Shangri La

Two weeks ago while in Honolulu, I could not miss the chance to visit Doris Duke’s fabled Shangri La, once the heiress and philanthropist’s Hawaiian home, now a magnificent setting for her collection of Islamic art and culture.

The shuttle from the Honolulu Art Museum to Shangri La descends through the jungle from a street in Honolulu’s prestigious Kahala neighborhood. Sited on five private acres overlooking Diamond Head and the Pacific ocean, Shangri La is a magical place.IMG_1288

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Doris Duke, ‘the richest girl in the world,” bought the Honolulu property in 1936 for $100,000. She loved the relaxed island culture, and she was a sporty gal; she enjoyed hiking, sailing, canoeing, fishing, surfing. In Hawaii she was able to escape the intense scrutiny of the press, and here she could fully devote herself to her lifelong love of Islamic culture, art, and architecture.

Tours of the property are limited to three times a day, four days a week, Wednesday through Saturday, and they often sell out, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead if you hope to see it. Also, they don’t allow interior photos to be taken of the 14,000 square foot home, but check out this Pinterest board for some inside views.

I love visiting the homes of the rich and famous. It’s my job, and I embrace it, even on vacation.

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