The sixth largest island of Hawaii, Lana'i has a rich history, deeply rooted in folk tales and lore. According to legend, Lana'i was once home to evil spirits. When the mischievous son of Chief Kaululuaau was banished to the island, he found it unsuitable and successfully chased away the mystical demons and rendered it suitable for living. Once he returned home to Maui, the prince regaled of Lana'i's beauty and it was first inhabited around the 1500s.
For centuries, Lana'i experienced battles over territories and control as warrior chiefs sought power over the island. Today, Luahiwa petroglyphs remain as proof of the first Polynesian settlers, who can be thanked for generating the lush plant life where sugar cane, banana, bamboo, and breadfruit now thrive. Some of the best-preserved petroglyph carvings can be seen at the ancient fishing village of Kaunolu.
In 1922, James D. Dole of Hawaiian Pineapple Company, now known as Dole Food Company, purchased the island of Lana'i for 1.1 million dollars as an investment to establish what was once the largest pineapple plantation in the world. At its peak, Lana'i produced 75 percent of the world's pineapples, granting its nickname of "Pineapple Isle."
Dole established Hotel Lana'i as a retreat for executives and important guests in 1923 and it became the first hotel on the island. Centrally located in Lana'i City, Hotel Lana'i was originally built with 10 guestrooms and an adjacent caretaker cottage and soon became a prime social center.
Today, Lana'i's pineapple production has been reduced to only about 100 acres and has renewed its reputation as an exclusive, private oasis with only 29 miles of paved roads leaving the rest of the island untouched and unspoiled. Sitting at an elevation of 1,700 feet and nestled amidst Norfolk Pines, Hotel Lana'i is a Hawaiian plantation-style destination and remains a historic gem in the heart of the city. The hotel boasts a picture-perfect "vintage Hawaii postcard" experience.