The Real White Lotus vs The Real Tranquillum House

Ashley Chalmers

Senior Contributor

In a world of fictional resorts, it’s hard to decide which is creepier: HBO’s hotel-turned-crime-scene, The White Lotus, or Tranquillum House, Nicole Kidman’s terrifying, drug-addled spa escape in Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers. At first glance, The White Lotus appears to be family-friendly and well-appointed, and it’s arguably the guests who create an ultimately unsafe environment. On the other hand, the stylish Tranquillum is designed to be as beautiful as it is unsettling... all in the name of wellness. But while each show sets its drama against a backdrop of beauty, the real-life locations are highly coveted vacation destinations––that you can book right now.

‘The White Lotus’ is the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea in Hawaii

In the show, guests arrive on a private boat, smiling at the lei-adorned staff waving from the dock. They’re led through a stunning hotel to their rooms––with varying degrees of satisfaction upon each guest’s arrival. But while the external shots on screen all align with the resort’s real-life appearance, the show’s rooms were custom-designed to reflect each inhabitant’s storyline and character arc. That means, unfortunately, you can’t actually book any of the rooms as they appear––the Pineapple Suite included. At the time of this posting, room rates at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea range from around 900 USD to 25,000 USD per night.

A Sprawling Resort with Local Appreciation

Since its opening in 1990, the 383-room resort has prioritized giving back to the local community and protecting its shared beaches. With fifteen oceanfront acres, the decor pays homage to the local history, and in the brand’s own words, features “koa-inspired wood furnishings and a contemporary Hawaiian art collection.” The hotel also features a spa offering both indoor and outdoor treatments, three restaurants, tennis courts, access and transportation to nearby golf courses, three pools, and on-site watersports and activities that include scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. There’s also a children’s program, plus a dedicated children’s pool.

Luxury on Hawaii’s ‘Valley Isle’

As Hawaii’s second-largest island, Maui is also one of its most popular. With thirty miles of beaches and the Haleakala National Park, there’s plenty to see in Maui––including its highest peak, the volcanic (but dormant) Haleakala. One of the island’s most popular activities is a drive along the scenic Road to Hana, a 45-mile route that winds along the coast, past waterfalls and swimming holes, and up to some of the island’s most expansive vantage points. Other luxury hotels on Maui include the Montage Kapalua Bay, the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, and Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. 

Nine Perfect Strangers’ Tranquillum House is Soma Byron Bay in Ewingsdale, Australia

Based on the novel Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, the television show made one major change. Instead of being based in Australia, Tranquillum House is supposedly nestled in the rolling hills of the fictional town of Cabrillo, California. What makes this slightly ironic is that in real life, the show was filmed in Australia, with some scenes shot at a private, undisclosed residence and others at a spa resort called Soma Byron Bay in Ewingsdale.

A Stylish Wellness Retreat Nestled in a Bamboo Rainforest

As the brainchild of trained Vedic Meditation teacher Gary Gorrow and corporate consultant Peter Ostick, Soma’s roots are a bit different than Tranquillum––which is run by Nicole Kidman’s Russian spiritual leader, Masha. Though much like Tranquillum, Soma Byron Bay offers a series of wellness retreats, set within twenty-two acres of bamboo rainforest. The geodesic yoga dome that’s seen in the series really does exist, and the meal plan is Ayurvedic-focused (rather than psilocybin-infused). At the time of this post, rates start around 2,995 AUD per individual, or 3,995 per couple.

A 10-Minute Drive from the Heart of Byron

Although the show’s location of Cabrillo, CA is pure fiction, the real-life Soma is a ten-minute drive from Australia’s Byron Bay. Located just south of Australia’s Gold Coast, this beach town has a proud hippie history and a strong surf culture. It’s known for its iconic lighthouse at the tip of Cape Byron, as well as a rising wellness culture thanks to its positive natural energy that locals credit to its position in the basin of an ancient volcano.

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