Hawaii Travel Blog

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In Honolulu, a Royally Good Time Awaits

Photo courtesy of the Iolani Palace Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of the Iolani Palace Facebook page.

You think visiting beaches, and you think Hawaii. You think visiting palaces, and you think Europe. But just as sure as you can sun on the beach in Europe (hi, Mediterranean coast), you can tour a palace in Hawaii.

Honolulu’s Iolani Palace was built for King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani in 1882 and served as their primary residence. It was also something of a party house (albeit a very large and very expensive one) for the king and queen and their VIP guests. (The king earned the nickname the “merry monarch” for a reason.)

Ironically, the palace also served as a prison for King Kalakaua’s sister, who succeeded him to the throne after he died in 1891. Four years later, having relinquished her title, Queen Liliuokalani was arrested and jailed in a second-floor bedroom. (Which, though harsh, isn’t as bad a fate as that of some of Europe’s monarchs – like, say, Marie Antoinette in France.)

Indeed, in terms of storied history and sheer ostentatious displays of wealth, Iolani Palace rivals that of many older, well-known establishments on the continent. Its two floors, with their many different rooms, as well as the palace’s sprawling, sacred grounds, which are said have been an ancient worshipping site, make for a fascinating and beautiful day trip.

So, while enjoying Hawaii’s sandy shores is a must for any visitor, so is visiting this royal jewel.


364 South King Street

Honolulu, HI 96813

Monday-Saturday: 9am-4pm