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“Slice of history”
Review of Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace
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Ranked #11 of 328 things to do in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii's monarchy, is a marvel of opulence, innovation and political intrigue. Meticulously restored to its former grandeur, this National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu tells of a time when their Majesties, King Kalakaua, who built the palace in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, walked its celebrated halls. Today, you can enjoy one of the most spectacular living restorations in all of Polynesia and immerse yourself in Hawaii's royal heritage. E komo mai! Welcome!
Oxnard, California
Level 6 Contributor
115 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Slice of history”
Reviewed November 16, 2012

It is a great look at Hawaii's royal past. Wonderful way to spend an afternoon. The display of Hansen's disease resettlements was particularly moving.

Visited November 2012
Thank Poipuvisitor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Los Angeles
Level 6 Contributor
385 reviews
319 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 247 helpful votes
“Awesome Wood, Glad we went”
Reviewed November 15, 2012

We really enjoyed our visit to Iolani Palace. To hear the story of what happened in Hawaii's history was very interesting. The Palace was beautiful, especially the wood. I liked the video and the grounds, too. Be sure to get your tickets early. The guided tours were all gone when we went there. I had a little trouble navigating the self guided tour. You have to pay attention to the screen to go in the right room. You have to use the elevator to go upstairs. If you need help, asked a guide. When I did, it all made sense and I had a much better time.

Visited October 2012
Thank LAtoEverywhere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
99 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
“The Good & Bad of Hawaiian History at Iolani Palace”
Reviewed November 15, 2012

This is worth a visit if only to learn about Hawaii's proud history as a kingdom. This is the only real sovereign residence in the US, so it is historic.
I recommend going on the first guided tour of the morning, so you won't be rushed through. You arrive in an empty palace, which opens up beautifully to you.
The docents are lovely & try their hardest to bring the place alive, but so much of its history & contents have been scattered to the winds an imagination is required. This is a chance to use yours - you can see some of the original work & what they've recovered in the galleries underneath after the tour.
The beauty of the koa wood is incredible.
The stories are lovely.
The fact that so much is missing still is an embarrassment to how our government treated the royal family after Hawaii became a state.
What you should know:
Ask questions! The docents have the answers - there is so much history they can't get everything in.
Bring a camera without a flash, as those are the only type of pics you can take.
Be ready to wear their oh-so-not-fashionable slippers, because the floor needs to be protected.
Bring lots of quarters, because the meters only take change - and if you want to explore the galleries you can go & refeed the meter after.

Visited October 2012
Thank ilovemanhattanNyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
171 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
“Hawaiis royal place”
Reviewed November 14, 2012

You have to take either the guided tour or self guided tour round the palace which takes about an hour. They have different tours at different times so I had the guided one. The guide was very knowledgable. During this time you learn alot about the history and culture of the royal family of Hawaii. Whilst waiting for the tour there is a video which is worth seeing. This gives you more information about the history of Hawaiis royalty. Entry is a little bit more expensive than some of Honolulus attractions but its worth it!

Visited November 2012
Thank shreevie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Not worth the Visit”
Reviewed November 14, 2012

I enjoy tours and museums, so I thought this would be right up my alley. I went with two couples, so we spent $60 total ($15 admission per person) to tour. There is a self guided audio tour. First you have to get "prepared" to enter by the admissions ladies. They were rude and very unwelcoming. You have to sit down out front while they put booties over your shoes to protect the museum and the read you the rules about not touching anything. You have to wear your audio equipment EXACTLY or they won't let you in. The men in our group just wanted to look around and not listen to the audio tour. They had to wear the headphones or they weren't allowed in.

Once you are finally approved for entry, there are more "guards" inside to make sure you don't touch anything. I appreciate protecting art and culture from the past, but this was extreme the way they watched you. The audio tour was very boring, so I eventually turned it off (but leave on the headphones of they come over and put them back on you). The palace itself is very sparsely decorated with just a handful or remaining items. I was expecting to see jewelry or clothing from the royal family. There are a few pieces of antique furniture to view, but nothing to get excited about.

The overall experience took less than an hour and we walked away feeling like we could have done something more fun with our time and $60 plus parking spent. I would not put this on your "must do list" in Hawaii.

Visited October 2012
6 Thank Kirkdawg98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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