Photos by MVNP Associate Creative Director Mike Wagner and his inseparable iPhone.
In 1994, Bill and Melinda Gates held their wedding on the Island of Lanai. It’s one of only two privately owned islands in the Hawaiian chain. In July, 2012, the island was sold by billionaire David Murdoch to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. There are many reasons why this little island is so well-loved.
Lanai has a rustic feel, hailing back to its plantation days when the iron-rich red dirt and gentle rains yielded some of Hawaii’s sweetest pineapples. Lanai City marks the geographic and social center of the island, but the scattering of restaurants, stores and services is better described as a large neighborhood where everyone knows everyone. Towering ironwood trees line one side of the town, filling the air with the shimmering sound of rustling pine needles as they shelter the town from the constant winds.
There are two Ritz Carlton resorts on the island, the cozy Hotel Lanai and various other inviting places to stay. Like everything on Lanai, getting here takes a little patience as your choices are limited to small planes or a ferry from Maui. As far as leaving, well, the difficulty has nothing to do with transportation and everything to do with giving up the irresistibly laid-back Lanai state of mind.
A bit of Lanai movie trivia.
The dramatic landscape of the island caught the eye of director Julie Taymor for the set of her cinematic interpretation Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The first moonscape-like location is known as Keahiakawelo, or more commonly as “Garden of the Gods.” On the southern coast of Lanai, Hulopoe Bay is home to the 80-cliffs of Puu Pehe, Sweetheart Rock.