Escape to Shangri La

A Little Bit of HistoryOahu

The late tobacco heiress and philanthropist DORIS DUKE devoted many years of her life to collecting Islamic art, which she housed in her Diamond Head estate on O‘ahu. When she died, Duke willed a large share of her estate to the study of MIDDLE EASTERN ART AND CULTURE, and SHANGRI LA, her 5-acre residence, was opened for tours. The estate, worth more than $1 billion when Duke died at the age of 80, houses more than 3,500 objects of art. The never-before-seen bedroom of Doris Duke, MUGHAL SUITE, opened to the public for the first time in 2014. The breathtaking bed-and-bath suite is the cornerstone of Shangri La, designed by architect Frances Blomfield in 1935.

Tours start at HONOLULU MUSEUM OF ART with a video presentation about the colorful life of this woman (including background information on her father, James Buchanan Duke, who founded American Tobacco Co. and later became the principal benefactor of Duke University). After, a van transports tour participants to Shangri La.

At press time, tours were temporarily on hold, however its Kamran Samimi: In Stillness exhibition is on view at Honolulu Museum of Art until Aug. 15, and you can take a Google Street View tour of Shangri La at its Google Arts & Culture page. For more information, go to shagrilahawaii.org.