For me, just being in Hawaii is a 24/7 spa experience – no need for faux tropical soundtracks, heated massage tables, or coconut-scented room sprays, this is real life in the mid-Pacific. As a Hawaii lover and a spa-thusiast, indulging in spa treatments in the Aloha State is my version of fluttering near the heavenly realms. And when I’m met with gusts of warm air and palm trees as I leave the spa, it’s like the treatment lasts for eternity. Having soothed my skin on almost all of Hawaii’s islands, here’s a chorus of spas that make me sing m-ahhh-halo!
Fifty-thousand square feet of East-meets-West serenity is dedicated to rejuvenation and healing at Spa Grande, the state’s biggest and most highly-rated spa, in the Grand Wailea – A Waldorf Astoria Resort. I’m going to warn you now: don’t make the mistake of popping in for your treatment between poolside mai tais. Once you take a gander at the Termé Hydrotherapy Circuit mingling Swiss jet showers, a Roman whirlpool, Hawaiian sea salt soaking pools, and a Japanese Furo bath, you’ll tell yourself “the sun can wait” while extolling the praises of your spa stay.
With such an international representation of relaxation in the Hydrotherapy Circuit, go Maui local with your treatment. I had the Nui Coconut Muscle Relief massage during which the therapist used every part of the coconut to exfoliate and knead my body into island bliss. At the end, she handed me a piece of the husk and explained how brushing my skin with the coconut before hitting the beach made it look more taught. (Best souvenir ever.)
Viewfinder Tip: If you want a taste of the spa lifestyle without breaking the bank, detox in Spa Grande’s Termé Hydrotherapy Circuit for $65.
One of my Hawaii happy places is lounging at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay. The property – one of only three hotels on Hawaii’s smallest inhabited island – reaches over the tumbling landscape like a palm tree bowing toward the shore. Hidden from the hotel, a bevy of Oceanside Hale (spa huts) are closed for privacy on three sides with one open panel framing Lanai’s most photographed landscape: Sweetheart Rock. Intent on luxuriating in Lanai, I complimented the Oceanside Hale’s gorgeous view with a Makala Massage, which saw my masseuse performing a head-to-toe bamboo stick drumroll to awaken my muscles, as well as maneuvering my skin in rhythmic motions to mimic the ocean’s movement. Just before my spa treatment, I snapped a photo of the view to remind me Lanai’s just a flight away when I need to escape to my happy place.
I experienced one of my top treatments of all time in early 2013 at The Fairmont Orchid‘s Spa Without Walls. Similar to my other spa-capades on Maui and Lanai, I booked a local treatment (always a best practice). For all 110 minutes of my Ali’i Experience, I felt like a Hawaiian princess being prepared for a suitor with the island’s most luxurious botanical essences and potions – a fitting feeling given Ali’i is the Hawaiian word for royalty. Sprawled in a cabana a mere five feet from where the ocean meets the sand, I was rubbed with fragrant Hawaiian herbs, massaged with sweeping lomilomi-style strokes, and adorned with a crown of coconut oil. When the oil started trickling down my scalp, my state shifted from deep relaxation to divine gratitude. Heaven, indeed.
What are your favorite spas in the Hawaiian Islands?