Two resorts, same company, only 8 miles apart, but two completely different seasons apart. As the fog rolls in past the pine trees, you can finish your steak dinner, pull on your sweater, and sip brandy by the gigantic fireplace while you discuss your experience at the shooting clays with your fellow guests. On the exact same night across the island, one can hear the familiar sounds of a conch shell being blown signaling the golden sunset over the ocean. Draped in lightweight linnen clothing, you can finish your mai tai while lounging and discussing which fresh catch of the day you will want for dinner while in the distance spinner dolphins entertain you as they play in the bay.
Welcome to the unique island, landscape, and climate of Lana’i. These two Four Seasons on Lana’i are not just different – they are literally seasons apart which means that the Four Seasons have figured out a way for you to have a complete climatic experience on Hawaiian island of Lana’i.
The Lodge at Ko’ele (Fall/Winter)
Pine trees, chilly weather, and a fireplaces is not what you expect out of Hawaii. However on the dry island of Lana’i Cook Island Pine Trees were brought in and planted years ago in order to trap the dew and create more of a water source – and a unique wooded environment on a tropical island was born. The Lodge at Ko’ele plays up the pine trees and lodge feel perfectly with fireplaces, blankets, hiking trails, stables, and a hearty menu. The lodge is a perfect combination of peace, serenity, and nature.
I was told that many local Hawaiians prefer to stay at the Lodge at Ko’ele in order to really experience a unique feel that is not possible on other islands. I must admit, as I sat there in my big oversized chair by the fireplace drinking my glass of wine I felt as if I were in Colorado, but was jolted back into Hawaii when the Hawaiian music began to gently echo off the high ceilings of the Great Hall.
Highlights of Ko’ele
• Each room had a large porch that looked out on the pristine manicured grounds. You’ll also find the occasional lodge cat wandering around on your porch ready to cuddle with you if they felt so inclined.
• Afternoon tea is a perfect sophisticated up-country activity after a morning of hiking or croquet. Delectable miniature desserts and scones with clotted scream and lemon curd put my tea drinking pinky finger to work!
• Amidst all of the green of the lodge grounds you’ll find a pop of color in their orchid house. A lovely place to sit and read among the unique orchid varieties.
• Find your inner Hawaiian with Auntie Irene and Sandra who present the Hookipa cultural program at the resort keeping the history and culture of Hawaii alive. You can learn how the past intertwines with the present while trying your hand and hips at classic cultural activities such as lei making, ukulele, coconut weaving, and hula dance.
Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay (Spring/Summer)
Put your sunglasses on and hop on the interisland shuttle and travel 20 minutes through Lana’i City and down the brushy, dry cliffside to Manele Bay. You’ll go from barren dessert to lush tropics as the shuttle turns into the Manele Bay Resort. Be prepared to begin peeling off layers of clothes as you get closer to the sea where it is typically about 10 to 15 degrees hotter than at the Ko’ele Lodge. You are transported to the tropics surrounded by some of the most impressive landscaping around with native Hawaiian plants and tropical palm trees. The resort is open, breezy, and light all designed to look over the focal point of the aqua blue pool and ocean below feeling as if you’ve stepped into a post card.
Highlights of Manele Bay Resort
• Seaside or poolside – it’s your choice. Not only are there private cabanas and a young man who comes to clean your sunglasses for you poolside, but if you’d rather have sand between your toes it’s a short walk down a path surrounded by native trees and brush to the white sand beach. There you can borrow snorkel equipment, get chairs and umbrellas and lounge in comfort while the waves lap at the shore and the beach staff cater to your needs.
• Each morning I was at the resort schools of spinner dolphins arrived in the bay after hunting all night. They come to the bay to relax and be away from predators….and of course – play. It’s easy to see how they have earned the name spinner dolphins as they jump out of the water and do spins and flips. It’s an amazing site to see these giant schools relax and have fun in the bay.
• Try the ultimate relaxation at the Manele Bay spa. Private cabanas perched up on the cliff provides a luxurious setting for a mind blowing massage. A gentle sea breeze blows through as you enter another world of relaxation and turn to putty in the hands of your masseuse.
• Eat outside and take in the view. The resort has 2 restaurants specializing in seafood and Italian food as well as a new Kailani Lounge concept serving light, fresh seafood small plates in the late afternoon for happy hour and sunset.
• Plus – the Resort will be welcoming a new restaurant to its family in December. Nobu is coming to Lana’i!
• Oh yes – and how could I forget – Best bed, linens, and slippers ever!
The resorts of course work seamlessly together with luggage transfers (just leave everything in your room and they will move it for you!) and shuttles so that you barely have to lift a finger – service seems to be a signature perk at any Four Seasons. The highlight of my service experience there were the personalized cookies they left in my room welcoming me!
Disclosure: I was a guest of Visit Lana’i as a part of their New Media Artist in Residence Program. All views expressed here are my own honest opinions and do not reflect the views of Visit Lana’i.