Got 48 hours to spend? Take a quick trip to the Lana‘i, easily accessible by air or by ferry, and experience a Hawai‘i unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Text by Lisa Yamada | Images by John Hook
Though most locals or visitors may not immediately think of vacationing to Lana‘i, the quiet island is the perfect getaway destination if you’re looking for serenity and adventure rolled into one. Getting there is easy with Island Air’s expanded flight coverage, or if you happen to already be on Maui, the Maui-Lana‘i ferry is a fun and easy way of getting to the Pineapple Isle. The ferry runs five times per day and during winter months, you’re sure to catch glimpses of whales and spinner dolphins.
Upon arrival, jump right into the action Lanai Pine Sporting Clays, which features 14 different shooting stations overlooking gulches, ravines and expansive views of Lana‘i. You’ll have a blast shooting at clay rabbits skipping across the ground and Hawaiian ducks flying through the air. While you’re at it, rent a UTV from Lanai Grand Adventures, and take a trip up Munro Trail to the Maunalei Gulch. Slip and slide across the mud as you travel higher and higher into the clouds.
After a long day of paniolo adventures, check in at one of the three accommodations on the island. The charming and historic Hotel Lana‘i is a nod to the past: The wood-framed walls and whitewashed plank ceilings, the hand-sewn quilts and occasionally creaky floorboards are in the classic Hawaiian plantation style.
Recently, the Four Seasons Lana‘i properties have been increasingly popular as wedding destinations for gay and lesbian couples. The Four Seasons Lodge at Koele is warm and inviting, something akin to a Colorado ski lodge. It would be easy to sit forever watching the sunset from the lodge’s patio, or sip whiskey in the Trophy Room before settling in for a quaint dinner at the American bistro, Terrace.
If it’s sunnier skies you’re looking for, Four Seasons at Manele Bay may be for you. Take a stroll down Manele’s broad, white-sand beach, Hulupo‘e Bay. A quick 15-minute hike towards the southeast end and you’ll arrive at Pu‘u Pehe, known as Sweetheart Rock, where dramatic cliffs accent aquamarine tide pools below. After a hot day in the sun, lounge by the sparkling blue pool with a refreshing cocktail from the pool bar and tapas from Nobu Lana‘i.
Stroll into Lana‘i City, the central hub of the entire island, for some local-style eats. Café 565 is like the Zippy’s of Lana‘i, offering yummy Korean chicken and sushi platters, as well as gooey calzones. Or pickup breakfast at Canoes, where you can get a fried rice loco moco, or other eclectic options, like fried rice stuffed crepes or deep-fried Oreos. Walk off the food coma with a stroll down the Lodge’s garden tour. Stroll across manicured greens, past the orchid greenhouse, bamboo forest and pagoda structure.
Once you’re feeling nice and relaxed, channel your inner city slicker and go for a horseback ride led by real cowboys. Meander across the mountainous terrain, and more than likely, you’ll see families of deer leaping through the brush, an amazing sight to behold unlike any you’ve ever seen in Hawai‘i.