Planning a trip and wondering where to stay in Lanai?  Although Lanai won’t have as many housing options as its neighboring island of Maui I promise you won’t have to sacrifice on style or luxury.  Most travelers spend a few nights on Lanai because they are looking to get pampered in luxury, have seclusion or want to experience an off-the-beaten path Hawaii.

Lanai is the smallest inhibited island in the Hawaiian Island chains.  Lana’i is known as the “Pineapple Isle” because it used to solely be a pineapple plantation.  Most people visit the island of Lanai on a day trip from West Maui but staying on Lanai for a few magical nights will give you a unique opportunity that most people don’t get to experience.

Lanai is part of Maui country which includes Molokai and of course Maui.   Don’t let the smallest inhabited island fool you as there’s much to do on this exotic island including exploring Manele Bay, hiking to sweetheart rock and playing with cats at a sustainable cat sanctuary.

The best places to stay in lanai with I'm Jess Traveling

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Quick Lana’i Facts

  • The population of Lanai is around 3,000 residents, it is the least populated Hawaiian Island.
  • Who owns Lanai? Larry Ellison owns a 98% stake in Lanai   He bought the island for $300 million in 2012.
  • Lanai is the smallest Hawaiian island.
  • The weather on Lanai is regularly warm and dry.  Due to its location, sheltered by Molokai and Maui the island does not receive as much rainfall as the rest of Hawaii.
  • There are no traffic lights on the entire island of Lanai.
  • The only public transportation services on Lanai are supplied by the island’s hotels with the exception of the ferry service.  If you want to get around on Lanai freely you must rent your own car.

How to Get to Lanai

How far is it from Maui to Lanai?  Lanai is the island you see when you are in West Maui in the town of Lahaina.  The total distance from Maui to Lanai is 8 miles.

It is possible to fly to Lanai (LNY) from Maui (OGG) and this will be the most expensive option.  There are direct flights leaving from Kahului, Maui’s main airport to take 30 minutes and cost around $60.

The easiest and best way to get to Lanai is by taking the ferry that leaves out of the Lahaina harbor.  Due to COVID times and frequency is limited.  The ferry to Lanai runs twice a day on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s. 6:45AM and 315PM from Lahaina and 8:00AM and 430PM from Lanai.  You must show up an hour before to fill out proper paperwork before boarding the ferry.

It costs $30 one way for a ferry ride (not Kama’aina) and the ferry leaves from the dock in front of Pioneer Inn which is the oldest hotel in Lahaina.

Pictures of Lanai at sweetheart rock

Where to Stay in Lanai, Hawaii

Most hotels and airbnbs can be found in Lanai City, Lanai’s biggest town.  If you love the outdoors or are traveling Hawaii on a budget then camping in Lanai would be an affordable and great option to keep costs down and legally sleep on the beach.  These are the best places to stay in Lanai.

Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

This luxury boutique resort is located in Lana’i City.  The Sensei Lanai features an outdoor pool, fitness center and bar.  The grounds are lovely and scream serenity.  Tranquil, authentic and welcoming, a true Hawaiian experience.  

Spending an afternoon getting pampered at the spa in the lush jungle is just what the doctor ordered.  This is where to stay on Lanai if you want to be in town and close to several dining options.

Hotel Lanai is a recently remodeled hotel is set up in the mountains.  The hotel is elegant, simplistic and very comfortable with a Scandinavian and Japanese design aesthetic.  Hotel Lanai is also located within Lanai City which is close to shops and restaurants.  

It takes less than 20 minutes to get to this hotel from the ferry terminal.  There is a excellent continental breakfast provided to guests daily.  This is more budget friendly compared to the other resorts in Lanai.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai is a dream.  It features stunning ocean views as this is one of the only hotels in Lanai that is beachfront.  The elegant property features two outdoor swimming pools, an onsite spa that offers a variety of massages, facials and salon services, plus it has its own golf course and three tennis courts available for guest use.

If you are a foodie, you can dine at Nobu Lanai, which is a restaurant by Nobu Matsuhisa chef which showcases Japanese cuisine. The restaurant offers a variety of sushi selections made with locally grown ingredients.

Manele Bay where the Four Seasons is located is the best beach that Lanai has to offer.  The beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling and its not uncommon to see dolphins frolicking around in the bay.  Staying here comes at a price as you can only book oceanview suites at the moment due to COVID.

Sweetheart rock is about a 20 minute hike from the resort.  Where to stay on Lanai for style, luxury, amenimity and seclusion.

The Artist’s House

If you are traveling with a group or your family staying at this vacation home is the perfect place to stay in Lanai.  This home away from home has 2 bedrooms with a king and queen size bed and the sofa pulls out to a bed making this home able to accommodate up to 6 people.  There are 2 bathrooms and an outdoor shower which is perfect to rinse off at after a day playing at the beach or chasing waterfalls

Other amenities at this vrbo Lanai include a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, BBQ area and beautiful deck. The home is located in the outskirts of Lana’i City in the old Japanese section of town.

Bed & Breakfast in Lanai City

If you are looking for a cheaper option that isn’t camping then this is the stay for you.  This is a room in a bed and breakfast located in Lanai City.  It’s basic but provides you with clean and comfortable accommodation in Lanai while you explore.

where to stay in lahaina to day trip to Lanai

Where to Stay in Lahaina to Travel to Lanai for the Day

If you would rather visit Lanai in a day trip then you will want to stay somewhere in Lahaina that is walkable to the harbor where the ferry embarks.  This will make it easy and convenient to catch the early ferry to Lanai.  There are a few places in town where you are walking distance to ferry terminal and also several shops, bar and restaurants in Lahaina.  This is where to stay in Lahaina to day trip to Lanai.

The Best Western Pioneer Inn is the closest hotel you can stay at in order to catch the ferry.  Literally the Lanai ferry is steps away from the front door of the hotel.  The Pioneer Inn is the oldest hotel in Lahaina and the harbor surf break is directly out front.  If you are a beginner surfer, on the other side of the harbor is Breakwall surf break which is an excellent beginners spot to learn from a pro and take a surf lesson.

Pioneer Inn also has excellent breakfast!

The Lahaina Inn is located in the heart of Lahaina town.  It can be found above a wonderful fine dining restaurant the Lahaina Grill.  The boutique hotel is small only having 12 rooms and is tastefully decorated.  It’s about a 5 minute walk to the harbor.

Aina Nalu

Aina Nalu is a beautiful oasis tucked away on a back street in Lahaina.  The resort itself is a quaint oasis in the middle of town.  The pool is big and theres plenty of room and beds to lounge around in.  The pool is a must when staying in Lahaina because it gets so hot.

This Airbnb is walking distance to all the things to do in Lahaina, nightlife, must eat restaurants and of course the harbor where the ferry goes to Lanai.  From Aina Nalu to the pier is about a 10 minute walk.

Lahaina Shores Beach Resort

Lahaina Shores is located on the South end of Front Street on the beach.  This property offers great views of the West Maui Mountains and the island of Lana’i.  This is a great stay with a swimming pool, hot tub, excellent views, direct beach access and less than a 10 minute walk to the Lahaina harbor.

I hope you found this article useful on where to stay in Lanai and if you’ve stayed at one of these properties, I’d love to hear about your experience so leave a comment below.  For help in planning your Lanai travels check out the guides below.

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