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Larry Ellison's $300m Hawaii Island Will Transform Wellness

The Oracle billionaire has invested in a data-driven wellness retreat in Hawaii, called Sensei. 

Larry Ellison in 2016

Better known for founding Oracle and being the world's fifth richest person with a net worth of some US$69 billion, Larry Ellison is now moving into wellness. Although he is known for being a health fanatic, this is his first major investment into the wellness retreat space.

The new, data-driven luxury wellness brand, called Sensei, seeks to change the world post-COVID. The resort launched last November on Ellison’s private Hawaiian island of Lānaʻi, which he spent US$300 million for a 98 percent share, back in 2012. He reportedly purchased the resort from fellow billionaire David Murdock, along with its two Four Seasons Hotel Resorts.

The rugged beauty of Lānaʻi (c) Four Seasons

Since then the billionaire philanthropist has invested in a laboratory to power the evidence-led resort, designed to help people achieve greater longevity and wellness through the most current, data-based knowledge combined with a holistic philosophy on food, health and lifestyle.

Sensei is co-founded by Ellison's good friend and physician Dr. David Agus, who has treated the likes of Steve Jobs, Marc Benioff, Lance Armstrong and Ted Kennedy. Ellison and Agus were brought together after loss of a close mutual friend. Sensei is the Japanese word for 'master,' and the master in Sensei is data, according to the company in a note.  

A Japanese inspired spa 'Hale' at Sensei (c) Robb Gordon

The resort is located at the Sensei Lānaʻi, A Four Seasons Resort, tucked into a breath-taking setting amongst Cook pines and banyan trees and miles of untouched nature.

A nightly rate is priced at US$1,936 per individual or US$3,129 per couple, which includes all meals (all prepared by onsite restaurant Sensei by Nobu), beverages (including wines, beers and spirits), activities on property and on island. All retreats include a Sensei Guide, private guided sessions with a highly trained wellness team, spa treatments, group classes, round-trip air transfer from Honolulu on Lanai Air and gratuities.

The property comprises 96 guest rooms, ten 1,000 square-foot private spa hales (to be used during the daytime only) with Ofuru tubs and infrared saunas, indoor and outdoor yoga spaces, two movement studios, an outdoor pool and onsen baths. A 25-acre sculpture garden has pieces by Fernando Botero and Robert Indiana from Ellison’s personal art collection. 

Running Sensei will be Kevin Kelly, who has nearly 30 years of experience in the wellness and luxury lifestyle industries including as CEO of CIVANA, an affordable lifestyle wellness brand born in 2016 to promote sustainable wellness, and former CEO of Two Bunch Palms, where he helped transform the nation’s oldest modern-day hot springs spa resort into the first “carbon neutral” wellness property in North America.

“Ultimately treated as Larry’s house guests, Sensei Retreats guests have the luxury of limitless choice," said Kelly in a note. "Private air and ground transportation, Sensei by Nobu cuisine and five-star Four Seasons accommodations are included in every single guest’s stay. There is simply nothing else currently available that compares in value to our retreat.”

The lobby at Sensei (c) Robb Gordon

“No one’s wellness journey is the same, therefore every guest will have a unique Sensei Retreat experience. Before a guest arrives to the time they depart, our team is gathering information and getting feedback from each guest to create a personalized itinerary based on their intentions and passions," added Kelly. 

Food is taken care of by the new Sensei by Nobu, a collaboration between world-renowned Japanese Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and his team with Sensei co-founder Dr. David Agus, harnessing an evidence-led approach to diet within the context of full-body health. Focus is given to foods and preparations that are clean and flavorful with long-term health metrics in mind.

For example, chefs may use quinoa flour in morning croissants to provide protein, not just carbohydrates, and fish may have a coating and cooking preparation to ensure the maximum amount of Omega-3 oils are bioavailable to each guest. Menus incorporate many ingredients harvested from Sensei Farms, Sensei’s on-island sustainable farm.