We recently had the opportunity to experience a true hidden gem on the South Shore of O’ahu. Doris Duke’s Shangri-La is one of the most amazing, breathtakingly beautiful sites to see. Doris Duke visited Hawai’i on her honeymoon with James Cromwell in 1935. She fell in love the people, the culture, the spirit and the land.
The 4.9 acre property they acquired boasts sunset & Diamond Head views and fronts the ocean including the well-known swimming hole “Cromwell’s”. Doris Duke was said to be friends with the famed Kahanamoku ‘ohana and had a deep love and appreciation for the ocean.
Doris’ love of Islamic architecture, style, color, history and culture is infused in almost every aspect of the home. The collection of cultural and historical items are meticulously displayed throughout and this famed collection is said to be the second largest collection of Islamic Art in the United States, right behind the MET in New York. Details small and large speak volumes to the amount of time, energy, money and imagination that went into every aspect of this estate.
While it was a very private personal residence during Doris’ life, in her later years, she proactively began to prepare it to be a museum of sorts that would be open for generations to come after her passing. There are a plethora of opportunities to visit the home. The tour guides are charming storytellers who are passionate about Doris, her legacy, Islamic art and sharing these magical moments with anyone willing to listen. For more information, visit the Honolulu Museum of Art’s side here: http://honolulumuseum.org/385-about_shangri_la
While some definitions of shangri-la refer to an imaginary or far away magical land – Doris Duke’s Shangri-La is real and closer than you think.