Hotel Lanai reopens after renovation

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The hotel's 10 rooms have been updated with new wallpaper and wood paneling, and amenities such as air conditioning and TVs.
The hotel's 10 rooms have been updated with new wallpaper and wood paneling, and amenities such as air conditioning and TVs.

The Hotel Lanai, one of just two hotels on the island, has emerged from an extensive renovation and is once again welcoming guests.

The Hotel Lanai closed in May, leaving the Fours Season Resort Lanai as the only accommodations outside of vacation rentals on Lanai until the property reopened in December

The plantation-style hotel was originally built in 1923 when the island was dominated by pineapple production.

"The hotel has never really undergone any renovations in its history until now," said Lesley Kaneshiro, senior vice president of operations for parent company Pulama Lanai. "It was originally built for the plantation managers and then later converted into a hotel."

The clientele includes local Hawaii residents visiting Lanai for work or to see family, and visitors who mostly hail from the U.S. mainland and Canda, Kaneshiro said.

The 10 rooms maintain a rustic, plantation motif with rolling wooden doors separating the bathroom from the living space, and have been updated with new wallpaper and wood paneling, and amenities such as air conditioning and TVs. New window coverings were added in addition to a virtual assistant to allow guests to adjust in-room climate control and lighting.

"We kept the plantation look but we did a lot of work on the rooms, upgrading the interiors and other items to provide greater comfort and convenience for our guests," Kaneshiro said.

Additionally, the hotel restaurant, Lanai City Bar and Grille, was closed and renovated. The restaurant space also got air conditioning, the bar area was redone, and a wall was removed to make the space more open. Upon reopening, chef Joel Harrington, who has worked at Red Rooster in New York for James Beard Award and "Top Chef Master" winner Marcus Samuelsson, took over the kitchen.

Harrington has livened up the menu with new, inventive dishes such as "tuna on the rocks" (poke-style ahi tuna served with chili Pop Rocks) and a local venison dish prepared with Vietnamese spices, an Asian pear ragu and foie gras.

With the upgrades, the Hotel Lanai is hoping to attract new guests and help promote Lanai, one of the least visited Hawaiian islands, to a new audience.

"Hotel Lanai is centrally located and is great for wandering through the city and all the activities on the island are still easily accessed," Kaneshiro said. "We're always looking for different or new visitors, and part of the goal is to introduce the island. We want to help people learn more about the culture and what Lanai has to offer."

Moving forward, the Hotel Lanai plans to start offering daily hot breakfast and has introduced a Sunday brunch service. They have also begun hosting live entertainment at the restaurant on Friday and Saturday evenings.

"We are constantly looking for new things to do, and we are listening for community and guest feedback so we can expand and improve our offerings," Kaneshiro said. "Our team is really excited about the opportunity to bring in both more locals and visitors with the new services and renovated hotel. We're excited to show them the spirit and beauty Lanai has."

Daily rates for Hotel Lanai start at $250 and average $325.

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