Visit a Vin­tage Palace

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - TOURING -

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.

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