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Sensei Wellness Retreats

by Liz Vaccariello


On both the secluded Hawaiian island of Lana’i, and the tranquil vistas of Palm Springs, sit two of the most unique well-being retreats in the world.

"Brought to life by some of the best-in-class minds and practitioners in wellness, the Sensei Way philosophy is led by science, backed by evidence-based practices, and supported by innovative technology to meet you on your well-being journey."

Goal: Optimize Your Sleep

Thanks to a marketplace bursting with sleep tracking technology (WHOOPS! Fitbits? Oura Rings!), we have more information than ever about how long and well we’re sleeping. And thanks to shelves full of everything from sheets to supplements (melatonin! CBD!), we’re more overwhelmed than ever about how to do it better.

Since Larry Ellison and David Agus, MD, opened their first Sensei retreat on Lana’i in 2019 (a second location opened in Palm Springs in 2022), guests have clamored for them to apply their science-, data- and technology-driven approach to the issue of sleep.

Enter the new Rest and Recovery Program, a structured five-day package available at both locations. Guests are sent a WHOOP 4.0 band two to four weeks before arrival, then guides analyze that information alongside real-time biomarkers like heart rate variability, heart rate recovery and blood pressure captured in one-on-one sessions.

All guidance is highly personalized to your own body’s needs, sleep/wake cycle and prior sleep quality.

“Relaxing sleep is on everyone’s minds, and this is a comprehensive approach to recovery,” says Dr. Vishal Patel, Sensei co-president and chief medical officer, who has been designing this program that promises “a respite for racing hearts and racing minds” for three years.

Learning leads to lifestyle change via mindful movement (forest bathing, tai chi), sensory eating and culinary nourishment (both properties feature Sensei by Nobu kitchens), and facilitated sessions to learn guided imagery and breathing, tools that change how your body reacts to stress.

Guests work on the (highly teachable) skill of interoception, which is your sense of what’s happening internally in your body—your sense of pain, hunger, anxiety. Some people can hear their heart beat. “Interoception is the crux of the R&R program,” says Dr. Patel.

“We’re really going deep with breath work, mindfulness and meditation in this program,” he says. “Not only are they fundamental to how we rest and recover but also to how we sleep. We want to make sure our guests walk away with a really deep understanding about how these interventions can work for them.”

Of course, any Sensei stay is complemented by highly intentional culinary and visual art, immaculate landscape architecture and lush flora that treats all of our senses. Having experienced several programs myself in both locations, I can wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Patel when he describes the skills learned—and personal guidance you take away—as “the kind of thing that will pay dividends for our guests over a lifetime.” fourseasons.com/sensei

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