Review: Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Want to receive extra benefits for your stay at the Four Seasons Lanai, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact [email protected] for more details. He can even help if you already have a stay booked. 

Introduction: Island Hopping Around Hawaii
Review: Hawaiian Airlines First Class A330 Los Angeles To Honolulu
Review: Four Seasons Lounge Honolulu Airport
Review: Ohana By Hawaiian ATR42 Honolulu To Lanai
Review: Four Seasons Resort Lanai
Review: Andaz Maui At Wailea
Review: Hawaiian Airlines First Class 717 Maui To Honolulu
Review: The Royal Hawaiian Waikiki
Review: IASS Lounge Honolulu Airport
Review: Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Honolulu To Los Angeles


Hotel Reviews Art

Want to receive extra benefits for your stay at the Four Seasons Lanai, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact [email protected] for more details. He can even help if you already have a stay booked. 

Before I start this review, let me say that this was one of my first stays at a Four Seasons resort. In general I’m skeptical of luxury hotels with hundreds of rooms, because it’s hard for them to provide personalized service and not make guests feel like a transaction. When it comes to super high end hotels, this is one of the reasons I love Aman — the hotels have only a few dozen rooms, and the level of service is unrivaled.

So, how did the Four Seasons Lanai do? Let’s get right into the review.

After picking up a rental car in Lanai City we drove to the hotel, which was about a 20 minute drive away. Driving around Lanai is such a treat. The island only has a few thousands residents, and you see almost no cars on the road. The roads are winding and have views at every corner.


Four Seasons Lanai entrance

As soon as we arrived at the Four Seasons we pulled up and were addressed by name (or more accurately, Ford was addressed by name — the reservation was in his name). The hotel offers complimentary valet parking and doesn’t charge a resort fee. For most other luxury hotels in Hawaii, those two things alone would cost you close to $100 per night.


Four Seasons Lanai exterior

Once inside the lobby we could skip the check-in desk completely, and were escorted to our room, given that we had checked in at the Four Seasons Lounge at Honolulu Airport. However, before going to our room we had a look around the lobby.


Four Seasons Lanai lobby

Reception is inside the lobby and to the right.


Four Seasons Lanai reception

Immediately ahead of the entrance are two staircases leading down a level to the hotel’s restaurants, as well as the pools, beach, etc. I loved that all of this was open air, and had a nice breeze. Personally the dark wood finishes weren’t my preferred aesthetic for a Hawaii resort, but people often tell me I have bad taste, so I’ll assume that’s on me. 😉


Four Seasons Lanai lobby


Four Seasons Lanai lobby

To get to our room we were escorted past reception and turned right.


Four Seasons Lanai hallway

After walking through a short indoor hallway we were outside, surrounded by ponds and tropical gardens.


Four Seasons Lanai walkway to room


Four Seasons Lanai property

Also along the walk were the hotel’s three resident birds, one of which talked.


Four Seasons Lanai birds

There were several beautiful outdoor seating areas that I never saw anyone use.


Four Seasons Lanai sitting area

The lobby was on the third floor while our room was on the second floor, so we took the elevator down a level, until we arrived at room 1214 (which I guess is really room 214 in building 1).


Four Seasons Lanai room exterior

Rather than having traditional room keys, the hotel uses waterproof wristbands for that purpose.


Four Seasons Lanai room keys

The Four Seasons was renovated just a couple of years ago, so as you’d expect, the rooms were modern. Our room featured an entryway with the bathroom to the left and a mirror to the right.


Four Seasons Lanai room entryway

Further into the room was the bed, loveseat, and desk.


Four Seasons Lanai ocean view room


Four Seasons Lanai ocean view room

Our room had a king size bed with a soft mattress and amazing bedding.


Four Seasons Lanai ocean view room

Next to it was a side table that I guess could double as a desk.


Four Seasons Lanai ocean view room

On the opposite side of the room was a desk with two chairs (that could also double as a dining table), as well as a wall mounted TV.


Four Seasons Lanai ocean view room

At the foot of the bed was the loveseat.


Four Seasons Lanai ocean view room couch

Next to the bed was a closet, as well as the in-room safe and a bag that you can use for the duration of your stay at the resort.


Four Seasons Lanai in-room safe


Four Seasons Lanai room closet

Back towards the entrance was the refreshment center, which also had a Nespresso machine and some complimentary bottled water.


Four Seasons Lanai room refreshment center


Four Seasons Lanai room minibar drinks

The bathroom featured double sinks, a soaking tub, a partitioned off toilet with a fancy Japanese toilet (the kind that catches you off guard and scares the hell out of you by opening automatically), and a walk-in shower which had a floor made of stones.


Four Seasons Lanai bathroom


Four Seasons Lanai bathroom


Four Seasons Lanai bathtub


Four Seasons Lanai toilet


Four Seasons Lanai shower

Toiletries were from a local Hawaiian company, and I quite liked them.


Four Seasons Lanai toiletries

The highlight of the room was the ocean view, though. I think this was an entry level ocean view room, rather than an oceanfront room, but the view was still beautiful.


Four Seasons Lanai ocean view room balcony

The balcony had two chairs and a dining table, as well as a more comfortable chair for lounging.


Four Seasons Lanai ocean view room balcony

I’ve had worse sunset views!


Four Seasons Lanai ocean view room

So it was a lovely room overall. Not only was it stylish, but it was also practically designed. There were outlets everywhere they needed to be, and not just 110v outlets, but also USB outlets.


Four Seasons Lanai plentiful outlets

Wifi was complimentary for all guests, though you could pay $20 per day for premium wifi. I just used the standard wifi, and it worked well.

Now let’s take a look at the public areas. The hotel has two pools — there’s the main pool, and then a pool for adults. Both are located in the direction of the ocean.


Four Seasons Lanai pools

The main pool also had a couple of hot tubs.


Four Seasons Lanai pool & hot tub


Four Seasons Lanai adult pool

The adult pool was just 50 feet further, and had a gate around it. The pool was similar, though was even quieter than the main pool. This is a reasonably large resort given that it has 200+ rooms, though none of the facilities were ever full. I’m not sure how full the hotel was, but I suspect it wasn’t anywhere close to capacity.


Four Seasons Lanai adult pool

There was tons of seating around both of the pools, and even some just facing the ocean.


Four Seasons Lanai adult pool


Four Seasons Lanai lounge chairs

Even though there were lots of chairs, at most maybe 20% of them were ever occupied, so this isn’t a resort where you have to put your towels on chairs at 7:30AM if you want a chance of snagging a decent seat. It could be that it’s different around the holidays, though.


Four Seasons Lanai lounge chairs

The staff at this hotel were simply incredible, and that included at the pool. As you approached they’d set up your lounge chairs for you, bring you a cooler with ice water, sunscreen, and of course check on you constantly if you wanted to order any food or drinks.


Four Seasons Lanai complimentary water & sunscreen

The beach was just a short walk from the pools, and I never saw more than a dozen people on it.


Four Seasons Lanai path to beach


Four Seasons Lanai beach


Four Seasons Lanai beach

Now let’s talk a bit about the food, starting with breakfast. Breakfast at the Four Seasons Lanai was one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve had anywhere. It was served in the restaurant off the lobby, and there was both indoor and outdoor seating.


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast restaurant


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast restaurant

Every morning we sat outside with this incredible view while enjoying our coffee and breakfast. Personally there’s nothing I enjoy more while on vacation at a resort than sitting with a view of the ocean at breakfast and enjoying that first cup of coffee. Ahhh….


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast restaurant view

At breakfast there was both a menu and buffet. Here are the details:

The buffet at the Four Seasons wasn’t the biggest I’ve ever seen, but it was one of the best. The buffet only has cold items (well, except miso soup) that are prepared fresh daily, and then you order hot things off the menu to complement it.


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet

From fresh fruit to sashimi to freshly baked bread to fresh juices to custom made smoothies to mini-acai bowls, this buffet was outstanding. I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves.


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast buffet

Yum!


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast

Then there were the menu items, which were equally good. The tofu scramble was my favorite.


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast — scrambled tofu


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast — salmon sandwich


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast — pancake & waffle


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast — steel cut oatmeal


Four Seasons Lanai breakfast — omelet

The go-to restaurant for lunch was Malibu Farm, located just off the pool.


Four Seasons Lanai Malibu Farm Restaurant

The lunch menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

We had lunch here every day (while there’s lots of exploring to be done in Lanai, there aren’t many restaurants). I’ll let the pictures of some of our dishes speak for themselves.


Four Seasons Lanai lunch — cauliflower lavash pizza


Four Seasons Lanai lunch — grilled local fish


Four Seasons Lanai lunch — vegan coconut curry


Four Seasons Lanai lunch — pokeviche


Four Seasons Lanai lunch — vegan chop with fish


Four Seasons Lanai lunch — chicken broccoli quesadilla 

Then there was the sport’s bar, which is the most casual dining option for dinner. One night we had dinner here.


Four Seasons Lanai bar

I had a lobster roll while Ford had a burger.


Four Seasons Lanai bar dinner — lobster roll


Four Seasons Lanai bar dinner — burger

The sport’s bar had nice views of the ocean, and also had pool and shuffleboard tables.


Four Seasons Lanai pool tables


Four Seasons Lanai shuffleboard tables

The Four Seasons also has its own Nobu, where we had dinner on Ford’s birthday. It was every bit as good as the other Nobus we’ve been to.


Four Seasons Lanai Nobu

In terms of other activities, the hotel has a 24 hour gym with modern equipment and views of the pool, which we visited three times during our stay.


Four Seasons Lanai gym


Four Seasons Lanai gym


Four Seasons Lanai gym

There are also three hiking trails from the hotel, all with different but equally beautiful views. They’re not too challenging, and can all be done in an hour or so. One has you going down to the beach and then turning left towards Sweetheart Rock, as it’s called.


Four Seasons Lanai — Sweetheart Rock


Four Seasons Lanai hiking

Another has you going down to the beach and then turning right, and walking along the rocks.


Four Seasons Lanai hiking

The third trail has you exiting the hotel and walking up into the hills. Here’s a map that shows the basic details of all of the hikes:


Four Seasons Lanai resort map

There are a few more things I want to cover when it comes to our stay.

Service at the Four Seasons Lanai

This is what impressed me most. Service at the Four Seasons Lanai was the best I’ve had at any hotel in North America. Period. Every single employee we interacted with went above and beyond. It’s not just that they were friendly and well intentioned, but they were all also really good at their jobs.

For a bit of backstory, Lanai has about 3,000 residents, and about half of them are of Filipino descent. So in many ways I felt like I was in the Philippines based on how friendly everyone was.

For example, when it came to the restaurants, at both breakfast and lunch they addressed us by name by the second day without having to provide our room number, and they also remembered our drink orders and preferred tables. .

But there was also some really impressive attention to detail in the most minor ways. For example, I had some sunglasses sitting on the table in our room while it was being serviced, and when we returned there was a cleaning wipe next to them.


Four Seasons Lanai service

So this property has by far the best service — both in terms of professionalism and friendliness — of any hotel I’ve stayed at in North America.

Lanai is a pretty cool & unique island

We visited three different islands in Hawaii, and enjoyed all of them. Lanai was by far the quietest. Most of it is technically private and owned by Larry Ellison, and given that there are only 3,000 residents, it’s a sleepy island.

The nature on the island is breathtaking, and it’s even cooler that you can explore so many great sites without coming across a single other tourist (well, at least that’s great until your car gets stuck).


Garden of the Gods, Lanai


Shipwreck Beach, Lanai

Booking the Four Seasons Lanai

Unfortunately Four Seasons doesn’t have a loyalty program, so there’s no way to redeem traditional points currencies for a stay here. In general there are two ways to maximize value here.

The first is to use the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit, which I’ve written about many times before.

The second is to book through a Four Seasons Preferred Partner travel advisor. These travel advisors can get you extra benefits at Four Seasons stays, including free breakfast, a hotel credit of some sort, a room upgrade, etc. Best of all, you can typically combine this with promotions that the hotel is offering directly, so it’s not like you have to pay a higher rate to get this. I know Ford would certainly be happy to help anyone with such a booking, and he can be reached at [email protected] Other travel advisors can also leave their info below.

Bottom line

I wasn’t expecting to be impressed by this hotel (given my experience with other “luxury” resorts in the US), but I was wrong. The resort is physically beautiful with a lovely setting on the ocean, but that’s what impressed me least. What really impressed me was how friendly every single employee we interacted with was. This hotel has outstanding service. Furthermore, Lanai is a special island, so it’s worth a visit, even if just taking the ferry for the day from Maui.

The food was also incredible, though I was expecting that given how much I love fresh fish. From the amazing breakfast to lunch at Malibu Farm to dinner at Nobu, this hotel has an impressive food & beverage selection.

Lastly, I appreciate that the hotel doesn’t nickel & dime. There’s no resort fee, no cost for valet parking, etc.

So, what’s the catch? The price, of course. The Four Seasons isn’t cheap, and often costs $1,000 or more per night. This certainly isn’t for everyone, and for many of us (myself included), staying at a points property in Asia is a better value.

However, for those visiting Hawaii and looking to splurge, the Four Seasons Lanai is well worth considering, in my opinion.

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Comments

  1. The four seasons is consistently the best hotel chain in North America. Every single one I’ve been to outranks the ritz by far. Personalized and proactive service makes every stay worth the cost. Next time you’re loooking to splurge Lucky, check out the brand new one in Surfside, FL., it’s stunning.

  2. The four seasons is consistently the best hotel chain in North America. Every single one I’ve been to outranks the ritz by far. Personalized and proactive service makes every stay worth the cost. Next time you’re loooking to splurge Lucky, check out the brand new one in Surfside, FL., it’s stunning.

  3. I’ve stayed at the FS on the big island and it is also an amazing property with a great staff. Light years different than Ritz Carlton resorts.

  4. In my experience, I have felt that FS resorts are closer to Aman resorts (closer to, not equal to) than they are to RC resorts, which seem to be consistent with your assessment of the Laguna Niguel. I’ve also found that the “intel” they gather about your habits and preferences follows you to other FS resorts/hotels around the world. I’m a fan.

  5. Did some random date cheapest/least expensive was $1,700 in January and $1,200 in July. Do they ever have 80% off sales?

    Looks amazing but sadly unattainable for me.

  6. Four Seasons at Beverly Hills a few years ago was great. Nothing stunning about the room but the staff, service, chargeable valet park, food and pool were excellent. Second day the valets knew all members of our nine-strong party and our two cars. Italian restaurant was particularly good with a very knowledgeable sommelier. I know several locals who travel from Westside to the spa and restaurant. Lanai would be perfect.

    Lucky, do we have to go thru this open email, click link, gonto a page, check the box again EVERY frickin’ time we want to see other comments on a post? If I tick the box below, that’s a yes – please lose the rest.

  7. It all just looks so dated. And at first I thought you and Ford had a competition, but it was sunscreen in those minuscule cups.

  8. How does one combine Fourh Night Free with Luxury Privileges (breakfast credit) rate? I heard it can be done but it’s a bit hush hush

  9. The FS Lana’i is my all time favourite hotel. I concur with all aspects of the review (except the Malibu Farm restaurant is by the main pool – not the beach).

    I’ve booked using Amex to get the VIP benefits (breakfast, late check in, etc., etc).

    To note that if you use the hotel shuttle to get to / from the airport they do levy a fee.

    There are periodic deals such as fourth night free (check the FS website in the first instance).

    In Australia point earn rates on most credit cards have crashed due to new lists on banks charging transactions fees: this leaves Amex self issue cards rather than Citibank Visa as the go-to card for accruing points on hotels such as FS without loyalty point earn.

    That said QF sometimes does 9 point per dollar hotel deals (which could offer some value when booking a FS).

    Visitors might also enjoy taking a free shuttle ride to the nearby golf course clubhouse where you can do lunch with stunning views. Not to be missed!

  10. @ Stvr

    IIRC I’ve seen Amex offer the VIP benefits AND the fourth night free when the fourth night is on offer by FS.

    I can’t say whether this applies in other cases so cannot answer your question specifically.

  11. I know the word “lanai” from the Golden Girls tv show. They were always going out to the lanai. Is there some origin to the word?

  12. @lucky “Before I start this review, let me say that this was my first stay at a Four Seasons in the US”

    So, Seattle and Santa Barbara aren’t in the US?

  13. @ Stvrr- if the FS Hotel publishes a fourth night free public offer, then a FSPP advisor can book that offer and you’ll receive the FSPP benefits (upgrade on arrival, breakfast, and some sort of credit)

    If you mean combining with Citi prestige fourth night free then I think it’s less straight forward.. Apparently, the previous travel arrangements were handled by CWT and they had access to FSPP rates which could be booked via Citi. I don’t think that’s the case now…

  14. I just came back from a stay at this Four Seasons. I would say the type of service you get from this Four Seasons rivals what I’ve gotten from a much smaller resorts like Amans which is unusual for a Four Seasons Resort. All the staffs were extremely friendly and rescued birds were a hoot to boot. Ellison spared no expense to spruce up this place. It’s the best Four Seasons I’ve ever been to and I’ve been to many of them all over the world. Snorkeling is also quite good off the resort beach where you can order Malibu Farm food for lunch. This place exceeds the Four Seasons on Big Island imo.

  15. @LarryinNYC – geographically, Hawaii is not in North America, but economically and politically it effectively is, so unless you’re speaking specifically about geography it’s not that big a deal to refer to Hawaii that way. You get these grey zones sometimes. Belize is geographically in Central America, but culturally it has much more in common with the Caribbean, so depending on who’s speaking it’s referred to one way or the other (or sometimes both – for example on airliners.net Belize is frequently discussed in both the Caribbean and Central American forums.)

    Or, in other words, don’t be such a pedant.

    Beautiful place, but the prices are astronomical! I know food is expensive in Hawaii, but $29 for a breakfast burrito? Ouch.

  16. I love this hotel and, more importantly, this beautiful island! You did a great job summing up the experience. Only thing you missed was the *incredible* golf course. One of the most beautiful in the world.

    Also, we got our Jeep stuck too. I’d recommend following the locals’ advice and avoiding driving on the beach. 🙂

  17. I’m with you @CraigTPA

    I can’t believe there aren’t more comments about the food prices:
    $21 for a chicken quesadilla?
    $24 for a fried egg sandwich?
    $17 for chips and salsa?
    $24 for a grilled cheese & potato chips?
    $7 for a glass of ice tea?

    And that’s just breakfast and lunch. I’ve stayed in 5 star resorts and dined in 2 and 3 star restaurants in the US, Europe and Asia. I’m not cheap. But I don’t like being ripped off either.

  18. Wow, love the room with ocean view. It always gives me such a calm and peaceful time when going back to this room after a long day looking around the city. Hawaii is definitely in my travel list now. 🙂

  19. Comparing Four Seasons to Ritz or Waldorf or Andaz etc. is not a fair fight. FS is simply light years beyond.

  20. The 4S at The Lodge at Koele is a 30-minute drive, up the mountains from the beach. It is currently closed for renovation but blows its sister property (Lucky just stayed at) out of the water. Go back when it is completed, & I promise you will then have a new favorite hotel…period!

  21. My family and I (family of 5) went to this resort before Christmas last year and it was packed. You had to reserve lounge chairs early in the morning. It was well worth the price. All of the employees were extremely nice and helpful. They all knew your name, where your from and really wanted to make sure that you felt like you were family. The employees at Malibu Farm are also extremely welcoming and friendly. The men at the beach are awesome and gave my family tips on where to swim and snorkel. They watched our stuff when we wanted to go into the ocean. We usually stay at the Mauna Kea on the big island because my family has been staying there since it opened and it has the best beach, but the view at this resort almost rivals it. It’s on the best best i’ve ever stayed at.

  22. In my experience, FS can be outstanding (Hong Kong amazing every time) or surprisingly poor (Bogota and Beverly Hills).

    $21 for a chicken quesadilla – I consider the fact that it is very expensive to ship these products/ingredients to a small island a reason for these prices. Expensive? Oh yes, but I get the reason.

  23. @Platy, I actually got something in the snail mail a couple of days ago from Amex and Four Seasons offering free 3rd or 4th night.

  24. I stayed here many years ago. About 200 of came to celebrate a birthday. Unfortunately over 50% came down with food poisoning. This was before the FS managed to property. Also- the reason the island is so barren is the Westerners brought goats and cattle to clear the land for farming and the island has yet to recover. It should look like Kauai, Molokai and Maui.

  25. For those complaining about food prices: My wife and I have been to a few FS resorts and their portions are generally large. Some large enough that we split and still don’t finish the dish. So you might get sticker shock but you can split almost every meal and be full.

  26. At those who have a problem with the food prices.

    (1) You are on an island – anything not grown locally has to be shipped specially for the hotel.
    (2) Much produce is grown so the freshness of the food is amazing.
    (3) If you have any travel savvy you’ll be getting the incredible breakfast for free anyway.
    (4) FREE food / drink (as well as personal drinking water urns) are brought to you poolside on a regular basis (monkey banana dipped in toffee, shots of fruit smoothies, etc).
    (5) You have a choice of where / that to eat and IME the Sports Bar does a daily special.
    (6) The service F&B levels are exceptional with very proactive service anywhere on the property including the pool and beach.
    (7) IME the prices at FS were cheaper than the Ritz Carlton at Kapalua, Maui (which was ridiculously expensive).

    If you’re worrying about a few dollars here and there, this simply isn’t the hotel for you. When you consider the investment in the refurbishment and the extraordinary attention to detail in every single aspect of the resort the pricing offers great value for those that can afford the price point.

    The experience simply can’t be compared with any other HI hotels, which I have encountered (virtually a private island away from the hustle and bustle with exceptional quality in all things) : this is a unique property (pending the re-opening of the sister FS on Lana’i).

    If you really don’t want to spend money on F&B:

    (1) Get a deal including free breakfast
    (2) Visit the small store at the nearby marina to do your own snack lunch or ride the share taxis in to Lana’i City to go to a local cafe
    (3) Have the nightly Sports Bar special or share a pizza

    This is one property that you pay for (not use points)!

    Which would be shame – sitting at the golf house eating lunch is simply a highly enjoyable way to relax on your holiday!

  27. I agree with @John. My friend is a concierge VIP member with the Four Seasons. No idea how high that level is, but he made it sound like a big deal. All I can tell is that you need to spend something like tens of thousands of dollars mininum per year.

  28. Lana’i is enjoying quite an upgrade since Larry Ellison’s acquisition. Recently toured this resort and the island. For those concerned about food prices, Richard’s Market in Lana’i City is high end and has plenty of wonderful food products (and local staples) at reasonable prices. The local theater has the best sound system available – Mr. Ellison had it replaced to meet his standards. Larry Ellison already updated some of the infrastructure on the island, including the public pool, parks, and playgrounds. There is no doubt that many of the remaining plantation homes could use some TLC, but the rents are cheap and the locals are happy if they have work. I found the whole island quite charming and expect it to only improve for the foreseeable future.

  29. Four Seasons delivers a true luxury experience at a 100+ key property better than any other hotel flag, period.

    Until this property was re-opened, the top resort in the US was nearly certainly the Four Seasons at Kona (Hualalai). This property gives the Kona property a run for their money, and has probably passed Kona at this point.

    This property (and nearly all of Lanai) is owned by Larry Ellison and was renovated with a cost-no-object mentality. They make up for it with the price of the rooms, of course. (The Kona property is owned by Michael Dell – which when first opened in the late 90s, was also built with the same mentality.)

    FS also has an unadvertised elite guest program. 😉

  30. Hi, before Ellison bought the island, we stayed there four times. We stayed at the Lodge at Koele which is up in the mountains and was a sister hotel to Manele Bay (both 4 Seasons). At the time, you could use facilities at either hotel. The Lodge had been consistently ranked best hotel in all of Hawaii. Smaller, more personal there. Absolutely loved the Lodge. Close to town (which is really just a couple of streets of shops, restaurants), but it was quiet, serene and never busy. But we loved going down to Manele Bay during the day to utilize pool/beach area. Then Ellison stopped the sister hotel privileges (but didn’t advertise this) and eventually closed down the Lodge. Not sure if it will ever reopen. It’s very sad. Kind of hard to read the review.

    Yes, he made some improvements, for instance adult pool area looks amazing wherein it used to be just a grassy area you walked by on way to beach. Adding the trail walks was a great idea. But the lobby and rooms look like they could be anywhere–not Hawaii. He took all of the Hawaii out of this hotel. He changed the outdoor restaurant (used to be Italian the last time we went), and it was amazing. The cost is incredible. They used to run every 3rd night free at Lodge and 4th night free at Manele and the cost for mid-level room was around $450-500–much more affordable.

    One of the restaurants at the Lodge, Terrace, was one of our favorites and the golf club near Manele (with a free shuttle to/from hotel) had the best lunches–fish & chips with homemade tartar sauce with capers and shrimp BLT were wonderful. And a different lemonade concoction every day. Is it not there any more?

    You didn’t mention if there was entertainment. At the Lodge, a different singer every night (Larry was our favorite) in the lobby/lounge area. Firepits and crochet in the back of the Lodge and gardens and hothouse with all kinds of orchids. Just beautiful. And like you said, unbelievable service (although Montreal Ritz is on par–just try it–best Ritz). Always addressed by name and if celebrating something, always a “Happy (fill in blank)” EVERY time you saw staff (no greetings when at Manele so sounds like that has improved). Lots of unique areas–library where you could just kick back, game room (with pool tables, shuffleboard, computers, etc.) Free coffee and muffins starting at 5:30 for us East Coast visitors who waked way before restaurants opened for breakfast. Wonderful concierge staff. Fiona who helped us so often, Joy, who eventually moved to the 4 Seasons Hawaii, and Howard come to mind.

    Down at Manele, in addition to free water, fruit-infused water, sun lotion, baby swim diapers, beach attendants would periodically come around to clean sunglasses, spritz your face, offer complimentary small smoothies, fruit kebobs, etc. (Do they still do this?) Warren, bartender at pool bar, would remember what you liked. Beach boys set up beach chairs and umbrellas and provided water, etc. (Hi Josh from Aurora if you’re still there!)

    Even if we wanted to spend that much $ now, I think it might be difficult to go back with so many memories and see the changes because it sounds like the bad outweighs the good.

  31. The Lodge property (& its gorgeous grounds) was the best hotel I have ever stayed. Like you, Shirley, multiple times. It was a gem, & I hope it does reopen though its amazing golf course is closed for good. Very chill property, completely different vibe than the beach property.

  32. @CraigTPA: The food prices really got my attention. I understand the logistics, but that’s still a healthy markup there! Then again, at $1k/night, I’m already out of the game, but it is nice to see what’s out there.

  33. They probably had to close the golf course at Koele because that’s where the golfers stayed (at the Lodge). Perhaps if the Lodge opens, they’ll reopen the golf course. I’m not a golfer but preferred to stay there. I can go anywhere in Hawaii and stay on the beach (and we’ve been to all of the other islands multiple times and have done that). The Lodge was unique, and, like you said, Pam, had a completely different vibe. Calm, quiet, serene and personable. No check-in desk, just sit yourself down in the lobby and drink the pineapple juice we just brought you while we get your keys. Then the concierge (not bellman) showed you to your room. And the rooms were just gorgeous. Only resort that I’ve ever really used the lanaii (muffin/coffee in a.m.). No one else stirring and since we always got the view in the back of the Lodge on the right-side–ideal.

    And the drive to/from Manele each day was lovely and beautiful. So even if we go back (which is doubtful), we’d have to stay at Manele instead of the Lodge since there are no longer sister hotel privileges, and it just wouldn’t be the same.

  34. When we return to Lanai, we will probably stay at the Lanai Inn since the Lodge is closed. It is “downtown”
    with about 10 affordable rooms surrounded by the impressive Cook pines. Decent restaurant attached along with an easy walk to the town’s services, galleries, etc.

    Golfers stayed at both properties since they offered a great package price for playing both. They were an entirely different play from each other. The Lodge had the horseback riding, clay shooting, hunting, vistas – it’s loss is huge for this tiny island.

    Shirley, if you want a very special treat, check out Niihau next time you visit Kauai. The “Forbidden Island” is accessible only by helicopter from Kauai with very advanced reservations. Strolling their beaches feels more “native” than any Hawaiian experience I have had other than the dead-on view of the Pacific Missile Range facing from Kauai!

  35. Thanks for the tip re Nihau, Pam.

    First time we ate at restaurant at the Inn, we loved it and ate there I think twice more on that trip. Next trip it was just awful so we didn’t go back.

    We love the service at Manele pool area and the opportunity to watch the dolphins plus the great snorkeling (although much better on-site snorkeling at Aulani on Oahu and Fairmont Orchid on Hawaii–just incredible–better than some snorkel trips we’ve taken), so that’s why we loved spending most of our days down there (after doing Garden of the Gods, Shipwreck Beach, etc.). But loved spending evenings at the Lodge. Dining in Lanai City is limited, but we always enjoyed Pele’s although not always the attitude of the owner.

  36. Oh, forgot shout out to Mike Carroll’s gallery in downtown Lanai City. Don’t know how I could–we have 3 of his paintings. Just beautiful. And the community art gallery is there as well.

    Do they still have artists come to the hotel and sell their wares in lobby? That was always fun. Can’t remember her name but there’s an artist that made handmade purses and jewelry from vintage Hawaiian fabrics, beads, etc. We met her when we bought a glycee photo from the hotel art set-up as she was associated with the community art gallery. When we returned the next year or perhaps it was in 2 years, she remembered us! That’s how personal this island was.

  37. @lucky

    We stayed there at the exact same time and I think I may have actually seen you down there at breakfast lol.

    This place was absolutely amazing. Me and my wife had your exact same room and it was fantastic every night.

    I too was not expecting to be as impressed with this place as I was. This is true luxury.

    I booked through Amex Fine Hotels and was able to get and ocean view room for under $900 per night and that in included breakfast buffet for 2 every morning worth about, $100 $100 spa credit, and $200 a day activity credit. All in all it made it come out to under $500 per night and for that it was very much worth it!

    Book through Amex if you can people it’s actually amazing

  38. platy said, “If you’re worrying about a few dollars here and there, this simply isn’t the hotel for you.” I don’t consider $52 for breakfast to be “a few dollars,” nor the very high prices for other meals.

    I stayed on Lanai years ago, at the downtown inn that used to be the Dole company executive guesthouse for visiting execs. The hotel was small, so quaint, and very affordable. It was nice to walk around the small “downtown” area with several cafes and art galleries.

    At that time there was a free shuttle bus that took guests from all three hotels on a route among all the properties. We visited the Lodge and had a couple of meals there, and the beach hotel every day for at least one meal. We only had to rent a car for one day, to visit the north side of the island and Shipwreck Beach. The snorkeling at Manele Bay (to the left facing the ocean from the beach) was very accessible and open to the public.

    We were able to visit Lanai at a very reasonable cost, we took the ferry from Maui to get there and flew to HNL after our stay. I’m very sorry to hear the Lodge has been closed, it was unique for the upland location and amazing architecture. Reading this review makes me very glad that we visited Lanai before Ellison bought the island.

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