"Walk in the Footsteps of Hawaiian Royalty" Iolani Palace Tip by Rixie

Iolani Palace, Honolulu: 36 reviews and 59 photos

Iolani Palace is fabulous! It's the only royal palace in the United States, and King Kalakaua spared no expense when he had it built. Consider this: Iolani Palace, which was completed in 1882, had electricity five years before the White House and 17 years before Buckingham Palace. It also had telephones, flush toilets, and hot and cold running water. The floor-to-ceiling windows have louvered wooden door-shutters that fold into the wall.

Visitors to the palace who take the docent-led tours are given elasticized cloth booties to wear over their shoes to protect the beautiful koa wood floors. The steps on the grand staircase are the only original flooring left in the palace, so you literally walk in the footsteps of kings and queens of Hawaii. Everything has been restored to its original state -- a plaster artisan was even called out of retirement in Italy to supervise the ceiling restoration

Our docent said that pieces of the original palace furniture are still turning up all over the world. One distinctive table -- tall, narrow, carved koa wood -- in the King's bedroom was located when a tourist from Oklahoma saw a photo of the original furnishings and said, "That looks like a table I bought at a flea market." When it was authenticated as the King's table, she graciously donated it to the palace.

The bare corner room where Queen Liliuokalani, the last queen of Hawaii, was held prisoner for eight months, made me so sad. It gave new meaning to "Aloha Oe," the song she composed which is now a symbol of the Islands:

Reservations suggested. Children under the age of 5 are not admitted.

Address: 364 South King Street
Directions: At the corner of King and Richards Streets
Phone: (808) 522-0822
Website: http://www.iolanipalace.org

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 20, 2013
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