Thanks to a $115 million renovaton, The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center is a gleaming temple of conspicuous consumption with 110 shops, restaurants, a nightclub and theater, and a garden grove of 70 coconut trees with an entertainment area. Totaling 310,000 square feet (17,000 sq. ft. larger than before), and with activities on four levels, including shopping and dining (the second level has a nine-restaurant food court), the mall stretches three blocks in the heart of Waikiki. But instead of clusters of stores, one right next to another, the renovated open-air mall is filled with space, lots of light, big windows, and breezeways between shops. The most exciting addition is the $15 million, 760- seat theater, with moving stages and acrobatic rigging. (The central performance area also features a landscaped courtyard with a pond, artesian fountain, stream, and a statue of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.) Perhaps the biggest change, though, is the exterior finish, with a Polynesian-kapa look and an open-air bridge that connects the central area to the wings of the mall (with a panoramic view of the Royal Hawaiian hotel). Upscale is the operative word here. Although there are drugstores, lei stands, restaurants, and food kiosks, the most conspicuous stores are the high-end designer boutiques (Cartier, Tory Burch, kate spade new york and more) that cater largely to visitors from Japan.
- Frommer's Staff