If you’re like me and you aren’t very interested in the tourist scene and want to experience a location more like a local, then staying on one of Hawaii’s smaller islands might be more your speed. There are a lot of pros and cons to this choice, but that is a discussion for a later post.
For now, let’s discuss your options for staying on the beautiful island of Lana’i!
Lana’i city is a little less than 7 square miles and most of the town’s commercial business can be found in the city square surrounding Dole Park. This makes pretty much anywhere you want to go in the city within walking distance. It’s a very advantageous for a budget driven traveller depending upon where you opt to stay.
Because of the size of Lana’i there are only 2 hotel options available; The Four Seasons Resort and the Hotel Lana’i. If you are looking for a more luxury option complete with a shuttle, car rental, and amazing view of the beach (as well as beach access) then the Four Seasons is perfect for you. Rooms at the Four Seasons, at the time of writing this post, start at around $1,000 USD per night.
For less than half the price, you can stay right in the very center of Lana’i City at the Hotel Lana’i. The hotel, I believe, also offers a shuttle service for guests to and from Manele Bay so you can either enjoy the beach or grab the ferry over to Maui.
Check in times are quite early and end before the last ferry arrives in Manele Harbor, we thought this might be an issue since, long story short, we didn’t get back to Lana’i City for my check in time. Luckily, the staff at this hotel is extremely friendly and accommodating! We just asked if there was someone who could check me in even though it was past hours and they got me in right away.
I stayed in room number 3 which is right next to the main lobby and restaurant (Lana’i City Bar and Grille). Immediately, I noticed the first issue with this hotel and that was it was very noisy. I could hear every conversation at the restaurant as well as those being had by the other hotel guests in their rooms and in the halls. This wouldn’t have been so bad if not for the live band playing in the restaurant who was loud enough for me to hear every note of every song. Things quiet down after the restaurant closes for the night, but for those of you early birds that like to turn in and get an early start to your day, you might find it a bit difficult to sleep with the noise.
Some reviews of the hotel have mentioned that one down side to the hotel is that there is no television or phones inside the rooms. Personally, I find this to be a bonus. There was an ample amount of electrical outlets and stand alone USB ports right next to the bed for you to use and charge all of your electronic devices. Since I tend to travel with my phone as well as my Kindle Fire I was able to pop open Hulu and binge watch my favorite shows with ease here. You are provided a wifi password upon check in and, even though it seemed very busy, I had no issues with loading times.
Another positive side to this historic hotel is the minimalist style of the rooms. Some reviews I read have called them “plain” and “boring” but I found it quite cozy and spacious because I did not have to navigate around unnecessary decor and furniture. There is a closet, a small mini-bar, a large umbrella for you to take to the beach at your leisure, plenty of drawers to store your belongings, and each room is protected with a key-less code. The code changes for each guest as they come.
I would say that this a great place for other bloggers or vloggers to relax, get some great photos, and experience a little night life in Lana’i. I wish I had taken more of the opportunity to do just that while I was staying in this beautiful hotel, but admittedly I was far too tired to do much when I got to the hotel. Then in the morning I had to rush out.
If there’s anything I could tell you about this hotel to convince you to stay here is simply this: this was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in, in my entire life. I am not exaggerating that either. The hotel, as of this post, does not have air conditioning but the breeze from the huge windows was more than enough! I had one of the best sleeps of my life here. I honestly don’t even recall falling asleep, I just slowly and softly drifted into a peaceful slumber.
One note for any ladies though, the lights do take a little time to warm up and get to their full brightness; so if you are planning on doing your makeup I suggest turning the light on a couple minutes prior to beginning your makeup routine.
You can expect a room here to run you within the vicinity of $200~$250 USD per night, which is far cheaper than the Four Seasons. It might not be a luxury resort, but it is peaceful and comfortable and right across the street from everything in the city.
I will say, however, hotels over in Lahaina are about $100 USD cheaper (depending on where you stay) so if you plan on island hopping you might save some money by staying on the island of Maui instead. However, if you are interested in seeing many of the natural sights on Lana’i I highly suggest spending the extra money to stay on Lana’i. The distance between points of interest might be small, but the roads to get there are very rough and absolutely require a vehicle with 4 wheel drive. Because of the limited times to catch the ferry between Lana’i and Maui, it’s best to live on island time, relax, and take it slow instead of cramming everything into one day.
If I had to give this hotel a rating I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars! The noise was indeed a bit of an issue for me, and it made me a little self-conscious that other guests might hear me talking to myself while vlogging (I’m still rather shy with video).
While writing this post I saw that the Hotel Lana’i is currently temporarily closed undergoing what their website calls a “refresh”. I am not sure what this means for the future of the hotel, but if you like history and being right in the middle of the action, this is the place to be.