The luxury hotel developments by billionaire Larry Ellison are already drawing major interest in Lanai from affluent travelers.
The island, which is owned by Ellison, closed all of its resorts in 2015, except the 11-room Hotel Lanai. Now, the island is home to two Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts properties.
“Lanai is becoming a popular destination for my clients who have been to Hawaii before or from clients that are predominately from the West Coast,” says Tom Varghese of Travel Tom. “It has become a good option for clients that are looking for experiences that are off the beaten track and clients that are looking to have an authentic Hawaiian experience minus the crowds.”
Four Seasons Manele Bay re-opened recently and was renamed the Four Seasons Resort Lanai and is already drawing major attention. Following a multimillion-dollar transformation, the Four Seasons Resort Lanai offers guests an escape on their own 90,000-acre secluded Hawaiian island located nine miles from Maui.
The Four Seasons Resort Lanai got even swankier in October with its new Speciality Suites offering, a collection of one-, two- and three-bedroom suites that include exclusive services and amenities.
Located on the second floor, the lavish three-bedroom Alii (Royal) Suite offers views of Hulopoe Bay – a marine sanctuary home to spinner dolphins, beautiful coral reefs and a wide variety of colorful fish.
The large suite (5,000 feet with three bedrooms; 3,984 square feet with two bedrooms) has a formal living room with adjoining powder room, media room with 85-inch platinum bezel LED TV as well as a separate dining room seating six.
Sleek, contemporary decor crafted with exotic materials is present in all rooms, including artisan-produced Nepalese lokta wallpapers and Honduran mahogany floors laid with hand-woven wool area rugs complemented by rich furnishings and customized artwork to create an elegant, serene ambience.
Four Seasons, The Lodge at Koele, which was housing the construction workers for the island’s renovation projects, is expected to open around mid-2017.
“The Hawaii Islands greatly depend on air lift and name recognition,” says Andrey Zakharenko of Always Travel. “Oahu is history and shopping; Maui is beaches and relaxation; (Hawaii Island) is volcanoes,; Kauai is nature and Lanai is the Four Seasons.”
And although the Four Seasons is a big enough brand to draw the affluent clients, Zakharenko still thinks Lanai needs additional hotel product for other markets.
“Lanai needs more types of accommodations to go from a day trip island or a luxury boutique island to a real island destinations for more people to discover and enjoy,” he says.
Regardless, Lanai is providing something new for Hawaii to offer to affluent vacationers.
"It really is something we needed too,” said George Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, during a recent interview, “because I get a lot of people I speak to in places like China that have told me, 'We really want to come to Hawaii, but you don't have any five-star hotels.' So, we expect Lanai to be that exclusive five-star destination that those types of travelers are looking for in Hawaii."