At a Glance
The smallest inhabited island of the Hawaiian archipelago, Lāna’i offers a private island-like feel with only two resorts. Four Seasons Resort Lāna’i, with its expansive open-concept suites overlooking Hulopo’e Bay, features dining by Nobu, a kids’ club and a famous golf course.
**The Standout:**The 18-hole, Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course open only to guests, making it more like a private club
**Don't Miss:**The holoholo experience with a guide, to see cultural sites and traditions; meeting Bruno Amby, a kapuna (island elder) and aviarist who runs the Rescue Bird Program
- The hilltop location above one of Hawaii’s most beautiful coves
- The 18-hole signature Jack Niklaus-designed golf course on a hilltop with sweeping views
- The vibrant gardens featuring mostly native plants and the small sitting areas overlooking koi ponds in the guest wing gardens
- The various nearby hikes, including Koloiki Ridge Trail and Fisherman’s Trail
Located on a bluff overlooking gorgeous Hulopoe Bay, the Four Seasons Resort Lanai reopened in 2016 after two years of renovation to much fanfare.
The beachside resort has maintained its original footprint—two wings that frame a central building surrounded by verdant gardens—and its famed golf course (designed by Jack Nicklaus) was also left untouched save for a few updates in the pro shop and the aptly named restaurant The View. But almost everything else, from room interiors to the overall hospitality concept, was reconsidered and redone.
Most winning in the Four Seasons Resort Lanai's redesign is the fact that the main building has been completely opened up so that new arrivals are greeted by a soaring, two-story vista of tropical scenery running towards the sparkling sea. All windows are on collapsible sliding panels, so on most days, there’s not a glass pane in sight, as indoor and outdoor spaces merge seamlessly and a light ocean breeze keeps everything airy.
The interiors are reminiscent of Amans across the world, with their beige-brown wood aesthetic, and the largely organic materials—stone, slate and teak—present a beautiful palette that feels destination appropriate. The resort’s carefully curated art collection–largely featuring Hawaiian artists and artisans–further adds to the specific sense of place. There are now 213 rooms, including 45 suites, and all are done in a palette of soft beiges, browns and chocolate hues, accented with splashes of color, like bright orange orchids and original works of art. The beds are incredibly comfortable and the furnishings, from linen-covered couches to leather chairs are tasteful and work with the overall layout of the rooms.
Bathrooms are spacious with double-width rain showers and deep soaking tubs, as well as a beautiful line of products using local plants, like plumeria and awapui. Some in-room details, like the Japanese self-flushing bidet and toilet and massive 75-inch television feel a bit forced in this breezy island setting, and the high-tech aspects of the rooms (everything is controlled via an iPad) might be challenging to older guests. But overall, the accommodations are spacious and extremely comfortable.
Considering what beckons outside, few guests spend a ton of time inside anyhow. Golfers, especially, will be in heaven here, thanks to the signature Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course that is open only to hotel guests and island residents. Of course, some might opt for less-sporty days. The sun loungers framing the lawns and pool areas are a bit close together, so the more attractive spot to while the day away is the beach, reachable via a short downhill stroll. Hulopoe Bay is a protected marine reserve so you might see migrating whales in the distance and, more likely, a pod of spinner dolphins speeding through the clear waters quite close to shore. There’s a reef on the far side of the cove (as well as a public beach), and the Four Seasons has complimentary snorkeling gear.
Overall, the staff could not be nicer or try harder to please the guests. The Four Seasons is a massively important player on the island, as the company employs some 600-plus people (in a local population of 3,100). Everyone is very proud of their island and the serenity and remoteness it offers to stressed-out city types.
The island itself indeed offers a few fabulous half-day trips, especially for more adventurous souls who like the idea of challenging hiking, off-roading in 4x4s and horseback-riding. A short drive up-country from the coast, the climate changes completely, and Sensei Lanai, about a 30-minute drive away, is surrounded by towering Cooke pines and temperatures are normally about 10 degrees cooler than those at its beachy sister resort. Hiking through the rich rainforest, filled with ironwood, eucalyptus and ginger trees up here, is a remarkable way to spend a morning.
Back on property of the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, other amenities include tennis courts, two freestyle pools and a small spa with five treatment rooms. For a big night out, the Four Seasons’ revamped restaurants beckon. The resort’s outpost of Nobu has a beautiful, breezy deck with low tables and cushy couches and serves incredibly fresh seafood, while the signature One Forty restaurant has a menu that focuses on steak and Hawaiian seafood. Both restaurants have perfect views of the resort’s gardens and ocean in the background. More relaxed, for lunch, is Malibu Farms, tucked in the gardens near one of the pools, which offers incredibly fresh local seafood: The poke bowl is a must try!
Who Should Stay
Honeymooners and couples looking for a secluded setting on one of Hawaii’s most beautiful coves
Written by Simone Girner