Maui Ferry to Lanai is an Escape to Paradise from Ka’anapali
Taking the Maui Ferry to Lanai sounded on the surface like a good plan and a way to get back to the island of Lanai without having to spend a fortune to stay at the Four Seasons in Manele Bay. Rates have gone up a bit since the remodel, which was after my stay in December of 2014. But there is a limit to how much I will spend for a vacation from my vacation on Big Island, and 11 days at the Four Seasons wasn’t it.
The rates at this resort are comparable to the luxury hotels in Bora Bora. And the Spa at the Four Seasons Lanai was not really on par with what I had come to expect regarding spas, but I imagine all of that has improved since my last visit.
It seemed more practical to stay on Maui and grab the Maui Ferry to Lanai for $60 round trip. It’s only a 45-minute trip from Lahaina, and just driving to OGG is more exhausting and longer than that. There is also a bus for $2 that leaves from Whaler’s Village in Ka’anapali and delivers a person to the Lahaina Wharf. Leaves plenty of opportunity to splurge on more important things like lunch at the Four Seasons.
When I got off the Maui Ferry to Lanai, there was my friend, Hella Rothwell, standing there with a cab driver. She surprised me. I thought we would meet at the hotel. We could have walked the back way, along the beach to the Four Seasons and been there in 10 minutes or so, but hey, the cab was available and ready. If you have Ingress on your cellphone, you can follow the portals to the beach walk, which is how I found the harbor on Lanai in the first place and discovered the Maui Ferry service.
We were on a mission. A mission for me to recoup my very own portal key, which I had discarded by accident. I don’t know why I keep it really, since I rarely play the game anymore, but it’s one of two portals awarded to me by Ingress. You can capture a portal or you can own a portal, and it’s very rare to own a portal, to have it named after you. I own a Realtorsrock Ingress portal on Lanai and another Realtorsrock portal on Molokai, too.
One of the places in Lanai I wanted to share with Hella was the view of Sweetheart Rock from Hulopo’e Beach, which is a public park next to the Four Seasons. The guests from the Four Seasons don’t seem to wander down this direction, so it’s isolated and quiet and one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth. I’m tickled pink to no end that I got to show it to Hella.
Hella and I wandered about the Four Seasons , marveling at the orchids and lush vegetation. The new design consists of umbrella-covered chairs nestled about on the grounds, creating a myriad of private spaces to enjoy the ocean views and pool areas. I had heard there would be 3 pools at Lanai when the remodel was completed, but we found only one pool. Some of the crushed volcanic walks were replaced with stamped concrete and flagstone paths.
The bird sanctuary seems to have relocated elsewhere. I found orange fences but few birds, not like there used to be. All the flooring in the hotel has been recovered with wood, and the floor in the lobby has places where the flooring has dipped and caved in a bit. I’m not sure wood was a good choice, especially so susceptible to the elements, but I’m not Larry Ellison.
All of that strolling about the Four Seasons in Manele Bay made us hungry. Hella Rothwell had flown over from Honolulu and was a bit miffed that the Four Seasons would not let her take the shuttle to the hotel for lunch. Because she wasn’t a guest, they forced her to call a cab. I can see where maybe they don’t want to transport homeless people to Manele Bay who might want to set up camp on the beach, but a paying customer for lunch is a different story.
We hopped the shuttle up to the Views at Manele Golf for lunch. It’s secluded, quiet and except for the guys from Tesla, there were not many people having lunch. There are only a handful of tables, maybe a half dozen. You can see all the way to Sweetheart Rock from this spot.
After lunch, Hella and I decided to go into Lanai City. The shuttle doesn’t run anymore like it used to. There were once shuttles that ran every hour or so up to Lanai City and then further on to the Lodge, also operated by the Four Seasons. But the Lodge is still under renovation, so we could not visit the Orchid Greenhouse at the Lodge in Lanai. We also could not catch the shuttle whenever we wanted and had to take a cab to Lanai City.
We went directly to the Mike Carroll Gallery in Lanai. Met up with Mike and his wife and although the huge oil painting from Ed Totten, an amazing artist from Montana who paints strictly from memory, had been sold a while back, smaller pieces took their honored spots on the wall. If I could afford it, I would buy all of his work. We also enjoyed original art by guest artists Billyo O’Donnell, Ron Gingerich, Randy Sexton and, of course, Mike Carroll himself.
Since Hellla just received a grant to support the Carmel Art Festival, she spent a lot of time talking with Mike Carroll and his wife about that event, and hoping to invite more artists. There was some chatter about the unveiling of a new statue in Carmel of Clint Eastwood, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I was too busy wondering how much I could get if I hocked everything I owned to buy an Ed Totten painting.
All good things eventually come to a close, and it was nearing time for Hella and me to leave Lanai. She to the airport back to Honolulu and me to the harbor. We toured a few shops in Lanai City and returned to the Four Seasons in Manele Bay, catching the last shuttle that stops in front of the Lanai Hotel at 4:30. I think there are only 2 shuttles that run daily to Lanai City now. Eventually that will change when The Lodge reopens.
I had planned to walk back to Manele Harbor but sitting on the sofa with Hella, laughing and talking, changed those plans, and I decided to stretch out the last possible moment before jumping aboard the ferry to return to Maui at 6:45 PM. Hella’s cab dropped me off, and after hailing a cab myself in Lanai (I was so proud of myself, I just raised my arm, waved my hand and a cab stopped), I was back in Ka’anapali Beach at my hotel by 8 PM.