LANAI CITY, Hawaii -- There's always something new on Lanai.
Cultural festivals, culinary events, visiting artists, an
archery range next to a world-class sporting clays course and
upgrades at the two high-end hotels -- the Lodge at Koele and
Manele Bay -- are some examples.
But on a recent trip, my husband and I yearned for what the
pineapple isle has in abundance: peace and quiet.
This is especially so at the 102-room Lodge at Koele near here,
a small town that has altered little in decades.
Still, there were many choices of things to do -- on the grounds
and off -- during this weekend visit. For example, there was a
wine-tasting seminar in the Lodge's cozy library, complimentary to
hotel guests; a multicourse dinner courtesy of a guest chef; and, a
short walk from the Lodge, games, crafts, music and local food at
the Aloha Festivals, part of a celebration of Hawaiian culture
throughout the islands.
In addition, Lanai itself offers my favorite activities:
trapshooting a few miles from the Lodge; mountain biking;
snorkeling off a catamaran from Manele Harbor (transfer to Manele
Bay is free); a hike in the hills to view ancient petroglyphs; a
game of croquet on one of the hotel's three croquet lawns (two
American, one British); or a free round of golf on the 18-hole
putting course at the Lodge.
Instead of a hike, we opted for a run. We covered 10 miles on
the Monroe trail next to the Lodge, and not a single person crossed
our path. Our reward after a gradual climb was a spectacular view
of red earth, verdant hills and ocean.
Next we hopped the complimentary, 30-minute shuttle to sister
resort Manele Bay, a magnificent, 250-room, Mediterranean
villa-style hotel overlooking the ocean.
Lodge guests have access to the facilities there, including
signing privileges at its restaurants and lounges.
We checked out towels and snorkeling gear and plopped under an
umbrella at Hulopoe Beach. Occasionally we found the energy to cool
off in the bay, known for dolphin visits each morning.
Our busy schedule allowed us to arrive back at the Lodge in time
for tea and scones. Settled into luxurious couches and chairs --
all cushy with giant pillows -- we had no desire to leave. For
three hours we relaxed in the lobby, reading and watching hotel
workers build a fire in the three-story-high stone fireplace, until
it was time to change for dinner.
Both resorts are as well-known for their dining as they are for
their championship golf courses.
The Lodge's intimate dining room, which requires that men wear a
jacket, is famous for its venison and was in demand this particular
weekend for the multicourse meal from guest chef Tim Goodell of
Newport Beach's Aubergine.
While most visitors want to be close to the ocean, there's a
reason why Honolulu residents favor the Lodge. Its 2,000-foot
elevation means cooler temperatures and a view of horses roaming
Rooms are spacious but cozy, with small alcoves with padded,
chenille window seats made for reading or watching TV, pine
dressers and Chinese porcelain tables.
Four-poster king-size beds (ours also had a Murphy bed hidden
away) with pineapple detailing remind visitors that this island was
populated with pure Hawaiians until workers were brought in to work
the pineapple fields in the early 1900s.
Extra-long tubs with decorative ceramic tiles, pineapple bath
salts and pineapple and cream soap, white towels and thick robes
invite leisurely baths.
I've rarely had a weekend filled with so little activity pass so
Next time, we promised to do more than just lounge at the Lodge
and enjoy the serenity. Then again, maybe not.
Rates for garden rooms at the Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay
Hotel start at $375; a fireplace garden suite at the Lodge is
$2,200; the presidential suite at Manele is $3,000 per night.
Commissionable packages include the Lanai Getaway, a two-night
stay designed as an add-on to a Maui vacation, starting at $698 for
two people; Play Through (golf), Family or the 4x4 Adventure
Package, where guests choose one activity per day, per person over
four days, starting at $1,996 for two people.
For more information, call (800) 321-4666 or visit www.islandoflanai.com.
To contact reporter Katherine Nichols, send e-mail to [email protected].