The whole local/seasonal/organic movement is not just about what’s on your plate. It’s become just as significant in spa culture, inspiring a slew of new products and specialty treatments that range from tempting to bizarre to kinda scary. Hawaii hotels and resorts have really gotten into the new spa spirit, updating their facilities and rolling out new treatments that are island-inspired, experience-driven or of-the-moment. The latest offerings include:
Raw Spa — Villa vacation specialist Pure Maui brings raw food philosophies into the island’s luxury market. Maui’s wealth of fresh foodstuffs and green living things — not to mention its laid-back pace — enables all sorts of raw, organic, veggie and naturalistic practices. However, getting back to nature used to mean going off the grid a bit — whether to the Paia pineapple fields or the Keanae jungle. Now, nature comes to luxury travel, in the form of lavish avocado/apple-banana/yogurt deep-conditioning masks and fresh-ground coconut/coconut milk body baths. Ingredients are fresh and island-grown, and the experience is sensory and pampering as opposed to DIY (buy avocados & yogurt at market, mash together in a bowl, hope you don’t get a rash).
Fruit Salad Spa — Personally I can’t resist a spa treatment that makes me feel and smell like a delectable dessert; hence my fondness for the Lilikoi Fruit Melody, a specialty treatment at the newly opened Heavenly Spa at the Westin Ka’anapali. This body exfoliation/wrap features the delectable passionfruit (lilikoi is its island name). It’s first teamed with sugarcane, then whipped into a nourishing "body butter soufflé." Yum. Fresh fruity beverages, sorbet, soufflé … this treatment’s as good as the dessert station at a champagne brunch. The new 10,000-square-foot space features 13 treatment rooms including three couples’ massage suites. If you’re part of a duo, I recommend the ritual couples’ massage followed by a coconut crème/frangipani milk bath.
The Four Seasons Maui does luxury pampering better than any other resort on the island — and once again, it’s ahead of the curve. During a recent afternoon visit, I noticed a new cabana spa menu, customizable and designed for poolside enjoyment. In many ways this makes more sense than a regular spa treatment, which, let’s be honest can be too much of a commitment, especially on a gorgeous Maui afternoon. These quickie little 20-minute foot rubs and massages allow you to keep your premium poolside spot, hang on to your fruity cocktail, and maintain the chic resort-casual ensemble you thought out so carefully back in the room.
Over in Honolulu, Wyland Waikiki opened a new spa at the end of May. Though it’s relatively small, with only four treatment rooms, its program is surprisingly exotic: Ocean Massage is performed in a saltwater tank, while Ganban Yoku stone table treatments are Japanese in origin, and new to Hawaii. Both of these merit investigation for people interested in holistic medicine and natural wellness. Ocean massage incorporates shiatsu and stretching components; Ganban Yoku is categorized under "detox therapy."
Post-script: Though the Keauhou Beach Resort in Kailua-Kona doesn’t have anything to report on the spa front, it recently completed a $6 million renovation. In addition to newly revamped rooms and complimentary high-speed Internet, this Big Island property is offering some great promotional rates.
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Lena Katz lives on the Left Coast and writes about tropical islands, beach clubs and food, but her heart belongs to NYC.