Molokai Lodge: a relaxing spot

Too often Neighbor Island trips are packed with business meetings or consist of short stays with enough activities that you return home a bit bleary eyed. Rarely do we seem to get away for the sole purpose of simple relaxation and a bit of pampering.

Just a 15-minute flight from Oahu, the island of Molokai remains as near untouched as any spot in our ever-crowding state. You’d be hard-pressed to find any place better than Molokai Ranch to leave the congestion of Honolulu behind. Sitting on 65,000 acres, the lodge is hidden along the hillside of Maunaloa and blends so well into its surroundings that driving past it is a distinct possibility. In fact, driving below the lodge toward Kaupoa Beach, your home for the weekend virtually disappears.

The focal point of the lodge is the Great Hall that combines traditional western and Hawaiian motifs. Comfortable seating is spread through out the hall as to remain centrally located while providing enough space so different conversations don’t interfere with each other. The 30-foot tall knotty ohia wood poles support the vaulted ceiling, and its many windows allow in plenty of defused light. The second floor offers more quiet seating areas. A special touch during the evening is the burning of kiawe wood in the large rock fireplace. The warm glow of the fire and the spicy aroma of the wood blend together to create a place of real tranquility.

The 22 rooms are appointed with comfortable and tastefully designed furnishings with high-backed bathtubs large enough for soaking and rain-simulated showers in the deluxe rooms. The lanai overlooks the Kaiwi Channel and offers a view of Molokai’s stop-everything sunsets and a distant look at the loud, car-congested island of Oahu you’ve left behind. Horses galloping in the fields below are an additional treat.

Meals are provided at the Maunaloa Dining Room and the Paniolo Lounge, while an impressive pupu menu is available at the bar. Take your dinner at the lodge or down at Kaupoa Beach as the sun sets over the coral laden shore, and begin with a large mixed green salad with tofu, Maui sweet onions, vine-ripened tomatoes, red peppers and grilled zucchini. The Saffron Risotto cooked with Arboria Rice, Manila Clams, Prawns and Calamari would be a nice follow-up. For the meat eater, an 8-ounce seared Fillet Mignon with a Spicy Cognac Sauce or the 12-ounce Natural Fire Roasted Rib-eye Steak, Sauce Porto with Roasted Shallots may just hit the spot. Of course, seafood dishes like the Diver’s Scallops seared on one side with Spring Tomatoes and Eggplant Caviar are always available along with a nice selection of soups, salads, sandwiches and and other quick items.

With an entire property seemingly determined to have you leave more relaxed then when you came, the Healing Arts Hui is an important part. Taking the natural healing powers for which Molokai is known, these talented healers provide a list of options that include acupuncture, acupressure, Lomi Lomi massage, pain relief, facials and integrative holistic healing. For those in search of more active ways of relaxation, options vary from fishing and kayaking to hiking and biking. Mountain biking from the lodge to Kaupoa Beach can be as easy or difficult as you wish and is a great way to see the island’s large population of axis deer.

No matter if you stay in the lodge or near the beach in the clean, cozy tentalows, you’re assured to return much better prepared to once again tackle Monday morning.

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