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Polynesian pampering

Hula and lomi lomi massages, lava saunas and kahuna chants – relax the Hawaiian way at these top-notch resort spas. Jessica Zoiti reports.

There are spas... and then there are Hawaiian spas.


Sophisticated and modern, they are holistic havens. No longer does a simple scented candle or two, a splash of essential oil and a soundtrack of hypnotic whale song cut it. Facilities in Hawaii are lavish, product lines are high-end and from facials to non-surgical medical procedures like Botox and fillers, the full spectrum of modern treatments feature on spa menus around the islands.


But beyond the expensive creams and important sounding job titles (cosmetologist and esthetician, if you don’t mind) Hawaii’s spa culture offers something far more special. With deep roots in traditional healing, its indigenous treatments – dished out using local ingredients and age-old techniques – are highly sought after experiences.


Most popular is lomi lomi, a healing massage that begins with a sacred blessing or prayer then uses the forearm to apply continuous, fluid strokes along the body. It can also be combined with other treatments like chiropractic, hot stones and Swedish massage.


Of course, there are the obvious things that make Hawaii spa heaven. Blessed with unescapable natural beauty and year-round balmy weather it’s an ideal place to be wrapped, rubbed and pampered, be it outdoors by the unspoiled white sand beaches or indoors overlooking the twinkling Pacific Ocean.



Renowned the world over for its first class resort spas, Hyatt Regency’s Hawaiian properties are no exception.


Not only are Hyatt’s spas luxurious, they’re also among the most established. The Na Ho’ola Spa at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa was the first to open along the iconic Waikiki Beach.


To celebrate its 14th anniversary, the spa launched a new website last month – – and introduced to its range of products a house-made hand lotion that is made from honey harvested on the property and is good enough to eat.


“We are honoured to have been the first resort spa in Waikiki and although the number of spas has definitely grown over the years, the dedication and professionalism of our staff has consistently remained our hallmark,” says Na Ho’ola Spa Director, Yoshimi Anderson.


“We really have become the spa of choice for many returning visitors who will often request the same therapist, or bring family and friends on successive visits.


“Today, we continue to promote Hawaiian culture while also incorporating sustainability efforts and luxury products into our process.”


New to that range of luxury offerings are three facials using Parisian-made Carita products. The Lagoon Hydration, Papaya Purity and Lift Firming treatments combine Carita’s lymph drainage techniques with facial massage to stimulate cellular turnover, detoxify, hydrate and revitalise the skin without the therapist’s hands ever leaving the face. All 80 minutes long, they cost $210 each.


The spa welcomes both hotel guests and external clients and is located on the fifth floor of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach. With 1,230 guest rooms, the property offers panoramic beach, mountain and city views and a smorgasbord of world-class amenities.



Over on Maui, the location of the Spa Moana at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort is hard to beat. Set on the oceanfront at Kaanapali Beach, the 20,000-square-foot spa boasts 15 treatment rooms including two romantic couple’s suites, a relaxation lounge and features one of the island’s best full service fitness centres. There is also a range of treatments designed specifically for teenagers and children.



For a more boutique spa experience, head to Ville de Coco at Aqua Hotel and Resort’s Luana Waikiki. The spa, which is independently managed, has teamed up with the contemporary resort to offer guests a great value pamper package.


Valid with any booking of two nights or more until December 20, the package costs $188 per night and includes accommodation, one Mani/Pedi treatment, a 50-minute Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage or a 50-minute Deep Tissue Massage for one person per stay and a bottle of sparkling wine on arrival.


“We are pleased to partner with Ville de Coco and offer guests a spa option during their visit to Oahu,” said Luana Waikiki General Manager, Rudy Fao. “A massage or mani/pedi is the perfect way to unwind and pamper oneself after a busy day of sunning, sightseeing and shopping.”


Privately located overlooking Ft. DeRussy Park and within cooee of Waikiki Beach and Honolulu’s best shopping, Luana Waikiki features an intimate collection of hotel rooms and self-contained suites. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel plus an on-site fitness centre, café, outdoor swimming pool, complimentary yoga in the park and folding bikes to explore the island. 



Perched high on the 17th floor of the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach, the Waikiki Plantation Spa is Hawaii’s only Penthouse Spa.


With 5,000 square feet and unbeatable views of Waikiki Beach and the South Pacific Ocean, the boutique facility offers a range of top-end treatments using products from two luxurious skincare lines.


The OSEA products are 100 per cent vegan and are made from organic gigartina algae harvested along the Patagonia Coast. This exotic algae is said to stimulate and improve blood and lymph circulation, and revitalise, firm and rehydrate the skin.  


While the OSEA products are used for facials, the massage treatments incorporate products from the Hawaiian Rainforest Naturals collection, which are made locally on Big Island from flower essences pressed from blooms plucked in Oahu’s rainforest. Following treatments, guests are encouraged to enjoy the views from the penthouse sun deck.


Newly renovated, the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach is perched right on the water’s edge with a beachfront swimming pool, free internet and long distance phone calls, a restaurant and bar and complimentary Hawaiian cultural activities.


Outrigger has a second spa at its other Waikiki-based property, Outrigger Reef on the Beach. Known for its warm, laid-back Hawaiian hospitality, the Serenity Spa Hawaii offers a range of massages, body treatments and facials alongside waxing, beauty and hair salon services.



SpaHalekulani at the Halekulani Hotel was the first to explore the healing traditions of the entire Pacific Island region, so if it’s some Polynesian pampering you’re chasing, this is the place.


Here, guests are cured of a range of common travel complaints through Tongan, Samoan and Tahitian-inspired treatments. Still feeling jet lagged? It’ll be all but gone following a Polynesian Steam Therapy treatment. Struggling to relax into holiday mode? The Polynesian Nonu Massage, which is a lomi lomi and hot stone treatment combined, is just the tonic. And the Ho’olele Deep Barefoot Massage is so much more than a humble foot rub.


One of the most acclaimed five-star hotels on Waikiki Beach and a popular honeymoon destination, the Halekulani offers a range of elegant rooms and suites, both casual and fine dining restaurants, heated pool, private beach and fully equipped fitness centre. 




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Written by: Jessica Zoiti
Published: 20 May 2014

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