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Highlights of Shangri La’s unique history


The history of Shangri La is the story of people, place and place-making. The interaction of the dramatic Hawaiian landscape, modernist architecture, Islamic art and the legacy of the founder continue to animate Shangri La today.

Doris Duke

Independent, intelligent and adventurous, Doris Duke (1912–1993) was determined not to be defined by her wealth or to be confined by social expectations. 

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The Hawaiian Community

Doris Duke and James Cromwell fell in love with Hawai’i’s natural beauty and multicultural environment in 1935 and determined to build a seasonal residence.

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Architects, Designers & Artisans

As Doris Duke (1912–93) wrote in a 1947 Town & Country article titled “My Honolulu Home,” Shangri La “…isn’t the product of any one person, but of a number of architects and decorators from all over the world, finally put together by me.”

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Site & Landscape

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