For decades, the Kilohana Plantation has been a place where locals and visitors can enjoy the true meaning of Aloha. From acres of charming gardens to a delectable restaurant and the exciting Plantation Railway, people from all over the world are soaking in the present while remembering Kauai’s past.
For 33 years and counting, Kilohana has been open to the public. The area has grown from 36 acres of gardens to a 104-acre visitor paradise. The plantation includes an agricultural park, Gaylord’s Restaurant & Mahikō Lounge, Plantation Railway, Koloa Rum Company, Lu’au Kalamaku, and much more! Today, Kilohana is considered a Historic Landmark and provides a perfect example of what Hawaiian hospitality is all about. But to truly enjoy and appreciate the Kilohana Plantation, let’s dive into the past of this remarkable tropical destination.
Originally known as the Kilohana Tract, Albert Wilcox purchased the land in the late 1800s. For many years, cattle farming ruled these acres. Once sugar was seen as being very profitable, the tract was condensed to 36 acres and then became the place we know today as Kilohana Plantation. After Albert’s death in the early 1930s, his brother, Gaylord, moved from Honolulu to take over operation at a local 12,000-acre sugar plantation known as Grove Farm Plantation. As time passed, this plantation grew to over 23,000 acres.
As his plantation was flourishing, Gaylord Wilcox and his wife, Ethel, decided to have an English Tudor home built on which is now known as Kilohana Plantation. Mark Potter, a local architect from New Zealand, was assigned the project of designing the 16,000 square foot mansion. This elegant home was crafted with very fine woods and Art Deco details. Lumber and other building materials came from the West Coast and moldings arrived from England. Gorgeous pine wainscoting was added throughout the home, with the addition of coffered ceilings in the hallways, foyer, living room, library, and staircase.
After the home was built, the mansion at Kilohana Plantation became the most expensive home ever built on the island of Kauai. The home was used as both a working homestead and a place that held many social gatherings and diplomatic meetings. As the home was furnished with a strong art deco style, Hawaiian artifacts were proudly on display throughout the residence.
As the courtyard was the focal point of the mansion, it was used frequently to entertain guests. Gaylord lived in the home until he passed in 1970, and in 1985, the residence was released on a long-term basis. After the grounds were restored, Kilohana was open to the public and was considered one of the best visitor destinations on the island.
Today, Kilohana offers many activities for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you soak in the tropical beauty on our Plantation Railway or you watch our Lu’au Kalamaku full of exhilarating performances, Kilohana Plantation provides the true island experience.