WHY WE LOVE IT
- Empty beaches, quiet hikes and remote coasts—all just a short walk from civilization.
- A last glimpse of old Hawaii: no glitz or neon of any kind, and not even a traffic light.
- Only about 30 miles of paved roads (and a top speed limit of 45 miles per hour) but plenty of bumpy red-dirt trails to explore via jeep, with magnificent views and secluded beaches to break up the drive
- A setting good enough for one of the world's richest men, Bill Gates—who, when he married Melinda French on New Year’s Day 1994, rented out all the rooms at his hotel so they could tie the knot in privacy
WHEN TO GO
Lanai sits downwind of Maui, and Maui hogs all the rain. That positioning makes Lanai one of the driest Hawaiian islands year-round and gives it the kind of gin-clear water that snorkeling fantasies are made of—no rain, no run-off, no murk. You can get the best deals during spring and fall, when kids are in school. The first weekend in July is the annual Pineapple Festival, when Hawaii’s best musicians turn out in droves to celebrate the little island and its favorite fruit. Whenever you plan to travel, be sure to book way ahead because Lanai has a very limited number of hotel rooms.
WHAT TO PACK
Lanai's beaches are warm and sun-soaked, but the upland areas can get chilly, so pack something warm. Around the resorts, smart casual is the name of the game; the days when jacket and tie were required in the Four Seasons’ most formal dining room are long gone. Nowadays collared shirts and closed-toe shoes for men are as strict as it gets.
WHAT TO BUY
Island-made soaps and bath products, in pineapple, plumeria and other scents; wind chimes and "Hawaiian slippah" jewelry from the whimsical Dis ’N Dat Shop; bold and bright dresses and shirts from the Local Gentry and Gifts With Aloha from Lanai; dreamy, soft-focus visions of Lanai by painter Mike Carroll, from his eponymous gallery.
For information, contact the Lanai Visitors Bureau (431 7th St., Suite A, Lanai City; 808-565-7600, 800-947-4774; visitlanai.net).
GETTING MARRIED ON LANAI
Hawaii’s wedding requirements are minimal—present a marriage-license application, government-issued photo ID and $60 in cash (along with the divorce or death certificate if you've been previously married) to a licensed marriage agent and you’re in. Download applications at hawaii.gov/health. For a seaside ceremony at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai Manele Bay, you can recite your vows in a big ballroom, atop a rugged red-lava sea cliff or along a perfect stretch of white-sand beach. The resort’s Lodge at Koele offers a tranquil upland setting where you can stage an outdoor wedding amid manicured lawns, English gardens and towering Cook pines. (For information on facilities and providers, contact Jill Hamasaki, wedding sales manager, at 808-275-2147; email@example.com.)