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“You're better off skipping it.”
Review of Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace
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Ranked #10 of 333 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 February 13, 2014

Hawaiian history is very interesting, but you will not appreciate much of it spending two hours in this museum.

They have very anal procedures: you have to go in with a scheduled tour, which means that if you do not show up at the right time, you will have a long wait until the next available tour.

They make you cover your shoes with the kind of covers that surgeons use, but they are not disposable. I found this a good precaution to avoid damaging the museums hardwood floors, but it's kind of nasty to touch with your hands, things that have been touched by the soles of others' shoes.

Before entering, they give you a class on how to use the ipod like device, that explains each spot of the museum. The device explains each and every detail, way to thoroughly and it becomes annoying. There's only so much I need to know about a portrait, a table set for 8, etc. it just goes on and on and on. If your device works properly you're lucky. If it doesn't (and many of them don't work properly) you will waste time navigating to get to what you need to hear about.

This is the museum that "wants to be". Why? Because when the Americans annexed the Hawaiian kingdom they turned the palace into a City Hall or something and they auctioned off most of it's contents before setting up shop. So the majority of the items you see there are replicas, and or substitutions, to the exception of one or other piece that was found randomly and bought back, or that got donated by descendants of the royals. Most of the rooms are empty, except for a picture that shows how it used to look.

The museum is over priced. I guess because they are still rebuilding it, buying things back, and probably are still paying the bill for the lady that had to analyze old pictures to determine what kind of fabric to buy for the fake curtains.

2  Thank roamifiwant2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,905 - 2,909 of 4,357 reviews

Reviewed February 10, 2014

We liked it all and very much enjoyed the way international history is exemplified. We had not heard before that in 1993 the US had apologized for occupying Hawaii.

Thank Beaver5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2014

This was a very interesting attraction but we thought it was overpriced.... Our tour guide was very good and knowledgeable but we were surprised at the cost. However, it was a great way to learn about Hawaiian history.

Thank NDminnesota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2014

By taking the audio tour you learn the history of the Palace good & bad, by good I mean learning how the rooms were used by the Royal Family, although only for a relatively short time, and by bad I mean learning how US big business managed to overthrow the Hawaiian Royalty and hold the Queen under house arrest in a single room of the palace.
Worth a visit.

Thank davidsyd1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2014

The Iolani Palace is the only royal palace in the United States. You can take a guided tour or an audio tour. We took the audio tour, so we could generally see the palace at our own pace. It is well curated, the audio tour takes about an hour, and it is well worth seeing if you like this sort of thing (and I do).

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

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