Honolulu’s Shangri La

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Before the Hilton sisters, Amanda Hearst, and Georgia Bloomberg the original high style heiress was Doris Duke. By any standards, she was a progressive trailblazer and philanthropist that would have given any of the current glamour girls a run for their money, and speaking of money, Duke had tons of it.

She was the heiress to the lucrative Duke fortune earned via tobacco and energy. Her father died in 1925 leaving his only child $100 million. Duke enjoyed all of the luxuries that wealth and youth could bring. She traveled the world, spoke several languages, and was an expert on orchids. She was one of the first women to take up competitive surfing, had multiple lovers, and was known for her parties and keen eye for art. Duke lived large and her private home in Hawaii was a true example of “haute living.”

Grounds of Shangri La Estate
Grounds of Shangri La Estate
Islamic Art Throughout Estate
Islamic Art Throughout Estate

Shangri La was built in the late 1930s set amongst five acres in one of Honolulu’s most desirable neighborhoods. With sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and iconic Diamond Head, Duke created her own slice of heaven. Considered one of Hawaii’s most architecturally significant homes, Shangri La truly reflects Duke’s extravagant lifestyle and extraordinary sense of style. The home is truly an aesthetic masterpiece, carved out of the rocky hills overlooking the water. Duke designed and directed all aspects of the construction. She fought to get a private harbor basted out of the coral and hand selected each piece of furniture. Throughout her world travels she commissioned items from across the globe specifically for Shangri La. The home contains some of the most pre-eminent examples of Islamic Art and architecture in the Americas. If you have an interest in art, horticulture, or architecture a visit to Shangri La is not to be missed.

Shangri La is owned by the Doris Duke Foundation of Islamic Art. Tours are only available through the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Exclusive groups of up to 12 adults meet at the Academy, and are then driven to the property. Tours last approximately two-and-a-half hours and are $25 per person. Children under 12 are not permitted. Reservations are strongly recommended; call 1.866.DUKE.TIX to inquire about a tour or email [email protected]

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