Iolani Palace

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364 S King St, Oahu, HI, USA

Iolani Palace Oahu Reviews

kingoftheicedragons kingofth…
83 reviews
A Trip Back in Time Apr 06, 2011
We arrived at Iolani Palace in Honolulu around 10 a.m., hoping to do a self-guided tour through the palace. As it turns out, at that time, you can only do the guided tour, which costs more money. You can take as many pictures as you want of outside the building and the grounds, but pictures are not permitted inside the palace itself. The tour guide is dressed in clothing from the late 1800s, and they attempt to take you back in time to when it was the Kingdom of Hawai'i instead of America's 50th state. As they take you through the various rooms of the palace, they tell you what they were used for, from the formal foyer (the blue room), the formal dining area and what it would have been like to have been invited to dine with King Kalakaua, and then up to the second floor (in a 1970s elevator) to the king's bedroom, his office, and his music room, as well as through a couple of spare bedrooms (one of which served as the prison for the queen after the revolution), and the queen's bedroom, and finally back down to the main level for the throne room, which was used for royal balls and such.

In the basement of the palace, you can find the kitchen as well as royal offices and the royal jewels.
The barracks on the palace grounds
Coat of arms
Iolani Palace
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
jamartin39 says:
I enjoyed my time volunteering for the palace, it was a short period of time and I had to dress in a mumu, but it was still fun
Posted on: Apr 10, 2011
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sarahsan sarahsan
403 reviews
Iolani Palace Feb 05, 2010
When Hawaii became a constitutional monarchy in 1840 the capital was moved from Maui to Oahu. Iolani Palace was build in 1882 and was the official residence of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapi´olani and Queen Lili´uokalani after that. When the Hawaiian kingdom was overthrown in 1893 the palace became the capitol. After decades of restoration, the palace was reopened as a museum.

I did the guided tour in the morning. Our guide was knowledgeable, but seemed a bit insecure. When you buy the ticket you get a set time for your tour, which departs every 15 minutes. Before you are allowed into the main hall through the back entrance, you get a pair of socks you have to put outside your shoes.

The main hall has niches on each side filled with gifts and artifacts bought by the king on his numerous travels. The next room you visit is the Blue room where tea and small meeting were held. In the dinning room you can see the 500 piece silver cutlery which was a gift from Napoleon III. Upstairs is the kings bedroom, bathroom and study. as well as the Queens bedroom, bathroom and living room. Neither of these rooms contain many furniture. Over a period of 10 years after Queen Lili´uokalani was overthrown, 10.000 pieces of furniture and artifacts were sold off on auctions. 4000 of those pieces have come back. The tour ends downstairs in the throne room which has been reconstructed.

In the basement of the palace there is a historic exhibition including royal regalia, crown jewels, portraits and historic photographs. It also includes reconstructions of the Palace kitchen and the chamberlain´s office. This exhibit can be visited independently.

Outside you can see the domed pavilion which was built for the coronation of King Kalakaua in 1883. Every Friday between noon and 1:00 pm the Royal Hawaiian Band play by the huge banyan tree in the garden.

The palace was quite modern in its time. Every bedroom had its own bathroom with hot running water, and electric light had replaced the gas lamp. This was before Buckingham Palace was completely electrified and before The White House had electricity. King Kalakaua had seen lights on a boat in the harbor and later seen electricity on a trip to France. On his way back his stopped in New York and had a meeting with Thomas Edison. It took 6 years to install electricity in the hole palace.

Kalakaua was a king who cared about his people and wanted everybody to be literate. He opened schools where they taught adults to read and write. Then when they went home to their islands they again taught others. Later the missionaries continued the teaching and in 50-60 years most Hawaiians could read and write.

The Palace is open Tuesday- Saturday from 9:00 am-3:30 pm. It can either be visited on a guided tour (9:00-11:15 every 15 minutes) or on a 45 minutes self-guided audio tour (11:45-3:30 every 10 minutes). Admission is:

1. Guided tour $20/$5 adults/ children (5-12)

2. Audio tour $13/ $5 adults/ children (5-12)

3. Gallery only $6/$3 adults/ children (5-12)

Children under 5 years are not allowed and it´s prohibited to take photos inside. For what you get I found $20 a bit too much!
The king's coat of arms
Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace, main entrance
Iolani Palace
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Iolani Palace Map
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photo by: sandra_s021