We knew it would be midnight back home when we sat down to dinner the first night on arrival after flying out from the midwest, but we wanted to celebrate our first evening with dinner on the beach at the Royal Hawaiian. Azure opens up to the storied hotel's beautiful beachfront, with an eye-popping nightime view.
We were very happy to be seated outside and I'd be sure to request this, especially for special occasions. One reviewer who also dined there on a Monday, when the hotel stages its hula show, found this to be a noisy distraction. We barely heard it and to the extent we did, it was actually pleasant (we weren't able to see the luau show from our seats in the restaurant).
The tasting menu with wine pairings actually adds up to a great value. We both did this and were very happy with the quality, preparation and variety of the dishes -- and with the outstanding wines. This was also an easy solution to an otherwise vexing challenge of deciding from a menu where each dish is irresistably tempting.
We hadn't been on Oahu in 20 years and were shocked at the scale of the adjacent development. The Royal Hawaiian is now surrounded by towering chain hotels. While it may not stand out visually as it once did, the Royal Hawaiian is still a stand-out in every other regard, and Azure represents the property well as its flagship restaurant. It was important to us to patronize this singular, legacy establishment, and it was a great beginning to our week.
FYI the cabanas you read about online are located on the restaurant's lanai and their draperies are pulled closed when in use. They are available to guests spending above a dollar threshhold, or dining off the higher-tiered tasting menu. If I were proposing, or celebrating a golden anniversary, I'd spring for the cabana -- you only live once!
Finally, we ended our week at Michel's at the Colony Surf, which I also highly commend to you. The two make great bookends to your stay on the island, Colony Surf is on Diamond Head, so it gives you a view back towards the Royal Hawaiian and the Waikiki skyline.
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