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Thursday, April 3, 2014

WESTIN MOANA SURFRIDER ON THE BEACH AT WAIKIKI

The Westin Moana Surfrider is the oldest hotel in Waikiki, first accepting guests in 1901.  The cost was $150,000, or something from $3.4 million to $112 million today, depending on the parameter of comparison.  Some of these rooms had telephones and bathrooms, unusual at that time.  It even had an electric-powered elevator, which still operates today.  The cost was $1.50/night, or $34 to $1,120 today.

From 1935 to 1975, the Banyon Courtyard here hosted the Hawaii Calls live radio program.  Incredibly enough, the hiss of the radio transmission sounded like waves breaking on the beach, part of why the show was so successful.  The Waikiki Beachboys started on the beach next door, led by Duke Kahanamoku.  Interesting to me that Jane Stanford, who with her husband Leland, founded Stanford University, in 1905 was poisoned with strychnine here, and the perpetrator was never determined.


Sheraton took over in 1959, but sold (also including the Waikiki Sheraton, Princess Kaiulani and Royal hawaiian Hotel) in 1969 to Kenji Osano (Kyo-Ya), although Sheraton continued to manage, till today.  Eiko Osano, widow of Kenji, still lives here.  There was a $50 million upgrade in 1989, restoring the front to the 1901 appearance:


From only 75 rooms, the complex now includes 793.  This is where President Barack Obama's
staff stays for the Winter White House at Christmas time.

That banyan tree that is symbolic of the Moana was planted in 1904 when 7-years old and 7 feet tall  The banyan today is 75 feet high, with a diameter of 150 feet.  Here is a view of this magnificent tree from my table at the Moana Club.


That's Diamond Head in the background.  I'm having a chardonnay at Westin's executive club, which has outdoor tables, where I am, and an extravagant lounge:


Here is the view from my room towards the Waikiki Sheraton, where I'll be staying tomorrow:


But tonight, to celebrate my moving into 15 Craigside (and Senior Move Managers were terrific, especially Kyle), I dined at Moana's Beachhouse, and have reserved a very special steak that is almost impossible to find:


I had a Caesar's salad and bottle of Asahi Black with this 35-day dry aged 10 ounce ribeye:


Kenji, you'll love Asahi Black (Kuronama):


The beer was quite dark, and had a more subtle licorice taste than Beck's or Guinness.  I thought the steak was a tad tough, but it tasted great.  Not quite as fabulous as the Japanese Wagyu Beef from the Chiang Mai Four Seasons, but, for the price, excellent.  I paid $100, exactly.

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