Moving to Hawaii Neighborhood Focus: Wilhelmina Rise & Maunalani Heights

Up above Kaimuki, Wilhelmina Rise and Maunalani Heights, a.k.a. Wilhelmina 90210, is popular for many reasons – it’s a 10-minute drive to the beach, Diamond Head, Waikiki, and town, is made up of a charming mix of older homes and new, updated properties, and most homes have spectacular views.  A common question we run into is, “What’s the difference between Wilhelmina Rise and Maunalani Heights?”

The easy answer is this: Maunalani Heights is higher. Most would tell you that you’re in Wilhelmina until you get to the intersection of Sierra Drive and Wilhelmina Rise just below the Maunalani Community Park. But there’s more to it than that. Long ago, William Matson owned much of the hill.  Name sound familiar? Matson was born in Sweden, came to the U.S. as a cabin boy in 1863, and bought his first ship in 1882.  His business model of shipping goods to Hawaii from San Francisco and bringing sugar back was very successful, and Matson Navigation Co. boomed. Over time, he developed and sold off the homes to create the neighborhood we now call Wilhelmina Rise. The lots are a bit of a hodge-podge of shape and sizes, and the streets meander in a style nearly as winding as San Francisco’s Lombard Street. There are beautiful historic homes big and small in various styles, like tudor, from the old days, and there are new, contemporary homes that have replaced them. Once cars became the main form of transport in Hawaii, the neighborhood got popular for its views and convenience, and it likely always will be.

Up higher, the streets in Maunalani Heights share names with Matson’s ships, as does the whole hill – The S.S. Wilhelmina was a 146-passenger ship that supported tourism starting in 1910.  Matsonia, Lurline, Monterey and Mariposa were all luxury passenger ships added to the fleet in the early 1930’s. Lurline was a favorite – Matson had two ships by that name, and then named his youngest daughter Lurline as well. Ethelwyn A. Castle bought 9.5 acres near the top and built her home there. Her home later became the Maunalani Hospital that can be seen from all over Honolulu, which she willed to be a residence for the elderly. Eventually, Maunalani Heights was parceled off and developed, but because it happened later, the roads are a bit wider, the utilities are buried, and the lots are larger, with a maximum of one home per 10,000 square feet.

Want to live on the hill? There are eighteen homes for sale currently in Wilhelmina Rise and Maunalani Heights. Contact us for a list of homes, current price ranges, and to schedule showings.