Doris Duke Shangri La in Hawaii

Shangri La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, and legendary tobacco heiress Doris Duke (1912 – 1993) had found hers in Hawaii, so she built a home there, and named it Shangri La, after the fictitious place in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon.

Shangri La Doris Duke
Doris Duke's Shangri La mansion near Diamond Head just outside Honolulu is now owned by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, and open to the public for tours. See Shangri La hawaii.

Doris Duke Hawaii
At the young age of 12, Doris Duke became the richest girl in the world when her father, James Buchanan Duke magnate behind a tobacoo and energy empire and benefactor of Duke University, died. In 1935, returning from a honeymoon through the Islamic world, Doris Duke stopped over in Hawaii and fell in love with the people, the climate, surfing and the Hawaiian way of life. She was captivated by the beauty, the weather and the privacy Hawaii offered her from the public eye and the New York social scene.

Foundation for Islamic Art
Duke's interest in Islamic art went far and wide and is reflected throughout the home. From replicas of gardens and buildings she admired to memories brought back from her travels.

Islamic Culture at Shangri La
Shangri La is an exquisite world of Islamic culture, with furnishings, textiles, moasics and a spectacular collections of Middle Eastern art.

Shangri La Hawaii
And it looks stunning against the blue Pacific ocean.

Doris Duke Vogue 1966
Doris Duke at Shangri La in 1966, photographed by Horst for Vogue. Shangri La was one of Duke’s many estates but it was by far her favorite and most personal. She spent a few months a year there and visited consistently for more than 60 years.