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Issue #022, April 23, 2014—S is for Shangri-La
April 23, 2014
Dear VIP (Very Important Adventuress)

S is for Shangri La

Shangri La is the Moorish home built by heiress Doris Duke on the island of Oahu in Hawai’i.

In 1935, twenty-two year old tobacco heiress Doris Duke envisioned Shangri La. She had just married American sportsman and advertising man, James H.R. Cromwell and sailed on an ocean liner for a 10-month honeymoon tour of the world.

She came home particularly inspired by her visit to India’s Taj Mahal.

She purchased five acres in the outskirts of Honolulu on the Pacific Ocean, with sweeping views of the ocean and Diamond Head. There she designed and built a personal sanctuary that today is one of Hawai’i’s most architecturally significant houses.

Behind the public image of “wealthy heiress” was an intelligent, independent woman with an adventurous spirit, a deep interest in other cultures, and with the imagination and the discipline to envision and create Shangri La.

In her design Doris Duke incorporated architectural features from the Islamic world and over the next 6 decades filled it with an extensive collection of Islamic art.

The day I visited was balmy, sunny and gorgeous, but then this is Hawai’i, where I’m not sure there is ever a bad day.

Doris Duke put a high value on her privacy; To read the rest of her story and see my colorful pix, CLICK HERE

Tomorrow’s AtoZ Challenge: For the letter T, I’ll tell you about the culturally innovative Tjapukai Theater in Cairns, Australia.

—Carolyn V. Hamilton, Editor and Chief Adventuress

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