Ainahau Estate in Waikiki
Childhood Home of Princess Kaiulani
Ainahau was the name of the ten acre Waikiki coconut grove and estate
given to Princess Kaiulani when she was born.
This Ainahau Pond was Fed by the Apuakehau Stream
Photo Credit: Hawaii State Archives
Princess Kaiulani's ten acre Waikiki estate was given to her
by her godmother, Princess Ruth Keelikolani, at the baby princess's
baptismal ceremony. It has been said that 500 coconut palms were
planted in honor of Princess Kaiulani's birth.
Princess Kaiulani's Scottish father, Archibald Cleghorn, built a two story
home on the Waikiki land. At first the home was used only
as a country estate, but Princess Kaiulani's family loved it so much,
it soon became their full time residence. Cleghorn's wife, Princess Likelike,
name the estate "Ainahau" which some sources say means
"Land of the Hau Tree" and other sources say means "cool land" because
of the constant breezes that flowed across the
The picture on the right was taken at Ainahau in 1887. Princess Kaiulani
is standing on the far right in this picture and her father is
sitting next to her. The princess was probably
about 12 years old when this picture was taken.
Archibald Cleghorn had an avid interest in horticulture. He
imported plants and flowers from all over the world
and planted them at Ainahau. Plants on the estate included
mango trees, teak, cinnamon, camphor trees, date palms,
sago palms, and many varieties of hibiscus flowers.
Cleghorn's beautiful gardens and several
streams and lily ponds made Ainahau one of the most beautiful
estates in Hawaii.
Hawaii's first banyan tree was imported by Princess Kaiulani's
father, Archibald Cleghorn and planted on the Ainahau Estate.
Cuttings from that banyan were planted in another part of Honolulu
when the Ainahau estate was demolished.
Princess Kaiulani had a pony named Fairy at Ainahau and she rode him
frequently on the country roads of Waikiki to visit family
and friends. Fairy was housed in a stable on the grounds that
was also the home of several other horses.
As many as fifty peacocks were allowed to
roam freely on the grounds of Ainahau and
Princess Kaiulani loved them dearly. The picture on the left shows Princess Kaiulani
feeding her beloved peacocks shortly before she died in 1899.
According to some, the peacocks of Ainahau screamed in unison
at the moment Princess Kaiulani died.
Scottish poet and book author Robert Louis Stevenson was a family friend
who had a home in Waikiki that was next to Ainahau. He was a frequent
visitor who became good friends with Princess Kaiulani when she was about
13 years old.
Sadly, Princess Kaiulani and Princess Likelike both died young,
and before their father and husband Archibald Cleghorn.
When Cleghorn died of heart failure in 1910 his will
left Ainahau to the Territory of Hawaii with instructions
to turn it into a public recreational area called Kaiulani Park.
The Territory refused his gift, some say to avoid the cost
of creating and maintaining a park. Others say the gift
was refused by the Territory because efforts made on behalf of
Cleghorn's other heirs. Ainahau was eventually
subdivided and sold to real estate developers.
Princess Kaiulani's childhood home at Ainahau was torn down in 1955 to make room
for hotels and residential buildings. In this picture you can see the
Moana Hotel, which was located across the street
from parts of the Ainahau Estate. The Moana was the first
real hotel in Hawaii. It opened in 1901, a year or two after
Princess Kaiulani died. Today the
Princess Kaiulani Hotel
sits on land that was once
the entrance to the Ainahau Estate.
Waikiki Historic Trail Marker #8: Ainahau
Princess Victoria Kaiulani Photo and Profile
Princess Miriam Likelike Photo and Profile
Archibald Scott Cleghorn Photo and Profile
The Hawaiian Monarchy
Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii Travel Newsletter
Elsewhere on the Web
Honolulu Advertiser Princess Kaiulani Profile
Ainahau's History - by Princess Kaiulani Hotel's Staff
Ainahau Grass Hut on Waioli Tea Room Grounds