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With its mostly rural landscape and devotion to island culture, Molokai stands apart from Hawaii’s other destinations, and its visitor accommodations march to the beat of their own drum as well.
Instead of chocolates on the pillow and lavish spas, Molokai’s lodgings take a laid-back approach to guest amenities and facilities. They welcome clients with relaxed furnishings and genuine hospitality in harmony with the surroundings.
Most of all, the following Molokai digs take good care of their guests while on property. Then, like a gracious host, they encourage them to get out and explore the island to the fullest.
Dunbar Beachfront CottagesMolokai presents several options for vacation rentals, including this pair of beachfront cottages on the island’s east side. Set .25 miles from each other on a secluded strand of sand, the plantation-style dwellings feel like private hideaways. Their location is ideal for experiencing the splendors of the area, such as the waterfalls of Halawa Valley.
“The east end of Molokai is not so much about tourism or attractions, although those are available,” said co-owner Leslie Dunbar. “It’s more about peace and quiet, enjoying the people and interacting with the natural environment, which is what the cottages allow visitors to do.”
Friendly neighbors have stopped by with fruit or fish and invited cottage guests into their homes for a chat, says Dunbar.
A high repeat guest count underscores the lure of the cottages. Each provides two bedrooms, one bath, a full kitchen, a washer/dryer, a flat-screen television, a covered lanai, an outdoor picnic table and a barbecue.
Hotel MolokaiAs Molokai’s only hotel, this 57-room inn hugs the scenic south shore. Sporting a Polynesian village vibe, its bungalow-style rooms are laid out from east to west, which means all guests can feel the cooling trade winds and hear the sounds of the surf. Accommodations come with flat-screen televisions and private lanais, with kitchenettes in deluxe units.
The property’s family-run Hiro’s Ohana Grill, an open-air, oceanside eatery, serves the day’s fresh catch as well as salads and noodle dishes. While the hotel is a five-minute drive from the island’s main town of Kaunakakai, it exudes the aura of a tropical retreat.
“We continue the tradition of the authentic Hawaiian experience,” said Michael Drew, general manager of Hotel Molokai. “We always strive to exceed our guests’ expectations. We hope our guests feel like they’ve had a ‘wow’ moment.”
Based on the hotel’s 60 percent repeat guest numbers, it’s safe to say they’re achieving that goal.
Molokai ShoresLocation is a big selling point of this cozy condominium, set on the south/central coastline of the island. Snuggling up to the Kalohi Channel, which separates Molokai and Lanai, the 1-acre property charms clients with views of neighboring islands from its landscaped grounds. From here, it’s easy to access island highlights such as Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, Kalaupapa Lookout, Purdy’s Macadamia Nut Farm and Kalokoeli Fishpond, built by Hawaiians in the 13th century.
Molokai Shores offers one- and two-bedroom units with ceiling fans, furnished lanais and full kitchens. Public areas such as the oceanfront pool, barbecue grills and a shuffleboard court encourage socializing.
“Molokai is a great place to relax and recharge,” said Charmaine Augustiro, general manager of Molokai Shores. “We want our guests to come away with a better sense of the real Hawaii, when times were simpler and nature was your adventure.”
Puu O Hoku RanchPuu O Hoku (Hill of Stars) is tucked away on Molokai’s remote east end and embraced by 14,000 acres. It doubles as a vacation getaway for families and a retreat center for groups, with guest pastimes such as yoga, farm tours, cultural programs and hikes.
Independent travelers stay in one of the property’s three rustic cottages. Groups are housed in an 11-room, 1930s lodge; an all-inclusive rate that includes three meals a day, sourced from ranch ingredients. Just about all the facilities are unplugged.
“Puu O Hoku is one of the rare places where you can still experience pure, pristine, old Hawaii with all your senses,” said Rudi Hunke, operations manager for Puu O Hoku Ranch. “Most of our guests agree that the aloha of our staff gives them a true taste of life on Molokai. We love the land that we tend, and our guests feel that, for sure.”