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“Lei making class” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Royal Hawaiian Center

Royal Hawaiian Center
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and up
New Year's Eve Special: "Rockin’ Eve with Elvis"
Ranked #40 of 318 things to do in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The 310,000-sq.-ft. Royal Hawaiian Center sits on land once known as Helumoa, the home of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop in the 1870s and 1880s. It’s highlighted by the 33,000-square-foot Royal Grove, one of the largest open green spaces in Waikiki. Throughout the day, the event-friendly area showcases entertainment and cultural activities, including arts of Hawaiian quilting, lomilomi massage, ukulele playing, hula dancing, lei making and kapa cloth making. No worries if you’ve been at the beach and are covered with sand. That’s the case with most visitors!
Useful Information: Wheelchair access
Conwy County, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Lei making class”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 2, 2014

I attended an excellent free lei making class, which involved creating a lei for an hour, which we were allowed to take home. The class also included advice on how to wear and look after a lei. 7 arrived15 minutes before the lesson was due to begin and got the last spot, so I reccomend arriving early.

Visited February 2014
3 Thank ClareAndMilo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
189 reviews
107 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“It's Great to be in The Royal Hawaiian center in December!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2014

First, let me start by saying that The Royal Hawaiian Center was a great place to hang out especially if you stay in the hotels surrounding it. From the quiet, peaceful atmosphere of The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, this is a very convenient shopping, dining, and activity center. There is a huge parking lot in this place so parking is not a problem either.

This is the first place that my husband and I hit when we arrived in Honolulu from a long plane ride. We wanted quick and ready-made food and we "discovered" the food court which met our immediate need to be fed. After exploring the next day, we also discovered a lot of mid-range restaurants as well as high-end restaurants in the Centre.

This place is made up of 3 buildings connected by bridges. You are essentially trekking on 3 blocks of Kalakaua Avenue. We usually walked on the first level going in one direction, then take the second level to go back to where we came from.

There is so much to explore, you will not want to bring too much stuff to carry with you. Use a sling for your camera, a small wallet for your credit cards, or a light shoulder bag. Be as hands-free as you can, you might be carrying more bags by the time you're done shopping. There's high-end shopping places such as Hermes, Cartier, Salvatore Ferragamo, Rolex Boutique, to name a few. Or you can always venture to the Luxury Row for more high-end shopping.

But, don't worry, there's always an ABC Store for virtually anything you would need from a bottled water, to anything you might want to munch on at the Royal Hawaiian Center. They're still pricy because you're in Hawaii, but it's the cheapest (kinda like a General store) you will ever find here.

December was a good time to be here because of the tall Christmas trees and beautiful decorations that abound. There's always Hawaiian music wherever you go and there's also the more familiar Christmas songs. There's constant activities going on. My husband and I noticed that every night we walk back to our hotel, there's always a concert, which was free, at the Royal Grove.

The Aloha and Christmas spirit mix so well and there's a lot of smiles being shared around, both from tourists & visitors and the natives of Oahu.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank MimieW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burke, Virginia
Level Contributor
97 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
“Best attraction in Hawaii: read this to find out why”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2014

My wife and I spent nine days in Oahu. When we went, we didn't know of the existence of the Royal Hawaiian Center. On our first evening in Waikiki, we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Afterwards, we walked through the Center, and heard music. We saw there was a Hawaiian music and dance show going on, and it was open to the public. We sat down to a TOP NOTCH piece of education and entertainment. This was not a couple of street musicians. These were professional musicians and dancers who are the best of the best in traditional Hawaiian music.

When you learn a bit about Hawaiian music and musicians, you find that Kawika Trask and Friends, and Manoa Madness are two of the best groups around. All of their nightly, 6PM shows, are like this. Superb entertainment. I talked to a local Hawaiian who is a very good ukelele player, and who speaks Hawaiian because he went to the Kahmeamea school. He told me that Kamika Trask knows more about Hawaiian music than anyone else.

The next night, the entertainment was Manoa Madness, led by Nate Nahina. His guitarist and ukelele player is Chino Montero. I am a guitar enthusiast, and I was blown away by Chino's playing. He did things with both the guitar and the ukelele that I didn't think were possible. When I looked into his background, I found he is not only a master of Hawaiian slack key guitar styling, but of just about every style that exists. He has played all over the world, and was leaving for a tour in Japan. The solo work that he did on the ukelele was out of this world.

We came back almost every night for the 6pm show at the Royal Hawaiian Center, in the area they call "The Royal Grove". When we come back to Hawaii, we'll do the same thing.

You have probably noticed that I have only mentioned the free nightly show, when I am supposed to be reviewing the Royal Hawaiian Center, which is a very large set of high end shops and a lot of restaurants. I believe it is four stories tall.

OK. We ate at two of the restaurants in the Center, twice at the Cheesecake Factory and once at PF Changs. Both were wonderful. We also ate one evening at the Food Court, which is an exceptionally nice thing to have around. If you want to eat while the main restaurants have long lines, the Food Court gives you a number of alternatives at very reasonable prices. If you are their with others, each person can go to a different place in the Food Court

The shops -- There are a lot of them, and they are very expensive. Such stores are there because there is a big call for them by many of Waikiki's tourists. My wife and I are not in that group.

We loved the Royal Hawaiian Center because of their cultural shows. It turns out that the Royal Hawaiian Center is owned by the Kahmeamea schools, which I have been told, have an endowment larger than those of Harvard and Yale put together. Their investments are doing very well, and their enthusiasm about passing on Hawaiian cultural is infectious. That is the reason for the evening shows!!!!

Now you know why I have rated the Royal Hawaiian Center so highly.
Go see the shows! You'll love them.

Visited February 2014
7 Thank Mel M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hillsboro, Oregon
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 23, 2014

WOW food can be expensive in Waikiki but we found a hidden gem in the Royal Hawaiian food court. A place called Kenny's BBQ. The Hawaiian BBQ Rib platter was the best I have ever had. Comes with 2 scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad for $9.50. We never could eat it all and always had left overs for the next day. Ate there 3 times in the 12 days we were there.

Visited January 2014
4 Thank MomCirillo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Holt, Michigan
Level Contributor
216 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Great Place to Watch People”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2014

... if that mean dodging them as they walk right into you because they are tourists and forget their manners.

Honestly, it's crowded, especially at Christmastime, but that's not such a bad thing, given the economy. Someone's gotta be spending money for all of those high-end stores to stay in business!

In a city that's getting too expensive for the average person, the options at Pa'ina Lanai Food Court at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center (2nd floor) are pretty good. It's a food court, though, so expect it to be crowded and expect long lines. My advice? If you're traveling with a few people, have some of them find a table and give you there order or take turns once the table is snagged.

A few things that are sorely missing in the shopping center, however, include veggie options at *all* of the places in the food court and an ice cream stand in general. There used to be a stand-alone "Dole Whip" food cart as well as a Baskin Robbins (where the Fendi is now); sadly, both are gone.

At 11 am on Thursdays, you can see a free performance by Polynesian dancers from the Polynesian Cultural Center. We got seats up on the lanai on the 2nd floor and watched from there. The show lasts about an hour.

Visited December 2013
2 Thank Nicolle Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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