Lovin’ Lana’i

By Alice and Danny Scott

Somewhere over the Rainbow Island, lies a Garden of Eden – The Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay in Hawaii. Step inside the Four Seasons and a panoramic of the Pacific Ocean evokes an instant sense of peace that carries throughout. Paths to rooms are graced by tediously tended tropical tendrils and brilliant blooms – orchids, lilies, and the shave brush tree that looks like a scene out of Avatar. Water laps down the falls into koi ponds as birds sing or squawk “Aloha.”

On the Manele Golf Course the main show birds are cardinals, turkeys and Mynahs who mate for life, like Bill and Melinda Gates. Wed on the 12th tee box, they recently returned to renew their 20-year vows. Manele Bay delivers magical moments for all. Jack Nicklaus must have been giddy by this design opportunity. The course is an island climb along the coast. Lava rock transitions are shopping malls for lost balls with no worries about snakes, there are none. There are however, warnings about blind spots on numerous holes. The ocean views are blinding enough from every hole. The 19th hole is even named Views. The only difficult decision in the Four Seasons stay is selecting from any of the fine menus, here or at the sports bar or Kailani. Poolside, they serve lunch during the day and in the evening, menus are backlit for fine dining al fresco after a champagne sabering and torch lighting ceremony. The One Forty restaurant spreads an extensive breakfast buffet. Or, order the Ahi eggs benedict to start the day. Slowly graze as you gaze out over the sea. In the evening it becomes a fine steak house. Any of the restaurants could have been named Views and the service is over the top.

The Four Seasons is where everybody knows your name. Not only is the staff very accommodating, but so are the rooms, starting with Larry the Lid. When the lid pops up as you enter the bathroom and a panel of buttons assists with hygienic amazements, you can’t help but name the commode. Being on the hot seat here is a good thing. Yes, the seat is warmed.

Control panels operate everything in the room, even the shades, but leave them up for the unobstructed pleasure of crashing waves. An Ipad provides resort info with a dolphin app to alert guests when they are playing in the bay. Play there yourself without worrying about your room key, as it is a waterproof wristband – technically ingenious!

The Hulopo’e Bay is a marine preserve with coral ravines full of kaleidoscopic fish making it the Grand Canyon of snorkeling and an otherworldly experience. Gear is provided along with beach lounge chairs, towels and iced beverages, Four Seasons style.

For those who prefer to simply see the sand, they can lounge at the pool and lawn above the bay where daily island activities are shared like palm weaving, hula dancing and our choice, ukulele lessons. There is something about the mellow tones of Hawaiian melodies that bring out the little Don Ho inside each of us.

Four Seasons is a treat of textures at every turn. Woods, metals, art and flowers all collaborate to heighten the senses. At the SPA, signature Hawaiian treatments begin with a ritual involving a foot scrub and light pummeling of the soles with Kala au pai, small sticks made of guava wood that grow on the mountainside, preparing your soul for any of the Hawaiian therapies. Follow up with a natural sea salt treatment by swimming in the ocean, to be repeated at will.

Four Seasons will put a lump in your throat, take your breath away and fill you with peace and gratitude. As wonderful as it is now, they will be recreating central portions and adding pools. We can’t imagine how it could be improved and yet can’t wait to see. They will close for just a few months to complete the renovations, starting June 1st...  But, the Manele course will remain open! So go now or when they reopen in a few months or in between, make Manele Golf course a day trip from Lahaina on the Expedition ferry for less than the cost of a snorkel excursion. Secure gear at Snorkel Bob’s in Maui and take your clubs or rent them there. Golf, lunch and snorkel at Manele will be the highlight of any Hawaiian trip. On our ferry departure, a troupe of spinner dolphins danced and twirled in and out of our wake, performing their own Cirque du Soleil, as if to say, “Aloha, aloha, y’all come back now.” We all squealed and applauded a big MAHALO!