courtesy of nomad chic

What hotel in Maui and Lana’i would you happily recommend to anyone? Why? 

The Four Seasons in Lanai are almost as good as high-end luxury resort hotels get.
The Lodge at Koele is inland, with an orchid house, horse stables, and huge fireplaces. The afternoon tea is five star and the chili in a burnt black kettle is hobo fantastic. A series of mahogany corridors with buffalo horn accented sitting areas lead to a great room, which resembles a chalet. Overstuffed velvet chairs, and worn out leather couches, chandeliers adorned with hand carved pineapples, and a gilded interior balcony, furbish a sun-dappled hall. Oversized portraits of Victorian doyennes in bustles and antique Chinese porcelain bowls grace kilim-covered daybeds enhanced with oversized embroidered floral pillows. Hemingway on holiday with Audrey Hepburn in Japan. Really.
The Four Seasons at Manele Bay wraps around a marine preserve cove bordered by a red lava cliff. People who live in Lana’i City have Sunday afternoon musky mesquite barbecues on its banks while their children wade in the azure waves at dusk. The hotels décor is Tony Duquette meets Gauguin, steeped in Lily Pulitzer goes to Laos. The grounds are landscaped to recreate traditional Japanese and Chinese gardens. Zen rock piles in waterfalls amongst birds of paradise and fantasy trellises. Blooming relaxation. The food at Manele Bay is as good as hotel food gets. Best fish tacos ever. Bizarre. Maybe I was really hungry, but I love a fish taco and these were impressive. Freshly caught, lightly battered local fish, warm tacos, and generous guacamole (California?). A gorge-ous breakfast buffet…I’m pretty impartial to food, as long as it’s local and fresh, so if I’m writing about the food, it’s tremendous. 

I do love a massage (I find they’re a must after a long flight…and I fly a lot) and the outdoor bungalow massage at the Four Seasons at Manele Bay in Lana’i was impressive. I could feel the ocean breeze as the morning sun glowed gently through the canvas roof. In the distance was the sound of faint splashing, as dolphins leapt in the air in the sea at the foot of the knoll we were on. The wood smelled like warm cedar and essential oils. The masseuse had magic hands. It was perfect.
In Maui, The Paia Inn is a really cute bed & breakfast-y boutique hotel. The South East Asian antiques, a Vietnamese rickshaw bicycle, a fountain from one of the Kohs, and hand carved wooden screens from Chang Mai, which are strewn across the lush property, balance modern amenities like high definition flat screens and Wi-Fi. Yoga on the private beach and hidden hammocks. Nice.
For a bigger hotel the Westin Maui Resort on Ka’ anapali Beach is a good place to stay. Clean. Pretty cool how the grounds have these little corners and nooks decorated with Authentic Hawaiian artifacts. It’s a mega-resort balanced with intimate details; a bring the family for four pools, waterslides, and endless activities kind of place. Everything from sending coconuts home as postcards (yes, you can put a stamp on a coconut and the postal service will ship it) to getting a certificate in mixology to afternoon Flamingo feedings. I found some peace and quiet time by renting a cabana tent on the beach. It’s a haven from the hubbub and the blazing sun. The Westin also has a superb spa. I doubled up the time of my deep tissue massage at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. There were little baskets on the doorknobs where you could leave your worries (on a scrap of paper or spoken into) while you got your service. Love a detail…

July 2012