Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Lana`i: Where to Stay, Part 2

I took the bus down to Manele Bay Hotel. In my humble opinion, it features a spectacular design — I call it Mediterranean style with beautiful tile roofs set amongst a paradise of tropical foliage. I stayed here one time for a few days — at a steep discount — but no more — this retired person cannot afford rates starting at $445 per night (plus heavy Hawai`i taxes). That's 2 1/2 to 3 times the rate at Hotel Lana`i. Of course the rooms are nicer than Hotel Lana`i — and you may run into a celebrity or two — but out of my price range. Now I understand that they are having problems with low occupancy due to the recession. No kidding!

However, it does not cost anything to simply visit the hotel and adjoining grounds. Here is the nearby golf course, The Challenge at Manele, a Jack Nicholas design. I have played it before, once with Kona, and found it to be quite challenging. I lost a half a golf dozen balls but seemed to have done better than some of the other folks I encountered who had lost eight to ten balls.

Bill Gates must have been impressed with it too because he was married on one of the oceanside holes in 1994. Of course, he rented every room on the island and booked every seat on every flight and boat trip during his wedding trip. You could get onto the island only by invitation.

Before arriving, I researched golf rates and the best I could find was $240 for a round — too rich for my blood — and much more than I recall from those previous visits.

Fortunately, my friends Larry and Darlene know one of the golf pros and arranged for an $80 rate — still a bit high compared to Phoenix but, what the heck, you're on vacation. Unfortunately, I had hurt my wrist at Wailea (on Maui) on Thanksgiving Day — and I was afraid that I might aggravate the injury. It killed me to have to say "No thanks" to such a great offer — especially when I got down to the course and there was nobody there. Sob!

But my wrist injury did not prevent me from taking photos. The left shows a bit of the decor of the hotel — beautiful with a slight Asian flair.

On the right is a sculpture of a Hawai`ian ali`i (royalty), complete with feather cape and helmet. Quite impressive.

Above the central hall are a couple of huge historic murals — including the one shown here depicting ancient Hawai`ians paddling a double-hulled, oceangoing canoe with sail. This offers a very nice blending of history and art to the decor.

Stairs descend from the central hall to the pool area. Notice the lush vegetation that has matured nicely to really showcase this beautiful architecture.

I especially like the bougainvillea — so colorful — and varied colors — against the blue sky. I'm in Heaven.

There are also interesting pieces of sculpture on the grounds including the dolphins shown here. There are just so many nice touches.

In recent years, resorts in Hawai`i have competed with each other to offer the most elaborate, extensive pools imaginable. The Manele Bay Hotel offers a very classy pool — perhaps not as big as some of the showy pools like the Hyatt Regency Ka`anapali Beach on Maui — just quiet elegance. Note the two Jacuzzis that are in the midst of the pool. Way cool.

And the service is impeccable. On several occasions, I have eaten lunch at the poolside bar — this trip joined by Larry and Darlene — it was quite good. The only downside? You have to be staying at one of the two expensive hotels to swim and lounge here (dining is open to anyone) so if you stay at the Hotel Lana`i, like I do, you can use the beach below but not the pool. Darn!

When you walk down the path to the beach and look back, you see this wonderful scene. I just had to take the photo. The scene demanded it.

Here are the remains of an ancient Hawai`ian homestead, now preserved by the hotel. Rocks were piled to form a thatched cooking hut. Artifacts found here include implements for fishing and farming. Close your eyes to imagine how those people lived on this spot so many years ago.

Further down the trail provides a wonderful view of Hulopo`e Beach. The resort has "staked a claim" to the near end of the beach by placing their lounges and umbrellas there for use by the hotel guests. This is a common practice in Hawai`i despite the fact that legally, the beaches are open to everyone.

This beach is on Manele Bay which is huge and full of marine life. You may recall a previous Life After HP issue, when John, Patty and I came to Lana`i on the Trilogy VI. The harbor is very close and they then brought us to this beach — they have an agreement with Lana`i that they will only bring folks here on weekdays — so that weekends are for locals and hotel guests only.

Manele Bay is a terrific site for snorkeling — lots of tropical fish swimming among the lava rock outcroppings. Once snorkeling here, I saw a small school of four fish that I had never seen before — not in the ocean, not in an aquarium, not on a Discovery Channel program. They were all white, shaped like an angel fish with long streamers coming off their fins. When they changed direction, the streamers were so long, it look a while for them to make the turn too. I followed them for a while then, in an instant, they were gone. I have never seen them again.

Sometimes dolphins can be seen jumping in the bay — and occasionally, during the winter months, a humpback whale may venture in, causing quite a stir among locals and tourists alike.

This photo shows a lava rock formation at one end of the opening of Manele Bay. It is called Pu`u Pehe or Sweetheart Rock. The old Hawai`ian legends tell of a jealous husband who put his wife into a sea cave at the base of the rock. Unfortunately, she drowned. Her husband was terribly upset so he climbed to the top of the rock (with help from the gods) and buried her body there. He then jumped off the rock to his own death.


Archeologists have studied the top of the rock and found no human remains. This rock formation, which legion suggests is Pu`u Pehe's tomb, is thought to actually be a bird heiau built by ancient Hawai`ians. There is a trail from Hulopo`e Beach leading to a wonderful overlook of Pu'u Pehe Rock — which is where I was standing when I took these photos.

Continuing on that trail I encountered Shark's Cove and Shark's Beach. The setting is beautiful and sparsely visited because of the difficulty of getting there. I saw no evidence of human visitation.

The trail is not well traveled and requires a strong interest in exploration to wind through the vegetation that tends to impede your progress. But then you might be rewarded with a view such as this — the Lana`i coast with Maui in the background. I guess those scratches from the thorns on the plants were worthwhile if you can capture scenes like this.

Eventually, I wound my way to the small boat harbor — this was where we arrived both on the Trilogy VI and the ferry. Ah, return to civilization — scratched and thirsty but with some wonderful images, both in my mind and in my camera.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc.