When you read about Lānaʹi all you really glean is that it’s a small island off Maui with three resorts. It sounds like it’s some bougie place people go to lay on the beach.
It’s so much more.
To be clear Lānaʹi is not a budget destination there are three luxury hotels but don’t let that mislead you to believe its like any other beach destination.
Lānaʹi has a really interesting history. It was once the home to a gigantic Dole plantation but cheaper labour overseas meant Dole pulled out and tourism came in to save the island for unemployment.
The transition was so smooth they say no one missed a paycheque.
And while I thought all of the resorts would be slightly modified versions of each other I was really surprised.
Hotel Lana’i is the original building where Dole entertained guests. It maintains that old plantation field and stays true with classic Hawaiian quilts. It’s located next to where everyone lives and there is a small town feel.
The Four Seasons Lodge at Koele is also a repurposed building as it was once used to house the ranchers who looked after cattle before the plantation came in. As my mother says, it feels like a ranch not a hotel pretending to be a ranch.
I actually liked the character of the lodge so much I could never imagine staying down below near the water at The Four Seasons Manele Bay. Yes you read corrected there are 2 Four Seasons on the island and you can take a shuttle between the two to use services at both. I didn’t want to go to Manele Bay, it seemed to lack the character of the Lodge but I was up for a glorious surprise.
The hotel is located in a bay that ban boats and we were told to go on our patio for breakfast to see some dolphins. At first I didn’t think it was a big deal but then we saw at least 50-75 dolphins feeding and sleeping. Some people were out in the water and the dolphins came right up.
A lot of people come to Lānaʹi for a beach day or overnight and these hotels are great but Lana’i has so much more to see. Just like Moloka’i, Lana’i is an island people don’t really know about but if you’re willing to invest some time they both have so much to offer.
But you’ll have to stay tuned to find out what…
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Lānaʹi Visitors Bureau, they did not ask that I write a favourable review or spend 45 minutes watching the dolphins swim around.