Four Seasons Resort, Lana’i – The Lodge at Koele ☆☆☆☆☆
Date of Travel: October 2010
Our Island Air flight from Honolulu arrived into Lana’i's tiny airfield at around 3pm. We made our way into the small terminal and were immediately greeted by Four Seasons staff. Once our bags were loaded up, the 10 minute drive to Koele commenced. Long stretches of road were tidily lined with towering Cook Pines. Richly colored red dirt paths would occasionally intersect along our way. Once our driver had pulled us up to the Four Seasons at Koele, we were kindly greeted with a kukui nut lei and refreshing cup of lilikoi lemonade. A representative from the front desk met us by the hearth and checked us in. We were then escorted to our second floor room overlooking the garden.
Our capacious room had classic cottage like charm. Although the fixtures and furnishings aren’t brand new, it was absolutely beautiful, perfectly maintained and exudes an inviting ambiance. The carpets and upholstery were colored in warm, bright tones complimented by the misty cloudforest climate that could be observed from the cozy window seat. The bed was heavenly and the bathroom was spacious and offered ample surface area for my vast array of personal items. The balcony was also a great, large size that would have been perfect for in-room dining. Our coffee machine was no good for making tea, as it gave the water a questionable flavor, however, complimentary tea and coffee is available in the lobby between 7am and 8am. It would have been nice for them to have offered this service in the after dinner hours as well. Hopefully they will consider adding this to their program in the future.
Housekeeping staff did an absolutely impeccable job throughout our entire stay. They tidied up our things every day and didn’t forget to refresh anything. Well, they did forget to leave our complimentary waters 2 days out of our 3 day stay, but they brought them up as soon as we called in the request.
The Terrace Restaurant (in the lobby) didn’t have much selection for the carb-consious, protein obsessed vegetarian. We basically asked the chef to create a plate with an assortment of the menu’s vegetarian side dishes to be served as our main course. Our plates arrived with spinach, carrots, zucchini, and a dollop of risotto. It was nice, however, not the most balanced meal imaginable. Perhaps they could consider stocking tofu or at least portobello mushrooms. Something I hope they take into consideration.
The Terrace Restaurant offers a nice breakfast menu as well. Their country-style eggs and potatoes plate is fabulous. The lemon ricotta pancakes were a bit of a let down though. Unfortunately the hotel doesn’t carry soy milk either, so I’m really hoping that they start to keep some of that on hand as well.
Since The Four Seasons have 2 resorts on Lana’i, we were welcome to use the amenities at either Manele (resort at the beach) or Koele (our accommodation up mauka in the forest). A shuttle service between each resort (and airport pick-up and drop-off)was offered at 40.00USD per person for the entirety of our 3 night stay. The shuttle also stops in historical Lana’i City upon request – The small town built by James Dole back when the pineapple plantations still produced.
Driving back and forth between the two hotels gave us some time to enjoy Lana’i's virtually untouched beauty. Many of this islands geographic and vegetative features are identical to that of my Big Island of Hawai’i (former) home. A rich profusion of Kiawe trees branch out from between the ancient volcanic lava rocks. Down makai (near the ocean), the pronounced, salty sweet aroma of Naupaka plants make for a strangely familiar environment.
The Four Seasons at Manele is a beautiful ocean front property (much like a small-scale St. Regis Monarch Beach). Both the spa and pool at Manele are pristine. In addition to the immaculately manicured grounds, the pool staff wholly embody the prestigious Four Seasons 5 star standard. Your arrival is promptly acknowledged and a beach side cabana of your choice is quickly draped with chair covers, towels and ice waters on the side (waters refreshed about every hour). In addition, there are periodic offerings of ice cold towels and a rehydrating spritz of Evian. Occasionally they make the rounds with fresh fruit spears and cucumbers for your eyes. We were always addressed by our surname, and if my precious shade was compromised at any point, one of these delightful gentlemen would politely offer to adjust the umbrella accordingly.
Although the Hulopo‘e Court restaurant at the Manele forgot to make note of my little birthday celebration, we really appreciated having the chef create a nice vegetarian dish of polenta and mixed vegetables.. the polenta was amazing!
We had dinner again at The Terrace (up at Koele) for our final night on Lana’i. Since we didn’t have such a great experience with our vegetarian plate during our previous visit, I decided to order the mahi. Yes, I have learned to eat seafood if my protein levels are low enough (and if I am left without a veg option). This time, our waitress Charita discovered that my birthday had been overlooked, and generously presented me with a delicious Kona coffee tart dessert.
The Lodge at Koele offers complimentary croquet, mini golf and a selection of indoor gaming. There are beautiful walking trails through the mountains and activities such as horseback riding and archery are offered at reasonable rates.
Lana’i's inimitable atmosphere has been triumphantly complimented by the introduction of the two beautiful Four Seasons resorts. I would highly recommend a visit to either of these resorts to anyone looking for a relaxing vacation secluded from the realities of every day life. Be forewarned, food and drink prices are a bit on the high side!