Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu is the only royal palace in the United States. It was the official residence and capitol of the last ruling monarchs of the Kingdom of Hawai’i – King Kalakaua and his sister Queen Lili’uokalani. Registered as a National Historic Landmark since 1962, the Palace is one of the most recognizable buildings in Hawaii.
Iolani Palace was the aesthetic, social and political focal point of monarchy era architecture. The Neo-Florentine building was inspired by King Kalakaua’s travels and took three years and $360,000 to build. Kalakaua intended it to be a showcase for Hawaiian materials and Western innovation. Brick and stucco covered a steel skeleton; decorative elements included cast iron Corinthian columns and a hand-carved staircase of Hawaiian woods. Iolani Palace included the first flush toilets installed in a royal palace and the first electric light system in Hawaii. It also featured intra-house telephones.
Today, Iolani Palace hosts events, offers facility rentals, and has a gift shop. Landscaped grounds are popular for informal lawn picnics and Friday noon band concerts. Iolani Palace is Administered by the Division of State Parks, but is managed by the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace under a long term lease.
Iolani Palace is located next to the Kanaina Building, the Hawaii State Capitol building and the Hawaii State Library. It is located directly across the street from the Ali’iolani Hale building and the King Kamehameha statue. Guided tours of Iolani Palace are available by contacting the Friends of Iolani Palace at (808) 522-0832. Tours of the facility are available between 9 am to 2:15 pm from Wednesdays through Saturdays.