Located in Waikīkī, the 10 acre (40,000 m²) estate was deeded to the toddler Kaʻiulani by her godmother, Princess Ruth Keʻelikolani. Archibald Scott Cleghorn, Kaʻiulani's Scottish father and former royal governor of Oʻahu, built a two-story home on the estate. It was furnished with two grand pianos, elaborate brocade chairs, gold and glass cabinets and fixtures. Also, there were various art collections displayed on the walls and rooms. From ʻĀinahau, the Cleghorn family would entertain Hawaiʻi's prestigious social circles. In Hawaiian, ʻĀinahau" means, "the cool place". The name was chosen by Princess Likelike and she composed a song ʻĀinahau.
Cleghorn collected flowers and trees from all over the world, planted in various gardens on the estate. A stable was built for several horses, including quarters for Kaʻiulani's prized pony. ʻĀinahau was made famous in later years for its many peacocks that roamed freely on its grounds. Kaʻiulani would be called the "Princess of Peacocks" in legend.
Kaʻiulani became mistress of ʻĀinahau at the age of 12, upon the death of her mother Princess Likelike. As mistress of ʻĀinahau, she grew fond of the company of the Scottish poet and author, Robert Louis Stevenson, who stayed at ʻĀinahau over the course of Kaʻiualani's childhood.
The site was later developed by the owners of the Moana Hotel, located across Kalakaua Avenue, which had just been built towards the end of Kaʻiulani's life. Bungalows for the main hotel were constructed on the site. They were demolished in 1953 and the Matson Line constructed the Princess Kaiulani Hotel, which opened on June 11, 1955. The 11-story building was the tallest in Hawaii at the time.
In 1959, Matson sold their hotels to Sheraton Hotels, which added a second wing to the successful Princess Kaiulani Hotel a year later, with 210 additional rooms. Sheraton renamed the hotel the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and added a third wing, the 29-story Ainahau Tower, in 1970. They sold all of their Hawaii hotels to Kyo-Ya Company Limited in 1974 but continued to operate them.
Media related to ʻĀinahau at Wikimedia Commons