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Review of Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace
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Ranked #10 of 332 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!
Reviewed August 28, 2013

We booked a tour of the Summer Palace and the Iolani Palace with Oahu Nature Tours. We were picked up at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. There were 8 people in our group. The tour of the Iolani Palace started with a video while we waited for entry to the Palace. We were given Booties to protect the floors of the palace and an audio unit that provided the information for the palace so that we were able to explore at our own pace. The palace was interesting and the audio tour informative but I felt that I had too much information even though we played the kids version of the program. We spent over an hour at the palace before we were taken back to the hotel. I had wanted to visit the palace but would probably have spend less time here if we hadn't been on a tour.

Thank VickiLGreenOaks_IL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,916 - 2,920 of 4,203 reviews

Reviewed August 28, 2013

Nice tour of the palace. Just long enough. The docent was very educated on the history of HI and made the story come alive. OK for well behaved children however most of the people on the tour are very interested in what is being said so quiet is a good idea. In an area where you can walk to a lot of historical places.

Thank COwoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2013

Iolani Palace is the one Hawaiian cultural site I always recommend to visitors. I had not been since 2009 and recently took my parents and adult sister while they visited me here in Honolulu. Just to be clear, TripAdvisor doesn't seem to have an option for an adult family (the youngest was 24 years of age), so I checked "friends" instead.

The palace itself is elegant, but small in size and understated in terms of design and decoration. Do not expect Buckingham or Versailles. The true beauty lies in the history, not the material, which is why the tour is so important. It really brings the palace to life, and in doing so, makes this history of Hawaii more real. What's nice about the tour is that you learn a lot small things you would have never considered. For instance, I already knew the Ali'i (ruling class) often composed beautiful music. But after visiting the royal music room, I learned that "Ke Aloha O Ka Haku", one of my favorite Hawaiian hymn/song, was indeed written by Queen Liliuokalani herself. I also did not know she was skilled at quilting as evidenced in her imprisonment room.

I really love the basement section where you get to see personal artifacts from the different royals. I won't lie and say I didn't have a princess moment when looking at all the beautiful jewels and things. It's not very often that you get to see items worn by royalty on American soil!

The history of Hawaii is very sad, but also very beautiful at the same time. The palace is able to reflect both of those facts and leave visitors thinking about more than just Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head.

What I think has changed is that we were allowed to take photos without flash. When I went in 2009-ish, I believe this was not the case.

Thank AdiaLynette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

I was really ignorant on Hawaiian history. I didn't know anything about Iolani palace but going on the audio tour was awesome. It is a great thing to see and learn about.

Thank Jax J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2013

my family enjoyed the Palace. our guide lady was excellent , she told us in details the history and facts about the palace. I suggest the guided tour, you will learn a lot as much I did. My girls were so amazed about everything.

1  Thank 2girlsandmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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