Along the shores of the Big Island’s Kailua-Kona lies the historic Hulihe’e Palace, an elegant lava rock vacation home of Hawaii’s past monarchs. Initially built in 1838, this breezy seaside palace was a getaway for royal figures like King Kalākaua and Queen Kapiʻolani.
Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani was one of the palace’s most frequent residents, though she preferred sleeping in a grass hut on the grounds. She often hosted reigning kings and queens within Huliheʻe’s walls for relaxing stays in Kailua-Kona. The last royals to own the palace were nephews Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole and Prince David Kawānanakoa.
After being fully restored in the 1920s, Huliheʻe Palace was transformed into a museum run by the Daughters of Hawaiʻi, dedicated to preserving Hawaiian culture. Today, visitors can tour the palace’s vintage royal interiors, including artifacts, furnishings, and Koa wood fixtures original to the home.
Shaded by palm trees near the ocean, Hulihe’e Palace allows a glimpse into the leisurely lives of Hawaii’s past monarchs. Strolling its breezy grounds, one can vividly imagine Hawaii’s elite savoring this Kona coast retreat steps from the sand. For history lovers, it’s a true Hawaiian royal treasure.
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