Lānaʻi or Lanai is the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian Islands and the smallest publicly accessible inhabited island in the chain.It is also known as Pineapple Island because of its past as an island-wide pineapple plantation. The island's only settlement of note is the small town of Lānaʻi City.Lānaʻi is somewhat comma-shaped with a width of 18 miles (29 km) in the longest direction.
The land area is 140.5 square miles (364 km2), making it the 42nd largest island in the United States.It is separated from the island of Molokaʻi by the Kalohi Channel to the north, and from Maui by the ʻAuʻau Channel to the east. The United States Census Bureau defines Lānaʻi as Census Tract 316 of Maui County. Its total population shrank from 3,193 as of the 2000 census to 3,102 as of 2010.Many of the island's landmarks are accessible only by dirt roads that require a four-wheel drive vehicle.There is one school, Lanai High and Elementary School, serving the entire island from kindergarten through 12th grade. There are no traffic lights on the island.
According to the Hawaiian legends, man-eating spirits occupied the island before that time. For generations, Maui chiefs believed in these man-eating spirits. Differing legends say that either the prophet Lanikāula drove the spirits from the island or the unruly Maui prince Kauluāʻau accomplished that heroic feat. The more popular myth is that the mischievous Kauluāʻau pulled up every breadfruit tree (ʻulu) (Artocarpus altilis) he could find on Maui.
Finally his father, Kakaʻalaneo had to banish him to Lānaʻi, expecting him not to survive in that hostile place. However Kauluāʻau outwitted the spirits and drove them from the island. The chief looked across the channel from Maui and saw that his son's fire continued to burn nightly on the shore, and he sent a canoe to Lānaʻi to bring the prince back, redeemed by his courage and cleverness. As a reward, Kakaʻalaneo gave Kauluāʻau control of the island and encouraged emigration from other islands.Kauluāʻau had, in the meantime, pulled up all the breadfruit trees on Lānaʻi, accounting for the historic lack of them on that island.
As of 2011, the two resort hotels on Lānaʻi were managed by Four Seasons Hotels; the Four Seasons Resort Lanai and the Lodge at Kōʻele. The Hotel Lānaʻi in Lānaʻi City was built in 1923 by James Dole of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company as a lodge to house the executives overseeing the island’s pineapple production. It was the island’s only hotel until 1990.Lānaʻi is also home to two golf courses, one at each Four Seasons resort.
"The Challenge at Manele" borders the ocean and was designed by Jack Nicklaus. "The Experience at Koele" is located in the mountains of Lānaʻi and was designed by Greg Norman. Bill Gates was married on the 12th hole tee-box at The Challenge at Manele. "Shipwreck Beach" on the north shore of the island is so named because of the remains of a wrecked vessel aground a short distance offshore. This is popularly referred to as a WW II Liberty Ship, although its hull shape is nothing like one; it is most likely one of a few ferrocement cargo ships built during the war.
In Lānaʻi City, there are no traffic lights, no shopping malls, and public transportation is supplied by a hotel contractor. For a one-time fee, hotel guests enjoy unlimited rides on small and large buses that go between the hotels and the ferry landing on Manele Bay. Bicycles and off-road vehicles are for rent. Most attractions outside of the hotels and town can be visited only via dirt roads that require an off-road vehicle.