Haunted Waikiki Prince Hotel
As the capital of the Hawaiian islands, the city of Honolulu has a lot to offer. Situated on the picturesque shoreline of Oahu, this gorgeous city is an epicenter of shopping, dining, nightlife, and of course, beachside activities like tanning and surfing. Honolulu’s iconic crescent beach is lined with towering palm trees and enormous high-rise hotels. One of the oldest and most popular of these is the Waikiki Prince Hotel. Located on Ala Wai harbor in the Waikiki neighborhood of Honolulu, the resort is just a 10-minute walk from Ala Moana Beach Park. But a stay at the Waikiki Prince Hotel might include more than just a continental breakfast. Ever since its doors first opened, the hotel has harbored rumors of haunted happenings. So although there might be plenty of hotels to choose from in Honolulu, if you’re a fan of the paranormal, try and book a room at the Waikiki Prince Hotel, where some guests are said to be enjoying stays of a more permanent nature.
If you decide to book a stay at the Waikiki Prince Hotel, you won’t be disappointed. The rooms include huge flat-screen TVs, minifridges, and coffeemakers, and most of the suites offer stunning views of the white-sand beaches below. The chic, ultra-modern resort also features swanky restaurants, a tennis club, a pool, and a spa. With so much to do, it’s no surprise that more than a few of its guests have stuck around for an extended stay.
First constructed in 1953, the Waikiki Prince Hotel became one of many resorts to thrive with the rise of the island’s booming post-war tourism industry. Beginning in the 1950s, Hawaii experienced a previously unprecedented boom in tourism. Thousands of people wanted to bask on the beautiful beaches of Honolulu, and with the number of visitors hitting new highs every year, the city found itself increasingly in need of a place to keep them.
The hotel gets its name from Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, a prince of the Kingdom of Hawaii until its dismantling in 1893. Known as the Prince of the People, Prince Jonah was greatly revered for his efforts to strengthen the people of Hawaii. After his dethroning, he went on to represent Hawaii in Congress, making him the first and only member of Congress to be born into royalty. In 1922, the Prince passed away in Waikiki, but his impact remained. 30 years later, land developers in the area drew inspiration from his incredible legacy and named their new luxury hotel in his honor.
Since its initial construction, the hotel has undergone some considerable updates. In 2016, the resort underwent a massive 55.4 million dollar makeover, including a spacious ballroom, outdoor infinity pool, and a remodeled design of 563 suites with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the ocean. But the most stunning addition to the Prince Waikiki comes in the form of locally crafted new ceiling installation. Acclaimed Hawaiin artist Kaili Chun designed the piece, which features over 800 pieces of copper, as a glittering testament to the hotel and its history. The piece resembles the fin of a Hinana fish, a species that once swam in the waters of the Piinaio Stream.
Suspended from the ceiling of the hotel’s lobby by massive steel cables, it makes for quite the statement piece. But Chun didn’t create this stunning work of art all on her own. Hundreds of hotel employees, their families, and loyal guests helped her along the way. The piece was unveiled in December of 2016 and serves as both memorial and celebration of Waikiki’s past. But aside from the artwork hanging from the ceiling, many believe other, more supernatural pieces of Hawaii’s history still linger at the haunted Waikiki Prince Hotel.
The Waikiki Prince Hotel opened its doors in the spring of 1953 to a flood of excited tourists. But not long after, rumors of something more than just the warm tropical weather began to draw in visitors. American tourists quickly noticed strange, unexplained happenings around the hotel.
Long-time employees of the hotel have reported strange, spectral lights moving through the rooms. The lights are described as incandescently bright and usually appear on the top floors of the hotels. Employees describe making their way down the halls of the upper floors late at night, when a strange chill passes over them. Then a strange glow begins to emanate from the wall before a phosphorescent blue orb emerges, followed by another, and another.
The chorus of strange lights hovers for a moment in the empty hallway before passing through the opposite wall, disappearing almost as quickly as they appeared. Witnesses who have spotted the strange orbs usually describe them as a benevolent or neutral force rather than any kind of evil presence. More seasoned maids and other hotel employees have gotten so used to the orbs that they simply pause to let them pass, sighing impatiently as they make their spectral journey across the hall.
Ghostly blue orbs aren’t the only haunted happenings employees of the Waikiki have to worry about. Others have reported hearing eerie, whispering voices in empty suites and in darkened hallways. The voices seem to be speaking in Native Hawaiian, leading paranormal enthusiasts to believe the ghosts of the island’s past still linger inside what is now a luxury resort.
Time for a take a hike during your stay? Be sure to check out the equally haunted Manoa Falls Trail.
Employees have also had to deal with ghosts of a more mischievous nature. Bellhops have reported carts of luggage in their care mysteriously going missing, only for them to turn up somewhere odd a few hours later. The missing luggage has been found anywhere from the ballroom to the kitchen to the coffeehouse. Some bags have even turned up in the wrong guests’ rooms, inevitably causing lots of confusion. The problem is so common that experienced bellhops have incorporated keeping up with the poltergeists into employee training, warning new hires to keep luggage carts in their sight at all times.
Guests have also taken notice of this phenomenon, and many of them have made complaints over the years about their luggage and other belongings mysteriously moving. Items have even gone missing inside guests’ rooms, only to turn up later in places they swore they never left them.
Despite the fact that there are no recorded deaths at the Waikiki, the paranormally inclined believe that spirits of long-dead tourists just can’t stay away. And with such stunning oceanside views, who can blame them? The ghosts of deceased tourists have even been spotted lounging by the pool after hours, including the phantom of a large man wearing a tacky red and white Hawaiian shirt.
Other guests and employees believe the Waikiki Prince himself makes an occasional visit to the hotel bearing his name. Some guests have reported spotting the figure of a sophisticated, mustachioed Hawaiian man standing in the lobby of the hotel. The man is usually described as wearing an expensive, tailored suit and hat. Upon further inspection, the man’s clothing appears old-fashioned, like something from the 1920s. But before visitors can get a good look at the man, he disappears into the ever-shifting crowd of employees and guests.
The Prince has also been spotted in one of the hotel’s many elevators. Several guests have reported taking a ride with a posh and very polite Hawaiian man with a large mustache. These guests describe the man as well-spoken, sophisticated, and intelligent. Yet none of them ever witnessed the man actually exiting the elevator.
In fact, one guest reports getting out of the elevator on the top floor, expecting the Hawaiian man to exit with her. But when she turned around to say goodbye before heading off to her room, the man had vanished. Puzzled, the woman ventured down to the hotel’s lobby later that afternoon, wondering if she should ask the concierge about the mysterious man she had encountered. But before she could do so, she caught sight of an old black-and-white portrait in a gold frame. She leaned in to get a closer look, only to find the same man she had just ridden the elevator with looking back at her. A plaque beneath the portrait read: Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, March 26th, 1871 to January 7th, 1922.
The swanky Waikiki Prince Hotel offers not just fine dining and beautiful views, but a living memory of Hawaii’s rich history. From the eloquent historical figure bearing the hotel’s name to the stunning tribute hanging from its ceiling, the Waikiki is ripe with remembrance. And more than a few of these memories have decided to stick around, including but not limited to incandescent orbs and long-dead tourists. So if you plan on booking a trip to Honolulu, consider staying at the Waikiki Prince Hotel; just don’t be mad if your luggage mysteriously goes missing!