Hulihee Palace Tours
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Though this stately two-story lava rock and stucco home in downtown Kailua-Kona is no castle, it did serve as a vacation home for royalty in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Built by Hawaii’s second governor John Adams Kuakini in 1838, the six-room estate was handed down to Princess Ruth Keelikolani after his death, and she opened its doors to many visiting members of the Hawaiian royal family including King Kalākaua and Queen Kapiolani. The palace today is run as a museum of Hawaiian artifacts downstairs—including kapa (bark) cloth, King Kamehameha’s own giant spears, royal busts—and a showcase of royal life with original Victorian furniture and details—koa wood furniture, original bed frames and quilts—upstairs. Docent-led tours give a brief overview of Hawaiian and palace history including the rapid adoption of European tastes evident in the home’s décor.
Set on prime ocean-front real estate in the heart of downtown Kailua-Kona off Alii Drive, the palace is close to other historic attractions including the islands' oldest Christian church (1820) across the street and the final residence of Island-uniting King Kamehameha I visible from the palace’s top floor lanai (porch). A small gift shop on the property outside the palace sells Hawaiian cultural books and souvenirs, and one Sunday a month, traditional music and hula performances take place on the palace lawn.
The palace is located at 75 -5718 Alii Drive and open from 9am to 4pm Monday through Saturday, except major holidays. Admission is $8 for adults and $1 for children 17 and under. Docent-led tours are on-demand (for a $2 additional charge for adults only) before 3 pm.
Address: 75 - 5718 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740, USA
Hours: Mon–Sat 9am–4pm
Admission: Adults $8; Children 17 and under $1
3 Tours and Activities to Experience Hulihee Palace
Get a deeper experience of Kona than offered by most tours on this guided tour that focuses on the ancient capital's rich history and culture. Journey through the area while your guide shares tales from Hawaiian folklore and provides insight into religious practices and royal influences. See such landmarks as the Puuhonua O Honaunau archaeological complex, which includes temple platforms and royal fishponds, as well as Heiau temples and significant burial grounds that reveal the way the ancient Hawaiians lived.
Immerse yourself in the scenic beauty and rich culture of Hawaii’s Kona coast on this half-day excursion. After a convenient hotel pickup, enjoy experiences that include visiting sites like Kailua Pier, Hulihe'e Palace, Mokuaikaua Church, Greenwell Farms, and Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, the Painted Church, and Big Island Bees.
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
Kailua-Kona Segway Historic Kona Town Tour - 120 Minutes - Rating: EASY to MODERATE (due to duration)
Cover more ground than possible on foot and go to places inaccessible to tour buses on this guided Segway tour of Kona. Learn about the history of Old Kona Town as you glide effortlessly through the streets. See such landmarks as Hulihe’e Palace, Moku’aikaua Church, Kamakahonu, White Sands Beach, and Ku’emanu Heiau, which was dedicated to the sport of surfing, as your guide provides historical context to each.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are Hulihee Palace hours of operation?
Hulihee Palace hours of operation: Mon–Sat 9am–4pm. Buy tickets in advance on Viator. If you book with Viator, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.
What's the best way to experience Hulihee Palace?
The best ways to experience Hulihee Palace are:
- Intimate Kona History and Culture Tour from Kona South
- Kona Coast to Place of Refuge Small Group Shore Excursion & Tour
- Kailua-Kona Segway Historic Kona Town Tour - 120 Minutes - Rating: EASY to MODERATE (due to duration)
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