French country-style mountain lodge? Or deluxe beach resort?
Many guests like to split their stay on Lanai and experience both (which is what we did). For the Four Seasons Lanai comprises two resorts – the Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay.
But it may not matter which you choose, because an island shuttle bus connects the two resorts (just 20 minutes apart) and you can use most of the facilities of both.
Two resorts, one private island
In 2012, Oracle CEO and biz whiz, Larry Ellison, bought the former pineapple island, complete with two Four Seasons properties, for an estimated $600 million. Since then, he’s spruced up the resorts to reflect a more Hawaiian plantation vibe.
Lodge at Koele
At the end of a driveway lined by tall Cook Island pine trees, the Lodge at Koele is like a gracious country estate. It even has horse stables so you can go horseback riding.
Sitting at 1,500 feet above sea level, it’s noticeably cooler than at the ocean-front Manele Bay resort.
The lodge’s 101 renovated guestrooms feature bright floral prints, crewel-style tapestry upholstery, two-poster beds with carved pineapple finials and walking sticks for nearby hikes.
What we like about the Lodge at Koele
- It’s a lot less expensive than Manele Bay (you can save almost $200 a night on the room rate).
- Surrounded by manicured lawns, a large onsite greenhouse is filled with an astounding variety of beautiful orchids.
- It’s close to Lanai City (the island’s teeny-tiny central town), which is also upcountry.
Down by the water, the 236 rooms at Manele Bay average 700 sq.ft. (most overlook the ocean). They come with two-poster beds with hand-carved pineapple headboards and furnished lanais.
Beautiful Hulopoe Beach is at the foot of this resort. (We think it’s one of the nicest beaches in Hawaii). Full beach services are offered for Four Seasons guests – including beach chairs, towels, and the complimentary use of snorkeling equipment.
The chic new Nobu Lanai restaurant at Manele Bay opened recently. It showcases innovative Japanese-inspired cuisine by celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, with produce grown locally by two Lanai farmers.
What we like about Manele Bay
- Convenient access to the beach!
- Rooms have spacious comfy lanais with sofas and cushioned rustic wicker furniture for relaxing.
What to know
Apart from the restaurants in the two Four Seasons resorts, there are few other dining options on Lanai. (The delightful Lanai City Grille in the cute and homey Hotel Lanai is an exception). So your food choices are basically limited to good, but expensive, hotel dining.
And if you stay at the Lodge at Koele, you can’t use the popular Manele Bay pool (though you can still use the Four Seasons Manele Bay beach club facilities).
So what’s the best Four Seasons Resort Lanai?
That depends on whether you’re a beach or pool person, your budget and how close you want to be to Lanai City…
This post is based on our review of the Four Seasons Resort Lanai published in the Winter/Spring 2014 issue of Cruise & Travel Lifestyles magazine (see the PDF of this article). We paid a reduced rate to stay at each Four Seasons resort for review purposes.
Update 2018: The Lodge at Koele is closed, and the Manele Bay property is currently the only Four Seasons resort on Lanai.