What to Expect at Waikiki’s Newest Exhibit: The Royal Room

February 26, 2021

Header featuring a guitar draped with a Hawaiian maile lei, propped up next to a photo of the Royal Hawaiian Band with the words "What to Expect at Waikiki’s Newest Exhibit: The Royal Room" at the bottom.

After a year of so much loss, it seems that 2021 has set the stage to usher in something new. With that said, we’re excited to announce that a new cultural experience has landed right here in Honolulu. Promoting Hawaiian art, music and culture has always been at the core of Waikiki Beach Walk, so it’s only fitting that our Oahu shopping center becomes home to the type of interactive exhibit that puts Hawaiian heritage at the forefront.
Group of people standing around an open book on display with various other Hawaiian cultural artifacts in The Royal Room at Waikiki Beach Walk.

Located on the 2nd floor next to Hele Mai Salon, The Royal Room is a multifaceted cultural showroom founded in partnership with the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame to honor and perpetuate Hawai‘i’s musical heritage. The versatile space is designed to be part gallery and part classroom, offering interactive museum-like exhibits and hands-on classes meant to promote Hawai‘i’s rich traditional arts, including the art of Hawaiian feather work. It is a culmination of precious treasures and historical practices stemming back to the Monarchy era, preserved by the hard work and dedication of a vibrant community that seeks to share the knowledge of Hawaiian heritage and keep the culture alive for generations to come.
Display case of multicolored Hawaiian feather leis under a large portrait of Aunty Mary Lou of Hawaiian craft shop, Nā Lima Mili Hulu Noʻeau.

One of the featured highlights is the feather art of Nā Lima Mili Hulu Noʻeau, a Hawaiian craft store specializing in authentic feather art supplies, ready-made pieces, and workshops located along Kapahulu Avenue just beyond the edge of Waikiki. Within The Royal Room, guests can explore the handwork of weaving royal feathers and learn about its historical significance and symbolism, especially to the royal class known as Aliʻi.
Nā Lima Mili Hulu Noʻeau — meaning “skilled hands that touch the feathers” — was founded by the late Aunty Mary Lou; her husband, Paul Kekuewa; and their daughter, Paulette Kahalepuna in 1991 after the mom-and-dad duo spent time traveling the globe to teach Hawaiian feather work. Although feather work was originally practiced by men only, it has since evolved with the times allowing the Hulu 'Ohana (family) to establish their own legacy in preserving the art form while honoring past traditions.
2 guitars propped up on either side of a photo of the string ensemble of the Royal Hawaiian Band in 1934.

Another highlight of The Royal Room is Nā Haku Mele, which dives into the royal legacy molded by Hawaiian musical compositions and legendary artists from the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. This section is composed of stunning Koa Panel Exhibits featuring the photos, biographies, and artifacts of Hall of Fame honorees and Patrons of Hawaiian Culture who helped shape Hawaiian music and arts into what they are today, such as King David Kalākaua (1836-1891) and Queen Liliʻuokalani (1838-1917).
There will also be various music and poetry workshops as well as educational seminars on the Patrons of Hawaiian Culture through social media, virtual classes, and small events to support the musical aspect of the showroom.
 A woman in a red muumuu, mask, hat & lei pointing at a black & white photo on one of the Hawaiian culture displays.

Lastly, in addition to cultural education and the arts, The Royal Room will have a retail facet with beautiful, handmade feather leis; Hall of Fame apparel; and CDs of music by Hawai‘i’s greatest artists available for sale as a means to continue supporting local.
Thanks to the combined efforts of Mele Kahalepuna (Master of Art at Nā Lima Mili Hulu Noʻeau) and Toni Lee (President of the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame), Waikiki Beach Walk is able to bring this Hawaiian heritage experience to life. So, if you’re looking for something interesting to do in Waikiki, pique your curiosity and deepen your appreciation for Hawai‘i’s uniquely abundant culture at this one-of-a-kind exhibit. The Royal Room awaits!
Interior shot of The Royal Room at Waikiki Beach Walk featuring various displays abut Hawaii's musical heritage & cultural practices.