Private Paradise

For a taste of Hawaii like you have never experienced it before, Four Seasons Lanai is the perfect private island getaway. Whether you want to relax at the pool and head to the spa or fill your vacation with one adventure after another, Larry Ellison’s private island makes it all possible.

Written and Photographed by Julie Wuellner


It is not often one gets the opportunity to spend a long weekend on a hyper luxurious private Island in Hawaii, so when my husband and I did – we jumped at it. Five and a half hours after we flew out of LAX we landed in Honolulu and there our getaway of relaxation and adventure truly began. We were immediately whisked into the invitation-only Four Seasons airport lounge and offered ice-cold sparkling water and snacks to our hearts’ content. Another 20 minutes later aboard one of the smallest planes I’ve ever seen and we landed in Lanai. As soon as we stepped foot in the grandiose resort lobby overlooking Hulapoe’ bay (which just happens to be one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world) we were greeted by friendly staff with a flower leie for me, a Kukui Nut lei for my husband and exotic cocktails for us both. 


Only a few hours into our tripand our paradise getaway was well under way. After Larry Ellison purchased 98% of Lanai back in 2012, the Four Seasons Lanai was completely re-invented and then in 2016 re-opened as the exclusive paradise getaway that it is now. The lobby was transformed and the hotel, turned into a bright, open mid-century modern resort, filled with Polynesian art from Ellison’s private collection and built around lush, tropical grounds that feature waterfalls, ponds and colorful flowers every direction you turn.


Complete with a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, abundant opportunities for adventure including snorkeling, horseback riding, UTVs and helicopter tours, a world-renowned spa, numerous pools, tennis courts, yoga and gym classes as well as of course some of the finest dining in the world, the Four Seasons Lanai truly leaves its guests wanting for nothing. While there, everyone is treated like royalty. Four Seasons Lanai general manager, Alastair McAlphine perhaps said it best when he told us that, “On your own 90,000-acre island [you can] enjoy Hawaii as it was intended to be: unspoiled, unhurried, and unequaled”.

While on Lanai, we made it our mission to try as many of the resort-curated activities as we could fit into our four-day stay. We started with the snorkel sail trip which took us off the coast of Lanai to crystalline blue waters, a gorgeous tropical reef and an abundance of colorful Hawaiian fish. After snorkeling we switched course and headed inland to try our hand at clay shooting and then archery.


The next day was equally adventure filled, the guided UTV tour being the highlight of the day. It was truly an unforgettable, adrenaline pumping experience to go flying through Lanai’s unpaved mountain and valley roads at 50 mph. Next, we slowed down a bit and sat down with uncle Bully Davis, in the resort lobby to learn how to make our own woven basket out of palm leaves, which still sits in our kitchen today as a reminder of our trip. My husband even got a quick eukele lesson. The rest of the trip we spent taking numerous yoga classes, from sunrise to sunset yoga and even one aerial yoga class, relaxing in the pool, trying our hand at tennis, watching the nightly tiki torch lighting ceremony and renting a Jeep to explore and go shopping in the quaint downtown Lanai as well as visit a shipwreck on the other side of the Island.


While the abundant activities may have been my favorite part of our trip, the nine diverse dining options definitely came in at a close second. When we arrived on the island, we were pleasantly surprised that many of our Malibu favorites were there as well — complete with Hawaiian influences. We had a delicious poolside lunch at Malibu favorite - Malibu Farm, and then extravagant, Hawaiian-style sushi at Nobu for dinner with local Lanai favorites such as venison sashimi. Breakfast was best served at One-Forty, complete with an almost endless breakfast buffet and stunning view of the sun rising over Hulapo’e Bay. For a less flashy, but equally delicious dining option we headed to the Sports Bar & Grill and enjoyed classic favorites with Hawaiian twists such as venison burgers and pizza and in the mornings Hawaiian Kona Roast Coffee.

If you are looking for a truly one-of-a-kind Hawaiian experience, there is nothing like the Four Seasons Lanai. Unlike islands like Maui or Oahu, Lanai is still able to offer its guests a true island experience. “People are looking for that old Hawaii experience and that doesn’t exist anymore, but on Lanai, with only 30 miles of paved roads, no malls, shopping centers or traffic lights, visitors get a glimpse of that era,” said McAlphine. “Then add in the comforts of ‘home’ — luxurious accommodations and spa, Nobu Lanai, Malibu farm and activities and you have an unforgettable escape." MM

1 Manele Bay Rd, Lanai City, HI | (808) 565-2000 |

Holly Bieler