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Why You Should Visit the Hawaiian Island of Lanai

There’s simply no place for paparazzi to go.



It may seem odd that Bill and Melinda Gates got married on a golf course, but one glance at the view from hole 12 of the Four Seasons Resort Lanai’s course and you’ll understand exactly why they chose that spot. The grassy knoll—part of a premier course designed by Jack Nicklaus—is perched high on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, with waves crashing against the rocks below. And the Gates aren’t the only celebrities who’ve enjoyed the spectacular setting: Jessica Alba, Will Smith, and Cindy Crawford have all vacationed there (separately). In fact, with just one luxury hotel currently open on Lanai, it’s perfect for A-listers and everyone else who values their privacy. There’s simply no place for paparazzi to go.
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Despite—or perhaps because of—not being as well known as Oahu or Maui, Lanai is the perfect escape. Once the world’s largest pineapple plantation, the island was developed in the 1920s by James Drummond Dole, who built little bungalows in Lanai City to house his workers. Driving through the town of 3,000 people and zero stoplights, you can still see the low-slung homes, but today the people who occupy them mostly work in hospitality, not pineapple farming. It’s worth taking a leisurely stroll through town, but go early if you want to get the island’s best poke, served at a little mom-and-pop stand called Lanai Ohana Poke Market that regularly sells out by noon. This is poke at its most authentic—fresh ahi tuna marinated to perfection and presented simply in a paper bowl over rice.


[post_ads]The island’s main draw is the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Lanai, which was bought in 2012—along with 98 percent of the island—by tech billionaire Larry Ellison, who completely overhauled it. He tapped Todd Avery-Lenahan to make over the resort with a clean-lined, contemporary design punctuated by native Hawaiian elements like wicker furniture, decorative shells, and even a Polynesian boat in the lobby. Having emerged from its renovation last year, the resort now boasts two oceanfront pools surrounded by lush tropical gardens, 213 rooms and suites (which run from $1,150 to $21,000 per night), a Nobu restaurant, spa, and poolside dining by Malibu Farm, in addition to the aforementioned golf course. 

The beach at Huapoloe Bay may be public, but it’s serviced by Four Seasons staff, who make sure guests are comfortable with lounge chairs, umbrellas, tropical drinks, and snorkeling gear. Next up, Ellison is revamping the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, the Lodge at Koele, which is slated to reveal its makeover in late 2018.

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Though many vacationers never step foot off the resort, there are gleaming white Jeeps available should you want to. Head inland to go horseback riding amid the pine trees and trails, do a sunset sail aboard a yacht, hike up to Sweetheart Rock, or go off-road and explore the Garden of the Gods, a surreal Martianlike landscape, formed by red dirt from volcanoes, that once served as an open-air women’s prison overlooking Molokai. Climbing up to the summit, where the wind whips your hair, it’s easy to feel you’re on top of the world, or at least this little Hawaiian island floating in the wide-open expanse of the Pacific.


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Travel Magazine: Why You Should Visit the Hawaiian Island of Lanai
Why You Should Visit the Hawaiian Island of Lanai
There’s simply no place for paparazzi to go.
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