Waikiki kid Duke Kahanamoku beat the world record for the 100-meter freestyle swim by 4.6 seconds at an amateur swim meet—a feat so unimaginable that athletic officials refused to recognize it. But when he won a gold medal the following year, Duke became an international sensation despite them. Photogenic and frequently in the press, he was rarely seen without his surfboard, popularizing that local pastime in the press. This publicity helped turn Waikiki from a private playground for Hawaii’s ruling class into a travel hot spot as people came from all over to take surfing lessons from a celebrity athlete. Today, you can see Duke’s likeness immortalized in a bronze statue on Waikiki’s Kuhio Beach.
When they’re not surfing or sunbathing on the beach, most travelers explore the area’s busy avenues lined with everything from upscale boutiques and nightclubs to craft booths and street performers. Other attractions include the Honolulu Zoo, which houses exotic and endangered species such as sumatran tigers and white-handed gibbons, and the Waikiki Aquarium, where more than 3,500 creatures of the Pacific glide throughout glassed-in galleries.
Also nearby is one of Hawaii’s most recognizable natural landmarks, Diamond Head State Monument—a 300,000-year-old saucer formed by a single explosive eruption. Hikers can walk along a trail where molten lava once smoldered to ascend to the crater’s 560-foot-tall lip.