By the 1500s Hawaiians had developed a system of land use which allocated the island's natural resources into various ahupuaa, or land divisions that typically formed a wedge shape from the mountains down to the ocean. This ensured the makaainana (people of the land) had access to all resources necessary to sustain themselves through seasonal variations in weather, rainfall, and ocean conditions. The new Kaula (or Mother of Lanai) Suites pay tribute to the thirteen land divisions, or ahupuaa, on Lanai, the sixth largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago.
Located within the main building of the hotel, the suites feature a contemporary décor with a modern island atmosphere. Heavily textured grass cloth wall coverings in warm camel, taupe and bark tones provide a backdrop for custom furnishings covered with fines linen fabrics and Hawaiian patterned decorative accents. Dramatic mirrors made from coconut strips paired with oversized Abaca floor lamps create a warm and inviting ambiance while different woods such as live edge acacia dining tables, sustainably farmed old growth teak, koa and mahogany echo the trees found throughout the islands of Hawaii. Artwork showcases everything from ceramic work to block printing and feather lei worn by royalty.
The Kaula Suites will showcase elements of the island for guests to explore including E Ike Hou Ia Lanai (Lanai Revisited) a historical reference guide produced by the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center; Reflections of Lanai, an oral history of Lanai people on DVD; maps and local artwork and turn down stories and amenities sharing the heritage, culture and natural sites of these areas. Guests can also consult with the concierge team to visit key landmarks and attractions located within the ahupuaa. Rates range from $1,250 for an Executive Penthouse suite through $4,350 for a Prime Ocean Front Penthouse Suite. The land areas are as follows:
KAA (literally, the rocky area), at the northwestern end of the island is the largest ahupuaa on Lanai, home to Keahiakawelo (sometimes called “Garden of the Gods”), one of the most significant storied landscapes on Lanai.
PAOMAI (literally, sick Pao) – takes its reference from a chief, Pao, who claimed a hill near Lahaina for the island, “Puu Lanai” (Lanai Hill). Exhausted after making his crossing to Maui, he was known as sick Pao (Paomai). Major villages occurred along the coast, where access to fisheries and water sources sustained people while further inland saw forests and dry land cultivated for crops. The area is also home to Awalua Bay (Double Channel Bay) a steamship landing during the ranching period before cattle headed to Honolulu.
MAHANA (literally, warmth) was watered by a number of springs, seasonal streams and near-shore wells along the coast, on the kula-middle lands and in the forest-mountain region. At one time it was host to an expansive dry land forest famed for its grove of purple-blossomed lehua (Metrosideros spp.) trees. Kaiolohia (Shipwreck Beach) can be accessed by 4-wheel drive and visitors can beachcomb and explore, even sighting the hull of an oil tanker wrecked in the 1940s. Up a trail just past the beach are the Kukui Point petroglyphs.
KAMOKU (literally, the district) was noted for its upland forest and springs, while along the shore, its sheltered coves housed long-term residences, from which the rich fisheries fronting the ahupuaa were accessed. The majority of Lanai City falls within Kamoku's borders.
MAUNALEI (literally, mountain garland) Deep in the upper valley and gorges, dense forest growth once captured rains from the clouds (thus the name, “mountain garland,” describing the cloud banks which nestled the mountain like a lei), and fed small streams that irrigated loi kalo (wet-land taro fields) into the late 1800s. Kalaehi (White Rock) offers a wonderful vista and ancient lore says it's the location where Kaululaau vanquished the spirits that inhabited Lanai following his banishment from Lahaina by his father Chief Kakaalaneo.
**Three land divisions cross the ridge up to Lanai Hale - the mountain 3,379 feet above sea level - from the western (leeward) to the eastern (windward) side of the island.
• KALULU (literally, the shelter): Along with significant fisheries the area features agricultural fields noted for sweet potato plantings, and forests, including koa and other native woods. Lanai's airport is located in the western part of thi
• KAUNOLU (meaning uncertain): Home to a favorite fishing spot of King Kamehameha I in the 1790s, this area also features an archaeological site with the largest surviving ruins of a prehistoric Hawaiian village. Also nearby is historic Kahekili's Leap where the King's elite warriors would demonstrate bravery by diving off a 60-foot cliff.
• PALAWAI (literally, fresh water moss): Many villages thrived in this area rich with fisheries and fish ponds, agricultural field systems, forest resources, and numerous fresh water sources and villages. Today it is the home of The Manele Bay resort and Hulopoe Beach. The basin region of Palawai Ahupuaa was also the site of the first foreign settlement on Lanai in 1854, in the form of the original Mormon colony in Hawaii. On the eastern side, the Maunalei Sugar Company Plantation established a Mill site near Keomoku Village, which later was abandoned. One of the few remaining buildings of the village is the Malamalama Church, which has been beautifully restored.
KEALIA KAPU and KEALIA AUPUNI (from the salt beds) - Along the coast, gulches formed coves for settlements and temporary fishing camps which were used seasonally over the centuries. Within Kealia Aupuni is a lele (an independent land division), which belongs to Pawili Ahupuaa and provided residents with fertile lands to cultivate sweet potatoes.
PAWILI (literally, strike and twist, as of the wind) is on the eastern (windward) side of Lanai and extends from the ocean to the mountain, where it meets Haalelepaakai, the second highest peak on the island. One of the major heiau, or places of worship, on the island was situated along the coast.
KAMAO (literally, the mao (Gossypium tomentosum) plant): includes two-thirds of Manele Bay, a major canoe landing site and now the present day harbor. The village of Manele (shared between Palawai and Kamao Ahupuaa) was a major coastal complex, with residences, ceremonial sites and lowland agricultural features.
KAOHAI (literally, the Sesbania tomentosa plant) located in the south east this coastal zone hosted villages and rich fisheries. Springs were developed to supply water along the coast, and the upper valleys provided seasonal water sources. Today, visitors can explore Naha, home to an ancient fishpond and Lopa Beach, now one of the island's top surfing areas.
The resort has recently unveiled enhancements in public areas including the lobby, spa, landscaping, pool spaces and more. These follow a number of features recently added such as VIEWS Clubhouse; ONE FORTY, an ocean-view American steak and Hawaiian seafood restaurant featuring local ingredients; NOBU Lanai, and the Sports Bar for casual dining.
Four Seasons Resorts Lanai, located on a pristine island a few miles west of Maui reflecting a simpler pace of life and the spirit of old Hawai‘i, features Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele. Guests can enjoy two exceptional experiences on one secluded island – a quintessential beach resort and a charming upcountry lodge offering unique cultural adventures, myriad water and land activities and world-class tennis and golf. For more information, or to make a reservation, please contact Four Seasons at 1-800-321-4666 or visit www.fourseasons.com/lanai.