First Lady of Waikiki Beach - Moana Surfrider

10:10 PM


Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda

Waikiki has everything from beautiful beach resorts to great restaurants. It is truly a tourist heaven, weather you are a first time visitor, or the fifth time. Kalakaua Ave, the main street parallel to the Waikiki beach, is where everything is happening. Comparing to The Strip in Las Vegas, Kalakaua is a family friendly version of that. I could literally stay here for an entire month and not get bored.

Walking along the avenue, one architecture you cannot miss is this classy white European style building decorated with iconic columns. It is the home of Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa. Built in 1901, Moana Surfrider was the very first hotel here, often referred to as “The First Lady of Waikiki”. Over the years, it has become one of the most visited historic treasures in Honolulu and the resort is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Wonder how much did it cost to stay one night back in 1901? Continue reading and you will find out soon. :) 

Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda

The open corridor with iconic columns and plaster details reminded me of the Doge's Palace facade in Venice. Those rocking chairs bring back the hotel's old charm. The Victorian style hotel lobby is so serene that, as soon as you walk in, you forget you were just on the busiest street seconds ago. There is also a little museum on the second floor sharing the stories of Moana Surfrider and its historical significance to Honolulu. They have some really interesting things on exhibit including the old wooden surfing boards people used back in the days.

Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Dress: Francesca's Collection (similar here, here and here) || Cross-body: J.Crew Edit Bag 

Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda

Walking past the lobby takes you to the beachfront courtyard. The huge banyan tree was the first thing that caught my eye. It was planted in 1904, three years after the hotel was built. Now the tree spans 150 feet to provide shades for the entire courtyard.

Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda

The afternoon tea experience at The Veranda was definitely one of the highlights during my trip to Hawaii. It is located at Moana’s beach front, right next to the banyan tree on the beautiful beach front, with a clear view of the Waikiki beach and Diamond Head.

Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda

Three sets of afternoon tea were available on the menu, First Lady Tea, Moana Classic Tea, and Veranda Tea, each came with different savory bites and pastries. Our server was very attentive from the beginning. He brought me a box of tea leaves to smell and patiently explained the ingredients inside. Since we were in Hawaii, I expected to see a wide selection of fruity tea. I favored the Moana Royale, which included the most popular fruit in Hawaii, lilikoi (passion fruit), as well as papaya, mango, banana and coconut, blended with black tea leaves. While waiting for my tea, I was also served with a glass of dry rosé decorated with a beautiful hibiscus.

Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda

My final pick was the signature afternoon tea set, First Lady Tea. It included 5 freshly-made savory sandwiches, two scones with butter and the BEST fruit curd I have ever had (I ended up eating more curd after finishing the scones...), and 5 tasty sweets. I am someone who is adventurous and loves to try different things, that's why I am always a huge fan of small bites and deserts samplings. The sandwiches were made with fresh lobster and smoke salmon, while the deserts were not overly sweet like those in some of other afternoon tea places I visited before. I never added sugar to my tea so I was a little worried that the fruity tea would have been too sweet. But nope, the fruity taste was just the right amount and it paired with all the small-bites perfectly. So glad that everything I had was light and refreshing. Overlooking and hearing the waves crashing on the shore while enjoying my afternoon tea - it just felt surreal.

Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda

And that's not it, I was also served with a plate of fresh berries that includes crème fraîche & brown sugar. I feel so healthy after eating it haha. As we were finishing up the food, we were given lemongrass green tea sorbet to cleanse our palates. Again, it was so refreshing, especially in this hot summer afternoon!

To my surprise, the First Lady Tea also came with a beautiful scented sandalwood fan as a souvenir to take home. I remember having a lot of these at home from my mom and grandma back in China during my childhood. The floral scent totally brings back all the memories now...

Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda

Besides the beach, Moana is also a great place for people-watching, whether you are sitting on the rocking chair of the front porch or the Veranda. Everyone you see is in their vacation-mood - so happy! There are tourists from all over the world. As a wedding photographer, my favorite part was watching numerous newlyweds getting their wedding photos taken here. The white architecture and classy interior design here are perfect for wedding photos.

Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda
Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda

Answer to my earlier question is: Back in 1901, the rate for one night stay in the Moana Hotel was $1.50 USD. Did you guess it right? :)

Moana Surfrider Hawaii Waikiki Luxury Resort Review Veranda

Thank you Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa for sponsoring this post. I truly enjoyed my time there. Mahalo for the warm Hawaiian hospitality!

*****************
Dress: Francesca's Collection (similar herehere and here)
Cross-body: J.Crew Edit Bag
Sunglasses: Prada (similar here and here)

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34 comments

  1. Wow! What a beautiful place!

    Virginia
    More to Mrs. E

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is! I miss it already!

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  2. Breathtaking pictures !
    I hope I get to visit Hawaii one day! :)
    xx
    http://mariannelle.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you will visit there soon! :)

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  3. Amazing place! You look pretty!

    http://chicglamstyle.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow this looks incredible! I am heading to the big island soon and can't wait!
    xx
    Courtney || https://courtneylivin.com/

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  5. Especially the afternoon tee caught my attention and I see it is simply wonderful on Hawaii! Thanks for sharing all the beautiful pictures - it looks definitely worth to travel to this island :)
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally! You should try it when you visit!

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  6. These photos are unbelievably stunning! Thanks for sharing such a lovely trip :)

    Xo,
    Elise
    www.w-t-fab.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, Elise!

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  7. this looks like a great vacation! I've always wanted to go to Hawaii but I keep going back to Cancun every year instead! Photos are truly stunning and thank you for sharing those!

    Pop by to check my new blog post
    http://www.elegantduchess.com/2017/07/18/burgundy-obsession-ruffle-tide-lace-up-boots/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cancun is beautiful too. Now plan for your next trip to Hawaii! :)

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  8. Stunning location and pictures!♥

    www.pamelayaquelin.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow so jealous! I'm in need of a vacation haha <3

    https://lionesssk.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's never too late to plan one!

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  10. Wow! This place is simply amazing! I cannot believe it only cost $1.50 to stay here back in the day!

    -Helen
    Sweet Helen Grace

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, it's shocking! I love reading the history about this place!

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  11. What a beautiful location. I really love the trees by the beach. Great captures!

    Kara Aragon
    http://www.thekaragon.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like it! It's a really beautiful resort!

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  12. Love.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  13. I've stayed at this hotel once and absolutely loved it! The white makes everything so picture perfect! I'll be in Oahu next month but staying on a different part of the island this time. So excited!

    xoxo
    Rina Samantha
    http://www.andshedressed.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! The interior design and craftsmanship there was truly stunning!

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  14. This place looks absolutely beautiful!
    Xo, Kelsey | www.petiteinherpearls.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you can visit there one day!

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  15. Beautiful photos - this place looks amazing! x

    https://emmaboughtwhat.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete

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