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Royal Hawaiian Center…More Than Just A Shopping Mall

The Royal Hawaiian Center

It may come as a surprise to many that  the Royal Hawaiian Center is owned by the Kamehameha Schools.  It is a great source of revenue that helps to keep the school operating and providing educational opportunities for students of Hawaiian descent.  All that most people know, or care about, is that it provides excellent shopping and eating opportunities in the heart of Waikiki.

The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, built in 1979,  completed major renovation in 2011, after having loss much of its luster…and most of its prestigious anchor stores.  The transformation from Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center to Royal Hawaiian Center began around 2005..

The end result is a return to its spot as a premiere shopping destination in Honolulu and the return of high-end flagship stores, such as Cartier, Hermes, Fendi, Juicy Couture, Rolex and Salvatore Ferragamo.  Among the over 100 stores and restaurants are 11 restaurants including the Cheesecake Factory, Senor Frog’s Restaurant & Bar, and Beijing Chinese Seafood Restaurant.

Many of the shops are locally owned and operated and feature locally designed and crafted merchandise.   While you’ll find your usual offerings, there are a few things that are definitely not to be found in your typical shopping center.  How many shopping centers do you know that have a shooting club?  Yes, on Level 4 of Building A, you will find the Royal Hawaiian Shooting Club.

The Royal Hawaiian Center sits on land that goes back to the days before King Kamehameha took control.

Among the many Hawaiian heritage activities offered, you can hear the fascinating story about the land’s history at the Kualani Heritage Room located in the Royal Grove.  (You can also learn why its called the Royal Grove.)  Three short films tell the story of Helumoa, as well as the history of the Kamehameha royal family, Princess Pauahi, and her lasting legacy, Kamehameha Schools.

Due to these ties to “old Hawaii”, the Royal Hawaiian Center is dedicated to preserving and sharing cultural activities including free lessons for lomi-lomi massage and healing, hula dancing (shows held at 6:00pm Tues thru Sat), ukelele playing, lei making, the art of Hawaiian quilt-making and how to use a sarong/pareo.

And, on the first and third Thursdays of the month, the Royal Hawaiian Band plays from 1:00-2:00 pm at the Royal Grove.

So, if you’re staying anywhere in Waikiki, it would be well worth your time to look into what’s on the schedule at the Royal Hawaiian Center during your stay.  You will find it interesting, educational, and entertaining, not to mention free.

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