As well as Jennifer Coolidge, season one’s pitch-perfect cast included Connie Britton of Nashville fame and the immaculate Murray Bartlett as highly complicated hotel manager Armond, but really it was all about creator/writer/director Mike White – and the location, that is: the very real Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.

The two came together when White was asked by HBO to dream up a show that could be made under covid guidelines. With a single location a necessity, his thoughts turned to childhood holidays, which for him were in Hawaii. He liked the place so much, he bought a house at Hanalei on Kauai, and the recent arrival of billionaire ‘tech bros’ as his neighbours fed into the story. “At first, it’s, like, ‘It’s so beautiful! I’m in touch with nature and it’s so healing,’” he told The New Yorker. “Then you realise it’s on the backs of people who’ve had a complicated history with people like me.” The result was The White Lotus, written at speed in August 2020 and filmed at leisure, from October to December, with cast and crew quarantined in the resort for the duration.

Four Seasons Resort Maui Hawaii

Four Seasons Resort, Maui, HawaiiRachel Olsson

Opened in 1990, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea lives up to the tropical-paradise clichés with ease, with some of the suites we see in the show costing up to $26,000 a night. Alongside the 380 guest rooms and suites, its 15 acres house three pools, three restaurants (including Wolfgang Puck’s Spago), three golf courses, a spa and an art museum. Amazingly, White and his crew were given almost free rein, from the entrance and lobby to the restaurants, the spa and even the neighbouring Wailea Beach.

Key to the drama are the suites, all carefully decorated to reflect their occupants, while keeping to strict ground rules laid down by the resort. While they weren’t allowed to paint the rooms, they could change the materials, bedding and curtains – an important factor, as production designer Laura Fox explained to Architectural Digest: “They’re lovely rooms, but not to film in. I think [my job] was trying to find a version of a new hotel that was kitschy and flawed and rich, like the characters.”

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