I chose to stay at the refined upcountry site because of the privacy and serenity. The Lodge feels like an exclusive club in the setting of a grand plantation home of yesteryear.
The Manele Bay resort is indeed a very pretty oceanfront site and I can understand why it would be a popular choice. After all, most people visit the islands to experience the beaches and the beautiful oceanfront setting in the Pacific. However, to me it feels like a semi-crowded beach club that could be spotted in Southern California. It feels a little “touristy.” Sure, there are finer upcountry lodges on the US mainland too but the Lodge at Koele is very unique. The Resort does a terrific job of integrating Hawaiian and Asian design elements in the dwelling and the landscaped grounds.
It is indeed a very lovely and unexpected upcountry Hawaiian setting. There is a shuttle service offered for a reasonable fee to take guests back and forth from the Lodge to Manele Bay during the day so to me it was a no brainer – retreat to peaceful surroundings for the majority of the time and spend a little of the remainder on the beach.
What I enjoy the most about Four Seasons resorts and hotels is there is always a classic, timeless quality regarding their design and appointments. My room was inviting with an understated luxury. No vulgar dripping gold fixtures or anything of that nature. I do like both gold and silver accessories but the bathroom, for example had gold fixtures without being gaudy and offensive. Just classically stylish.
If you fancy a simple beach holiday then Manele Bay would probably be a good choice. But if you want to try something a little different and refined, the Lodge at Koele may be something to consider.