Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lanai and Big Island, Hawaii -- July 2006

2 nights at a friend's home in Kona
3 nights Four Seasons Manele Bay on Lanai


I spent several nights at the 4S Manele Bay last summer for a girl's trip with my college roommate, and had a wonderful time! It's a beautiful resort with lovely rooms, great service, pool, food, etc. The clientele was mostly made up of honeymooner-types, couples in their 40s-50s, and families (though fewer of this last group than of the others). Do keep in mind that the beach is open to the public, as are all beaches in HI, so it was more crowded than the resort itself. There is also an area of the beach (closest to the path to the resort itself), that while not exclusive to the 4S, is where they put out the beach chairs and umbrellas that are for exclusive 4S guest use. So that area of the beach is pretty quiet, at least when we were there.

I can't speak to the activities at the hotel, as I spent the majority of my time just soaking up the sun by the beach or the pool, but I can say that this is a fabulous place to relax and unwind. With pool butlers coming by to offer frozen drinks, an Evian spritz, to clean your sunglasses, it's hard to get motivated to leave your chair! The service is excellent, as one would expect from a 4S resort. We ate at every restaurant there during our stay, and did not have a single meal that was any less than delicious.

One really cool feature of the location is that there are dozens of dolphins that live in Manele Bay and play in the waters there every day (or at least, when we were there!) They were a joy to watch jump and spin through the sea! My one and only (and very minor) disappointment of my stay was that the water was rougher, and thus the snorkeling not as good, as I'd hoped for previously. However, this may have just been due to the time of year.

We didn't rent a car while we were there, but the hotel runs a shuttle up to "town" (Lania City) and the 4S Lodge at Koele. There's not much to see and do in Lanai City, but it's an interesting and scenic ride up there, and there are a few cute shops to poke around in. The Lodge is pretty, with gorgeous grounds, but I was not as taken with it as I was with the Manele Bay property. Still, worth going up for a walk around the grounds and a drink in the bar. They also do an afternoon tea there, but it's a bit sparse--literally tea and a few cookies (we had been all excited for a full English tea, so were a bit let down!)

When someone recently asked me how I would best describe the 4S Manele Bay, I told her "lush, luxurious, and lovely"! It's just an all-around great resort--I really had no complaints about anything. I usually prefer boutique type resorts, but I still really enjoyed staying here. Everything is sort of "just right" here, if that makes sense. Not over the top, or ostentatious, just pretty and relaxing and pampering and romantic --well, would have been romantic if I'd been there with my husband instead of a friend, at least! I would absolutely recommend this resort to anyone looking for a beautiful and peaceful getaway.

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