Visit a Vintage Palace
Hulihe‘e Palace, located in the heart of Kailua-Kona has undergone a $1.5 million renovation and is receiving guests again. Damaged in a 2006 earthquake, the vintage palace has resumed its full schedule with public, self-guided tours.
Gov. John Adams Kuakini built the palace, located on Ali‘i Drive, in 1838 for his daughter-in-law, Princess Ruth. The princess used the palace primarily for entertaining visitors, but when she wasn’t entertaining, the princess preferred sleeping outside in a large grass house she had constructed on the grounds.
In 1884, King Kalakaua bought the stately oceanside mansion. It was then remodeled to include a kitchen and furnished with distinctive koa wood and commissioned Victorian pieces. The palace was used as a vacation spot for Hawaiian royalty until 1916, when it was sold and all its contents were auctioned off. In 1925, it was purchased by the Territory of Hawai‘i and leased to the Daughters of Hawai‘i, who tracked down many of the original pieces of furniture and convinced the owners to return the items for display.
Today, there are more than 1,000 artifacts on display, including javelins, spears and a 180-pound lava rock used by King Kamehameha the Great as an exercise ball.
The palace is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.