AWAY from the crowds that flock to Waikiki Beach is Lanai, a secluded, largely uninhabited island in Hawaii. Modern activity on the island is so scarce it doesn’t have a single traffic light or shopping mall, perfect for the traveler in search of rest and relaxation.
Lanai is only 14 kilometers away from Hawaii’s second largest island, Maui, but once there, it’s easy to feel like you’re far removed from civilization. But fret not, the island is also a haven for adventure seekers what with myriad water, land and air activities.
Tucked away on Hulope Bay on the southern coast of Lanai is the island’s crown jewel – Four Seasons Resort Lanai. Perched atop a red-lava bluff overlooking the unspoiled marine reserve, the resort is a private playground for guests looking to truly immerse themselves in an authentic Hawaiian experience.
After an eight-month closure, the hotel recently saw a large-scale makeover by Silicon Valley billionaire Larry Ellison for a “competitively opulent flair”. The refurbished property has been granted a AAA Five Diamond status, with a story on Bloomberg claiming it to be Hawaii’s, if not the world’s, best new hotel resort.
The resort preserves some of Hawaii’s signature features – namely the palm trees and the poolside umbrella-topped stations – but eschews the camera-slinging crowds one might typically encounter in Waikiki. Four Seasons Resort Lanai is shrouded in an air of exclusivity, making guests feel like “the only one”.
The Ocean Front and Ocean View rooms are a real treat, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the Pacific Ocean. Expect majestic Hawaiian history-inspired aesthetics in all rooms, with details like rich mahogany wood, bespoke art and hand-woven rugs.
Guests also have the chance to book the exquisite Alii Suite equipped with a private lanai that’s fitted with a dining table, lounge chairs and an oversized daybed and binocular tripods for looking out to the bay. In the suite itself, guests are treated to a living room, a separate dining room for six, a media room, a powder room, a walk-in closet, a library area and a double Japanese soaking tub.
The hotel also offers themed specialty suites to suit guests’ needs and preferences. For example, the Palawai Suite features a neutral color scheme and plenty of natural light flowing through its wide glass windows. Guests at this suite enjoy the perks of a full-marble bathroom and complimentary transportation for freedom to explore the island at their own pace.
The free-form lagoon-style pool features a cascading waterfall and two whirlpools, but for a more private bask in the sun, head to the adult-only retreat where guests can cop views of lava rock grottos echoing Lanai’s dramatic cliffs. Pool staff will take care of guests’ needs including Evian spritzes, chilled towels, frosty popsicles, sunglass-cleaning, a selection of magazines, complimentary sunscreen, and flavored ice water.
After a mid-morning swim, head to Malibu Farm for an alfresco brunch overlooking the bay. Come night time Nobu Lanai offers a must-try seven-course omakase meal – a perfect opportunity to sample superb fresh seafood and premium Hawaiian produce. The Nobu brand – which fuses traditional Japanese fare with new-age techniques – is widely acknowledged as one of the best Japanese restaurant chains in the world.
Also within the restaurant is Hokusetsu sake – an independent award-winning sake brand that’s exclusive to Nobu. If you wish, sake masters will take you through every step of appreciating high-quality sake, from scent and flavor, to texture and temperature.
Outside the resort, guests can partake in activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, deep-sea fishing and helicopter tours. At the Hulopoe Bay marine preserve, it’s common to see spinner dolphins close to the shoreline as well as humpback whales in the winter in the distance.
To feel like you’re on a glamorous Hollywood set, charter a private catamaran to sail along the private Lanai coastline while you sip on cocktails and bob into the sunset. Couples can also arrange a romantic candlelit dinner on deck, guaranteed to earn brownie points with your partner.
Above the dramatic cliffs overlooking the bay is Manele Golf Course, an 18-hole layout that challenges even the best of golfers. A rare treat in Lanai is also the 4×4 road adventure, where guests can rent vehicles through the resort’s Island Adventure Center and Travel through off-road rugged terrains for scenic views of the Munro Trail, Keahkiawelo (Garden of the Gods), Polihua Beach and Kaiolohia (Shipwreck Beach). Pack a picnic for a memorable meal at a location of your choice.
Alternatively, guests can book a horseback ride or Polaris UTV guided tour and explore the uplands of Lanai, learn about the history of the island and enjoy scenic vistas to neighboring islands.
But really, there’s little need to step out of the resort’s grounds for a truly relaxing holiday. From the comfort of your own private lanai looking out to the vast blue of the ocean and the cotton candy skies above, it’s easy to feel like you’re completely, totally, utterly at peace.
Tempted? Book your stay now at Four Seasons Resort Lanai.