History revisited at the Holiday Inn Resort® Waikiki Beachcomber

BY JANICE NG — Our Paddle Four activity was a great opportunity for our hosts to share and refresh some of the interesting stories and early history of the place we call Waikiki and the Holiday Inn Resort® Waikiki Beachcomber (OBC). For our new hosts it was a great way to better understand why this place is so special. For our seasoned hosts it was a renewed appreciation and sense of pride of where they work.

Our Sense of Place storyline was posted on the bulletin board in the host break room for our hosts’ reading pleasure. It reminded us that Waikiki was once swampland and was later turned into taro fields and fish ponds by the Hawaiian settlers. It was always a special centralized place where ordinary people, Alii would gather, surf and entertain.

King Kamehameha chose Waikīkī to be his royal residence. The area that is now OBC and the International Market Place was called Kaluaokau in the past and was the residence of King Kamehameha IV William Charles Lunalilo. The origin of the name Kaluaokau is uncertain, but most likely means, “the Pit of Kauhi-a-Kama” (Ka-lua-o-Kauhi-a-Kama). It is speculated that Kalauokau may be an epithet that commemorates Kauhiakama’s (ruler of Maui) demise at Apuakehau, in Waikiki. Upon his death in 1874, the King willed Kaluaokau to Queen Emma.

This place, Kaluaokau, is still a very significant area for residents and visitors alike. Being in the heart of Waikiki, the Holiday Inn Resort® Waikiki Beachcomber and the International Market Place is still the gateway to all things Waikiki.

OBC has had our share of famous “royalty” including the Dons—Don the Beachcomber and Don Ho. Next door, the famous banyan tree planted by the MacFarland’s in 1846 can still be seen and enjoyed thanks to the revitalization of International Market Place.

We are very fortunate to be a part of this special place and have strived to maintain the traditions of hospitality to welcome and entertain our guests with warmth and aloha. To share our Sense of Place, our Ke Ano Waa alakai team displayed snippets of our story on our lobby digital sign board for our guests (below). This gives our hosts an opportunity to “talk story” with our guests and not only provide a short history lesson, but also show how honored we are to be part of that history.

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