The White Lotus: how to watch it, what it's about, and is there a season 2?

Here is everything you may want to know about the HBO miniseries that follows the intertwining stories of a hotel resorts staff and its guests

The White Lotus
(Image credit: HBO)

The White Lotus is the thriller series that has taken the US by storm and has finally debuted in the UK, so here is everything you need to know about this popular series 

The White Lotus is television miniseries that was released in the US in 2021. The series has been described as a 'dark comedy drama' that focuses on a group of travelers who are all vacationing at the same Hawaiian resort.

Despite the idyllic scenes, the series has a dark undercurrent and themes of murder, racism, and exploitation that are dragged quite quickly to the surface.  

The White Lotus

(Image credit: Sky Atlantic)

The White Lotus Cast

The cast of The White Lotus is filled with familiar faces from film and television. So here is where you may recognize these cast members from and who they play in this series. 

Murray Barlett (Looking, Tales of the City) plays Armond, the manager of the White Lotus resort who is a 5-years-sober recovering drug addict.

Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights, Nashville) plays Nicole Mossbacher, a CFO of a search engine.

Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde, A Cinderella Story) plays Tanya McQuoid, a troubled woman whose mother recently passed.

Alexandra Daddario (Baywatch, Why Women Kill) plays Rachel, a newlywed and a journalist.

Fred Hechinger (The Woman in the Window, The Fear Street Trilogy) plays Quinn Mossbacher, the son of Nicole and Mark who is socially awkward.

Jake Lacy (The US Office, Better with You) plays Shane Patton, Rachel’s new husband, and a real estate agent.

Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria, The Handmaid's Tale) plays Olivia Mossbacher, Nicole and Mark’s daughter who is a college sophomore

Brittany O’Grady (Little Voice, Star) plays Paula, Olivia’s friend from college.

Steve Zahn (Happy Texas, Modern Family) plays Mark Mossbacher, Nicole’s husband who is dealing with health issues

Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live, Divorce) plays Shane’s overbearing mother.

Jolene Purdy, Murray Bartlett, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Lacy

(Image credit: HBO)

The White Lotus UK release

The White Lotus was originally released for an American audience on July 11th 2021. The first season proved to be an enormous hit for HBO and soon after it's release it was made available for a UK audience.

On August 16th, The White Lotus dropped on UK streaming platforms Now TV and Sky Atlantic. British fans are loving the series and many are just as enchanted by the original series as the American viewers.

The White Lotus

(Image credit: Sky Atlantic)

The White Lotus plot

The show presents a dreamy vacation paradise focusing on the staff at an exclusive holiday resort and several groups of vacationers. We're also treated to a collection of colorful high-fashion costumes, underrated performances, and a mystery that will keep you guessing.

Over the span of a week, the guests take in the relaxing and rejuvenating experiences provided by the staff who are expected to treat them like royalty. As the official synopsis reads though, “darker dynamics emerge to gradually reveal the complex truths of the seemingly picture-perfect travelers and cheerful hotel employees.”

White created the show as a satire, looking to explore the relationships between upper and lower class citizens. The staff are told by their manager, Armond (played by Murray Bartlett), to be “generic” and blend in so as not to disturb or disrupt the guests. 

The staff supply endless cheer and hospitality, but are at the mercy of the VIP guests who they must aim to please with every strange or infuriating request. We’re offered funny one-liners and awkward situations, but the real drama unfolds as we learn the backstories of each character. Drug addictions, grief, and an obsession with obtaining the perfect vacation are just some of the underlying conflicts kept hidden under the surface of a picturesque paradise. 

The White Lotus Trailer

The White Lotus Season 2

The White Lotus season 2 has officially been commissioned on HBO. The announcement comes right before the show's dramatic season 1 finale, providing viewers with some momentary relief.  

White Lotus has garnered quite the following, making it a show worth adding to your watchlist. The streaming platform adds the program to its list of binge-worthy shows, including Succession season 3 and the miniseries is currently ranking #1 among all series on HBO Max.

According to the network, The White Lotus “has achieved consistent week over week growth for both premiere and digital audience, leading into the final episode,” making it an almost obvious choice for renewal. 

HBO also teased in a press release that "the next chapter of The White Lotus leaves Hawaii behind and follows a different group of vacationers as they jet to another White Lotus property and settle in temporarily amongst its inhabitants."

Mike White, creator of the show (also known for the 2013 HBO series Enlightened), previously told Vanity Fair that if a White Lotus season 2 were to occur, it would most likely take place in France and Japan, giving us more of an international perspective.

Connie Britton

(Image credit: Photograph by Mario Perez/HBO)

The White Lotus season 2: Will the same cast return?

With White Lotus season 2 officially given the green light, we can expect a new White Lotus resort location with a fresh cast of characters. 

If you're not ready to say goodbye to your favorite vacationers and staff, White may provide some hope. The creator told TVLine that there was potential for some of the season 1 cast to return, depending on their schedules. Since it would be set up as an anthropology series though, not all of the original cast would be in season 2. 

"I don’t think you can credibly have [all the Season 1 guests] on the same vacation again,” he told the outlet. “But maybe it could be a Marvel Universe type thing, where some of them would come back. We only made one-year deals with the actors, so we’d have to find out who is even available.”

The cast of season 2 has yet to be announced, but some actors from the original cast have already expressed their desire to return. Sydney Sweeney (who plays Olivia) is already "texting [creator Mike White], saying, ‘So, are we going to come back? Let’s do another season. Let’s do something,’” she told PureWow.

Alexandra Daddario (who plays newlywed Rachel) also has hope of returning for the future season.

“I don’t know much about [season two], but the way TV is now with anthology shows…I do think there’s always a way,” she told the outlet.

Audiences can’t stop praising the addictive storyline of The White Lotus's first season though, which brings comedy, drama, and grief together to solve the whodunnit of a murder that occurs by the end of the week. 

The show explores the relationships between the employees of the White Lotus Resort and its upper-class guests. On the surface, things may appear like a typical tropical getaway, but the first scene shows that by the week's end, someone will be killed at the hotel.

The White Lotus

(Image credit: Sky Atlantic)

Where was HBO’s The White Lotus filmed?

While speaking with Vulture, White revealed that HBO had asked him to create a COVID-19-friendly series that could be shot following COVID-19 guidelines. From there, the cast and crew set off for Hawaii, where the entire series was filmed at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. 

Much recognition has also been given for the over-the-top set designs and chic guest wardrobes. During an interview with Variety, the production designer Laura Fox explained that the over-the-top appearance was purposeful, noting that she added more patterns, tropical colors, and outdated accessories. She also made some alterations to each of the guest’s suites to match them with each character. 

“It was a real challenge because we couldn’t paint the rooms,” she told the outlet. “But we did have real views and real architecture, which ended up helping.”

Daddario also sports a stunning collection of vacationwear that we’re obsessed with. The costume designer redefines what the wardrobe should look like with silky matching pajama sets and tasteful tropical prints.

Jennifer Coolidge, Murray Bartlett, Jolene Purdy

(Image credit: Photograph by Mario Perez/HBO)

For those looking for a new summer binge—especially if your favorite series is leaving U.S. Netflix August 2021—The White Lotus season 1 promises to provide a little bit of everything to keep you entertained this month.

Rylee Johnston

Rylee is a U.S. news writer who previously worked for woman&home and My Imperfect Life covering lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. Before joining woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.