I have stayed at the Royal Hawaiian many times when in Honolulu for work. It is always an amazing experience.
It's hard to believe you are on Waikiki beach when you arrive at the Royal Hawaiian. Driving through the gates is like driving back in time. The staff know how to treat guests and go above and beyond to ensure a wonderful stay - from the welcome drink while checking in, to the fresh banana bread delivered your first night, to the nightly stories set on your pillow during turn down the touches make for a great experience.
I'm a frequent traveler for work and stay at luxury properties and resorts. I always read trip advisor reviews and am amazed that people find resort prices shocking. The food at the Royal is amazing and the drinks are poured strong. But please, do not expect to get a deal on food and beverage. If you are looking for a cheap meal and the best budget accommodations, please look elsewhere rather than staying here and complaining.
If you decide to stay, you will be amazed. The staff is friendly, warm and helpful. The amenities are amazing, the historic rooms are small, but very comfortable, and the food is top notch. A trip to the Pink Palace of the Pacific is truly memorable and is something that even the most discerning of travelers must make.