Shangri La

Okay. If you live here or are vacationing here you HAVE to visit Shangri La. Oh. My. Goodness. This place is insane!

A little backstory:

Shangri La was built by Doris Duke in the 1930s. (She was a crazy rich heiress) She gets married and on her honeymoon does an around the world trip. While on her honeymoon she falls in love with Islamic artwork and design. So she starts to collect some… On her way home they stop in Hawaii where she ends up staying for 4 months instead of a few weeks after falling in love with the island.

She ends up moving to Hawaii and building this BEAUTIFUL house near Diamondhead. She continues to collect Islamic art and has craftsmen working on the house for years. After her death she left the house in a trust and tours are conducted through the Honolulu Museum of Art.

While the kids were still in school (Shangri La is 8+ I think, but even then it’s not really kid friendly) Steph and I headed downtown to the museum to catch our shuttle. Of course we had to do a little poking around in the museum as well!




There was also a small section with some Islamic art and a video with a synopsis of Shangri La. See those 8 pointed star tiles with the cross tiles? Those make my heart flutter. This stuff was so insanely beautiful. museum2Finally we hopped onto our shuttle to Shangri La which is only about 10 minutes away.

As you can see from the driveway, its a pretty private location. The house sits on 5 acres of Hawaiian perfection.




And the front door. Here is where it gets incredibly sad. You cannot take pictures inside the house. RIGHT?! Can you believe it! I know, I know, I get it but it was SO hard to keep my camera in my bag. And we had a lovely security guard escorting our tour group just to make sure!DSC_1588Oh and this part I just found hysterically amusing… So our guide is telling us about this front door and translating the Arabic inscribed on it (Something along the lines of ‘May Allah bless those who enter’ something like that) And one of the older ladies in our group was like, “Did she know what that meant?” Like it was so horrific to have this door say those things. I am pretty sure Doris Duke had quite the staff willing to translate for her, she didn’t practice Islam but I think she appreciated the beauty in the religion for sure.

*This is where all of my interior photos of the house would be*

And out back we are!

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This is the living room window, that window is one entire piece that, at the push of a button, slides into the floor. I love it! And it is all original from the 1930s!


Out on the lanai…DSC_1594 DSC_1593

This boat basin has now been turned into a swimming hole… You just have to get creative with how to get there. I hear on weekends it is a bit crazy!DSC_1591

Master Bedroom windowsDSC_1602

I just loved this tabletopDSC_1603

Guest house and poolDSC_1604 DSC_1605





That concluded our tour, but we did enjoy a fabulous lunch at the museum. Beautiful setting and great food!DSC_1613

Perfect lamb salad! There was not a bite left (well except for the tomatoes!)DSC_1618