Shangri La, the Pacific oceanfront private home once owned by socialite Doris Duke is now open for tours through the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Built in 1937, the custom design sits on a large estate overlooking a rocky beach near Diamond Head crater.
Tours begin and end at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and guests are transported to Black Point beach on a motor coach bus.
A guide meets you at the gate with an introduction about the property and overview of the rules for your visit. The first rule is not photography is allowed within the walls of the complex. Photographs are available for purchase at the museum gift shop. No photos are included with the $26 per person entrance fee.
Doris Duke came into money as a young girl. She married and after traveling around the world, purchased 5 acres just outside Waikiki for a part time residence. Duke was involved in the intimate details of building the home creating a showplace for her growing collection of Islamic art from places she had visited. Persian carpets, mosaic fountains and ancient pottery quickly filled the large rooms.
The cavernous living room is surrounded by floor to ceiling windows with a spectacular view of the garden, pool and Pacific Ocean. The windows can be lowered into the floor with a flip of a switch allowing walkout access and trade winds to blow throughout the home.
Our guide said, “Miss Duke would only lower the windows halfway to keep her menagerie of dogs inside the house.
The center courtyard is lined with plants and century old Asian vases with a center skylight.
Tickets to Shangri La can be purchased throughout the Honolulu Academy of Arts and include admission to the museum. Learn more about Doris Duke’s art collection in this book.