Sep 1st, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Travel

An Enticing Island for Seniors

Lānaʻi or Lanai as is it known, is the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It is known as Hawaii’s Most Enticing Island.  Away from the crowds and hustle of everyday life, Lanai is a destination of untouched tranquility. This romantic island is a true getaway for senior travelers.

It is also known as the Pineapple Island because of its past as an island-wide pineapple plantation. Lanai (pronounced “Lah-nigh-ee”), the nation’s biggest defunct pineapple patch, now claims to be one of the world’s top tropical destinations, so that’s why I want to talk about it.

The only town is Lānaʻi City, a small settlement.  The island is somewhat comma-shaped, with a width of 18 miles in the longest direction. Its total population was 3,193 as of the 2000 census. Lanai has been under the control of nearby Maui since before recorded history.  This island is also a place where seniors come looking for dramatic beauty, quiet, solitude, and an experience with nature. The sojourners who find their way to Lanai seek out the dramatic views, the tropical fusion of stars at night, and the chance to be alone with the elements.

Tourism on Lanai began to be prominent in more recent history as the pineapple and sugar cane industries were phased out in the islands. There are two resort hotels on Lanai, both managed by Four Seasons Hotels. In addition, in Lanai City, there is the Hotel Lānaʻi which was built in 1923 by James Dole of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company as a lodge to house the executives overseeing the island’s pineapple production. It was the island’s only hotel until 1990.

For senior golfers Lanai is also home to two world-class golf courses, one at each Four Seasons resort. “The Challenge at Manele” is a stunning oceanfront course designed by Jack Nicklaus. So senior golfers…bring those clubs along.

A World Away For Seniors

If you are from a small town like me (295 people) you won’t find a single traffic light here and that’s exactly how the people of Lanai like it. Only nine miles from Maui yet a world away, Lanai can feel like two places. From the stunning views atop the pine-lined Munro Trail to watching the acrobatic spinner dolphins from romantic Hulopoe Bay, Lanai is a special place where you’re sure to find serenity as well as adventure.

Lanai was a sovereign land until King Kamehameha I united the Hawaiian islands into one royal monarchy in 1810. The ruins of Kamehameha’s favorite summer fishing retreat can still be seen in South Lanai. Called Kaunolu, this sacred spot and fishing village has been registered as a National Historic Landmark, and you know by now how much I love those landmarks.

There is no direct service to Lanai from the continental United States. Instead, fly to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) or Kahului Airport (OGG) in Maui, where you can connect to several local airlines with service to Lanai Airport (LNY). The weather on Lanai is pleasant and drier than other islands. Lanai City sits at nearly 1,700 feet, where the warmest months reach about 72º F so bring a light jacket. The pineapple may be gone, but the Mai Tai’s are still “hot.”  jeb

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