“In 1868, the year of her 30th birthday and the sixth anniversary of her marriage to John (Dominis), Lili‘uokalani inherited valuable property in Waikiki”. (Star Bulletin)
“The Queen’s Retreat” was in the district of Hamohamo (“rub gently,”) it consisted of two homes – one, called Paoakalani (“the royal perfume,”) was her principal home in Waikīkī.
The other was Ke‘alohilani (“the royal brightness,”) located opposite Kūhiō Beach, which she referred to in her memoirs as “my pretty seaside cottage.”
“In contrast to stately Washington Place, the one-story Ke‘alohilani was open on two sides with a large and inviting living room ‘filled with all things Hawaiian,’ where Lili‘uokalani and her ohana could gather in joy and hospitality”.
“Next to a satin pillow, embroidered in heavy thread proclaiming ‘There Is No Place Like Home,’ stood feathered kahilis. … A feather cape, a knitted afghan, a dog’s tooth necklace, a gold-plated bracelet …”
“… all intermingled in the home Lili‘uokalani came to love so dearly. ‘I danced around the rooms. It was my own!’” (Lili‘uokalani; Hawaii Bar Assn)
Here, she retreated to relax and informally entertain family, friends and on occasion, visiting royalty. She also spent much of her time composing her songs and translating Hawaiian stories into English.
Her home served as a comforting getaway from the pressures of business at ʻIolani Palace, several miles away.
“Hamohamo is justly considered to be the most life-giving and healthy district in the whole extent of the island of Oʻahu; there is something unexplainable and peculiar in the atmosphere of that place, which seldom fails to bring back the glow of health to the patient, no matter from what disease suffering.”
The Queen “derived much amusement, as well as pleasure: for as the sun shines on the evil and the good, and the rain falls on the just and the unjust, I have not felt called upon to limit the enjoyment of my beach and shade-trees to any party in politics …”
“While in exile it has ever been a pleasant thought to me that my people, in spite of differences of opinions, are enjoying together the free use of my seashore home.” (Lili‘uokalani)
In setting up the Lili‘uokalani trust, “Assisted by her attorneys, Lili‘uokalani conveyed all her real property to three trustees (brother-in-law Archibald S Cleghorn, business agent Curtis P Iaukea, and attorney William O Smith) on December 2, 1909. She retained the right to use Washington Place and Ke‘alohilani as her residences”. (Hawaii Bar Assn)
After the Queen’s death, Ke‘alohilani, as well as the pier and beach fronting the area (including the fisheries,) was transferred to Prince Kūhiō.
The Prince and his wife, Princess Elizabeth Kahanu, temporarily lived in Queen Lili‘uokalani’s Waikīkī cottage, Ke‘alohilani, for about a year.
They razed it and constructed a new home, which they called Pualeilani (“heavenly flower lei” or “flower from wreath of heaven.”)
After Prince Kūhiō died at Pualeilani on Jan. 7, 1922, the property was given to the city; by 1938 the name of the pier, as well as the beach area fronting it, became known as Kūhiō Beach.
The surf break in front of this is still known as Queen’s, because this was facing the Queen’s home.
Kuekaunahi stream used to run through the property; this small stream paralleled Kapahulu Avenue and crossed Waikīkī Beach at the intersection of Kalākaua and Kapahulu Avenue.
The stream was eventually enclosed in a culvert and at the shore its waters were channeled into the ocean through the Kapahulu Groin.