Lana‘i is back to its luxurious self with the re-opening of Four Seasons Resort Manele Bay after a multi-million dollar renovation. But you don’t need to spend the night a pricey room. Lana‘i is an easy day trip from Maui for a round of golf, snorkeling at beautiful Hulopo‘e Beach, hiking the Munro Trail or exploring— petroglyphs, a shipwreck, unusual land formations and an isolated beach.
The Manele Bay sister property, the upcountry Lodge at Koele and its golf course have closed as part of Larry Ellison’s transformation of the “Piineapple Island.” And there are a few rooms at the affordable Hotel Lana‘i in Lana‘i City.
It’s easy to get to Lana‘i for a day trip from Maui by Expeditions Ferry, which makes the run several times a day from Lahaina Harbor. A shuttle takes beach lovers to Hulopo‘e Bay, where the Four Seasons Resort is located. This is also home to the Manele Golf Course.
Those who like small Hawaiian towns will love Lana‘i City with its avenues of stately Cook Pines, Dole Park square and the Blue Ginger Café. Hikers head to the Munro Trail. It’s cooler up here with clear mornings and misty evenings.
Dole pineapple fields once covered this part of the island, but the agriculture days are over. The largely privately owned island turned to luxury tourism in the 1990s. Oracle-founder Larry Ellison now owns the island and is behind its transformation.
Ancient Hawaiians left their marks on Lanai with petroglyphs and relics of dwellings. Another landmark, Garden of the Gods, which is accessible by 4-wheel drive, blazes with red rocks and buttes, looking more like Utah than Hawai‘i. At the island’s far end, Polihua Beach is one of the most isolated in the state.