Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

An extensive renovation project at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai is scheduled to wrap up early next year.

“We’re looking towards a Feb. 1 opening at this point,” said Tom Roelens, general manager of the 217-room oceanfront property. “And we are very excited to finally be able to showcase the new resort, because this is really a lobby-to-roof [effort]. Everything has been reimagined.”

While guestroom renovations at the property, formerly known as the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, began in early 2014, the resort continued welcoming guests through June of this year, when the hotel was closed entirely as an overhaul of the pool area got underway. Officials at the resort initially hoped to have work finished up this December, enabling guests to return to the Manele property during the peak, end-of-the year holiday season.

Although Roelens declined to provide a specific dollar amount for the resort upgrades, which have included improvements to all the guestrooms, pool work and renovations to the lobby and restaurants, a number of local Hawaii news outlets are reporting the project will cost $75 million.  

“The room experience, whether it’s in the main guestroom or the bathroom, is quite spectacular,” Roelens said. “It puts us at the very front end of the room product in our company.”

Rack rates will increase significantly at the Lanai resort in February, Roelens reported: For example, entry-level gardenview rooms went for $550 per night last year but will list for $960 next year. But in-room amenities now include 75-inch LED TVs; iPad Airs; Blu-ray players; state-of-the-art lighting and temperature controls; and an app enabling guests to sync up their own mobile devices with the entertainment tech.

Roelens added that designers worked hard to ensure guests won’t be overwhelmed by all the new bells and whistles.

“We really tried to make it an intuitive experience, so you don’t need a three-day tutorial to use the room,” he said with a laugh. “We wanted to make it very user-friendly and yet keep it at the front end of what can be offered today in terms of hospitality.”

The room’s high-tech features seem appropriate given that Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, purchased 98% of Lanai, along with the island’s two Four Seasons properties, for a reported $300 million in 2012.  Travelers keen to book nights at the upcountry Four Seasons Lanai, the Lodge at Koele, will have to wait, however, according to Roelens. That property has been closed to visitors while it serves as lodging for construction workers renovating Manele and making other improvements across Lanai since early 2015.

“In order to not impact the community in a negative way, we decided to use [the Koele property] short term as a housing facility,” Roelens said. “And we have not announced the next step.”

Roelens added that all the staff members of both hotels have been employed throughout the closures, some working in other departments like engineering and operations or elsewhere on the island, improving trail access to culturally significant historical sites and even rebuilding an ancient Hawaiian fishpond. Some of the hotel workers have even helped out at the Lanai High and Elementary School.

Meanwhile, affluent travelers pondering a Hawaii vacation may want to seriously consider not only the impressive new Four Seasons Resort Lanai rooms, but also the dramatically improved pool facilities.

“The previous pool got totally demolished, and the new work has created a much more organic feel,” Roelens explained, noting that a range of native Hawaiian plants have been added to enhance the landscaping along with several new water features.

Work is also underway to complete a new adults-only pool, located on the site of the property’s former poolside restaurant.

“We’ve built an adults retreat with sanctuaries that are fully landscaped to provide privacy along with grottos and waterfalls and an additional hot tub,” Roelens said. “We’ll ultimately have about three times the water body that we had out there in the past.”

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