Traveling to Lana’i

We headed to Lana’i this past Thanksgiving and it was nothing short of magnificent! My friend Patrice, who lives on Oahu and runs is heading to Lana’i soon and emailed me for some tips.

Hey Sarah,

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. I wanted to ask you about Lanai since I haven’t been there in 9 years.  A bunch of us are going over before Christmas and are staying at the Koele lodge. Any great finds?  I remember having dinner at the Koele and walking through the town but that’s about it. THANKS for any tips:)) Patrice

Two Days on Lanai….our recs and adventure…

Aloha Pat!

Ah, Lana’i….you will love it!  The Four Season’s Koele Lodge is all decked out for the holidays and the cold weather and grounds make you really get in the holiday spirit!

We stayed there this time and it’s great! They give you cookies and milk and a stuffed animal and robes for the kids upon arrival. There’s croquet, a putting green, horse back riding, the kids can feed the koi fish in the huge pond – just ask the front desk for some food.

There are wild turkeys running around the beautiful grounds. The grounds reminded me of the mansion in the movie Great Expectations – the one with Gweneth Paltrow & Ethan Hawke. The Koele grounds are sprawling and romantic, botanical,  and magical.

When you stay at Koele you also get to go use the pool at Manele Bay Four Seasons – Manele Bay’s pool is better than the smaller one at Keole Lodge. Plus it’s warmer at Manele. Four Season’s has a shuttle that takes you to and from the hotels and also to Lanai City – but it’s kinda pricey around $40 per person unlimited (I think that’s kamaaina pricing).

Happy Hour at Four Seasons Manele Bay is at 4 p.m. by the pool. All drinks on the menu are half off, but no pupus. They do bring around fresh fruit and have some sort of infused water for you by the pool. It’s so awesome!

The beach at Manele Bay is GORGEOUS! There’s sweetheart rock and tide pools for the kids to explore. Bring shoes and sunscreen – it can get hot! (oh, the hotel offers pumps of sunscreen by the beach and pool too.)

We rented a jeep and went adventuring this time around and it was sooooo fun! We highly recommend using Adventure Lana’i for the rental, they took great care of us!

If you to drive the Garden of the Gods and go past it you will end up and one of the most amazing beaches in the world, Polihua Beach…it was like Fiji but even better. No footprints anywhere but ours. AMAZING! There were a couple of other people there and that’s it. We went seashell hunting there. It’s great for pictures!

We also went on the Munro Trail. You definitely need a jeep for this all off roading adventure and do not go if it’s raining, you will get stuck. We went pretty far up but then turned back after hitting mud. It was a bit scary as both sides of you have a huge drop off, but that’s half the fun!  The trail was gorgeous and as you climb, you head into the clouds. You have magnificent view of West Maui from here.

Note! The Munro trail is bumpy, muddy and for people who are used to going off roading and are prepared to do manual labor should they get stuck. The road is all one lane with tiny pull offs to let others pass. We saw only one other jeep and a couple of hikers while driving. It wasn’t crowded at all, which was soooo cool!

Shipwreck Beach was really really cool! (We did this and the Munro Trail on the same day.) There’s a huge concrete ship from World War II stuck off the shore. It’s amazing and so picturesque! The road there is mostly paved. There’s TONS of plastic that’s washed up to shore, it’s pretty sad. Wear shoes and bring a bag if you want to pick up some trash while there. :)

To eat…Bring snacks and food with you! I brought snacks and stuff to picnic with us from Maui, like salami, cheese, crackers, trail mixes and boxed organic milk for the kids, since things on Lana’i are pricey.

For breakfast and lunch we ate at Blue Ginger Cafe it’s great and really good prices. It’s a local, paper napkin, tables next to each other, type of establishment. We called in an order for our breakfast and Greg ran down from Koele lodge and brought it back – it’s 5 minutes from the Lodge.

We ate dinner at Pele’s Garden…I probably wouldn’t eat there again – the pizza wasn’t good (you can really tell a place by their pizza, in my opinion :) ) and my ravioli’s were dry, although good – the kids did love these. The staff was nice. Prices are on the higher moderate side.

Lana’i City Grille at Hotel Lanai is yummy with a fantastic atmosphere – old plantation house with fireplaces and painted all in white. It’s great and they have a great, warm welcoming staff. Prices are a bit expensive and it’s kid friendly the earlier the better – they were great with all the kids there for Thanksgiving but I could see that you’d want to go earlier than later so you aren’t with the romantic older crowd. Fridays they are busy because there’s live music. Make reservations. The culinary advisor is Bev Gannon of Hali’imaile General Store on Maui. Food is good!

What to pack…Bring layers. It’s colder up at Lana’i City and The Lodge but then nice and warm at Manele. Lana’i is also great for biking, running and golfing so pack tennis shoes!

Have fun!!  Lana’i is truly so special!
xoxo, Sarah

Pics from our trip (iPhone users…find even more pics on my Instagram, I’m TheOhanaMama on there!)

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Have you been to Lana’i? what was your favorite thing?


  1. Yeah very relaxing views and very nice…i love to been there!!!

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing this to us..Looking forward to visit this place..Sounds very relaxing..I hope you enjoy your vacation..

  3. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

  4. These are the posts I live for! Great marriage of local/tourist reviews. Thank you Sarah!!

  5. Thanks a BUNCH!

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