Wellness Defined at Sensei Lana’i, a Four Seasons Resort

Remote rugged wilderness meets luxurious wellness in a place less traveled, but often dreamt about, at the Sensei Lana’i, a Four Seasons Resort. 

As a Coloradan, I know a thing or two about sustainability, wellness and the importance of spending time outdoors. Plus, as a 42-year-old woman trying to curtail any health issues that might prevent me from living out the last half of my life in excellent health, I am always searching for wellness retreats and programs. So when presented with the opportunity to experience the prestigious wellness resort, Sensei Lana’i, I jumped at the opportunity to see what it was all about.

From Denver to Sensei Lana’i

From Denver, Sensei Lana’i is only a hop skip and a jump away. Fly direct from Denver to Honolulu and be swept away to the remote Hawaiian island of Lana’i on a private plane via Lana’i Air. Upon landing, it is easy to see the landscape on Lana’i is quite different than the other Hawaiian islands. The remote geography of volcanic rock and no buildings, rugged cliffsides pouring into the Pacific Ocean and a noticeably red dirt that filled the veins of the landscape were all unlike anything I had ever seen. 

The private island of Lana’i where tall pines, not palms, grow and where horse pasture lay the inland landscape, is home to only one town of no more than 4,000 residents and two resorts — one of which is the wellness resort at the Sensei Lana’i Four Seasons.

sensei lana'i four seasons

Sensei Lana’i Four Seasons wellness retreat. Photo provided by Sensei Lana’i Four Seasons.

Sensei is perfectly placed in the traditionally spiritual highlands of Kōʻele on Hawaii’s most secluded island. Adorned with art sculptures, lush foliage and hundreds of native and non-native plants and flowers that would make anyone swoon, Sensei not only connects you to the natural world with its beautiful surroundings, its real beauty comes with the new connection you make with yourself.

Wellness Defined

The word “sensei” Japanese for “a teacher,” is the anchor point to their Guided Wellness Experience package. Each guest is led by a personal Sensei guide who you consult with upon arrival. I met with my guide to create a personalized itinerary for my self-care journey enveloped by the Sensei Way focusing on three paths – move, nourish and rest. Not focused on the latest fitness or food fads, Sensei’s approach is one that emphasizes the foundation of overall good health, personalized for you.

Much of what is discussed at the initial meeting is synced with your intentions during your stay and shared with the other wellness instructors you will meet with. Your guide will measure your blood pressure, body composition, strength and flexibility using a functional movement screen to assess your overall body’s movement.

My itinerary consisted of several spa treatments, a private meditation session, one-on-one yoga to hone my practice and several off-site excursions to immerse myself in the island.

sensei lana'i, yoga wellness

Discover your yoga practice at Sensei Lana’i. Photo provided by Sensei Four Seasons.

Spa treatments are held in the private Japanese-inspired spa Hales — Hawaiian for “home.” The property boasts 10 individual 1,000 sq. ft. hales for guests to book during their private massage therapy sessions. 

I received the Shiatsu massage — a traditional Japanese bodywork treatment — with Jason who mastered the art of massage through thoughtful touchpoints and precision to address areas of concern. My other treatment was a Thermal Body Mapping massage, where I received a personalized massage based on my body’s unique heat map. Post-treatment, I was invited to relax in my private spa sanctuary with an infrared sauna, ofuro tub, lounge area, outdoor hot and cold pools and a private garden with an outdoor rain shower. 

sensei lana'i hale, wellness retreat

Inside the private Hales at Sensei Lana’i. Photo by Jessica Hughes.

Interspersed with spa treatments, yoga classes and one-on-one fitness and mindset sessions, the days are filled with strolling through the property’s tropical gardens, admiring the Koi pond, venturing to see Talaia — the property’s iconic statue by artist Jaume Plensa, taking dips at the Onsen gardens — home to 10 heated soaking tubs built within the jungly landscape for quiet contemplation and meditation.

snesei lana'i

Talaia Statue at Sensei Lana’i. Photo by Jessica Hughes.

My two favorite activities brought me off the property with a hike out to Koloiki Ridge and a sunset catamaran sail along the coast of Lana’i. The 5-mile hike, which left from the property, was led by a designated trail through a mostly forested landscape, eventually opening up to the coastline with distant views of Maui. From land to sea, I happily hopped on a catamaran for my next island adventure for a sunset sail along the coast of Lana’i. We watched the sunset over the Pacific on the two-hour cruise with cocktails and food in hand. 

sensei lana'i hawaii hike

Koloiki Ridge Hike on the island of Lana’i. Photo by Jessica Hughes.

It’s easy to nourish the body before your day starts and after it ends with food from Sensei by Nobu. With menus designed by world-renowned Japanese Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and his team in close collaboration with Sensei nutritionists, they utilize an evidence-led approach to nutrition within the context of full-body health. The breakfast, lunch and dinner menus feature many ingredients harvested from Sensei’s on-island sustainable farm and to get a full experience of flavors, order the OMAKASE sampler for the full experience.

But what impressed me the most were the top-of-their class instructors they had on staff. With each encounter I had with the guides and instructors, I knew I was receiving a world-class wellness approach and information. One such experience was with Jim Cahill at my mindfulness and meditation session. His impressive credentials and research in the field of wellness and mindfulness immediately garnered my attention. His approach to meditation has changed the way I meditate in my daily practice. Along with his book, podcast and scientific paper recommendations he sent me after our session, I walked away with a completely new perspective on the art of meditation that I will forever carry with me.

Culminating my stay at Sensei was “my plan” meeting with my personal guide. As we reflected on my experience, we reviewed my data and what lifestyle practices resonated with me the most. I took action-able takeaways from my stay that I now implement in my daily life — my mindfulness and meditation practices being the biggest changes.

While not every day can be a tranquil wellness resort in Hawaii, it certainly is enhanced by the simple yet effective approach to overall wellness I learned at Sensei Lana’i.

For more visit sensei.com/retreats/lanai/