First discovered by Captain Cook's crew in 1779, The Island of Lanai is also known as Hawaii's most exclusive island. Hawaii's 6th largest island in size (and population) is home to about 3,000 residents, who live mostly in Lanai City (now there's a misnomer).
Owned principally by David Murdock's Castle & Cooke (Dole Foods), Lanai set its sights, in the late 1980s, on becoming a high-end retreat for the well healed. The transformation was successful in a number of ways that transcend the obvious intention.
Lanai boasts two of the most dazzling luxury resorts found in Hawaii. The Manele Bay Hotel is situated at the island's most stunning cove beach. The Lodge at Koele, at 2,000 feet of elevation, offers what Conde Nast Traveler calls, "the No. 1 lodge in the world." Along with the two resorts came some interesting attractions and amenities, like 36 holes of world-class golf, seven dining venues, a spa, Lanai Pines Sporting Clays (one of hippest attractions in Hawaii with clay shooting, air rifle target range and archery) plus the standard array of resort goodies.
But even with the emergence of the posh hotel and lodge, Lanai has not lost the charm of a small island. Lanai City's public square still hosts a Farmer's Market every Saturday morning and is home to a handful of nifty shops and galleries, three food markets and five eateries lead by Chef Henry Clay Richardson's Hotel Lanai, which is one of three dinner spots in town. The others are breakfast and lunch oriented.
The two golf venues are the Experience at Koele, designed by Ted Robinson, and the Challenge at Manele, designed by Jack Nicklaus. Both layouts are easily rated in the top-10 in Hawaii, with the recently renovated Experience offering a crisp upcountry design, which seems to be something you might find in verdantly lush mainland locations like Colorado. Overlooking the ocean is the Challenge, with its warmer temperatures and host of Nicklaus signatures.
However, to play these courses for anything resembling a deal, you must buy a vacation package that includes accommodations at the hotel or lodge. Consult HawaiiGolfDeals now for Lodge deals.
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