Many people visit the island of Maui because of its enticing reputation. Yet just a few miles west of Maui lies the island of Lanai (Lāna’i), previously home to one of Hawaii’s largest pineapple plantations. Although the island no longer exports hand-picked pineapples, Lanai’s tourism scene is alive and well on this small Hawaiian gem of a retreat. Over 3,000 residents live on the island some of whom are employed by the three hotels, two of which are Four Seasons Resorts.
This is confusing in itself, but the resort has also changed the names of both properties several times over the years. Now the larger one of 236 rooms is simply Four Seasons Lanai (formerly Malele Bay Four Seasons). See their website here. The smaller, adults-only wellness resort is now called “Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort.” See their site here.
The Four Seasons Lanai Resort often shows up in rankings as one of the best beach hotels in the world. There are nine different buildings, each of which is named after a native flower or fish of Hawaii. Lovely landscaped grounds and a beautiful oceanfront terrace view accompany the Ginger wing. Inside my room in the Ginger wing was a king bed, lounge chair with ottoman, desk and chair, and a personal terrace with patio furniture. Having the perfect view of the Pacific Ocean may make you want to stay in your room, but get out and explore Lanai.
Whether you are celebrating a wedding, honeymoon or anniversary, Lāna’i is a prime location, but this Four Seasons resort on Manele Bay is also known for its family-friendly and kid-oriented atmosphere. There are kid’s programs, nine junior suites – ideal for families – and kid menus at every restaurant.
After you’re done enjoying the ocean sunrise from your terrace it’s time to hit the beach. The Hulopo’e beach is a quick five-minute walk from the resort. Here, hotel guests will enjoy the well-kept restrooms, snorkel equipment, ice water, beach chairs, and complimentary beach towels. If the sea salt is too much for you and you want to switch to the pool, make sure you have sunscreen and sunglasses, the Hawaiian sun has no mercy. Settle down in a hotel lounge chair and order the 100% sustainable Lychee Rose Sangria. Yum!
For a small Hawaiian island, there are plenty of dining options. Several restaurants are on site at the resort. Serious Sushi lovers should try the Nobu Lanai Restaurant. Their sashimi is first class, but if something cooked is more your style, the tempura-battered shrimp with mushrooms and Wagyu beef is a great option. I had an excellent meal at One Forty Steak House. The couple dining next to me returns to this restaurant every visit to Lanai. No matter where you dine, try and make dinner reservations for any restaurant around sunset.
The islands of Hawaii have an incredible array of places to see, things to eat, and adventures to have. The Four Seasons Lanai Resort captures the essence of laid-back, yet elegant Hawaii without the crowds.
Both Four Seasons Lanai resorts have undergone renovations and upgrades under the direction of owner Larry Ellison of Oracle software company fame, who took over in the early 2010s. Have you traveled to Lanai since then? Share your comments below.
Review and photos by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Lanai Visitors Bureau during my island stay. All opinions are my own. All photos by the author except top one courtesy of the resort.