Two spiffed-up resorts on one private Hawaiian island
French country-style mountain lodge? Deluxe beach resort? Many guests like to split their stay on Lanai and experience both!
The Four Seasons Lanai comprises two resorts – the Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay – but it doesn’t matter which you choose, because an island shuttle bus connects them (just 20 minutes apart) so you can use the facilities of both.
In 2012, Oracle CEO and biz whiz, Larry Ellison, bought the former pineapple island with its two Four Seasons properties for an estimated $600 million. Since then, he’s spruced them up to reflect a more Hawaiian plantation vibe. The mountain lodge’s 101 guestrooms feature bright floral prints, crewel-style tapestry upholstery, two-poster beds with carved pineapple finials and walking sticks for hiking. Down by the beach, the 236 rooms at Manele Bay average 700 sq. ft. (most overlook the ocean) and come with huge lanais furnished with cushioned rattan sofas. Also new is the chic Nobu Lanai restaurant at Manele Bay by celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, showcasing innovative Japanese-inspired cuisine.
For a small island (13 miles wide by 18 miles long), there’s a surprising amount to do. From the Koele mountain lodge higher up in the hills – where the air is definitely cooler higher – a great five-mile hiking trail winds along a mountain ridge through pine forests, before opening up to sweeping ocean views. Golfers can tee off on two courses: the championship, Scottish Highlands-style course at Koele, designed by Greg Norman (its signature 17th hole nestled in a deep gorge is one of the world’s most challenging) and the Jack Nicklaus-designed beach course, where every hole has an ocean view. Be sure to save time too for relaxing on the idyllic white sand beach – and treat yourself to Evian spritzers and chilled towels delivered to you, while you watch spinner dolphins play in the bay.
Written by Janice Mucalov
First Published in Cruise and Travel Lifestyles Winter/Spring 2014