If it was good enough for Bill Gates’ wedding, it’s good enough for us. Exquisite Lana’i, pronounced “Lah-nigh-ee”, is reached by a short flight from another island or by boat from Maui. It has an elitist feel as it is somewhat off the beaten track, so is one of the few proper escapes on the Hawaiian Islands.
I would not even have considered Lanai without the presence of the Four Seasons Manele Bay and the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele. But the temptation of two Four Seasons hotels was too much! The flight we took from Oahu was quick and on arrival, we were met and driven down (complimentary) to the Manele Bay resort by our Four Seasons guide. We were immediately struck by how empty dry much of the middle of the island is, a stark contrast to the lushness of Kauai or Maui, but as you reach the coast you are transported into the Manele Bay oasis. The building is Mediterranean-style with beautiful tropical gardens and the whole hotel overlooks Hulopoe Bay, with one of the best and emptiest beaches we have experienced on the Islands.
Your other sleeping option is the slightly cheaper Four Seasons Lodge at Koele. With only 102-rooms it reminded us of a perfectly formed and maintained opulent English manor house with the most beautiful and colorful lush gardens you can imagine. It is also a golfers paradise with a stunning PGA course. Finally, you will find the best trek on the island here, wind through forest, past the golf course to reach amazing viewpoints a-top of the island. Though not an extremely long trek it’s quite a steep walk, you’d be best advised to take your walking shoes and a supply of water. Don’t forget to tell the concierge your trekking and they’ll watch out for your return.
The Four Seasons offers regular shuttles between the two hotels and you can dine at either – if you’ve stretched for a room with a view I can recommend the in-room dining on your balcony. We preferred the Manale Bay because of the beautiful beach and sunsets, but it would be feasible to stay at the cheaper Lodge and just shuttle up and down when you wanted to enjoy the facilities at the bay. Currently, Four Seasons is offering pay 2 nights get 1 free deals on certain dates. This means rates at the Lodge start at under $250 USD per night compared to $360 USD per night on the same 3 for 2 offer, so there is quite a saving to be made. For me, the ideal would be 3 nights at the Lodge followed by 3 at the bay. Then again I do have a short attention span!
If you are looking for a remote, rough and rural island with peaceful, empty beaches, star-filled evenings, snorkeling and swimming, hiking remote trails, or renting a four-wheel-drive vehicle for the day to go off-road, you must try Lanai.
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