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LANAI

People who yearn to stray from the usual tourist trail in search of some­thing different, something closer to the red-earth heart of Hawai’i, can find it on Lanai.

Lanai

Lanai

A rustic haven only recently opened to visitors, Lanai is still one of the lesser known Hawaiian islands. But its crystal waters are ranked among the world’s top diving spots, its Hulopo’e Beach is one of the best in Hawai’i and its cheery little air­port terminal is the state’s newest. Lanai’s luxury hotels and golf courses have captured top honors in several travel magazine polls. For instance, in 1994 and 1995, Conde Nast Traveler’s readers ranked both of Lanai’s luxury hotels among the top five tropical resorts in the world.

For most of this century, Lanai was known as the Pineapple Island, for the prosperous years when James Dole’s 18,000-acre empire led the world in production of the golden fruit. It was a remote domain fenced by an ocean. Few outsiders got a good look at it—except from Maui, as a sunset backdrop or day-sail des­tination seven miles across the ‘Au’au Channel.

Then Dole Food Company, which owned almost all of the island, stopped commercial production of pineapple in favor of a new crop: tourism. Two luxury hotels were built, with amenities that include a pair of championship golf courses, stables, tennis courts and croquet lawns. Field workers became hotel workers. Many of the resort employ­ees, from the general manager down through the ranks, are from Lanai.

The available lodgings are the el­egant 250-room Manele Bay Hotel, hunkered on a sunny cliff over the sea; the 102-room, country estate-like Lodge at Ko’ele in the green uplands; and the rustic eleven-room Hotel Lanai, built in the 1920s for planta­tion guests. Residents also offer a few bed-and-breakfast rooms.

 

Lanai map

Lanai map

Lanai map

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