Believe it or not Hawaii was once a monarchy and where there are royals there are palaces! The Iolani Palace was constructed in 1882; it was highly advanced for the times with electricity, telephones, opulent furnishings and expansive landscaped gardens. The restored National Landmark consists of a first level with a Throne Room, Grand Hall, State Dining Room and Blue Room. And a second level with private suites where the king and queen would live and also a Music Room and the Imprisonment Room (where Queen Liliuokalani was later imprisoned for 5 months).
The palace is beautifully furnished with period furniture, there are grand staircases made from Hawaiian wood, plush textiles and mahogany furniture. On the palace grounds is the Keliiponi Hale or Coronation Pavilion where royal coronations were held. Today the Royal Hawaiian Band gives regular concerts here and the site has also been used for the inauguration of the Governors of the State of Hawaii. The Iolani Barracks dating back to 1871 housed the Royal Guard and has an open courtyard, mess hall, kitchen, berthing room, dispensary and lockup. Today it houses the Palace Shop, ticket office, video theatre and membership office.
'Iolani Palace Photo: Joel/Flickr
From 1795 the Kingdom of Hawaii unified the Hawaiian Islands under royal kings and queens beginning with King Kamehameha the Great. Hawaii became a constitutional Monarchy in 1839 and in 1893 the ruling Queen Liliuokalani was forced to abdicate and this gave the USA an opportunity to interfere. Without permission from the US Congress, US forces violated treaties between the two countries and entered Hawaii. America's involvement didn't help and the queen was imprisoned and charged with treason. The palace became the capitol building for the Provisional Government and eventually Hawaii was annexed by the United States.
Informal Greeting Room Photo: Joel/Flickr
Visitors to the Iolani Palace can choose from two tours. The Docent Lead Tour and the Self-Guided Audio Tour both take you through the palace where you can see the rooms on the 1st and 2nd floors. Then visitors can explore the basement where there are exhibits about the history and structure of the palace. In the Basement Gallery you can see the Hawaiian Crown Jewels, historic photos and the restored kitchen and Chamberlain's Office. In addition there is a short film shown in the Iolani Barracks called "A King's Noble Vision" which gives an introduction to the history of the Hawaiian royals.
Note that children 4 years old and younger are only allowed in the Basement Gallery and not on the tour of the Palace. The palace is located at 364 South King Street, Honolulu and is open Monday to Saturday 9am-4pm.
|Hours:||Monday-Saturday: 9am - 4pm|
|Address/Map:||364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813|
|Website:||Plan your visit to ʻIolani Palace|
|Self Audio Tours:||Adult: $14.75 | Child (ages 5-12): $6 | Group (10+): $11.75/guest|
Adult: $21.75 | Child (ages 5-12): $6 | Group (10+): $16.75/guest