When it comes to ultra-tropical spas inviting Shangri-La-level bliss, the Island of Hawaii is the place to get pampered in paradise. Taking treatments beyond the traditional lomilomi massage, spa sessions call upon the past, the land, and the culture to create a uniquely Hawaii experience—and not just because coconut oil is poured over your head anointing you like a royal, or treatments are done oceanside or floating in a lava tube. While my body has been cared for in most of the award-winning spas throughout the islands (and elsewhere in the world), it’s the soothing spaces on the state’s namesake isle that usher in next-level nourishment for the mind, body, and soul.
Come on a journey with me to discover the top spas and treatments in Hawaii.
Mauna Lani Spa
Built on land known as Kalahuipua’a, where Hawaiian royalty used to escape to rejuvenate their health and spirit, Mauna Lani Spa at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows is a touchstone to its well beginnings. Outfitted in a traditional lava lava (sarong), you feel lighter the minute you step foot on the ancient lava flow’s grounds graced with thatched-roof huts, pools of orchids, and palms rustling in the wind. Two treatments that keep you connected with the island and calm your senses, draw on the energy of the island’s essential elements. In the first, detoxify and destress as you sit under the sun in open-air sauna slathered with volcanic clay. A private outdoor shower is the treatment’s cleansing crescendo. Also using water—but a lot more of it—is the Lava Watsu Pool situated in an ancient lava tube. Here, aquatic body work focusing on tranquility, stretching, and meditation harness the power of planet Earth to fill your cup with more than just water.
Viewfinder Tip: Book your spa treatments in advance for early in your trip to enter relaxation-mode ASAP.
Spa Without Walls
True to its name, the Spa Without Walls in The Fairmont Orchid literally lets the outdoors in with 14 hales (huts) situated at the ocean’s edge or hovering over waterfalls. Understanding that Hawaii’s natural assets—flowing water, gentle winds, fragrant flowers—are essential in the art and science of rejuvenation, the private and open-air huts are so relaxing it’s almost as though they are the treatment. That is, until your practitioner starts to work their magic. Speaking of magic, if you’ve traveled across an ocean to visit, go big with a regal treatment. Designed with royalty in mind, the 110-minute Ali’i Experience transports you from your hut to Hawaiian heaven with a lomilomi massage, herb-scrub cleanse, and Kahinu body treatment culminating in warm coconut oil cascading down your scalp.
Focusing on the sweet spot between health and tranquility, the 28,000-square-foot Hualalai Spa in the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai features all the indulgence you’d expect at top island spa, along with acupuncture, physio, yoga therapy, and an apothecary. Dressed in dark woods and set amid tropical gardens, the spa’s indoor-outdoor design is a cue to nature’s nourishment. In this spirit, one of the sanctuary’s signature spaces is The Apothecary, where elders have selected healing ingredients from the land and sea—think: hibiscus, coconut oil, black lava salt—which are custom-mixed for your treatment, preferences, and health needs. One such treatment is the Wawali Wrap, cocooning you in indigenous and personalized ingredients, along with a face, neck, and scalp massage. Extend your escape in the Waiea, or “water of life” Garden anchored by a cascading waterfall, quiet stream and local botanicals.
Looking for more Hawaii inspiration? Try out Expedia’s Discover Your Aloha to get your own personalized itinerary.
What spas and treatments do you recommend on the Island of Hawaii?