Seeking a restful holiday away from the crowds? Look no further than the Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
While Asia is inundated with tropical beach destinations, for true escapism you’ll want to travel further abroad to completely unwind and mellow out over a long holiday. Hawaii has long been a destination for travellers seeking surf, sun and sand, but there’s no denying that its crowds can be a major drawback for those wanting seclusion and privacy.
Luckily, there’s a luxurious resort destination not too far away that offers the best of Hawaii’s laidback vibes, island hospitality and stunning scenery — all without having to rub elbows with any rowdy mai tai-sipping tourists on the pool loungers nearby. We’re talking about the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, a magical slice of paradise located on an island of less than 3,000 inhabitants. We checked in on a recent trip to the Aloha state to experience this truly remote destination.
This Four Seasons outpost may require a bit more effort to get to compared to your average beachside resort, but the additional trek is well worth it for the utter seclusion and privacy. Located on the 141-square-mile island of Lanai, you’ll need to take a flight to the mainland of Oahu, followed by a quick 35-minute flight to Lanai; or a 45-minute ferry if travelling from the island of Maui (book ferry tickets here).
A combination of rocky mountain terrain, coastal cliffs, lush forests and sandy coastline, Lanai’s breathtaking scenery is one of the major draws of the island, which is owned by tech billionaire Larry Ellison. With the Four Seasons the only resort on the island (more than two-thirds of Lanai’s population is actually employed by the hotel), you can rest assured that you’ll be able to immerse yourself fully in the culture and beauty of Lanai through the resort-curated experiences and activities.
The oceanfront resort, situated on Hawaii’s ‘last unspoiled island’, spares no expense in terms of providing the ultimate secluded escape for its guests. This of course, extends to the sumptuously designed suites fusing contemporary Western comforts with a distinct island influence in the woodcut designs and artwork inspired by Hawaiian mythology, Honduran-mahogany floors, handwoven-wool area rugs, teak-panelled walls and more.
For supreme comfort paired with panoramic ocean views, you’ll want to hide out in the Ohana Ocean View Suites, where mornings are spent waking up to views of the Pacific Ocean, and sipping coffee on spacious balconies facing the rugged coastline. Or bunker down in the Garden View Suite, surrounded by the lush manicured landscapes of the resort. In-room features include Japanese wooden soaking tubs, private lanai, supremely soft down duvets, premium bath amenities, platinum LED TVs and more.
Spa & Activities
Due to the secluded nature of the island, you’ll need to book all your activities directly through the resort, so prepare to spend a little more to fill up your days. The good news is that the range of bespoke activities are all up to the signature Four Seasons gold standard and thus a fair cut above your typical tour excursions.
For an unmissable adventure, don’t miss the UTV off-roading, where experienced drivers will take you on a thrilling ride trespassing the varied terrain of the island, while pointing out cultural sights, and making pit-stops at the citrus grove and the beloved cat sanctuary where you can cuddle up next to almost 600 furry friends. Other activities include golfing on the stunning Jack Nicklaus-designed Manele Golf Course, catamaran sunset sails, horse riding, archery, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing.
At the end of the day, unwind at Hawanawana Spa, where treatments are inspired by the healing properties of the ocean. Featuring 8 treatment rooms plus 4 couples’ suites, signature treatments include a pineapple scrub, wild algae and aloe vera wrap, lomi lomi massage and the signature Ocean Ritual using wild seaweed and undaria algae oil.
Food & Drink
With a total of nine restaurants and bars at the resort, you certainly won’t be lacking for food and drink options during your stays. For farm-fresh fare grown locally around the island, head to Malibu Farm, a poolside eatery where Cali-inspired fare includes bountiful salads, acai bowls, grilled sandwiches, vegan options and more.
At the ground floor One Forty, a buffet breakfast features both Asian and Western offerings, from ahi tuna poke and sushi to dim sum, cheese and charcuterie. Guests are invited to pair the semi-buffet with hearty mains, or opt for just a la carte for a lighter breakfast. At night, One Forty serves up sumptuous steaks and seafood platters. Alternatively, you can head to Nobu’s Lanai outpost, a beautiful setting within the hotel that serves up Nobu signatures such as sashimi tacos, miso cod, and rock shrimp tempura with an extensive selection of sakes.
The Four Seasons overlooks Hulopo’e Bay and is just a 5-minute walk to the secluded beachfront, where hotel attendants are waiting with towels, refreshments and snorkel gear should you wish to swim up to the reef. Another 10-minute hike will take you past the rocky tide pools and cliffside overlooking Sweetheart Rock, where the old myth goes a young Hawaiian warrior buried his drowned Lanai princess.
Back at the resort, take a dip in the all-ages lagoon-style pools complete with waterfalls and a bubbling hot tub to mimic the natural island landscape. Set amongst the lush trees and fauna, you’ll be able to spend the afternoon catching up on a good book on the plush chaises or cabanas, grab a drink poolside and catch the resident parrots as they squawk ‘aloha!’ to guests while making their rounds.
Following a multi-million dollar renovation in 2016, the Four Seasons Resort Lanai is undoubtedly up there with some of the most luxurious private island retreats in the world. Remodeled as a distinctly Polynesian-style resort, the Four Seasons’ charm lies in the combination of the hotel brand’s signature five star comfort and bespoke services (other highlights include a fleet of Tesla cars and a private lounge at the airport), combined with the surreal beauty and natural wonder of the unspoiled island in the Hawaiian archipelago.
For those seeking an even more elevated level of comfort, you can retreat to the brand new Four Seasons Hotel Lanai at Koele, A Sensei Retreat, the sister property located upcountry which recently reopened as an all-inclusive spa and wellness destination. No matter which resort you’re staying at, the hardest part will be leaving the local laidback Lanai way of life behind, after what’s sure to be a one-of-a-kind holiday.