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 one of the delightful facts about Hawaii is that there are two Four Seasons resorts on Lanai.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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).
As it’s located 1,500 feet above sea level, the resort is noticeably cooler than at the ocean-front Manele Bay 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?
Activities include yoga classes, private fitness and nutrition consultations, meditation sessions and other wellness experiences.
And don’t forget the beautiful spa!
There’s also clay shooting.
The resort even has horse stables too, so you can go horseback riding.
Rates are fairly steep.
But they include roundtrip charter flight airfare from Honolulu on Lanai Air, meaning you arrive in style.
What to know
When planning your Hawaii island trip to Lanai, be aware that 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?
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.
Photo credits: Four Seasons Lanai