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Hopping To Lanai For A Weekend Getaway

Exploring the Beauty of Lanai

While there are many great things about visiting Maui, the ability to island hop by ferry to neighboring islands is what makes Maui a truly unique experience. There are two other islands that technically fall under the Maui County jurisdiction, Lanai and Molokai. Of the two, the island of Lanai is the more visitor friendly and makes for an awesome day trip or 2-3 day getaway while visiting Maui.  

Lanai’s beauty and charm hasn’t gone unnoticed by the rich and famous. In 2012 after numerous visits from Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle and the 5th wealthiest American (according to Forbes), decided to purchase the entire island for himself. In a deal worth $300 million, Ellison’s purchase secured him 98% of the island (roughly 90,000 acres), a sleepy 3000+ person town, and not one but two world class 4 Seasons resorts.

Lanai is also affectionately known as the pineapple isle because its plantation roots as once being the largest pineapple plantation in the world. Nowadays, the island has since moved away from its plantation roots and transformed into a sleepy town focusing on tourism, mom and pop small businesses, and county or state jobs.

As mentioned before, the ferry to Lanai leaves from Lahaina harbor and is just a quick 2 hour ride across the channel to Manele Bay. A round trip ticket is just $60 and they even just added 2 extra times to make traveling between Lanai and Maui even easier. The ferry ride is pretty manageable and smooth sailing, it’s not as bad as charging the Moloka’i channel on the Molokai ferry.

Lodging options on Lanai are slim, the only two hotels to choose from. The 1st choice is the Four Seasons at Manele Bay which the island’s beach side retreat overlooking Manele Bay that is famed for the occasional dolphin sightings. The 2nd option is the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele and is higher up in Lanai City tucked away from the beach. I personally enjoy the Lodge more because it sits higher up in Lanai giving it a woodsy retreat feel.

Because Lanai is less developed than some of its other island counterparts, I recommend spending only a few days on Lanai. One way to spend the day is checking out one of the two 18 hole golf courses. Each golf course has their own challenges that vary based on the terrain and were specifically designed to be drastically different from one another.

The Experience at Koele is perched at 2,000 foot elevation in Lanai’s highlands, winds through hills, over gulches, and takes golfers through beautiful mountain ravines. Dotted on the South Coast of Lanai, the Manele Golf Course is a target-style course spread across several hundred acres of natural lava flows, using plunging ravines, kiawe, and towering trees as natural hazards. Billionaire Bill Gates loved playing the course so much, he got married on the 17th hole.

Lanai has plenty of untouched land to explore, it has 400 miles of dirt roads to travel by 4-wheel drive. Start your adventure on the secluded road just past Manele Road and Keomoku Highway. Visit various historical landmarks like the Garden of the God, it is in the Kanepuu Preserve, 20 minutes outside of the town. There is also the dirt road of the Munro Trail, its a path up to the 3,370-foot peak of Lanai Hale (the highest point on Lanai). On the southern coast of Lanai is an off-road adventure to the historic Kaunolu, home to King Kamehameha’s favorite summer fishing retreat overlooking Lanai’s southern cliffs.

Contact a Maui Real Estate Specialist

Upcountry is the best place to catch one of Maui’s cotton candy sunsets, picture courtesy of our great friend Dominick Marino

Please consider me to be your trusted Maui real estate and lifestyle adviser. I was born and raised on the island, and spend a considerable amount of time to inform my clients about the best deals currently on the market. Don’t hesitate to call me for your any of your Maui real estate needs as I would be honored to assist you in your home search.


Anthony Sayles R(S)

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