During a stay at a new and trendy hotel in Dallas Texas, I noticed something peculiar whenever I’d return to the hotel and head to my room. Even though the decor was ultra modern, each employee would greet you with “Aloha”. The first time it happened I thought it strange but the next day when it happened again, I had to ask. So why is it here in big D, which is a long way from Hawaii, I am being greeted with Aloha? The manager said “we know most of our guests are business travelers and even without having to do the work once you get to to your destination, just the “getting there” can be such a stressful process.” I had to agree with that! She went on, “research taught us there was a universal word, which when heard, would immediately reroute someone’s brain to another place, a beautiful, magical, stressless place like Hawaii. The word Aloha was such a word”.
Until today I had never looked up the meaning and it seems very fitting that the word lanai actually originated in Hawaii. No wonder I love that room! The lanai gives one that same Aloha feeling I described above and is one of the most popular rooms in any Florida home.
What the heck is it. A lanai or lānai is a type of roofed, open-sided veranda, patio or porch originating in Hawaii. In Florida, the room typically opens to the pool area if there is one and is almost always screened to keep out insects, leaves, etc. It is without a doubt my favorite room in the house, the place I begin to crank it up and start my mornings and the place from where I wind it all down before I go to bed at night.
Obviously, lanais come in all sizes, shapes and budgets but here’s how I consider the “good, better, best test to the lanai.
Good is any type lanai, with the very basics 1 open side and a roof. Hopefully, at least large enough to allow a small table and a couple of chairs. A bit of fresh air and room for a potted plant.
Better is “under truss” aka under roof with 2 or more open sides. Usually convenient to the kitchen, as many meals are enjoyed here, some can accommodate a table for 6-8 and many times will include a wet bar of some kind. Don’t be surprised to find a sofa and maybe a TV on these lanais.
Best is not only under truss but with additional roof extensions or separate structures to create even larger spaces. Many now have fire pits, outdoor kitchens, audio/visual equipment and elegant seating arrangements from sofas, sectionals, arm chairs with ottomans, you name it.
For many months of the year, you can turn off your air conditioner, open your front and rear doors leading to your lanai and enjoy the dependable gulf breezes to fill your home with fresh air, bringing that “outside” in. Even watching an afternoon thunderstorm is a pleasurable experience as you enjoy the smells, sounds and relaxing effects, all while snug and dry under your roof covered lanai.
Whatever the budget, make sure your new home in Florida includes a lanai. It’s the only way to experience the real Florida lifestyle. Welcome to Florida and Aloha!