International Market Place is certain to become the premier entertainment, dining, and shopping destination in Waikiki. Located across the street from Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach, the International Market Place provides visitors an open-air environment, features stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, unique shops and boutiques, and a top-level Grand Lanai with spectacular ocean views. Raising the bar for dining on Waikiki, restaurants include Michelin-starred Chef Michael Mina’s STRIPSTEAK and THE STREET – a Michael Mina Food Hall, Eating House 1849 by James Beard Award winning Chef Roy Yamaguchi, the Michelin-starred Yauatcha by Hakkasan; Flour & Barley, a high-end pizza and Italian restaurant; Goma Tei, a Japanese ramen noodle concept and Kona Grill, serving award-winning sushi and modern American cuisine.
Completely reimagined, the new International Market Place celebrates the unique history of the Hawaiian Islands and its people through indigenous Hawaiian-inspired landscaping, natural stonework, and water features. The iconic 100-year-old banyan tree that was the centerpiece of the old market place remains, while at the base of the tree a bronze sculpture of Don Ho commemorates the legendary Hawaiian musician. The new main feature of the International Market Place is a 21,000-pound fire tower that lights up the storefront with 13 gas lanterns, serving as a beacon to welcome visitors and locals alike. The ceremonial torch lighting of the 79-foot tower announces the start of nightly live music shows and hula performances. Creating a “Hawaiian sense of place,” the International Market Place honors the history and culture of the islands while becoming an iconic destination for modern times.
Founded by Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, aka “Don the Beachcomber,” in 1956 the original International Market Place included the Hawaiian Hālau, Japanese Tea House, and Esplanade buildings, as well as a large banyan tree, which was home to Don’s tree house. In the 1960s and 70s the International Market Place was the place to be and be seen. Hollywood celebrities flocked to Duke Kahanamoku’s Restaurant and Club to see Don Ho perform live and interact with Duke himself.
But the history of the International Market Place goes back even further. The first elected king in Hawaiian history, Charles Lunalilo, owned the site of what would become the International Market Place and built a residence on the grounds. He then gifted the land to Queen Emma, wife of King Kamehameha IV. During the 1850s, the influx of Europeans created great social and economic change as they brought new diseases to the islands that the natives were not immune to. To combat the increase of illness, King Kamehameha IV and his wife worked diligently to get the hospital built, even going door-to-door to raise funds. In 1859, a temporary building with 18 beds opened on the property on Fort Street. Just a year later a new building was erected at Punchbowl and Beretania Streets. Originally called The Queen’s Hospital, Queen’s Medical Center as it’s now called remains on this site – just three miles from the International Market Place. In fact, the International Market Place’s landowner is still the Queen Emma Land Company and revenue from the marketplace goes to the Queen’s Medical Center – a private non-profit acute care medical facility dedicated to offering a comprehensive range of primary and specialized care services.
We offer a dedicated onsite travel desk to help you customize your trip and plan your island adventure. From booking reservations to arranging island tours, simply contact us for all the best things to do in Waikiki during your visit. After all, you’re on aloha time.