Doris Duke Shangri-la
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Doris Duke Shangri-la is the exquisite home of Doris Duke, daughter of tobacco and electric energy tycoon, James Buchanan Duke. It is one of many homes/apartments she owned, four on the East Coast and one in California. When she died in 1993 she was the richest woman in America (do a google search and read about how she was surrounded by golddiggers- very sad). She inherited $100 million when she was twelve, in 1925 and used this money to travel the world, particularly the Middle East, collecting treasures. You can see these treasures at her gorgeous Black Point house on a tour run by the Honolulu Museum of Art.
The tour begins with a short video on Doris Duke's life, which they show you at the academy. Next, you board a bus which takes you to the home. As the bus descends the lush driveway, the beautiful trees and greenery delight you. The tour guide lingers a little too long in the mosquitoey courtyard making you wait and wait to enter the house. Wear mosquito repellent! Inside the house it's hot, so wear cool clothing.
Once inside, you get to see the sumptuous Middle Eastern patterns, tile, and furnishings throughout the house. It's colorful and wonderful! If you're lucky, Doris' Sri Lankan chef will add to the tour by telling you funny and interesting stories about her life.
Iced water is served on the lanai, and you can view the lovely protected waters below where Doris Duke had an ocean wall built to create a spot to park her husband's yacht. Locals often spearfish here. You can also see the massive lava rock wall that Doris had one hundred and fifty men build to situate her house atop. Take in the stunning views of the lesser-viewed east side of Diamond Head. The views of little Ka'alawai Beach, a perfect yellow cove, will make you long for a swim.
See the pool where the Kahanamoku brothers hung out with Doris and where Duke Kahanamoku practised for the olympics. The guide saves a treat for last- the mystery behind the courtyard's wooden door.
Two and a half hours later you are back at the Museum of Art, still longing for that swim at Ka'alawai Beach!
Photo GalleryClick on photo to see large version
The huge rock wall on the right is the one Doris had built to situate her house on. Ocean rock wall is for parking her yacht- it's now a sheltered place to swim.
View from balcony of Doris Duke's home.
View of house from the yard.
Tours are available Wed-Sat at 9, 10:30 or 1:30. Call (808) 532-3853 ahead of time to reserve your space, or reserve it online. Kids must be 8 years or older. Cost is $25 per person or $20 for Hawaii residents with ID. On the first Sat of every month, Hawaii residents, students, and military can tour for free. Reserve tickets here.
The tour leaves from the Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania St, Honolulu HI 96814. To get to the Honolulu Academy of Arts, exit the H1 Westbound at Lunalilo. Stay in the far right lane and follow the road up to Ward Ave, where you quickly change to the left lane and turn left. Turn left again immediately on Kinau St, and right onto Victoria Street. Turn left on Young St and the parking lot for the museum and art school is on your left. Parking costs $5 for 5 hours.
The map above shows where the house is, not the Honolulu Museum of Art where your tour begins. I chose to do this because it is fun to click on "satellite" and see the house from the air.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
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