Visiting the Queen Emma Summer Palace on Oahu

Queen Emma Summer Palace
Photo by John Fischer

One place which relatively few visitors ever find on Oahu is the Queen Emma Summer Palace. It is located right off the Pali Highway, just about five miles and 15-20 minutes away from Waikiki.

For visitors who plan on driving to the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, the Queen Emma Summer Palace is the perfect place to stop either on the way or when heading back to Honolulu or Waikiki. It is located in the Nuuanu Neighborhood of Oahu.


The Queen Emma Summer Palace is also known as Hanaiakamalama which in Hawaiian means "foster child of the moon." It is also the Hawaiian word for the Southern Cross which is visible from high altitudes in Hawaii.

At a higher elevation than Honolulu, the palace was used by Queen Emma and her family as a retreat from the summer heat of Honolulu and their duties as rulers.

Queen Emma was the consort of King Kamehameha IV who was the fourth king of the Kingdom of Hawaii and who ruled from 1855 to 1863. She also was the mother of Prince Albert who died at the young age of four in 1862 and who many associate with the area on Kauai known as Princeville.

The palace was built in 1848 and is one of the few remaining examples of Greek Revival architecture in Hawaii. Originally owned by businessman John Lewis and then sold to Queen Emma's uncle John Young II who named the property Hanaiakamalama after his family's home on the Big Island of Hawaii. When Young died in 1857, the home was willed to his niece, Queen Emma.

Following the Queen's death in 1885, the home was sold to the Hawaiian monarchy and leased. At one point in the early 1900's the home was threatened with demolition, however, the Daughters of Hawaii took control and restored the home, searched for and returned much of the original furniture to the property.

Daughters of Hawaii

Tours of the Queen Emma Summer Palace are conducted by docents who are members of the Daughters of Hawaii or their auxiliary Calabash Cousins organization. These organizations today have a membership approaching 1,500.

The Daughters of Hawaii were founded in 1903 by seven daughters of missionaries with the purpose to "perpetuate the spirit of old Hawaii" and to preserve the language, culture and several historic sites including Hulihe‘e Palace in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii.

The Daughters of Hawaii continue to manage both palaces to this day.

Palace Tours

Tours begin in the palace's Entrance Hall proceeding through the Front Bedroom, Parlor, Cloak Room, Center Hall, Edinburgh Room and Back Bedroom. Within these rooms are numerous historic paintings and portraits of Queen Emma, King Kamehameha IV, her son, Prince Albert and other members of the royal family of Hawaii.

There are also numerous pieces of original furniture owned by the Queen including her bed, the Prince's cradle and bathtub, her baby grand piano and numerous pieces of koa wood furniture many of which were crafted by Wilhelm Fischer, a noted woodworker whose work is also found in the 'Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu.

The palace also contains numerous collections of clothing, jewelry and gifts that were presented to the Queen and King by foreign heads of state.

The palace is situated on 2.16 acres of the original 65 acres once owned by the Queen. The palace grounds are well worth exploring for the numerous examples of native Hawaiian plants and trees as well as numerous rose bushes which were favorites of the Queen. There is also a small gift shop which includes numerous books about Queen Emma and the royal family of Hawaii.

Because the palace was built over 150 years ago and is a registered historic place, it is not easily accessible for those who have difficulty walking and climbing stairs. If you have such difficulty, I suggest that you contact the palace in advance of your visit using the contact information below.


The Queen Emma Summer Palace 2913 Pali Highway
Honolulu, HI 96817

Was this page helpful?