One of the reasons that the word aloha is synonymous with Hawaii is because of the Aloha Tower. Built in 1926 (for the then-outrageous sum of $160,000), this 184-foot, 10-story tower (until 1959, the tallest structure in Hawaii) has clocks on all four of its sides, with the word aloha under each clock. Aloha, which has come to mean both "hello" and "farewell," was the first thing steamship passengers saw when they entered Honolulu Harbor. In the days when tourists arrived by steamer, "boat days" were very big occasions. The Royal Hawaiian band would be on hand to play, crowds would gather, flower leis were freely given, and Honolulu came to a standstill to greet the visitors. Go up the elevator inside the Aloha Tower to the 10th-floor observation deck for a bird's-eye view that encompasses Diamond Head and Waikiki, the downtown and Chinatown areas, and the harbor coastline to the airport. On the ocean side you can see the harbor mouth, Sand Island, the Honolulu reef runway, and the Pearl Harbor entrance channel.
- Frommer's Staff