Two Honolulu Homes Not To Miss–Part One: Shangri La

Say the word Shangri-La and images of a paradise on earth come to mind. The late heiress Doris Duke found her Shangri-La in Hawaii. With advanced planning you too can step inside Ms. Duke’s five acre Shangri La estate on your next Honolulu vacation. This is a must see attraction and reservations must be made early.Turkish Room at Shangri La

Built in 1937, and always a work in progress under the watchful eyes of Ms. Duke, her Shangri La estate boasts a fantastic collection of Islamic art. A total of 3,500 art pieces are on display; collected and arranged by Ms. Duke over a 60 year time period.

The late Doris Duke left most of her billion dollar estate to her charitable foundation. This includes her Honolulu home which she wanted open to the public. It was her wish that Shangri La promote the study, understanding and presentation of Islamic Art. For a woman who led a private life, it is a wonderful gift to leave.

When you walk through her gardens, and into her home, you can’t help but feel closer to Ms. Duke and appreciate her love of art and beauty. One thing that surprised me was the plain facade of the home. There’s no hint to the treasures and beauty that wait both inside and out.

The tour guides are excellent. On my visit a former staff member of Ms. Duke’s was available to give his personal insight into her life.

All tours depart from the Honolulu Academy of Art and include mandatory round-trip bus transportation.

Insider Tip: Wear mosquito repellent for the garden tour.

Money Saver: Your ticket includes same day admission to the Honolulu Academy of Art.

Shangri La Details: Ticket price is $25 per person (must be 13 and older). Tours are Wednesday-Saturday at 8:30, 11:00 and 1:30 and last 2.5 hours (90 minutes will be spent at the estate). For reservations call 1-866-DUKE TIX (toll free) or 808-532-DUKE local.

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