Hawaii | Four Seasons Lana’i

29420511150_ea4e774bff_cIt’s been a long time since our last visit to Lana’i

29600512242_d91ae74b91_c…I was at The Lodge and Manele Bay in 2012 and 2013, but this was the first (and eagerly anticipated) post-renovation visit.

29086651513_04a0a6403e_cIt’s just a 30-minute flight from Honolulu but feels like another world. Rainy from arrival to departure, but I love that sort of dark weather…perfect for reading. Bathrobe, hot tea. Lots of pillows. Room service. All you need…

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Hawai’i | Four Seasons Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele

On the island of Lana’i there are two Four Seasons properties. The Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay. Visit both ^-^  

I went for the first time around the holidays last year, and recently returned for a weekend trip. For those who live in Hawaii…how lucky to escape to an oasis like this, a quick 45-minute flight from Honolulu. 

Today we’ll take a peek at The Lodge at Koele (we’ll do Four Seasons Manele Bay next :) Five things to note:

I. A stellar afternoon tea service. Make sure to try the Brandy Tea Toddy with black tea, honey, and a generous pour of brandy. This was also included in my Serious Eats post on the best spots for afternoon tea in Hawai’i.

II.  A “secret” orchid house. I spent a whole afternoon in here just reading this book (don’t judge, heheh. guilty pleasure!)…three hours and no one else stepped in. So serene. 

III.  Proximity to Lana’i City. The hotel runs a shuttle every 30-minute…make sure to take advantage and check out Lana’i City. It’s tiny with no more than a dozen restaurants and shops. I love the sense of community and how can you skip the Poke Shop (shoyu poke! spicy ahi poke! furikake poke!) and Blue Ginger Cafe? Get apple turnovers and ensamadas for a post breakfast/lunch snack.

IV.  When people imagine “Hawaii hotels/resorts,” they think beaches, tiki drinks, hula dancers, etc. But Koele Lodge is the complete opposite. It’s tucked away deep in the woods at high elevation and gets pretty chilly. You’ll spy deer and other wild animals in the night…

 …and the fireplace and boozy hot chocolate are all part of the experience. No beach here. And sometimes that’s just what we need. 

V. Soufflés! Served at the Dining Room. I’m partial to the Chocolate but mom prefers Vanilla. Let’s have both. Hot from the oven, steaming with vanilla bean anglaise on the side. All at once comforting and indulgent…

…the best way to cap off a chilly evening at The Lodge. 




Afternoon Tea at Four Seasons Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele

The last time I had afternoon tea at Four Seasons Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele was in December with Pierre. They offered a special Holiday Afternoon Tea which we enjoyed in the bar room. This time I came with mom for the Traditional Afternoon Tea…

…which we took in the Great Room. So pretty ^_^

We spent the weekend on Lana’i…look out for a post on both Four Seasons properties soon (one by the bay, one at the lodge).

Tea is from Tealeaves. I’ve mentioned it before, but this Vancouver-based company rules the hotel industry (read this article). You’ll find their teas served at St. RegisRitz-Carlton Central ParkMandarin Oriental New YorkThe Lowell Hotel, etc.

Organic Emperor’s Jasmine” for mom, ” Thunderbolt Darjeeling” for myself.

Let’s start with the savories…

…whipped goat cheese and orange marmalade on brioche.

A macadamia nut egg salad topped with quail egg…

…and a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich.

Scones and macarons on the same tier. Two cranberry scones each. Served warm…

…with cranberry jam, devonshire cream, and lemon curd.

Vanilla bean macaron with blueberries and cream.

Then time for a little Tea Toddy break. Brandy, honey, and black tea…soothing!

And back for more desserts!

A moist carrot cake flecked in gold leaf…

…chocolate-dipped choux filled with chocolate pudding…

…and a shortbread fruit tart.

Don’t forget – Koele Lodge also offers a Peter Rabbit Afternoon Tea (for kids) and Golfer’s Afternoon Tea (amazing golf course). Think mini grilled cheese, pb&j, and cupcakes. Single bite apple pies and jalapeño corn muffins. We’ll be back ^_^

Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele

1 Keomuku Highway, Lanai City, HI 96763

(808) 565-4000

Afternoon Tea | Four Seasons Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele

Afternoon tea at the Four Seasons Lodge? Don’t mind if we do.

It was cold and foggy our first day in Lana’i. The perfect excuse to spend the day indoors, warming up with hot chocolate (and toddies!) by the fireplace, watching movies in our room and of course, taking afternoon tea.

Tea is served in the Bar Room…

…and the Great Hall.

We opted to sit in the bar room which was more cozy.

Three types of afternoon tea:


– The classic afternoon tea. For the winter season the traditional tea was given a definite holiday twist (menu pictured above).

Peter Rabbit Tea

– Designed for children. Menu includes items like mini grilled cheese, pb&j, and cupcakes. Warm apple cider to drink.

Golfers Tea

– Many guests visit FS Lanai for golfing so it only makes sense that they would design a special tea service. Mini hot dogs and pulled pork sliders. Mini apple pies and jalapeño corn muffins.

Guess which tea company they use? Tealeaves. No surprise. Tealeaves dominates the luxury hotel industry. Their client list includes hotels such as Mexico City included), Oriental, and <a href="http://static.squarespace.com/static/51895797e4b07dc9727307ce/518957d3e4b04dec96da1667/5189580be4b04dec96da1d55/1337365989000/#img I wish there was more variety in terms of brand representation. There are so many great tea companies out there ^_^

Shall we start with the sandwiches?

Smoked salmon and cream cheese. They tinted the salmon red for the holidays…

Caviar and lobster salad.

Turkey with cranberry chutney (there was also mustard and mayo in there).

Cucumber and cream cheese. Bonus points for: 1) cream cheese whipped super light, and 2) double layers instead of the more common single layer of cream cheese and cucumber between two pieces of bread.

Onto the scones! Two per person, both with cranberries. They came warm (slightly under-baked) and were perfectly serviceable…

…I was especially happy with the accompaniments. Top to bottom: Devonshire cream, housemade cranberry jam, and cinnamon whipped cream. They have different flavors for the “regular” tea (don’t forget, this was the holiday special).

After the scones I switched from the mango oolong tea to a hot tea toddy made from brandy, honey, and black tea. Looking forward to making my own version at home.

Chocolate dipped puff filled with chocolate pudding.

Carrot cake – my favorite of the brunch. Rough grated carrots, plenty of walnut and a whipped, smooth cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate in chocolate with whipped cream…

…and lilikoi tart.

A single raspberry macaron to finish. Look familiar? ^_^

Eating in Lana’i City

One place you must visit…Poke Shop!

The official name is Lana’i ‘Ohana Poke Market but everyone calls it Poke Shop.

Here’s a look at the menu. The owners (and his friends) catch the fish themselves so the amount of poke available for sale differs each day.

On our first visit we had the basic poke bowl: rice and two types of poke. I picked furikake (left) and spicy ahi (right)…

…while Pierre had the shoyu (left) and Maui onion (right). SO good. I wish someone would open a poke place in NYC. Maybe replace that pizza place on the corner of 8th and Broadway with something like  or Poke Stop.

On our second visit I had the poke bowl deluxe…one choice poke with teri beef and mac salad on rice. The teri beef was “fancy” teri beef. Not the  you get with plate lunch. This was an extra fatty cut stewed till fall-apart soft.

Pierre ordered the regular bowl with limu and spicy ahi poke.

On our third visit (impossible to tire of poke!) we decided to get creative and order a la carte. A quarter pound each of the furikake poke…

…and spicy ahi poke….

A half pound of the teri ika/squid…

…and seaweed salad.

And then scoops of rice on the side because spicy ahi poke needs rice. All that sesame, shoyu, and chili-laced mayo has to to get slathered on something.

Poke Shop opens at 10am and closes at 3pm. Weekdays only…

…so on the weekend, walk to the other side of Dole Park (you can walk the entire Lana’i City in five minutes ;) for Blue Ginger.

The entire town congregates here on the weekends.

Big omelets and flaky turnovers for breakfast. Blueberry! Cherry! Apple! A little glaze on the top. Go early to get them hot.

And then come back for lunch…

…when they do local goodies like kalua pig plate lunch with mac salad…

…and steaming bowls of saimin. Kamaboko, egg, spam, cabbage, and green onion.

Where to find post-lunch coffee? Right around the corner at Coffee Works ^_^