Lanai: Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele
Hawaii’s Lanai island has two principal deluxe hotels, and both are now operated by Four Seasons. Manele Bay is on the coast, and the Lodge at Koele is inland.
Manele Bay. The hotel is filled with art everywhere you look – Asian antiques, frescoes on the walls, colors, flowers, etc. Four Seasons hasn’t changed the look of the hotel much since they took it over, but the rooms are lovely and they have replaced the draperies with sliding shuttered doors. The main building faces the pool which is rather formal in design, 2 jacuzzis, one on each side. The pool is the place guests all gather – lots of lounge chairs, umbrellas, etc. Restaurant/bar is there, lots of that great, Four Seasons service you expect – attendants to set up your chairs, bring ice water, sunblock, cold towels, etc.
The other buildings have beautiful gardens with different themes. Koi ponds, a Chinese bridge, abundant flowers. Three restaurants in all, plus the bar, and beach service. Pool table, games tables adjacent to bar. Kids program ages 5 to 12 – complimentary, as well as a teen area with video games and computers.
To the Beach: walk down the path to a nice beach – attendants are there to set up your chairs, umbrellas, snorkel gear, water and lemonade, or can order food to be delivered from the restaurants. I didn’t see dolphins or whales but I’m told they are often spotted. It is a bit of a walk to get down there, but since it’s Four Seasons, I’m sure they will take guests in golf carts if requested. At the end of the beach are tide pools, and beyond that you can hike up to the Sweetheart Rock where the surf can be dramatic, and you can see across to Maui.
Lodge at Koele. Upcountry lodge look and feel – about 10 degrees cooler than at the beach. Shuttle goes between the 2 hotels, as well as shuttle into Lanai City. Lots of activities on the property: clay pigeon shooting, target shooting, horseback riding, hiking, 4×4 off-roading, croquet and lawn bowling, etc.
The Great Hall is like a big living room, with tea in the afternoon, evening entertainment. This is a country manor house in Hawaii, serene and beautiful. If you go to Hawaii for the beach this is not the place, as it’s 20 minutes to Manele and not convenient to go back and forth all the time. You cannot see the beach from here – just pine trees, open fields with horses, and the mountains behind.
There are signing privileges between the hotels so guests do have beach access at Manele. Both have fantastic golf courses: The Challenge at Manele and The Experience at Koele. In the town of Lanai City, there are some local restaurants and shops, but no big shops or entertainment centers.