Huliheʻe Palace

sights / Architecture

Huliheʻe Palace information

Kailua-Kona , USA
Street 75-5718 Aliʻi Dr
+1 808 329 1877
More information
adult/child $6/1
Opening hours
10am-3pm Tue-Sat
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Lonely Planet review

Imagine the life of Hawaiian royalty in this palace, a simple island manor constructed in 1838 by Hawaii's second governor, John Adams Kuakini, as his private residence. It was originally built with lava rock, but in 1885 King Kalakaua preferred a more polished style after his travels abroad and plastered over it.

After Prince Kuhio inherited the palace from his uncle, King Kalakaua, he auctioned off the furnishings and artifacts to raise money. Fortunately, his wife and other female royalty meticulously numbered each piece and recorded the name of the bidder. Eventually the Daughters of Hawaiʻi , a group founded in 1903 by seven daughters of missionaries, tracked down the owners and persuaded many to return the pieces for public display. In 1973 Huliheʻe Palace was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites.

The two-story palace contains Western antiques collected on royal jaunts to Europe, Hawaiian artifacts and housewares, and a number of Kamehameha the Great's personal war spears.

Admission to the palace includes a 40-minute tour, which provides interesting anecdotes about past royal occupants – including corpulent Princess Ruth who lived in a grass shack because she couldn't make it up the koa stairs! The Kona Historical Society walking tour , which comes to the palace, includes admission.

The concert series held here is a treat, with Hawaiian music and hula performed on the grass facing sparkling Kailua Bay.