Hawaii February 14, 2019
The Oldest Hotel In Hawaii Is Also One Of The Most Haunted Places You’ll Ever Sleep
There are countless incredible hotels and resorts found across the Hawaiian Islands — especially in Waikiki — but today we’re taking a look at Hawaii’s oldest hotel. The Moana Surfrider, which opened in 1901, was the first luxury property along Waikiki Beach, beating the
Royal Hawaiian by more than 25 years. The historic hotel is often referred to as “The First Lady of Waikiki,” and while it is undoubtedly the embodiment of old Hawaiian elegance, it is also rumored to be haunted. So haunted, in fact, that it was featured in the Forbes article, “America’s 25 Most Haunted Hotels.”
This Westin Resort & Spa is truly something special, and not just because the hotel and grounds are positively stunning, though that is certainly true.
The property — which was built more than a century ago in an Italian Renaissance style — features not only a rich sense of heritage and history but also aloha spirit and Hawaiian hospitality that welcomes you in and makes you feel as though you’re royalty.
No detail was spared in the construction (and subsequent renovations) of this iconic Hawaiian hotel and it shows in everything from the well-manicured gardens and incredible front porch to the tastefully decorated guest rooms and everything in between.
The interior feels welcoming, light, and airy, in addition to maintaining its historic roots with dark wood features and historic prints lining the walls.
This hotel is unlike any other you’ll find in Hawaii, and the views are truly second to none. After all, you can see the sparkling turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean from the simple and stunning guest rooms, the oceanfront pool, a luxurious spa, and the onsite restaurants.
But this century-old hotel also holds a dark secret: On February 29, 1905, the untimely and suspicious death of Jane Stanford, co-founder of Stanford University, made headlines across America.
Vacationing in Hawaii after a strychnine poisoning attempt on her life, Stanford died in her room at the Moana Surfrider.
At the time, the death of Jane Stanford was one of America's most legendary murder mysteries.
Stanford was first poisoned on January 14, 1905, at her Nob Hill mansion in San Francisco, where she consumed mineral water that tasted bitter. She forced herself to vomit the water, and sent it to a pharmacy to be analyzed: the findings showed that the water was poisoned with a lethal dose of strychnine. The maid fell under suspicion and was dismissed, though no evidence existed pointing to a culprit or motive for the attempted murder. Depressed and suffering from a cold, Stanford sailed to Hawaii with plans to continue on to Japan.
Then, on the evening of February 28, Stanford asked for bicarbonate of soda to settle her stomach, which her personal secretary, Bertha Berner, prepared for her. (Berner was a trusted employee of twenty years, and the only other person who had also been present at the scene of the previous incident.)
Staford cried out for help at 11:15 p.m., claiming she had lost control of her body and believed she had been poisoned again. Attempts to induce vomiting were unsuccessful, and Stanford officially died from strychnine poisoning.
After three days of testimony, the coroner's jury concluded in less than two minutes that she had died of strychnine "introduced into a bottle of bicarbonate of soda with felonious intent by some person or persons to this jury unknown," according to The Alma Mater Mystery.
The jury’s quick decision was controversial, and to this day, no one knows who murdered Jane Stanford, though Stanford University President David Starr Jordan was the most popular suspect as he and Stanford had a difficult relationship.
Since then, there have been many reports that Stanford’s ghost still frequently visits the hotel, whose breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean once brought her short-lived peace. Guests and hotel staff alike have said that they’ve seen her wandering the halls at night trying to find her room.
Did you know that Hawaii's oldest hotel is allegedly haunted?
Click here for more information about the magnificent Moana Surfrider, which is located at 2365 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI.
The Moana Surfrider isn’t the only Hawaiian hotel rumored to be haunted.
Click here to discover nine hotels where you might spot a ghost during your stay.