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POSTED: Monday, March 09, 2009

Movie and television comedian Justin Long recently discovered surfing. “;Surfing the Internet!”; he joked on the red carpet at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, “;so I hope to be doing quite a bit of that.”; Actually, on his first trip to Hawaii, he planned to tour Oahu, visit the North Shore and sharpen his skills on a longboard in Waikiki. He said the party was a nice excuse to come to a place where there are “;insanely friendly people—and I don't mean insane in a clinically bad way.”;

In a vast soiree orchestrated by mega-event planner David Beahm, celebrities, dignitaries and media from around the world descended on the venerable Pink Palace on Saturday night to celebrate the hotel's grand reopening after a multimillion-dollar luxury makeover of guest rooms and public areas. Hayden Panetierre, Heather Graham and “;Days of Our Lives”; actor Darin Brooks joined Long, former “;Bachelor”; Lt. Andy Baldwin and his date, Miss Hawaii 2008 Nicole Fox, as well as former “;American Idol”; Jasmine Trias on the red carpet in the hotel lobby.

Pink was the color of choice for guests who paid $350 per person (or thousands for a table of 10) to dress in tuxedos and gowns and wander between food stations before sitting down to an elegant dinner featuring fire-grilled tenderloin pork and a concert by renowned trumpet player Chris Botti. Near the Monarch Room, a display of vintage Louis Vuitton luggage—some pieces dating to 1889—complemented old photos from the “;Evolution of Travel”; exhibit, documenting luxury travel in Waikiki from 1927, when the hotel first opened, into the modern era.

Tom and Barbara Scully of Australia eased right into the glamorous setting. Regular visitors to the Royal for nearly 30 years, they had tried to come last year to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary but couldn't when the hotel closed for renovations. So they decided not to miss this occasion.

“;I call her the Pink Lady of the Pacific,”; Barbara said. “;It's very relaxed here. It's Old World.”; For them the hotel evokes “;good memories and good feelings.”;

Even the celebrities seemed impressed. “;Heroes”; star Panetierre said, “;I love that it's pink!”; When she first pulled into the porte-cochere, it reminded her of “;one of those old hotels from the movies, where people hide out.”; Though she had visited many years earlier, she said she was too young to remember. “;So it's kind of like my first time all over again.”;

On her first Oahu sojourn, Heather Graham, star of “;Austin Powers,”; “;Scrubs”; and “;Emily's Reasons Why Not,”; added, “;It's gorgeous and the people are so nice.”;

Following her introduction, Trias lingered around the red carpet, taking photos with other celebrities before dashing off to her show down the street with the Society of Seven. “;I think it's a great evening, and I love what they did with the renovations,”; she said. “;It really captures what the Royal Hawaiian is all about.”;