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One of the best places in Hawaii for a romantic dinner? It's on Lanai.



Hawaii_romantic_dinner_LanaiIt was as if someone had taken a living room out of a stylish Hawaii home and placed it on the edge of Hulopoe Beach just for us.

Those were my wife’s words, as we settled for dinner in the Ocean Hale at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay recently.

Our eyes darted about the cozy, open-air cabana, perched on a secluded cliff on the resort’s oceanfront lawn overlooking the tranquil waters of Hulopoe Bay. The parquet-floored space was elegantly appointed with a teak couch and table set, a couple of lamps and a well-placed collection of seashells, starfish, driftwood and votives. Hushed nahenahe (sweet, gentle) Hawaiian music from a portable Bose music dock played nice with the sound of gentle surf below. It was sunset.

Hawaii_romantic_dinner_LanaiSave for our private server for the evening, my wife and I would be completely alone for the next three hours ... no loud patrons at a neighboring table, no screaming children, no clatter from an open kitchen.

“This is a dinner that boys looking for the perfect place to pop the question should know about,” said my wife, later in the evening. “Wanna ask me again?”

It wasn’t a bad idea.

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai’s Ocean Hale can be booked for a private dinner party of up to eight. But frankly, I can’t imagine an evening of food, drink and conversation at the hale being as tailor made for a small group as it is for a romantic dinner for two. This is a dinner that pretty much epitomizes romance, on a lovely, but little-visited island that is one of the world's most romantic getaways.

Hawaii_romantic_dinner_LanaiWe’d dispatched with our dinner selections earlier that afternoon from the comfort of our garden-view room at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai Lodge at Koele, about 30 minutes upslope from Manele in the mist of the island’s cool central highlands. The Ocean Hale dinner offers five courses—including a chef-selected artisanal cheese course. Guests pre-select an item each from a menu of appetizers, small dishes, entrees and desserts. The only decision you need to make once you're seated? Whether to gaze longingly at the stunning view of Hulopoe or your dining partner.

Upon our arrival at Manele, we were met by the resort’s assistant manager who draped us with orchid lei and escorted us to the Ocean Hale, tucked away on a private spot on the seaside Plumeria Lawn. A path of torches had been set up to light our way to the hale (Hawaiian for "house") and our private server, Jojo Baltero, waiting with a smile and two flutes of champagne.

A table for two had been set with fine linen, china, silverware, a bowl of orchid blossoms floating in water, seashells and votives. A soundtrack of Raiatea Helm, Jack Johnson and slack key guitar floated on the salt-kissed tradewinds. Corner lamps cast a soft glow on the hale’s interiors. The teak couch—and its quartet of plush throw pillows—looked particularly inviting as darkness fell.


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