01 October 2023

Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Honolulu, HI

 An extant asset

I still remember quite clearly the jingle on TV for Royal Hawaiian Center whenever one of their commercials would interrupt my viewings of Battle Fever J in early 1980s Hawai’i.  I do remember visiting the place once or twice on our rare visits to Waikiki, but besides scant random memories, I truthfully don’t remember much more about it from those early days besides the jingle.

1- The main entrance on Kalakaua.  2- One of the dark wooden walkways.  3 & 4- Views from the third floor.  5 & 6- Around building B's central court.

It wasn’t until 2019 when I finally got the chance to walk its corridors.  Open-air, three levels and built without any full-line anchors, Royal Hawaiian was where I was meeting a childhood friend for dinner.  While waiting, I had time to explore.  Though the breeze was nice, the dark tile and exposed concrete showed that the facility had never received a full renovation.  I quite enjoyed its 80s shopping mall realness.

Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center mallmanac ca 2011.  See the full PDF version here.

Royal Hawaiian center opened in 1980 as part of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel campus.  Located just to the east of the famed coral-shaded Royal Hawaiian Hotel, it was built as three separate buildings connected by skywalks on the upper levels.  Unlike its close by neighbor International Marketplace, Royal Hawaiian has seen few changes to its footprint over the years.

1- The top of Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.  2- The Royal Hawaiian Hotel complex.  3- Looking down from one of the top levels.  4- The stage area.  5- The front facing Kalakaua.  6- The lush greenery within Royal Hawaiian.

Self-described as the gathering place of Waikiki, Royal Hawaiian hosts 100 shops and restaurants with an exceedingly good food court on the middle tier.  The Apple Store, Ferragamo, Hermes and Tiffany and Co. can be found within its halls with the Rock-A-Hula Theater offering its entertainment options.

Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center mallmanac ca 2019.  See the full PDF version here.

Just a few years ago, Royal Hawaiian boasted the fifth highest sales earnings per square foot in the entire United States.  All things considered. It looks like this destination will stay around for a while.  I just hope the dark tile and eighties vibe stays along with it.

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