If you’ve been paying attention to my social media channels, you may still be getting bombarded with photos from my October trip to Hawaii. Sorry, not sorry. The trip was just so special that I can’t help myself. Anyways, growing up on the West Coast, Hawaii was a popular vacation destination for my family, and we often visited Maui and the Big Island. I’ve always loved the resort life; being able to walk down to a beautiful beach, jump into water that isn’t ice cold, take surfing lessons in calm waters, lay out by the pool and read all day without any place to be or anything to do. I am a PRO at relaxation, and Hawaii was my training grounds. So when I was planning for my boyfriend, Kyle’s, 30th birthday this year, I knew it would be the perfect destination. He had never been, and I couldn’t imagine a more special place to celebrate this very special occasion. Somehow, we got lucky enough to stay at the Four Seasons Lanai, and honestly? I’m SO GLAD WE DID.
The Four Seasons already has a few very well-known destinations in Hawaii, like their family-friendly resort on Maui at Wailea. However, their Lanai location is definitely lesser-known, possibly because the island is one of the more remote and less touristy destinations in Hawaii. Don’t be fooled by their under-the-radar presence, though; the property is a hidden gem that was extensively remodeled 2-3 years ago. After an 8 month closure, it emerged like a butterfly from a very expensive cocoon, resulting in a spectacular 5-star resort with a Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course, a Nobu restaurant, two pools, a spa, an incredible fitness center, tennis courts, and plenty of beachside activities. Unsurprisingly, the resort has been awarded quite a few accolades (it was ranked as the top hotel in the country by U.S. News), but has managed to keep the resort feeling like a quiet, secluded secret.
We booked the trip for October back in February, planning to spend 3 nights there and 3 nights at a resort on Maui (more on that later). We took an early flight from LA, landing in Maui around 11am (you can fly to Lanai, but will have to connect through Honolulu). We chose to the take a taxi to Lahaina, which was about a 45 minute drive from the airport, and then hopped on the ferry to Lanai (another 40 minutes to an hour). Once we arrived at the ferry dock in Lanai, the Four Seasons kindly picked us up in one of their courtesy shuttles and we were strolling into the lobby in a matter of minutes.
Traveling can be super stressful, especially when there are connections and taxis and ferries involved, but upon arrival at the Four Seasons, my stress melted away as I stepped out of the shuttle. We were immediately greeted by warm, smiling faces holding floral leis and offering fresh juices as they ushered us into the lobby and efficiently checked us in. We were escorted to our room, which was more beautiful than we could’ve imagined. The design is modern and the room was big; we had a huge TV, a beautiful balcony, plenty of closet space, electronic shades, a TV embedded in the bathroom mirror, and a high-tech toilet. We also had a personal iPad for controlling aspects of the room (like the light, TV, and shades), as well as booking activities and ordering room service. Even our room keys were these high-tech, individual wristbands that you simply touch to a disc on the door to unlock it! Despite all these modern, technological accents, the room was still warm and luxurious, with natural wood accents that provided some major tropical oasis vibes. Though it was a “partial” ocean view room, we still had an incredible view of the water from our balcony.
As a relaxation expert, I quickly settled in for 3 days of laying on the beach, drinking Mai Tai’s, and eating delicious food. So I was thrilled when we spent a full day just hanging out by the beach and pool. Of the resort’s two pools, we spent most of our time by the more-secluded and smaller adult pool. The beach is a short walk from the pool and is beautiful, sandy, and quiet. Of course, hotel attendants come around with ice water, juice, chilled towels, and the like, which made me wonder how I ever previously lived without this level of service.
As this was Kyle’s first Hawaii trip, he unsurprisingly wanted to take part in ALL the activities, of which the hotel offers many. Horseback riding, hikes, sunset sails, fitness classes, snorkeling, and move-theater nights…just to name a few. Another guest recommended we rent one of the hotel’s Jeeps and drive around the island, so we spent the better part of a day doing just that. And as much as I was sad to spend a day away from the resort, it was an incredible afternoon. Not only was the slick, white Jeep Wrangler just the coolest vehicle to ride around in, it was also completely necessary for all the off-road driving on the island. After driving through the small town nearby (and picking up some delicious poke from a little market we found), we headed down a long dirt road towards a park called “Garden of the Gods.” This was no ordinary park though; we had to leave the Jeep on the side of the road and hike about a mile and a half to get there, discovering a red, rocky garden with sweeping views of the ocean and island. During our day of Jeeping around, we were constantly amazed by the natural terrain— much of what we saw was untouched and uninhabited, yet to be marred by throngs of tourists. We also visited “Shipwreck Beach,” a small beach with a tumultuous tide where you can spot an actual shipwreck that washed ashore a few decades back. Though there were so many other places we wanted to see, these two attractions were so amazing and memorable that we both felt we had a really full day of exploring.
After a full day of exploring, we definitely earned a dinner at Nobu. The hotel has quite a few other main restaurants, and we visited One Forty and the Sports Grill & Bar our first two nights, which were both great. Though I’ve been to a few other Nobu locations, there’s nothing quite like the experience of eating such high quality sushi while overlooking the Four Seasons property and beach. As expected, everything was delicious, and some standouts included the short rib tacos in a crispy wanton shell, a classic shrimp tempura cut roll, and a serving of local whitefish tempura that came with just a smattering of onions and a light, citrus-y drizzle of sauce.
After an unforgettable 3 days, leaving was HARD. I’m hard-pressed to come up with many other vacations I’ve had that have been as special, beautiful, and luxurious. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Hawaii over the years, but The Four Seasons Lanai is a truly standout resort; like any other Four Seasons property, the hotel is tailor-made for travelers seeking luxury accommodations, fantastic food, and seriously exceptional service. But more than that, there’s a magic about the island of Lanai that transforms this resort from “just” a 5-star Hawaii getaway to an experience that is incredibly unique. The island is such a beautiful, remote, and untouched place, it almost feels like a special secret, and for a few days, we had the honor of being in on that secret.