Like an attractive gem box, a visit to Four Seasons Resort Lanai proves that good things come in little packages. Lanai, the oft overlooked 140 square mile island, is a quick ferry ride or even quicker helicopter or plane journey from its sister islands.
Last week, I enjoyed a 45-minute ferry ride across the sparking seas to the snug harbor of Lanai. On arrival at the ferry terminal, I was met by a Four Seasons ambassador; every staff member is capable of managing arrivals, check-in, and will provide personal concierge service during your stay.
Larry Ellison’s newest endeavor in the hotel industry reflects his passion for art and attention to detail in every facet of this stunning preserve. Combined with the renowned perfection of Four Seasons exemplary service and style, the hotel is certain to become a destination resort. Unlike Four Seasons on other Hawaiian Islands, this is a bit isolated; you won’t encounter neighboring hotel guests on the beach, at the bars or on the golf links. This is old Hawaii at it’s zenith. Leisure, fine dining, golf at your own pace with a break for lunch at Views or utilize your GPS operated cart menu and order lunch on the green! Where else can you enjoy this hospitality?
The rooms, 217 in total, including 51 suites, are gorgeous, decorated in restful subdued shades of beachy tan and rich dark wood. I would find it challenging to leave my comfy cocoon, perhaps mosey out to the wide deck with stunning sea vistas, but this calming refuge tempts one to do no more than read, lounge and recharge.
The art throughout the resort appears to be carefully cultivated by an owner with a discerning eye for ancient cultures and a collection which grounds the resort with a strong sense of place. Stroll the open halls in each wing and happen on mini-garden sitting rooms. Clusters of sofas circle a lively koi pond overseen by a massive frog sculpture. In another overgrown lush jungle area, an aviary of exotic birds reminds you of the island wildlife. The interior structure has been opened up to provide vistas from every angle, the silky crescent beach is visible from each restaurant. The multi-million dollar renovation on the former pineapple plantation is thoughtful, restful and includes some high tech touches.
If you must rustle yourself out for activities: choose from an extensive list, a list that is expanding each week. The stunning Jack Nicholas designed Manele Golf course is reserved for guests and Hawaii residents only; snorkel or dive with complimentary gear in the protected marine reserve Hulopo’e Bay – where a pod of spinner dolphins call home. An adult’s only pool resembles a natural grotto – the lagoon pool for the kiddies includes a waterfall. Helicopter tours, Polaris ATV rides explore the rough and red dirt up-country. Horseback riding provides a slower pace over a four-mile loop through dry chaparral; the diversity of the island terrain is quite surprising. Tennis and private lessons with a pro is available on property. The island also offers deer hunting; wildlife includes large island sheep and wild turkeys. Something for everyone’s taste or energy level. Deep wooden Japanese soaking tubs are the consummate conclusion to a full day of activity.
Dining – Nobu may draw guests to Lanai on its own! The interior, reached by a massively tall, yet delicate carved door, offers several options for dining. Enjoy refined dining table-side with sweeping panoramic views or shimmy up to the sushi bar, while the talented chef’s prepare classic sushi on a slab. Reserve 24 hours in advance for a dedicated Teppanyaki chef at private teppan tables. Interact with your highly skilled chef while he slices, sizzles and serves personalized plates. Or Nobu Bar serves a light bar menu highlighting innovative Japanese cuisine.
Japanese dining not your style? Restaurant One Forty offers locally sourced ingredients with an extensive steak and seafood menu. Prime and wagyu beef from Snake River Farms and local Hawaiian catch are prepared to perfection. One Forty is a clever nod to the square mileage of the island
Choose from Malibu Farm perched above the bay or dine at Views on the edge of the golf course for more casual lunches. Mark the end of the day with an exciting sunset Champagne sabering ceremony at Malibu Farm.
An on property rental car fleet allows guests to explore Lanai without resourcing an outside vendor. Yacht charters for sunset cruises are also available on property, the hotel manages all aspects of a visit, guaranteeing the celebrated Four Seasons guest-centric service.
Technology is visible in many aspects, from the 75-inch platinum-bezel LED televisions in each room and the iPads that allow you to order meals, read numerous newspapers and be alerted to the spinner dolphins arrival in the picturesque bay! I loved the easy to use in room switch that magically adjusts the mood lighting to day, sunset or relax.
The Lodge at Koele is under refurbishment and will reopen by the end of the year.
Highly recommend an escape to Four Seasons Resort Lanai, a unique Journey.