I am on the Island of Lanai as a guest of the Lanai Visitor’s Bureau as one of their 2012 Artists in Residence. The first place I was actually in residence on Lanai was the charming Hotel Lanai. This is not a big hotel. It has 10 rooms and one cottage in a historic building that was built to accommodate guests of Dole when Lanai was still supplying 75% of the world’s pineapples.
The 1923 building is a wooden building nestled in a grove of Cook Island Pines. It reminds me more of a mountain lodge in that sense than it does an historic Hawaiian building. The building still would be familiar to those who stayed here as guests of James Dole. The rooms have parquet wood floors and wood paneled walls, and large comfortable beds covered with quilts. Some of the updated touches like free wi-fi and automated lighting in the halls don’t distract from the historic nature of the hotel.
The hotel is located just up the hill from the main city square (Dole Park) of Lanai City. I had one of the 4 rooms in the front of the hotel which have an external door to a porch. The porch is a pleasant place to just sit for a few minutes and enjoy Lanai.
The rack rate for a standard room starts at $99. Rooms with a separate entrance onto a porch (or lanai) are a bit more expensive. All the rooms have private baths. A nice cold breakfast is included with items like granola, fruit, quiche, breakfast breads, juice, coffee and tea.
Shuttles ($45 per person per week) run once an hour down to the Four Seasons Manele Bay and up to the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele. Shuttles are also available for the airport. The shuttles are owned by Castle and Cook which owns most of the real estate on the island.
Lana’i City Grille
I ate my first night at the Lana’i City Grill which is part of the property. Live music on Friday nights attracts far more than just hotel guests to the Lana’i City Grille.
I started with a bruschetta (One of these days I will learn to take a picture before I take a bite, but seriously who can resist).
I ordered the TK Special (named for co-owner Tom Kiely) which was a pork roast served over a polenta base. The polenta was particularly flaorful as it soaked up the juices from the meat as well as the tasty sauce.
For dessert they had a particularly wonderful bread pudding.
It was not difficult to see why both the restaurant and bar were full and the crowd overflowed to the patio where the band was playing.
If you are traveling alone and want to meet locals I would suggest taking a seat at the bar where people all night would greeted as old friends.
I can easily recommend both staying at the Hotel Lana’i and eating at the Lana’i City Grille.