In 1837, a prominently displayed ad in the Sandwich Island Gazette newspaper of July 1st extended an invitation to visit the new “HOTEL AT WAITITI”—as “Waikiki” was then sometimes called. The exact location of this first hotel was not given, nor do we know much about its proprietor beyond his name, John Mitchener. But Mr. Mitchener did list the amenities offered to the male public: a bowling alley and a bar and table supplied “with choicest viands” along with “facilities for amusement and recreation as will seem to add to the comfort of gentlemen who may honour us with their visits.” Mitchener promised that horses and carriages would be carefully attended to “by servants.”
Waikiki’s first hotel remained in business for only a few years. In the 1870s, another foreign resident, Allen Herbert, turned his home into a family resort. Herbert’s enterprise broadened its appeal by welcoming ladies and children. In 1888, this became Waikiki’s second hotel.
Several other hotels soon appeared. Finally, in 1893, the first famous Waikiki hotel opened. George Lycurgus, from Sparta, Greece, leased Herbert’s premises, renamed the hotel “Sans Souci,” or without care, and turned it into an internationally known resort to which visitors like the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson were attracted.
By Helen G. Chapin