Originating in 1896, the Kilohana Estate has its roots in the efforts of Albert Spencer Wilcox, a plantation manager and scion of one of the original missionary families. Initially conceived as a functioning cattle ranch, the estate underwent a transformative phase when Albert’s nephew, Gaylord Parke Wilcox, assumed control in 1936. Under his guidance, Kauai’s inaugural mansion was erected. The residence, a modern marvel for its era, was designed by the distinguished British architect Mark Potter. Notably, its furnishings were procured from Gump’s of San Francisco, and all lumber used in construction was shipped from the west coast.
Presently, the 16,000-square-foot Kauai mansion has been meticulously restored to recapture its 1930s charm and elegance. It currently serves as a home to specialty shops, art galleries, and Gaylord’s restaurant—a stunning dining establishment with enchanting courtyard seating. Retaining nearly half of its original furnishings, the mansion features gardens and orchards that have been replanted in accordance with the original plans. Situated amidst 35 acres of pasture, manicured grounds, and a blend of natural growth, Kilohana stands as a testament to its historical grandeur.
As you leave Lihue heading southwest on highway 50, look to your right and you will see Kilohana across the pasture where gentle Clydesdales, a donkey and other animals graze. The curving driveway leads to the front door of the home and beyond to the parking area. You can tour these historic grounds for free and browse through the unique shops that are nestled in the beautifully restored rooms and quaint guest cottages.