Opened on March 11, 1901, the Moana Surfrider (then simply the Moana Hotel) was the first hotel in the deserted swamp area of Waikiki. The Moana Hotel featured 75 guestrooms which included amenities that were regarded ultimate luxuries at the time, including telephones, private baths, a billiard room, parlor, library, salon and the first electric elevator in the Territory of Hawaii. By the 1920’s the Moana quickly became the choice for accommodations for visitors and marked the beginning of tourism in Waikiki.
The height of Waikiki’s appeal came in 1934 when Harry Owens band launched a radio show “Hawaii Calls” live from the Moana courtyard. The show’s popularity captured the attention of Hollywood and brought luminaries across the ocean to the hotel.
However, when Pearl Harbor was bombed the flow of visitors came to a screeching halt. The Moana transformed into a rest and recreation area for soldiers and sailors, often a last stop before returning home to the mainland. After the war, the introduction of commercial airline service to Honolulu revitalized Waikiki’s tourism and the Moana quickly regained its popularity.
In 1952, The Surfrider Hotel was built on the east of The Moana. Over the years a new tower was built and the two became one as part of a major renovation and expansion. Today the “First Lady of Waikiki” is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This iconic hotel continues to perpetuate Hawaiian hospitality. She’s a grand lady on a beautiful strip of beach. http://www.moana-surfrider.com/