We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Lanai, Kauai or Maui

New York City
12 posts
Save Topic
Lanai, Kauai or Maui

I am planning a HI vacation with a friend in May of 2006. We are definitely staying in Oahu (Halekulani Resort) for the last four days of the trip. The question is, where for the first five days...I have researched Kauai (Hyatt Resort) and Lanai (Manele Bay) and Oahu North Shore (Turtle Bay Resort). Most friends who have been to Hawaii insist we do at least two islands during our nine day stay - and most are push for Maui (we are booked at the Westin, Maui for now).

I am a vacationer who does not like alot of running around/crowds, and please do not take offense - small children, on my vacations. Goes without say that my research has pushed me towards Lanai, but I don't want to leave my friend in the lurch with no activity - he is a trekker/hiker kinda person.

Is Lanai / Kauai the place to go over Maui. And if Lanai is our final decision - is the FS Manele Bay still under construction? OR would Kauai meet vacation fun for both traveling buddies. I tell ya, the more I read about Kauai and Lanai - the less intrigued I become about Maui, but friends continue to rave...

Edina, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Lanai
Level Contributor
4,091 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Lanai, Kauai or Maui

From reading your interests, I think you would love Lana'i. It is my favorite island, and I would have a house there if I won the lottery. Check out some of my and other people's posts/answers in the Lana'i archives for all the details. I will be back on Lana'i in January and will post a full report then on the newly renovated Manele Bay and how Four Seasons is doing running the place. My understanding is that the renovation is now complete at Manele Bay. It was wonderful before, I can't wait to see it now.

Also I agree with you about Maui. It is getting so overdeveloped and crowded. Our last trip there was in 2002, and my wife doesn't want to go back. I still haven't made up my mind, because there are still some quiet getaway places to find on Maui. But if you want quiet, relaxing, and uncrowded, Lana'i is the place for you. There is not a stop light on the island and no Costco's in sight.

Little Rock...
Level Contributor
841 posts
151 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Lanai, Kauai or Maui

I love Maui. It can be as "touristy" or as tranquil/remote as you want it to be. Diverse and lovely. I've been to all of the above mentioned islands and it's my favorite. If you want to get a little more rural, Kauai is lovely. I hate to say this after the last poster, but I was not impressed with Lanai at all. I know there are some beautiful spots, but flat pineapple fields, a tiny town, and two nice resorts are about all there was IMO.

Edina, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Lanai
Level Contributor
4,091 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Lanai, Kauai or Maui

I have to respond to the last person's comments regarding Lana'i. It is much more than "flat pinapple fields, a tiny town, and two nice resorts". This island is the way the rest of the islands used to be decades ago, unspoiled and uncrowded. The tiny town is better than any big city in Hawaii. The store owners are friendly and helpful, and there is not a single chain store on the island. You can be busy with outdoor activities throughout a trip, or do what many of us need the most on vacation, relax away from crowds and traffic. It is good NOT have "something to do" all the time.

Here is a cut and paste from one of my past responses to a Lana'i question:

As a person who loves Lana'i, I definately recommend a visit. Just because it is a "quiet island", doesn't meen that there is nothing to do. But I agree with the previous reply, that most of the activities revolve around daytime and outside. There is little nightlife on the island short of delicious dinners (my favorite kind of nightlife), and possibly a small band in the bar. The resorts have the best food (Ihilani is our favorite), but it is pricey. In Lana'i City you can eat more reasonably and with still very tasty food at Pele's Other Garden and Blue Ginger Cafe for lunch and dinner, and at a few others for lunch. Don't expect stunning shopping, but there are a few nice shops.

Manele Bay Resort is just completing one year of renovation this month as Four Seasons takes over management, so the resort should go from great to outstanding. The beach at Manele is great for snorkeling, dolphin and whale watching or just lounging. We have seen dolphins in the bay most mornings (remember not to approach a wild dolphin or you might face a stiff fine). They are fun to watch because of the spinning jumps they do that gives them their name - spinner dolphins. Make sure you bring some binoculars.

Exploring the island is the most fun, but you will need a 4x4 Jeep to do it. Dollar-Rent-A-Car in town rents them for about $130/day, but it is worth it. You will be able to get to places that are quite isolated and beautiful like shipwreck beach, Poluhui beach (the size of several football fields and you may be the only ones there), and Garden of the Gods. A nice change from the crowds on Maui. Definately pack a picnic lunch (Pele's in town will do that as well as the resorts). If you like horseback riding they have a nice ride by the Lodge. And the hiking is great!

So I hope this extra info is useful in your decision making. Everyone is different and wants something different from their Hawaii trip. Have fun planning and have a great trip!

Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
1,229 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Lanai, Kauai or Maui

I wholeheartedly agree w/drval regarding Lana'i. There is plenty to do if you want...but we preferred doing a whole lotta nothing during our short four nites there in August. Let your friend hike, bike, and explore to their hearts content while you relax and unwind at Manele Bay. Peoples obsession w/activity jam packed vacations is beyond me. Every day is busy and hectic enough. Vacation shouldn't be. We did do a small amount of exploring every day. I have, what I later found out to be, a rare photo of a Mouflon Sheep we literally ran into while hiking. Well worth it!

You'll be busy in O'ahu. I say go there first, then to Lana'i to relax the remainder of your stay in the Islands.

Edina, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Lanai
Level Contributor
4,091 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Lanai, Kauai or Maui

Hi mrsfuzz,

I love the photo of your bunny. What is his/her name? Also, thanks for sticking up for my belief of doing some relaxing on vacation.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
1,229 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Lanai, Kauai or Maui

Hi drval:

Her name is Sue, short for Runaround Sue. Her boyfriend is Leroy Brown. Since we had given her a song name, he got the same. When we adopted him, he was a scared and timid little guy who had been rescued. We had to give him a tough name!

Happy to back you up on Lana'i any time! Tho, maybe we shouldn't say nice things either and keep the island to ourselves!!!

Regards,

mrsfuzz

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
7 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Lanai, Kauai or Maui

If you have 5 days, you could visit Maui for 2-3 days and then take the ferry to Lanai for a day or 2 ($50 per person roundtrip or $25 one-way, takes 45 min. to an hour each way). Here's the # to the company that operates the ferry:

Phone: 800/695-2624, 808/661-3756. It departs from Lahaina, Maui.

However, I would recommend that you just spend the 5 days in Kauai. I think you would like Kauai. It's by far the prettiest of all the islands...one of the reasons we went there is because everyone we talked to recommended Kauai over the other islands. There is so much to do, yet it's not crowded at all. There are a lot of beaches to choose from, whereas on Lanai, there is only one beach that is safe for swimming and snorkeling. Also, if you're looking for secluded beaches, Kauai has those as well. We went to one beach (Polihale) where we couldn't see another person for miles. I think Kauai would meet the needs of both you and your friend...it's not crowded at all, and there are many activities to choose from. Two things you have to do if you go to Kauai are (1) a helicopter tour (literally, the most BREATHTAKING scenery I've ever witnessed...I wish I could attach pictures to this post) and (2) Sunday brunch at the Princeville Resort's Cafe Hanelei (sit outside and try to get table # 9 if you can).

Edina, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Lanai
Level Contributor
4,091 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Lanai, Kauai or Maui

Thanks for the info on your bunnies mrsfuzz, it sounds like Bad, Bad Leroy Brown now has a nice home. My wife just loves rabbits, but our prey driven golden retrievers would make it very difficult to keep one ourselves. We just get to watch the wild ones in the yard who treat our garden like a salad bar (but they are cute). And I have also often had the same thought about keeping Lana'i a secret from others - that's what makes it so nice.

My only problem with Kauai is the rain. When I fly 8 hours and have only a week or two to enjoy Hawaii, I want maximum sunshine. On, our one trip to Kauai it rained EVERY day (even on the dry side of the island). But I guess that is what makes it so lush and beautiful. Right now it is 15 degrees outside and we had 2" of snow yesterday and another 3" is expected today. So when I escape this "Great White North", I want certain warmth and sunshine.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
7 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Lanai, Kauai or Maui

Yes, I guess you might get some rain in Kauai. We were there for 7 days and it didn't rain once...I guess it depends on the time of year....we were there in December. I've heard though, that when it rains, it's usually a short shower in the afternoon...

Get answers to your questions about Lanai