Everything you need to know about The White Lotus, HBO’s dark social satire on luxury tourism

Everything you need to know about The White Lotus, HBO’s dark social satire about murder on an island resort

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HBO’s new limited series delves into the dark side of luxury tourism in a social commentary/murder-mystery hybrid genre. Here’s everything you need to know about The White Lotus. 

If you think airport queues and lost baggage are what make the holiday from hell, The White Lotus will make you think again.

HBO’s new limited series has been described as a “comedy about privilege” set against the backdrop of a £9,000-a-night luxury hotel in Maui, Hawaii. But this isn’t something to watch if you’re looking for travel inspiration.

Created, written, and directed by Mike White, of School of Rock and fan favourite Enlightenment (which starred Laura Dern) fame, the show delves into the dark side of luxury tourism, and the rich, white families that treat the resort like their playground – and the staff as their underlings.

The show’s wealthy families may have arrived on the island looking to escape, but they soon find that there are some parts of yourself you can’t shake, or keep hidden for long.

As the LA Times explains: “It portrays a tropical retreat for the 1% as a simmering cauldron of class conflict, environmental despair and white privilege – somewhere to unravel rather than unwind.”

A social commentary/ murder-mystery hybrid set on a tropical island? Count us in.

Here’s everything you need to know about The White Lotus.


According to HBO’s synopsis, the show is a “sharp social satire following the exploits of various employees and guests at an exclusive Hawaiian resort over the span of one highly transformative week.

As darker dynamics emerge with each passing day, this biting six-episode series gradually reveals the complex truths of the seemingly picture-perfect travelers, cheerful hotel employees, and idyllic locale itself.​”

However, it continues, “creating a palpable sense of dread is the fact, revealed in the series’ opening scene, that someone at the resort will wind up dead by the week’s end.”

Viewers have described it as the “American Parasite,” referencing Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning film that explores class conflict, social inequality and wealth disparity within society – and the often violent consequences. 

HBO's The White Lotus
HBO's The White Lotus


If the premise and the setting wasn’t enough to convince you, the incredible cast makes this a must-watch.

Big names like Jennifer Coolidge, Connie Britton, Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy star as the curiously complex hotel guests. Coolidge is a wildly grieving alcoholic, and Lacy a snotty rich-kid newlywed whose new wife (Daddario) is quickly discovering that she doesn’t quite like the man she’s married to. Murray Bartlett adds to the star-studded cast as the manic hotel manager dealing with his own demons while attending to every whim and want of his residents.

HBO's The White Lotus: Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge and Jake Lacy star.
HBO's The White Lotus: Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge and Jake Lacy star.


Yes! Watch it below:


The satire on “white rich people problems” has been very well received by viewers and fans on social media.

Many have praised White for his clever writing, with one tweeting “The White Lotus is such a sharp critique on rich, white folk who constantly miss the point and I love it.”

Another fan joked: “I love that the mystery of The White Lotus is “They’re all awful, but who’s going to do something so awful it kills them?”

Sharing a scene where the wealthy characters discuss in earnest how “tough” things are for “straight white men at the minute,” a Twitter user commented “The White Lotus is a good show and this is a great scene.”


The White Lotus debuted on 11 July on HBO. It will be available to UK viewers from Monday 16 August on Sky Atlantic at 2am, then later at 9pm.

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Images: Getty/HBO

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