The island of Lana`i may be somewhat of a mystery to the mainstream visitor to the Hawaiian Islands, but for the visitor who is looking for luxurious accommodations, attentive service, fine dining, and great golf, far from the crowds on O`ahu and Maui, Lana`i and its luxurious Four Seasons resorts are worth getting to know.
Sixth largest of the eight main Hawaiian islands and the smallest publicly accessible island in the chain, Lana`i has been largely in private ownership since the late 1870s. In 1922 the island was purchased by James Dole of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (later Dole Foods) and was transformed into the world’s largest pineapple plantation, acquiring the nickname “The Pineapple Island”. When pineapple cultivation became economically unfeasible on Lana`i in the late 1980s tourism came to the fore, and two Four Seasons resorts were built on the island: The Lodge at Koele at Lana`i City, in the island’s central highlands, and the Four Seasons Manele Bay on the island’s south shore.
Prior to the construction of the Lodge at Koele and the Manele Bay resort, the only significant settlement on the island was the plantation town of Lana`i City, which is now the only example of a 20th-century plantation town remaining in the islands. With most of the island’s 140 square miles remaining undeveloped, the focal points of Manele Bay and Lana`i City/Koele Lodge make for a relaxing change of pace from the better known and more densely developed island areas like Waikiki, on O`ahu, and Lahaina, on Maui.
Activities available at Manele Bay range from spa treatments and relaxing poolside or at the beach on Hulopo`e Bay to hiking, snorkeling, and golf at the scenic Jack Nicklaus-designed course, Manele Golf Course. A short shuttle bus ride away, at Lana`i City, The Lodge at Koele offers horseback riding, 4-wheel-drive off-road excursions, sporting clays, archery, croquet, and an amazing 18-hole putting course that is to the usual putt-putt golf layout as Augusta National is to your local municipal golf course.
Currently the only full-length golf course on the island while the upland course at The Lodge at Koele is being renovated, Manele Golf Course is a prime example of a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Five sets of tee boxes allow play at lengths ranging from 5,024 to 7,039 yards, with contoured fairways, strategic bunkering, and subtly-contoured greens ensuring a satisfying golf experience for golfers of all ability levels. The quality of the course is matched by the scenic beauty of the ocean vistas from nearly every hole, with views of the nearby islands of Maui and Kaho`olawe.
The range of dining options available at the Four Seasons Manele Bay are as fine as any you will find in the Hawaiian Islands. Choices in the main resort building range from sushi at Nobu, steak and seafood at One Forty, Italian cuisine at Kailani, and bar snacks at The Sports Bar—all with scenic views of Huluopo`e Bay. VIEWS, the restaurant in the golf course clubhouse—currently open only for lunch—is only short shuttle ride away. Up in the central highlands of the island, The Lodge at Koele offers splendid dining options in the upcountry style in the Dining Room and the Terrace restaurants, with lighter dining options in the Bar, the Trophy Room lounge, and the Great Hall.
All of the menu selections at the restaurants at Lana`i’s Four Seasons resorts are prepared using the freshest local ingredients, many grown right on the island. Whatever option you choose, be it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late night snack, you won’t be disappointed.
As an alternative to the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach on the main island of Oahau, or even the more laid-back (but bustling by comparison) Lahaina on the neighboring island of Maui, the Four Seasons resorts on lesser-known Lana`i are the ideal option for the visitor who thinks that they have seen all that the Hawaiian Islands have to offer. Even getting to Lana`i is a pleasant experience, with a special lounge area in the Island Air terminal at the Honolulu airport that is reserved just for guests of the Four Seasons Lana`i.