We did it! My husband Steve and I finally made our way to our seventh Hawaiian island: The tiny “Pineapple Isle” of Lana’i. We have been consistently surprised over the years at how each island has its own quirks, its own personality, its own beauty and charm. Lana’i was rugged, gorgeous, and incredibly low-key. The spirit of aloha and the chillness of the shaka were strong here, and we appreciated both.
We chose to stay at the historic, budget-friendlier Hotel Lana’i. It was renovated in 2019, so don’t look at “budget-friendly” and think it’s run-down or “cheap” by any means. The only comparison on the island is the Four Seasons! Here’s everything you need to know to inspire your stay at Hotel Lana’i.
More here: The Ultimate Lana’i Bucket List
Dating from the 1920s, this is the first and oldest hotel on Lana’i. It’s always been a place for lodging, as Mr. Dole would house his guests here when the island operated as the Dole Pineapple Plantation. After passing through a few owners and a recent renovation, it still holds the charm of a Hawaiian plantation house. Even now, guests can come to stay in the heart of the island, at the top of the hill that overlooks the town. We loved seeing old photographs of the island around the hotel as well. You’ll find them in the hallways and in the lobby area.
Read on: Hawaii for History Lovers
The hotel itself is small and boutique style. Its walkway from the parking lot (all parking is free) welcomes you with tropical plants, and a grand staircase leads to the lobby. The decor is Japanese-inspired, with beautiful woodwork and calming, earth-toned colors. The lobby area is not large, but there are comfortable seats next to large windows, so you can enjoy the space to the fullest.
Also essential info: Everything You Need to Know about Renting a Car on Lana’i
We chose a Garden Room, which gave us a lovely view of the bamboo grove behind the hotel, as well as wildlife like axis deer, tropical birds, and turkeys! The bed was one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on, and while there could be improvements made in soundproofing (and the very loud people beside us could have been more considerate), we were happy with our choice.
We found that there was more than enough storage for us, which is not something we find in every hotel. We also liked the table and chairs set up next to the windows so we could enjoy a meal with a view from our own room. Their 2019 renovation also included upgrading all rooms with electronic panels to control temperature, lighting, and window shades. There was even an option to see the weather forecast.
Read more about cool and quirky Hotels, B&Bs, and Vacation Rentals on my Accommodations Page!
This was pretty special! The bathroom was very spacious, with plenty of storage under the sink, and even a shelf at the bottom of the mirror. Steve and I generally prefer two sinks instead of sharing one, but we found there to be ample counterspace for the two of us, and it was a delight. The towels were exceptionally soft, the shower was large with a bench and two shower heads, and the toiletries were high-quality. But the real gem was the heated toilet seat that opened when you walked up to it and flushed itself. It’s a Japanese Toto toilet!
Keep reading: The Ultimate Guide to Solid Toiletries
The hotel provides a complimentary continental breakfast daily. It was a little different every day, but generally there was always coffee, tea, hot cocoa, orange juice, and milk to drink. For food, there was fresh fruit, granola bars, cereal, oatmeal, bagels with cream cheese, jam, and honey. For protein, there was yogurt and hard-boiled eggs. If you require more than that, breakfast options in Lana’i City include The Plantation Market at the gas station, Richard’s Market, Blue Ginger, and Coffee Works. (Hours and opening times vary. Find all the details in my Where to Eat on Lana’i blog post.)
The Restaurant: Chengdu Taste
Open for dinner most nights and for lunch on weekends, the newly-opened Chengdu Taste is a Chinese restaurant with truly amazing food. We made a reservation for Sunday night, since we knew there would be no other restaurants open for that meal, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Steve got the Kung Pow Chicken, and I had the Beef Chowmein. All dishes are served family-style, so it was easy to share.
Due to COVID, you will need to make a reservation whether you’re staying here or not. You will also need to show ID and COVID vaccination card or proof of a negative test within 72 hours, as well as wear a mask and have your temperature taken.
More here: Where to Eat on Lana’i
Interested in staying on Lana’i? You won’t find Hotel Lana’i on third-party sites like Expedia, Hotels.com, or Orbitz. In fact, when you look on those sites, you’ll be shown hotels that are actually on Mau’i, not on Lana’i at all! With just 11 rooms and one cottage, you’ll need to book directly with the hotel, and book early.
There are two Four Seasons properties on the island, both of which will cost you anywhere from $1200-$2000 per night. Hotel Lana’i, in contrast, will be closer to $315-$370. For the budget-conscious, that’s a tremendous savings!
Keep reading: What to Know Before You Visit Lana’i
Lana’i generally seemed more compliant with COVID regulations and protocols than other islands we’ve visited since the pandemic started. The same is true for Hotel Lana’i. Mask wearing is required indoors, hand sanitizer stations are set up throughout common areas, housekeeping during your stay has been eliminated, and your vaccine card or proof of negative COVID test will be required upon check-in. Hopefully all of these will go away eventually, but those are the things you can currently expect during your stay, as of November 2021.
That said, Sarah at the front desk graciously anticipated all of our needs, and kindly accommodated all of our requests. Because we were there for five nights, we did ask for fresh sheets and towels halfway through our stay, and we changed the sheets ourselves. (It’s not possible to keep everything totally clean when you enjoy hiking as much as Steve and I do!) Toward the end of our stay, Sarah even gave us a second fresh set of towels, more toiletries, and bottles of water without our asking for them. Even during COVID, we did not feel forgotten, overlooked, or put-out!
Read next: How to Prepare for Your First Trip Since the Pandemic Started
and Was It Worth It to Plan a Bucket List Trip During the Pandemic?
Are you ready to visit Lana’i? Find everything you need on my Hawaiian Islands Page!
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