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SS Malolo arrives; Royal Hawaiian Hotel opens

The SS Malolo, the first of Matson's luxurious passenger liners, began service to Hawai'i. Changes in the shipping industry meant bigger profits for carrying passengers than carrying freight or mail, and Matson jumped on Hawaii's potential as a tourist destination. Acquisition of the Malolo coincided with the opening of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the lush new Waikiki hotel built by Matson and Castle & Cooke. The 400-room hotel opened in 1927 with a party attended by 1,200 guests. Though delivery of the Malolo was delayed, it was soon bringing visitors to the Islands. The Malolo cost eight million dollars to build, and at the time it was the most expensive and fastest merchant ship ever built in the U.S. At 582 feet long, the ship included seven decks, a swimming pool, ballroom, gymnasium, and space for 650 passengers in cabins fitted with top of the line amenities. The Malolo had a 27 knot cruising speed and could make the crossing from San Francisco to Honolulu in four and a half days.

 Sites for further information

The Royal Hawaiian: Fact Sheet (Royal Hawaiian Hotel)

A Short Article on the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (Hawaiian Historical Society)

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