How Sensei Lanai Is Elevating the Wellness Retreat

ROBB AARON GORDON/COURTESY FOUR SEASONS RESORTS LANA

Sensei Lanai’s magic formula: Silicon Valley innovation plus pure Hawaiian bliss.

When Larry Ellison bought 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lanai in 2012, he had ambitions that went beyond the typical billionaire’s playground. The tech giant wanted to create a modern version of Eden: a green community sustained by solar energy and organic farming, and a wellness retreat backed by science and driven by the Silicon Valley principles of innovation and disruption.

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Ellison’s interest in longevity was intensified by witnessing his friend Steve Jobs suffering from pancreatic cancer. In 2018, Ellison partnered with David Agus, the oncologist who treated Jobs throughout his illness, to create a wellness company that would focus on long-term health through personalized data and analysis. Opened in November, Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort, is Ellison’s first retreat. Each visit begins with a bespoke assessment that includes a Functional Movement Screen and a thermal body scan, along with standard biometrics like blood pressure and body-fat composition. The data, which is evaluated by an army of nutritionists, personal trainers, and other coaches, takes the guesswork out of treatment. Guests are given a tailored Guide to Growth, a memo of suggestions that include what to eat, how to improve physical fitness, and bodywork targets to address such issues as inflammation.


ROBB AARON GORDON/COURTESY FOUR SEASONS RESORTS LANA

Sensei Lanai further breaks with the standard wellness-resort format by having no (or at least few) rules. There is no guilt trip if you skip the sunrise hike, no judgment if you check your email (as long as it’s not during meditation). Spending an entire day on the 18-hole golf course or at the spa isn’t frowned upon. The resort’s all-inclusive model means the champagne is bottomless and, if you want to indulge in the five-course omakase at the Sensei by Nobu restaurant every night, nobody is going to stop you. The menu by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa draws from the on-site organic garden to re-create classic Nobu dishes like miso-marinated black cod and red snapper tiradito.

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True to form, Ellison has goals for expansion, with more Sensei resorts planned for around the world, to which guests will make annual trips to continually improve upon health markers—however they wish to do it.

From $5,800 per person for three nights; fourseasons.com/sensei.