The Hawaiian Village was built by Henry J. Kaiser in 1955. He had moved here and loved everything about paradise. Everything except all the hotels that were just like every other city he had visited. He wanted something different, so he built it! If you’ve visited here before you may remember seeing “The Dome.” The Dome, where Don Ho once performed, was designed then built in 1959 by Buckminster Fuller. This was the first dome built in the United Statesand was entirely constructed in 20 hours. With the 1961 purchase by Conrad Hilton the property became the Hilton Hawaiian Village. If you look to the far end of the property, you can see the Rainbow Tower. The rainbow that you see is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the worlds largest ceramic tile mosaic. There is another on the opposite side of the building. Several years ago the hotel underwent a 2 1/2 year renovation at a cost of over $100 million. In May 2001 the new Kalia Towerwas opened on the former site of The Dome and a new Hilton sign, pool and fountain were added to the property. The Hilton has received awards, naming it the most beautiful hotel in Waikīkī.
The Ilikai Hotel with its 800 rooms was built in the mid 1960’s and is considered to be the first large high-rise hotel built in the rush to accommodate the arriving visitors.
This hotel may be the most recognized hotels in Hawai’i. During the filming of the television series Hawaii 5-O, 1968-1980, this hotel was used in many of the episodes as the backdrop. Jack Lord, in the opening sequence of each episode, stood on the top floor balcony of this hotel. Hawaii 5-O was produced from 1968 to the final episode in 1980. During the 12 year production of the television series the show was eventually shown in 88 different countries and translated into 111 different languages. The builder of the hotel was a man named Chin Ho. Perhaps you can remember that name. It was the character name of Steve McGarret’s Hawaiian (Chinese) side-kick.
The Sheraton Moana, which opened in 1901, was the first large tourist hotel in Waikīkī. The site of the hotel was originally known as Ulukou (kou-tree grove) until the 1860s.
Next, we’ll continue on to The Ala Wai.