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Four Seasons Lanai review: Which is the best Four Seasons on Lanai?

Please only travel when and where it’s safe.

When looking at where to stay on Lanai, options are limited. But they’re good ones!

Most visitors stay at the Four Seasons Lanai.

Ahhh. But which one?

Because there are two Four Seasons resorts on Lanai.

Four Seasons Lanai Review

The most popular (and larger) one is the 213-room Four Seasons Resort Lanai, which is a deluxe beachfront resort.

The other is Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort.

This swank adults-only country-style mountain lodge has a wellness focus.

Review of Four Seasons Resorts Lanai

Four Seasons Lanai review

Four Seasons Lanai Review

Some guests like to split their stay on Lanai and experience both (which is what we did).

But it may not matter which you choose, because an inter-hotel shuttle bus connects the two resorts (just 20 minutes apart) and you can use most of the facilities of both.

By way of background, Oracle CEO and biz whiz Larry Ellison bought the former pineapple island of Lanai in 2012, complete with the two Four Seasons properties, for an estimated $600 million.

Since then, he’s spruced up the resorts to reflect a more Hawaiian plantation vibe – and they now shine like new.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Rooms:

Guest room at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Down by the water at Manele Bay, the 213 rooms and suites at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai average 700 sq. ft.

Most overlook the ocean.

Sporting a neutral color scheme (coffee and cream), they come with mahogany floors, handwoven area rugs, mood lighting, bedside iPads, Nespresso machines, glass showers with pebbled floors and furnished lanais.

Hulopoe Beach:

Lanai beach

Beautiful Hulopoe Beach is at the foot of this resort. (We think it’s one of the nicest beaches in Hawaii).

Full beach services are offered for Four Seasons guests – including beach chairs, towels, and the complimentary use of snorkeling equipment.

While there are quite a few adventurous things to do on Lanai, hanging out on Hulopoe Beach is – needless to say – the preferred activity of choice for most people.

Dining:

Tacos at Nobu Lanai

The chic Nobu Lanai restaurant showcases sushi and innovative Japanese-inspired cuisine by celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, with produce grown locally on Lanai.

Or you can choose to dine at Malibu Farm, serving healthy organic options.

Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Reception at Four Seasons Sensei Lanai

Sensei Lanai (formerly called the Lodge at Koele) opened in November, 2019 after a five-year renovation.

Sitting at the end of a driveway lined by tall Cook Island pine trees, Sensei Lanai is like a gracious country estate with white shutters and a wrap-around porch.

The adults-only lodge is simply gorgeous.

And you could spend hours walking around the luxuriant gardens, sprinkled with million-dollar sculptures and Japanese-like onsens (Jacuzzis).

Sculpture in Sensei Lanai gardens, Kauai

As it’s located 1,500 feet above sea level, the resort is noticeably cooler than at the ocean-front Manele Bay resort.

Rooms:

Guest room at Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

The lodge’s 102 guestrooms are all cream and white, designed to put you in a serene state of mind.

They feature dream beds, Japanese bidet toilets, enormous flat-screen TVs and outdoor lanais.

Nobu restaurant and activities:

The elegant high-end restaurant is Nobu-run, built around a Koi pond. You can sit inside or out.

What to do?

Do as much or as little as you want. A Sensei guide will reach out to you before you arrive to help plan and schedule your ideal stay.

Perhaps, to begin with, a little time relaxing around the pool?

Pool relaxation area at Four Seasons Sensei Lanai

Activities include yoga classes, private fitness and nutrition consultations, meditation sessions and other wellness experiences.

And don’t forget the beautiful spa!

Wellness at Sensei Resort, Lanai

There’s also clay shooting.

The resort even has horse stables too, so you can go horseback riding.

Horses at Sensei Resort, Lanai

Rates are fairly steep.

But they include roundtrip charter flight airfare from Honolulu on Lanai Air, meaning you arrive in style.

What to know

Apart from the restaurants in the two Four Seasons resorts, there are few other dining options on Lanai.

(The delightful Lanai City Grille in the lovely Hotel Lanai is an exception).

So your food choices are basically limited to superb, but expensive, hotel dining.

So, what’s the best Four Seasons resort Lanai?

There's lush scenery all around you at the Four Seasons Resorts on Lanai.

Both resorts appeal to couples, but the beach resort welcomes families too.

Sensei is quieter and much more focused on health and wellbeing (like a luxurious spa resort).

So the answer depends on whether you’re a serious beach lover, whether you’re traveling as a couple or with kids, your budget and if wellness is your prime goal during your stay.

Experience more of Hawaii

Read our posts on:

Kauai activities | We’ve visited Kauai many times and know the island well. From SUP boarding on a tranquil river to hiking the Kalalau Trail, there are lots of great things to do in Kauai!

Kauai hotels | Grand family-friendly resort? Or do you want a romantic beachfront couples-only boutique hotel? See our reviews of the best hotels in Kauai.

Hawaii water sports | Whale watching? Surfing? Snorkeling? Check out these super fun Hawaii water activities and the best places in Hawaii to do them.


Photo credits: Four Seasons Lanai


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the owners and founders of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!

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Adriana Olivares

Friday 12th of February 2021

Thanks for this post! Super helpful. Would you recommend one over the other for a honeymoon?

Janice and George

Saturday 13th of February 2021

Glad you found our post helpful!

But you ask a tough question :-).

Perhaps for a honeymoon, though, the Sensei resort would feel more special? It's for adults only, so that adds to the tranquility of the stay. Flying in on the special charter from Honolulu is also a nice touch. The spa is first-rate, and the pool and grounds beautiful. To get your beach fix, you can always take the free resort shuttle to the beach and charge any food-and-drink purchases from the beachfront FS to the Sensei.

On the other hand, if staying beachfront and having the beach at your fingertips trumps everything else, then of course you'd probably be happier at the FS Lanai beachfront resort :-).

Have a wonderful honeymoon, no matter where you go!

Irene S. Levine

Monday 24th of February 2014

Both resorts look incredibly beautiful. Seems like I would have to follow your route and split my time rather than decide:-)

Janice and George

Monday 24th of February 2014

Well, saves on decision-making :-).