A Glimpse into Hawaii’s Fascinating Past
Embark on a journey to the only Royal Palace on American soil—The Iolani Palace. Iolani Palace was the official residence of King Kalakaua, from 1882 until his death in 1891, and of his sister-successor, Queen Lili’uokalani, until the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.
From 1893 until 1968, Iolani Palace was used as the capitol of the republic, the territory, and finally the state of Hawaii. When the new state capitol was completed in 1969, the palace was vacated and restorations begun.
The tour begins at the foot of a magnificent curved staircase made of hand-carved Hawaiian woods and leading to the second floor living quarters of the royal family. Built at a cost to the Kingdom of Hawaii of $360,000, the palace features 7,000 feet of Koa wood. The first floor contains the state dining room, the throne room, and the blue room.
The throne room, decorated in crimson and gold, was the scene of royal balls and receptions. A guide, speaking in the present tense, takes you through one of those halls as she tells the story of all-night parties with guests dancing until sun up. King Kalakaua, known as Hawaii’s Merrie Monarch or its Renaissance King, is credited with the revival of hula, which had been frowned upon by the early missionaries. He was a man ahead of his time who installed electric lights in the palace four years before the White House wired up and had flush toilets in the bathrooms as well as the first telephone in Honolulu, so he could call the royal boathouse.
The day continues with a visit to the elegant Bishop Museum. Constructed in 1889, the Bishop Museum boasts an unprecedented collection of artifacts from the many islands in the Pacific. The museum offers something from each corner of the Polynesian Triangle including an extensive Maori collection from New Zealand, a replica of an Easter Island stone image, and of course, the finest historical representation of the Hawaiian Islands. The museum escorts you through Hawaii’s history, from the early “pre-contact” days before Captain Cook’s arrival, to the evolutionary changes brought about by American and Far East cultures and missionaries.
After the guided tour, there will be time to browse the museum gift shop or have a quick bite at the café prior to heading back to the Sheraton Waikiki.
To register for this tour, visit our tour company’s Web site.
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