Located just nine miles from Maui, Lanai might as well be a world away. Once home to a pineapple plantation that produced up to 75% of the world’s pineapple, this Hawaiian Island — with no stoplights — only has a handful of hotels. And two of them just happen to be Four Seasons.
The Four Seasons Lanai is located on Lanai’s southeast coast, overlooking Hulopoe Bay. Sensai Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort, is an adults-only property focused on wellness. Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison owns about 98 percent of the island, including both properties managed by the Four Seasons.
When I arrived at the tiny Lanai Airport, the complimentary hotel shuttle was waiting to take me to The Four Seasons Lanai. The driver filled us in on Lanai’s colorful history as we made the 20-minute drive to the property. As expected, the resort knows how to make a stellar first impression.
Overlooking the protected marine preserve of Hulopo’e Bay and neighbouring islands of Maui, Molokai and Kahoolawe, the property seems to bring the outside in whenever possible. The Cliffside resort offers 168 guest rooms and 45 suites. I stayed in a Garden View King Room, and even though I didn’t have a view of the water, if I wasn’t sleeping, the majority of time spent in my room was on lanai.
Around 700 square feet, the room was spacious by hotel standards, offering all of the amenities you would expect at a Four Seasons. From the bedside iPad mini loaded with resort information, to a lineup of beautiful wine stemware, to the television in the bathroom mirror and fresh cut orchids in a vase mounted to the wall, it’s hard not to feel pampered here. Though skeptical at first, I found the wristband keys to be comfortable and incredibly convenient.
Two lagoon-style pools — one for families and one for adults only — overlook the protected marine reserve, Hulopoe Bay. A path leads the way to popular Hulopoe Beach where you can sun, swim or on most mornings, join a yoga class. From the resort property, hikers have easy access to trails leading to both scenic Puupehe and Fisherman’s Trail.
Dining options are varied and plentiful, striking a nice balance with both casual and more formal offerings. The Break offers coffee and quick bites including breakfast pastries, sandwiches and salads. Like its name implies, The Views offers 180-degree views of the water and selections including sushi, wraps, fish tacos and more. Poolside Malibu Farm offers Hawaiian pupus and then some. Nobu Lanai boasts Japanese cuisine; One Forty’s menu offers too many seafood standout dishes to list, while still offering oodles of choice for meat eaters.
Getting to Lanai isn’t difficult, but certainly not as easy when compared to other Hawaiian islands such as Maui and Oahu. Mokulele Airlines flies from Maui to Lanai. Flights carry just nine passengers and offer stunning views for the duration of the 35-minute flight.
From Lahaina Harbor, it’s about a 45-minute ferry ride to Lanai. It’s stunning any time of year, but especially smile-inducing during whale season.
Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. Her stay was organized by The Four Seasons Lanai, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.