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Weekend on Lanai

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Billy and I just had a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend on Lanai. We took the ferry over on Saturday afternoon. Once there, we met up with Billy’s wife and kids and a couple of friends who had headed over a little earlier in the day. We were also joined by Carla’s longtime friends who live on Lanai. Carla’s friends had a fantastic camp site right on the sand at Hulopoe Beach. This beach was selected the Best Beach in America by Dr. Beach in 1997. The moment I stepped on the sand, I could easily see why Dr. Beach had thought so highly of this special place. The sand was a beautiful golden color and the water was vivid shades of blue. Kiawe, Coconut Palms and Sea Grape trees provided shade along the edge of the beach. Locals and tourists alike played in the waves, while a few surfers tried their luck on the reef break to the outside. The Opulent Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay was on the opposite side of the beach away from our campsite. The camping facilites were among the best I had seen in Hawaii with picnic tables, grills, clean bathrooms and a shower.

Hulopoe Beach with the Four Seasons at Manele Bay in the Background
Beautiful Hulopoe Beach in Lanai, Hawaii

Shore Break close to sunset at Hulopoe Beach
Hulopoe Beach Shorebreak

The weekend was a great mixture of relaxing, playing in the surf and hanging out with the kids. Without a doubt, one of the highlights was the morning visits by the spinner dolphins. Each morning a huge pod of spinner dolphins comes into the bay in front of Hulopoe Beach. Our first morning on the beach, we saw dolphins frolicking within 100 yards of shore. We donned our masks and fins and headed off shore to watch. Before long, there were dolphins swimming all around us. Some of the dolphins frolicked gently in packs. Other dolphins frequently burst out of the water in an acrobatic display. It was an amazing experience.

We were a little slow to get in the water to swim with the dolphins the second morning, but we did enjoy their antics from the beach over coffee. We went out for a snorkel nonetheless and enjoyed the abundant marine life. The Hulopoe Bay area is part of a marine sanctuary and fishing is limited to rod and reel. As a result you have one of the best preserved bays in Maui County. We all enjoyed the colorful and varied schools of fish.

Spinner Dolphin off Hulopoe Beach
Hulopoe Beach Spinner Dolphin

I also had the opportunity to explore the island a little beyond the confines of Hulopoe Beach. If you are not familiar with Lanai, it is part of Maui County. It is the smallest of the three inhabited islands in the county. Lanai was at one time synonymous with Pineapples. The Dole Company used to own 95% of the island. During their ownership, it was the top producer of pineapple in the world. Lanai City is the one and only town on the island. It was the focal point of the pineapple plantation. It maintains its plantation charm with an abundance of cute plantation homes throughout town. The town square is lined with small shops and is a focal point for local gatherings and celebrations. Climate wise, it is a pretty stark contrast from the warm and dry leeward side of the island where Hulopoe Beach is located. Lanai City is located at roughly 1,800 feet of elevation in a cooler mountainous area. Towering cook pines dominate the flora and the area often has a cloak of afternoon clouds.

Plantation Style Homes in Charming Lanai City
Plantation Style Homes in Lanai City, Lanai, Hawaii

Pineapple agriculture left the island in the mid 80s and tourism supplanted agriculture as the big industry for the island. The island has two very high end resorts which recently came under the management of the Four Seasons. The aforementioned Four Seasons at Manele Bay and the Four Seasons at Koele Lodge draw discerning visitors from around the globe. The Koele Lodge is located just above Lanai City. I had the opportunity to walk the grounds at Koele. It is far from your typical Hawaii Resort. It reminds me of a cross between an English Lodge and a high end summer resort in the Adirondacks with a little bit of a Hawaii and Asian flair. It was cool, quiet and very beautiful. Both Resorts offer world class golf with the Experience at Koele and the Challenge at Manele. The two courses are thought to be among the best in Hawaii.

I also took some time to explore the local real estate market. Both resorts offer luxury condo and home sales. Koele offers condos starting in the $700,000 range with homes starting in the $2,000,000 range. Owners also have the option of joining the Island Club which offers privileges at both Four Seasons Resort. There is also the Pines at Koele. This new development will offer three and four bedroom detached condominium homes with prices ranging from $1,100,000 to $1,500,000. This development will be located adjacent to the Experience Golf Course.

Manele Bay offers luxury condominiums as well as some of the most impressive estate properties and home sites available for purchase in Hawaii. The two condo complexes available are the Terraces at Manele Bay and the Palms at Manele. Prices for condos in these complexes start just below $2,000,000. Asking prices for luxury homes in Manele start around $4,500,000. If you would like to build your own dream estate in Manele, list prices for lots start at $1,995,000. All of the properties in the Manele area are eligible for Island Club membership.

Lanai City offers a number of charming plantation style homes and cottages for sale. Asking Prices in Lanai City range from the low $300,000s to $1,300,000 for a larger plantation style home on a half acre lot. Check out MauiRealEstate.com for all of the current Lanai Real Estate Listings. Contact us for additional information.

Overall, this was just a great Hawaii weekend. The quiet and natural beauty were a great way to recharge the batteries. I look forward to my next opportunity to hop on the ferry for a Lanai adventure.

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5/29/2008

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