Iolani Palace, Honolulu

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 Reviews

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  • Rixie's Profile Photo

    Walk in the Footsteps of Hawaiian Royalty

    by Rixie Updated Dec 20, 2013

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    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.

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    Great history

    by RobertSKau Written Dec 6, 2011

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    Everytime I go to Iolani Palace, I see something new. It's so nice to be able to walk in the path of Hawaiian King and Queens. The most touching place is the room where Queen Liliuokalani was imprisoned, and especially the quilt that she and her court made during this sad time. The docents are knowledgable, friendly and busting with the aloha spirit. This is really a must-see!

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    Halls of Hawaiian History

    by kellinwood Updated Oct 31, 2011

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    Iolani Palace in Honolulu

    Iolani Palace was the residence of the Hawaiian monarchy for eleven years between 1882 and 1893, at which point events transpired that began the annexation of Hawaii as a territory of the United States. It continued to house the state government of Hawaii until the 1960's, and opened for tours in 1978 after several years of restoration. Restoration is ongoing and continues today, with the kings bedroom on the upper floor being completed in 2011.

    Visitors can choose between a guided tour, or self-led audio tour. The guided tour is $20.00 and the self-led tour $13.00. We went on the self-led tour and found the content from the audio devices to be quite thorough.

    The audio tour is very interesting and informative with regard to the history of the monarchs that lived there in the late 1800s. The monarchy was well-known and regarded in the international community during this period, and many of the paintings and artifacts on display were gifted from foreign dignitaries. King Kalakaua was somewhat of a technology and gadget buff, and as a result he palace featured modern conveniences for its time, such as indoor plumbing and a telephone system. The king arranged to meet Thomas Edison in New York during a world tour, and five years later the palace had electric lighting, even before the White House did.

    I highly recommend this tour to anyone who enjoys history or is too sunburned to sit on the beach in Waikiki.

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    The only Royal Palace in USA!

    by machomikemd Updated Oct 27, 2009

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    ʻIolani Palace is situated in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu here in Hawaiʻi. It is the only royal palace used as an official residence by a reigning monarch in the United States and is a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two monarchs governed from ʻIolani Palace: King David Kalâkaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani.

    The ʻIolani Palace structure that exists today is actually the second ʻIolani Palace to sit on the palace grounds. The original palace, built during the reign of Kamehameha IV, was a one-story building made out of coral block. The building was named, "ʻIolani Palace," after one of Kamehameha IV's given names (his full name was Alexander Liholiho ʻIolani). It served as the official residence of the monarch during the reigns of Kamehameha IV, Kamehameha V, Lunalilo, and the first part of Kalâkaua's reign. The original structure was very simple in design and was more of a stately home than a palace.

    Iolani Palace is located in the Capitol District of downtown Honolulu at the corner of King and Richards Streets at 364 South King Street. There is limited metered parking on the grounds and on nearby streets. Parking is also available at numerous lots downtown and at the Aloha Tower Marketplace. The best was to reach downtown from Waikiki is on The Bus, Oahu's public transportation system.

    Tours are offered every 30 minutes Tuesday - Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tickets are obtained at the nearly 'Iolani Barracks.

    Admission for an adult is $20. Hawaiian residents (kama'aina) and military with ID pay $15. Children Ages 5-17 are $5. No children under 5 are admitted.

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  • Ahidyn's Profile Photo

    Iolani Palace

    by Ahidyn Updated May 19, 2009

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    This is the residence of the only royalty in the United States, This was the residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom's last two monarchs--King Kalakaua, who built the Palace in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Lili`uokalani.

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  • Onedragon's Profile Photo

    INSIDE IOLANI PALACE

    by Onedragon Updated Oct 5, 2008

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    KING KALAKAUA'S LIBRARY AND CONFERENCE ROOM
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    I HAD A SPLENDID MORNING OF BEING ABLE TO GO ON A TOUR OF THE INSIDE OF IOLANI PALACE THAT SITS OFF OF KING STREET..WHAT A FABULOUS TIME OF HEARING THE EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS AND THE PEOPLE OF HAWAIIAN MONARCHY AS THEY LIVED IN THE PALACE...I FELT AN HONOUR AND AN APPRECIATION OF THAT BUILDING AND THE PEOPLE THAT FOUNDED AND BUILT HAWAII..BEING ABLE TO SEE ALL THAT VALUABLE AND BEAUTIFUL KOA WOOD THAT DECORATED THE INSIDE STAIRCASE AND TABLES AND BOWLS...WAS AWESOME....SEEING ALL THE SPLENDID ROOMS THAT WERE IN THE PALACE..WAS FASCINATING!!!!!! A Hawaiian national treasure and the only official state residence of royalty in the United States, `Iolani Palace was the official residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom's last two monarchs -- King Kalakaua, who built the Palace in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Lili`uokalani. During the monarchy period, the Palace was the center of social and political activity in the Kingdom of Hawai`i.

    Though its grandeur was neglected after the overthrow of the monarchy, restoration began in the 1970s through efforts of concerned individuals. Restoration and preservation continues, and, as a result, today's visitors to this National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu enjoy one of the most precise historic restorations and learn much about Hawaiian history and heritage.

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  • AVG2319's Profile Photo

    The only palace in USA

    by AVG2319 Written Apr 23, 2007

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    Since we didn't have time to take the tour we did the best thing and drove to see the Iolani Palace. It is the only authentic palace in the United States, so we wanted to at least walk on the grounds and take a photo. Right across the street you can view the statue of King Kamehameha. It was sent to Honolulu in 1883 after the first statue was lost at sea. The first statue was eventually salvaged and placed on The Big Island of Hawaii.

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  • Onedragon's Profile Photo

    IOLANI PALACE PART 2

    by Onedragon Written Aug 21, 2006

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    VIEW FROM RICHARDS STREET
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    IT TOTALLY AMAZES ME THAT THIS BUILDING COULD HAVE BEEN TORN DOWN SOME TIME AGO.... BUT I AM SO VERY GLAD THAT SOME PEOPLE GOT TOGETHER TO PRESERVE IT AND RESTORE IT BACK TO WHAT IT WAS ONCE UPON A TIME... SWEET!!!!!!!Though its grandeur was neglected after the overthrow of the monarchy, restoration began in the 1970s through efforts of concerned individuals. Restoration and preservation continues, and, as a result, today's visitors to this National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu enjoy one of the most precise historic restorations and learn much about Hawaiian history and heritage.

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  • Onedragon's Profile Photo

    IOLANI PALACE 2

    by Onedragon Updated Jul 3, 2006

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    A BEAUTIFUL PALACE AT THAT!!! A PLACE EVERYONE SHOULD SEE WHO IS IN HONOLULU..
    IT IS GREAT WALKING AROUND THE ENTIRE AREA AND VIEWING THIS BUILDING AND THE OTHERS THAT COMPLEMENT IT SO WELL.

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  • Hopkid's Profile Photo

    Iolani Palace

    by Hopkid Written Apr 26, 2006

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    Built by King David Kalakaua, the second to last of the Hawaiian monarchy, in 1882, Iolani Palace is the only royal residence in the United States. Before it was annexed by the U.S. after a bloodless coup mainly led by American businessmen, Hawaii was nation ruled by a monarchy that went back to Kamehameha the Great, the one who united all of the Hawaiian Islands. Kalakaua enjoyed the most advanced technological advances of the time, having installed electricity, a telephone, and a modern toilet. In fact Iolani Palace was wired for electricity before the White House in Washington, DC.

    After the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani in 1989, the palace became the capitol of the following governments, first of the republic, then the U.S. territory, and then the state before the new state capitol was finished nearby in 1969. Many of the furnishings were sold off by the republic and efforts are currently underway by a gropul called The Friends of Iolani Palace to track down are reacquire them. The two most fully restored rooms are the king's office and the throne room which includes the original thrones.

    Tours start approximately every half hour and begin with a video presentation in the Royal Guards barracks building nearby where the ticket office and gift shop are located. It is best to get there early to ensure a short wait for your appointed tour time. The first tour is at 9am. The palace is open Tuesday-Saturday until 2pm.

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  • shadowmon's Profile Photo

    The only Royal Palace in the United States

    by shadowmon Written Mar 27, 2006

    If you are into the history of hawaii, I would definitely check out the iolani palace. This location is so rich in Hawaii's cultural past, that for those who appreciate history, royalty and antiques and museums, this is definitely a place to see.

    This is a muesum of sorts, that is consistently under conservation. They have you wear booties on your feet to protect the wood floors which I believe are made from koa, which is a hardwood that is dificult to find in large qualities nowadays. There are many artifacts that have been donated to the palace, either from private collectors or items that the palace has purchased on display to show the grandeur of how the palace was when it was occupied by royalty.

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  • geeyook's Profile Photo

    Iolani Palace

    by geeyook Updated Jun 11, 2005

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    Iolani Palace

    This restored royal palace was built for King David Kalakaua and Queen Kapi'olani who lived there from 1882 to 1891. Kalakaua's sister , Queen Liliuokalani then lived there until her reign ended in 1893. It then served as the capitol of Hawaiian government until 1969 when it was converted to a museum. This was also where fictional Steve McGarrett and Hawaii Five-O was headquartered.
    Admission is required for the tour, but admission to the grounds is free.

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  • geekgrrl's Profile Photo

    Iolani Palace

    by geekgrrl Written Jun 1, 2005

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    Iolani Palace

    King Kalakaua built the Palace in 1882. I highly recommend taking the tour of the palace. There is a wonderful amount of period furniture, dishes, and interesting items to be seen. The wood flooring, stairs, banisters, etc are gorgeous.

    Tours are given Tuesday - Saturday 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Check the website for lots of great information and make time for this great tour!

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  • katmai's Profile Photo

    Visit America's Only Palace

    by katmai Written May 7, 2005

    A tour of Iolani Palace is interesting, historical activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. The volunteer staff explain well the tragic events that lead to a change in government. That change ended a long line of royal Hawaiian rulership over their beloved islands. The palace is very ornate with a throne room, grand staircase, and, in the basement, a display of jewerly fit for a queen. It is worth the time and money if you have any interest in history and/or the Hawaiian people.

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    IOLANI PALACE

    by LoriPori Written Mar 9, 2005

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    Iolani Palace

    The only royal palace in the United States, IOLANI PALACE was completed in 1882, during the reign of King Kalakaua. Three architects were employed in its design, which features double lanai (porches) lined with Corinthean columns. After the overthrow of the monarchy, Iolani Palace served as a legislative building for the new government until 1968.

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