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fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

Level Contributor
46 posts
8 reviews
fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

One more question. My family will be at The Kahala Resort on Honolulu from March 25th -30th, then going on to Maui. I booked at The Fairmont Kea Lani thinking that was a nice choice with the kids (10,9 and 6) my kids are not interested in big pools, but instead are interested in great beach for boogie boarding and snorkeling. Four seasons Manele Bay looks incredible for swimming with the dolphins in their natural environment. Thoughts on whether or not 4S would be too quiet/too fancy for 2adults and 3 kids. R we better off at Kea Lani? Kea Lani is much less $$$ Input would be greatly appreciated. Thx

Kapaa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
52,719 posts
3 reviews
1. Re: fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

No one wants to be swimming with dolphins, especially in their natural environment. Best to leave the dolphins alone. There are no guarantee's the dolphins will be in the bay when you are. I, personally wouldn't take children to the Four Season's on Lanai, but a lot of people do. If they like snorkeling, hiking and sightseeing, they will love Lanai.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,771 posts
20 reviews
2. Re: fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

I love Lanai, and I love the Manele Bay Hotel. The beach is gorgeous, uncrowded, and great for snorkeling. The hotel is beautiful, with large, graceful rooms and spectacular gardens. However ....

You are not going to get anywhere near the dolphins, and if you could get near them, you would be doing them a disservice. The dolphins rarely come close enough to shore for snorkelers to approach them. Human/dolphin encounters are sometimes advertised by unscrupulous tour operators; they are bad for the dolphins because they disturb them during their resting periods ( dolphins are partially nocturnal). You might well see dolphins using your binoculars, or you could take a cruise with a reputable operator. We saw a huge pod of spotted dolphins off Lanai this way, but the captain was careful not to harass the dolphins, and we did not get in the water with them.

Also, there is a great deal of natural beauty on Lanai and many wonderful places to hike, but that's about it. If your family would be thrilled to hike at Garden of the Gods or would enjoy a jeep trip down to a remote, beautiful beach that is great for walking but not safe for swimming, they would love Lanai. The island has an abundance of wildlife, including Axis Deer, wild turkeys, wild boar, and mouflon, but it almost completely lacks night life, shopping, and child oriented entertainment. The stars are gorgeous at night; in fact, after dinner they provide most of the entertainment for the evening.

Lanai is an expensive island, partly because the powers that be have decided to limit its tourism to the high end. You can save money by eating at one of several small, good but simple restaurants in Lanai City, or you could spend a lot of money eating at the 2 Four Seasons or the excellent Lanai City Grill.

Lanai is a superb choice for a family that primarily wants to experience nature in a semi-secluded, uncrowded setting. It's not for every family, however.

Level Contributor
46 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

Thank you, points well taken regarding dolphins. I am uneducated in that respect and just read the reviews of manele bay and the people raving about the abundance of dophins in the cove. we would never do anything to disrupt or disrespect these beautiful creatures. As far as hotel, I will think about the best choice for our family

Kihei, Hawaii
Level Contributor
2 posts
31 reviews
4. Re: fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

Stick with the Kea Lani. Before we moved to Maui we always stayed at the Kea Lani and our kids loved it. Great beach, rocky point to snorkel around, water slide between pools, etc. Plus you are close to restaurants and many other kid-friendly activities (if you can get them off the beach!!) Lanai is super quite and the hotel is a bit stuffy for kids.....

Oklahoma City...
Level Contributor
5,646 posts
73 reviews
5. Re: fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

And the rooms at the Kea Lani are huge suites (couch makes out into a bed), although I believe they only allow 4 to a room. You might check on that. Also, the beach that fronts the Kea Lani would be suitable for boogie boarding.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
1,186 posts
25 reviews
6. Re: fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

I think the Kea Lani does a great job of being relaxed and family friendly without having the Disneyland feel of the Grand Wailea. There is also a canoe tour for guests that leaves from the hotel beach and your kids would probably enjoy.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
15,663 posts
312 reviews
7. Re: fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

More to do (or not do) at Kea Lani. You can chill, explore, or sample commercial establishments.

Santa Monica
Level Contributor
96 posts
2 reviews
8. Re: fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

What about Four Seasons Maui? The kids club is included in the room rate. My children are now 17 years old but use to spend the entire time with the kids club (9am-4pm). It gives you a break to enjoy your vacation. Great games room also. I have stayed at the FS many times and keep going back. Never have stayed at the Kea Lani.

Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
59,611 posts
435 reviews
9. Re: fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

I think your kids would love the Manele Bay and it would give them a very unique experience. My kids love both the Manele Bay and the Lodge at Koele.

As to the dolphins, you don't do them a service or disservice in the wild. As anyone who has spent any amount of time in the ocean knows a dolphin will do what it wants. If it wants to swim near you it will, if it doesn't it won't.

I've had dolphins surface ten feet from me when I've been out surfing and had dolphins ride the same wave as me. I've also seen dolphins in the wild when I am open water swimming and the dolphins are always in control of the encounter. They sometimes come close out of curiosity. You will never be close to a dolphin that doesn't want, or at least not mind, that you are close.

Seeing them in the wild, open ocean is very different from the situation at Kealakekua Bay where they go to chill and people shouldn't try to force the encounters there.

The Kea Lani is nice, the Four Seasons is great.

10. Re: fairmont kea lani or four seasons manele bay with family

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