Different landscapes 8 miles apart
A tale of two seasons only 8 miles apart on Lana’i

On the Hawaiian Island of Lanai, there are only 3 hotels on the whole island. The surprising thing is that two of the three are practically twins.  The two Four Seasons luxury resorts are only 8 miles apart, but they seem like two completely different worlds apart.

Note:  I updated this post in 2020 since the Koele Four Season Lodge just finished a remodel and rebranding as the Sensai Lanai Four Seasons Resort.  They made a few updates to the buildings and offerings, so check their new website.  But all the views and luxury perks are the same!

Lanai’s Unique Island Climate is Depicted in the Two Four Seasons Resorts

As the fog rolls in past the pine trees, you can finish your steak dinner, pull on your sweater, and sip brandy by the gigantic fireplace while you discuss your experience at the shooting clays with your fellow guests.

On the exact same night across the island, one can hear the familiar sounds of a conch shell being blown signaling the golden sunset over the ocean. Draped in lightweight linen clothing, you can finish your mai tai while lounging and discussing which fresh catch of the day you will want for dinner while in the distance spinner dolphins entertain you as they play in the bay.

Welcome to the unique island, landscape, and climate of Lana’i Hawaii. These two Four Seasons Resorts on the Island of Lana’i are not just different – they are literally seasons apart which means the Four Seasons have figured out a way for you to have a complete four-season experience on Lana’i.

Experience Fall & Winter at Sensei Lanai Four Seasons Resort

Grounds of Lodge at Koele
The grounds of Sensei Lanai Four Seasons Resort

Pine trees, chilly weather, and fireplaces are not what you expect out of Hawaii. However on the dry island of Lana’i, Cook Island Pine Trees were brought in and planted years ago in order to trap the dew and create more of a water source – and a unique wooded environment on a tropical island was born.

The Sensei Lanai is surrounded by pine trees and the resort feels wintery with fireplaces and blankets scattered throughout. The lodge is a perfect combination of peace, serenity, and nature.

I was told that many local Hawaiians prefer to stay at Sensei Lanai in order to really experience a unique feel that is not possible on other islands. I must admit, as I sat there in my big oversized chair by the fireplace drinking my glass of wine I felt as if I were in Colorado, but was jolted back into Hawaii when the Hawaiian music began to gently echo off the high ceilings of the Great Hall.

The new Sensei Lanai is a wellness resort bathed in white complete with yoga, spa treatments, Onsen baths, and even a fasting regimen.

They also boast a Nobu restaurant on site!

Experience Spring & Summer at Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Put your sunglasses on and hop on the interisland shuttle and travel 20 minutes through Lana’i City and down the brushy, dry cliffside to Manele Bay. You’ll go from barren desert to lush tropics as the shuttle turns into the Manele Bay Resort.

Be prepared to begin peeling off layers of clothes as you get closer to the sea where it is typically about 10 to 15 degrees hotter than at the Sensei Resort. You are transported to the tropics surrounded by some of the most impressive landscaping around with native Hawaiian plants and tropical palm trees.

The resort is open, breezy, and light all designed to look over the focal point of the aqua blue pool and ocean below feeling as if you’ve stepped into a postcard.

Grounds at Manele Bay
The impeccable grounds at Manele Bay Resort

Highlights of Four Seasons Resort Lanai

• Seaside or poolside – it’s your choice. Not only are there private cabanas and a young man who comes to clean your sunglasses for you poolside, but if you’d rather have sand between your toes it’s a short walk down a path surrounded by native trees and brush to the white sand beach. There you can borrow snorkel equipment, get chairs and umbrellas, and lounge in comfort while the waves lap at the shore and the beach staff cater to your needs.

• Each morning I was at the resort schools of spinner dolphins arrived in the bay after hunting all night. They come to the bay to relax and be away from predators….and of course – play. It’s easy to see how they have earned the name spinner dolphins as they jump out of the water and do spins and flips. It’s an amazing sight to see these giant schools relax and have fun in the bay.

• Try the ultimate relaxation at the Manele Bay spa. Private cabanas perched up on the cliff provide a luxurious setting for a mind-blowing massage. A gentle sea breeze blows through as you enter another world of relaxation and turn to putty in the hands of your masseuse.

• Eat outside and take in the view. The resort has 2 restaurants specializing in seafood and Italian food as well as a new Kailani Lounge concept serving light, fresh seafood small plates in the late afternoon for happy hour and sunset.

• Oh yes – and how could I forget – Best bed, linens, and slippers ever!

Book a room at Four Seasons Resort Lanai here

Manele bay paradise
Tropical paradise at Manele Bay
Spa at Manele Bay
A gorgeous view from the spa cabana
spinner dolphins play in the bay
Spinner dolphins play in the bay
Colossal shrimp cocktail
Colossal shrimp cocktail with a bloody mary dipping sauce

The resorts of course work seamlessly together with luggage transfers (just leave everything in your room and they will move it for you!) and shuttles so that you barely have to lift a finger – service seems to be a signature perk at any Four Seasons. The highlight of my service experience there were the personalized cookies they left in my room welcoming me!

The best beds, slippers and service in my travels!
Signature service of the Four Seasons – the best beds, slippers, and cookies!

If you are looking for a real luxurious travel experience in Hawaii then consider traveling through the seasons on Lana’i. Exploring all the things to do on Lanai just may help you decide which of these resorts to choose!

Read about how to visit Lanai on a budget and experience the local flavor

Other Lanai articles for your enjoyment

Hiking on Lanai, Hawaii

An off-roading Jeep adventure on Lanai

Sea Turtle mating on Polihua Beach on Lanai

The “purrr-fect” Cat Sanctuary on Lanai

Essential travel items for your Lanai vacation

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    03/06/2024 12:17 am GMT
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Visit Lana'i

Disclosure: I was a guest of Visit Lana’i as a part of their New Media Artist in Residence Program.    All views expressed here are my own honest opinions and do not reflect the views of Visit Lana’i.

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