"At the end of a steep, shaded driveway where bougainvillea and philodendrons creep up the trunks of palm trees stands the entrance to Shangri La. Surprisingly modest, its dark wooden door appears unobtrusively between two Chinese stone camels, close to a large banyan tree. The Arabic script engraved on metalwork on the door, is from the Koran, and it means, "Enter therein in peace and security." http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/11/10/TR117995.DTL
Shangri La is situated on a 4.9-acre oceanfront lot in the exclusive Black Point residential neighborhood near Diamond Head, Hawaii. Shangri La is an Islamic-style mansion built by heiress Doris Duke. It is now owned by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art in cooperation with the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Construction of Shangri La began in 1937, after Doris Duke's 1935 honeymoon which took her through the Islamic world. For nearly 60 years afterwards, Miss Duke commissioned and collected artifacts for the house, forming a collection of about 3,500 objects. It was designed by Marion Sims Wyeth.
Shangri La is furnished with art, furnishings and built-in architectural elements from Iran, Morocco, Turkey, Spain, Syria, Egypt and India. The Playhouse is a reduced-scale version of the 17th century Chehel Setun in Esfahan, Iran. The outdoor landscaping blends the formality of an Indian Mughal garden and terraced water features with the intimacy of a private Hawaiian fishpond, tropical garden, and fabulous vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Gilt and painted ceilings from Morocco, vivid ceramics from Iran, intimate interiors from Syria, pierced metalwork and vibrant textiles from Spain to India are among the highlights.