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Island Retreats


Eighteenth in a series

The entire island of Lanai is itself a retreat…minimally developed with the exception of resort properties that began changing the landscape of “The Pineapple Island” in the 1990s. Long favored by residents of other Hawaiian islands for hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing, Lanai added to its attractions all the amenities of an up-scale resort destination, golf, tennis, luxurious accommodations, and fine dining. The hotels have recently been temporarily closed for renovations by the current owner, Larry Ellison, who purchased approximately 98 percent of the island’s total acreage in 2012.

As an adjunct to the upscale resort, residential properties were also developed in the island’s most scenic areas overlooking the ocean, golf courses, and forested hillsides lined with majestic stands of Cook Pines.

An exceptional private residence situated on 1.47 acres with panoramic views of the lush countryside and Koele Golf Course has recently been listed by Island Sotheby’s International Realty Realtor Wendy Rice Peterson at $4 million. The owner, travel industry executive and Lanai entrepreneur Mary Charles, purchased the land 20 years ago and built her home as a personal retreat ten years later. She named it “Hale Maha,” which translates loosely as “a place to re-energize the mind and soul.” “I had awakened to the impact of traffic building development on Oahu and realized I preferred the tranquility and small town environment of Lanai,” she said.

The home she built with the Hawaii architectural firm of Welch and Weeks is elegant, comfortable, spacious, and designed to capture the beauty of the pristine Lanai landscape as well as natural light and cooling breezes. She notes that it incorporates many of the design motifs and structural elements that define the work of one of Hawaii’s most celebrated architects, and her personal favorite, C. W. Dickey. “I chose Victor Weeks to design my home because I recognized the influence of Dickey on the architecture of some of the beautiful homes he’s built over the years.”

The 3,250 square foot home includes a spacious main living area with vaulted ceilings, a chef’s kitchen, a private master bedroom/bath suite, two guest suites, a den, office, library/media room, and gym. High-quality finishes and period detailing include double-hung windows, custom lighting fixtures, Brazilian cherry-wood floors, a wood-burning Rumford fireplace, French doors that open to the spacious outdoor lanai, a copper roof, and coral stone columns lining the porte cochere. Main living areas were designed to showcase Charles’ collection of fine art, principally the work of noted contemporary Hawaii artists. She will make some furnishings and paintings available for purchase together with the home at a cost to be determined.

“My husband and I have loved our life on Lanai, but now we are ready to do some extensive traveling,” Charles said. “Some of my projects over the past ten years, upgrading the Lanai Hotel and restaurant which we purchased and have since sold, creating Bike Lanai and Lanai Hospitality Planners, were done in the spirit of contributing to the island, both for the residents, who are certainly some of the friendliest people in Hawaii, and our visitors. With the many improvements planned for the resort and the infrastructure, I believe Lanai has a very bright future and will look forward to continuing our involvement in the community.”

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