My wife and I are experienced travelers, and have stayed at several Four Seasons resorts throughout the United States. Our 7-night stay at the Manele Bay Resort in late January 2006 was both wonderful and disappointing. What was wonderful? The resort itself is absolutely beautiful. The landscaping and gardens are exquisite. The guest rooms are well-appointed. The common areas -- i.e. restaurants, lobby, pool area -- are clean and well-decorated. The beach is excellent. Physically, the resort simply cannot be criticized.
But, the resort does not otherwise meet Four Seasons standards. With the exception of the pool attendants and some of the waiters, the balance of the staff at the resort, including, surprisingly, some members of the concierge staff, the front desk staff and the restaurant staff, did not appear to have been indoctrinated with the customery graciousness that we have come to expect of staff at resorts boasting room rates in excess of $700 per night. Noting that the resort was not filled to capacity (far from it, in fact), we asked whether a room upgrade was available at check-in, and the front desk attendant looked at us like we were from another planet. Several times, we were made to feel as if our rather standard requests to concierge staff and restaurant staff were a nuisance or that the staff was not sufficiently informed to answer our questions.
The concierge twice incoorectly scheduled certain excursions for which we had signed up. The restaurant staff at several of the restaurants failed to take our orders correctly. And we were several times incorrectly charged for restaurant items -- that is, the menu prices were inconsistant with the amounts actually charged for specific items. The last issue was a first for us at any resort.
We did note that the newly-arrived director of dining is making extraordinary efforts to improve the dining experience at the resort's restaurants. The food at the restaurants was good, but not great. Our favorite meal, quite frankly, was the morning buffet, which was included in our room rate. The restaurant prices were unusually high. In addition, the resort closes down the Ihilani Restaurant two nights a week, and the Ocean Grill two nights a week. We have never stayed at a resort where the restaurants close on certain nights, and given the dearth of dining options on Lana'i and at the resort, we do not think it is an appropriate policy.
We were also disappointed with the wetbar policy at the resort. The resort does not stock the wetbars in the guest rooms. You are, rather, provided with a menu of items that you must purchase, if at all, in bulk from room service -- i.e. six waters, six sodas, etc. We found this unusual and inconvenient. We were also surprised that the resort does not provide bottled water free of charge, except on night one. Listen, if you're paying more than $700 per night for your room, the resort should supply bottled water for free. Bottom line -- we felt the resort was squeezing us for every penny. It got to a point where we started venturing to the small town to find food and other necessities.
Another nuisance is that the resort has only two computers in its business center, while its guests consist of numerous professionals who need to check their e-mail from time to time. The wait for a computer was often lengthy, and the resort makes no effort to circumcribe the amount of time a guest may spend on a computer. One couple spend literally an entire day monopolizing a computer to make their travel plans. The resort needs to deal with this.
We came away from this vacation relaxed and happy, notwithstanding the foregoing criticisms, because the resort was beautiful and the weather was extraordinary. We do feel that we did not get our money's worth, however, and would not return to the resort until we receive reports that it has brought its services up to Four Seasons standards in all respects.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay is the quintessential Hawaiian beach resort. Overlooking a protected marine preserve, Manele Bay is a romantic retreat with championship golf and some of the finest offerings of water sports in the world. Al fresco dining options abound, from Pacific Rim to Italian cuisine, while spinner dolphins and whale watching are sights to behold. Pampering spa treatments and pool and beach side amenities make for a perfect day under the sun. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- 4 Seasons Resort Lana`i At Manele Bay
- Four Seasons Resort Lana`i At Manele Bay Hotel Lanai City
- Four Seasons Manele Bay
- Four Seasons Lanai City
- Lanai City Four Seasons
- Four Seasons Resort Lana'i At Manele Bay Lanai, Hawaii