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7 of America's best castles to visit by luxury yacht

7 of America's best castles to visit by luxury yacht

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Iolani Palace
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Iolani Palace

Just steps from downtown Honolulu, royal blue and gold painted-iron gates open to a world of opulence and grandeur at Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s last monarchs and a National Historic Landmark. King Kalakaua built his majestic residence on sacred ancient worship grounds in 1882. Today, the public may tour its meticulously restored grand halls, throne room, state dining room and private suites, including the bedroom where Queen Liliuokalani was held under house arrest following the overthrow of her government in the late 19th century.

The full glory of Polynesian history and Hawaii’s royal heritage are on display in every crystal chandelier, gilt-edged chair and crimson carpet. Furnishings and objects, sold after the monarchy was overthrown, have been recovered from 36 states and four foreign countries. Visitors can see original Gothic-Revival, Asian and European furnishings, polished Hawaiian wood staircases, vases and statuary from England, India and France, and framed paintings of the island’s royalty including King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani by noted American portraitist William Cogswell.

Don't miss: On the palace grounds, the ornate Coronation Pavilion looks like a fanciful crown.

How to visit on a superyacht: Close by is the largest yacht harbor in the state of Hawaii, Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, 2.3 miles from the Iolani Palace; it takes vessels up to 85 feet. alawaiharbor.com. Larger yachts can head to the Ko Olina Marina, 25 miles away with slips up to 200 feet.

Picture courtesy of Jeff Whyte

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