Paradise Found: Hawaii’s 8 Most Instagrammed Spots
Through the eyes of our guests, explore the most Instagrammed sights and experiences on Maui, Lanai, Oahu and Hualalai.
Seekers of photogenic locations and experiences find some of the world’s finest on the Hawaiian Islands. Here are moments captured by our guests that show the best Maui, Lanai, Oahu and Hualalai have to offer – no filter necessary.
Maui: From here to infinity
Scroll through guests’ vacation photos from Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and you’ll notice a trend: No one can pass up the Serenity Pool.
It’s easy to see why. The pool’s edge fades into an unobstructed view of the Pacific, Mauna Kahalawai (the Mountain of Many Waters) and the island of Lanai. With nothing between you and a boundless ocean, you’ll feel as if you’re on the edge of the world. In essence, that’s what Maui’s all about.
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“Sitting at the edge of the Serenity Pool or floating on the infinity edge, you’re able to see all the beauty that the island of Maui has to offer,” says Maile Cano, an attendant at the Serenity Pool.
If you visit in the winter season, you may also see a whale breach the ocean surface – just a few yards away – in its own kind of sun salutation. You won’t be able to resist snapping a photo.
At Four Seasons Maui, you can admire a nightly sunset ceremony complete with hula dancing, conch blowing and the lighting of tiki torches. If you’re looking to add even more energy to your Hawaii photo album, consider arranging a private event that features a performance by a fire dancer. The experience is decidedly Polynesian, and there’s nothing quite like watching this breathtaking ancient practice on a tropical night.
Where that happens is up to you. Enjoy a private, full-scale luau on the Resort’s Oceanfront Lawn – overlooking Wailea Beach – with up to 300 guests. Or make a quiet impression on the object of your affection: Reserve the Serenity Pool from dusk till dawn for an After Hours experience that can include fire dancers, a multi-course dinner and a couple’s massage.
Lanai: Legendary stone and sky
The best way to start the day at Four Seasons Resort Lanai is to wake before sunrise and make the 20-minute hike to the Pu‘upehe, also known as Sweetheart Rock.
“Just follow the local surfers down,” says photographer Dana Neibert, who captured one of the above photos of the landmark during a recent visit with his son. “It’s a whole different world on that beach, with giant chunks of coral and miniature caves.”
In addition to its natural beauty, the Resort’s Lanai Ambassador Annalyn Alcantara calls Sweetheart Rock “the setting of one of Hawaii’s most enduring legends.” Here you’ll find a shrine to a pair of legendary lovers, a Hawaiian princess and her young warrior husband.
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Because the rock is a heritage landmark, no official events or activities take place there. Many marriage proposals, however, unfold at the location of the lovers’ tomb, and as a signature (and photogenic) landmark, Sweetheart Rock appears in countless guest snapshots.
The best time to capture your own snapshot of Sweetheart Rock? Although sunsets across the islands of Hawaii are among the best in the world, Neibert recommends visiting Sweetheart Rock right at daybreak. “Sunset is nice, but the morning light is much more dramatic,” he says. “It’s awe-inspiring.”
For a different perspective on Lanai and Sweetheart Rock, take to the sky. In partnership with the Maui Flight Academy, guests of Four Seasons Lanai can learn how to fly a Cirrus SR22. After 12 to 15 private lessons (best enjoyed during a five-night stay), you’ll take off from Mauna Kea with your flight instructor, cruise over an active volcano vent and eventually land in Hana.
Shorter aerial adventures – where a pilot handles the journey so you can focus on snapping photos – are also available. The Lanai Circle Island Experience is a simple yet stunning 20-minute helicopter tour that takes you above Hulopoe Bay, Keahiakawelo and Polihua Beach.
Oahu: Outrageous sunsets and outriggers
In Hawaiian tradition, the best way to end a day on the island is to sing the sun to sleep after its daily voyage, acknowledging its life-giving essence. Ko Olina is a byword for great sunsets, and when dusk falls on Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina you’ll feel as though swaths of vivid colour had been brushed on a sky-wide canvas for your private viewing.
At the 123-foot (37.5-metre) infinity pool, the expanse of the Pacific makes the horizon seem wider than anywhere else. “The best way to capture the essence of the sunset,” urges Ha’a Keaulana, “is being present and in the moment.” So after you take your signature sunset snap, put your camera down, sit back and take a moment to appreciate the natural splendour.
Paddling out into the ocean in an outrigger canoe, or wa‘a, can bring you closer to sunset on Oahu. But that’s not all that Dalton Ho‘omanawanui Harrington, the Resort’s Activities Lead, appreciates about this family- and group-friendly adventure. “Everyone in the wa‘a is working in sync for one purpose: to move forward,” he says. “That inspires me.”
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Harrington recalls taking his girlfriend out for a peaceful sunset paddle before their anniversary dinner. “I kept it as a secret and surprised her,” he says. “The sun was setting. It was very romantic.” If your group is more in the mood for an adventure, don’t despair: The island’s swells are always changing. Just remember, no matter the thrill level of your ride, to snap a team photo once you reach dry land.
Hualalai: Local food, local scuba
The veritable rainbow of foods at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai – sourced mainly from local earth and water – make for mouth-watering food photos from our guests. “We get an average of 75% of our ingredients from Hawaii Island,” says Alessandro Cartumini, the Resort’s Director of Food and Beverage. “This lends to colourful, bright and vibrant dishes … which in turn create better photos.”
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The one meal you shouldn’t miss? “Breakfast at ULU,” Cartumini says. Start your day at the daily buffet with made-to-order juice, freshly baked breads, local fruits and an omelette station. You’ll even find kombucha on tap. And for a really hearty breakfast, dig into the spicy Shellfish Moco. Later, at Beach Tree Restaurant, you can net more seafood standouts, such as the mahi tacos with mango relish.
Whether you and your fellow foodies simply document the best bites during your stay or make a culinary pilgrimage for the annual Chef Fest, you will have come to the right place for flavourful pictures.
As residents of the ocean around Hualalai, pods of wild dolphins will invite you into their undersea home. Don’t miss an opportunity to scuba-dive or snorkel around the island, where they’ll show you just how smart and swift they can be.
Videographer Mitchell Oates took the plunge and experienced the thrill of a lifetime last year at Four Seasons Hualalai: With a GoPro in hand, he recorded 50 wild dolphins. In a video posted to Instagram, he describes the moment as “one to cherish forever.”
As sociable creatures, dolphins will fairly often swim up to visitors. But it’s important to note the National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration recommendation that people stay at least 50 yards (45 metres) away from dolphins, whales and seals.
An encounter from afar – at the Resort’s golf course, for example – can be exciting too. “One of the many great things about playing golf here at Hualalai is that it’s suited for everyone,” says Brendan Moynahan, Director of Golf. “Add in some whales and dolphins just off your tee shot, and it can be a day you’ll never forget.”