Molokai has one active hotel – the Polynesian-style Hotel Molokai, which is on the beach about 2 miles east of Kaunakakai. A favorite hideaway spot for visitors since it was built in 1968, the hotel is kinda Hawaiian funky in style and ambiance. Very unique in the Hawaii of high-rise hotels, concrete and glass.
It’s right on the water and you expect to see outrigger canoes sitting on the beach. The open-air rooms have all been recently updated and upgraded with Polynesian-style amenities befitting the hotel.
One of the few places remaining in Hawaii where you can dine at the water’s edge, the hotel’s Hula Shores Restaurant serves island favorites and offers full cocktail service. Late Friday afternoon a group of Kupuna (grandparents) bring their ukuleles and guitars to the beachfront bar for a couple hours of Molokai style hummin’ and strummin’. Lots of Locals and visitors start their weekends here.
Molokai vacation rental options include five condominium choices, private beach houses and bungalows on the west end and along the fringing reef of Molokai’s east end. There are a few bed & breakfast choices and some other unique offerings. In addition, a couple of very efficient vacation rental brokers can offer you plenty of choices.
You’ll find all these vacation rental choices on the Accommodations Page.
About the time Hotel Molokai opened, the Pau Hana Inn began serving visitors at its beachfront location in Kaunakakai. Another very small hotel with a nice restaurant and bar, it was a local gathering place for 30+ years, but in the late 1990s the doors were closed forever. There was an attempt to revitalize it by a hui (co-op) of local folks, but that never came to fruition. It was acquired by New Hope Chapel in 2002, rehabilitated and has served as a retreat center for a while. More recently it has been further revised and is now the home of the Molokai Community Health Center.
The Kaluakoi Hotel was built on the west end in 1977 as part of the Kaluakoi Resort development, which featured the hotel, a championship golf course and three condominium complexes. It was managed by Sheraton Hotels until it was sold to a Japanese firm Kukui (Molokai) in the 1990s. They mismanaged it for several years and shut down the hotel and the golf course in 2001. Molokai Ranch bought the property in 2002 and reopened the golf course in 2004. In 2006 they announced they were planning to reopen the hotel. That has yet to occur.
The Lodge and Beach Village
During the mid 1990s, Molokai Ranch developed a group of upscale camping destinations on its west-end land near Maunaloa Town. Each of the camps consisted of several tentalows for the guests, plus community pavilions, and dining facilities.
In 2000, Molokai Ranch began welcoming guests to its beautiful new lodge in Maunaloa, while closing all the camps except the Kaupoa Beach Village. The Lodge was a favorite destination for visitors and residents alike and the Kaupoa Beach Village was a special place for folks to get away from it all.
Unfortunately, Molokai Properties (The Ranch’s Parent) wanted to create a 200 parcel subdivision on the beach at La’au Point, Molokai’s south west corner. Without putting too fine a point on it, the local populace vehemently objected and the Ranch gave up their plan. Then Molokai Properties abruptly ceased all Molokai operations and closed the ranch, the golf course, the hotel and the beach village. They laid off almost their entire work force, 125ish employees and departed the island. There is more to the story, but it belongs not here.