Cool Waters

SpaHalekulani’s Newest Treatments Shine

WITH EACH PASSING YEAR, the world becomes busier and busier. Our lives are no doubt affected by this; as time passes, it gets harder and harder to truly disconnect and tune out, doesn’t it?

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But tune out we should, and what better way to do so than a girl’s spa day? Working and playing hard takes a toll on both mind and body, so a group of us decided a little rejuvenation was in order. Our foursome dragged our in-need-of-rejuvenation selves to Halekulani’s oasis in Waikiki, SpaHalekulani. The renowned spa holds the key to everything you need to truly unwind, unplug and decompress.

To make the day more unique, spa director Lena Mossman had us all draw numbers to see which treatment package we would receive. I was lucky enough to pull Waianuhea, the spa’s newest menu item. In basic terms, this two-and-a-half-hour treatment includes a salt scrub, steam bath and lomi lomi massage. Yet, the sum of these parts turned out to be so much more.

From the moment you enter SpaHalekulani, you are truly made to feel like royalty. You’re led to an outside area where the chaise lounges feature an incredibly soft and luxe covering; if terry cloth had a thread count, this would receive the highest ranking. After you’re offered hot or iced tea, a smoothie is presented; while the recipe varies from day to day, on this afternoon it was pineapple, ginger, mint, honey and lime. Detoxifying as well as delicious, the smoothie was an ideal to start of our treatments.

My companions had all drawn other combinations of treatments: there was an Asian-inspired package that included a soak in a traditional Japanese furo; another focused on skincare and included a SpaHalekulani signature facial; a third incorporated a Polynesian body wrap using actual kapa cloth.

Waianuhea translates to “cool, soft fragrant water,” and it was created not only to honor the healing and rejuvenating- both physically and spiritually-properties of the ocean that the Hawaiian culture relies heavily on, but also to pay homage to old Hawai’i, and more specifically, Waikiki. Night blooming jasmine grew wild amongst the bungalows in Waikiki in decades past-it remains in select areas of Waikiki. Old-timers say that it’s scent permeated the air in Waikiki of yore, creating a perfumed veil that mingled with the spray of the ocean. This is what Waianuhea tries to-and succeeds in-replicating.

I was led to a treatment room adjacent to my own luxurious bathroom that included a bathtub, steam shower, and an armoire. Once clad in the softest of robes, Flora, my specialist, performed the Signature Foot Pounding Ritual (which begins every treatment at SpaHalekulani) while I sipped jasmine tea. Next came the saltwater footbath, using pa’akai (salt) to cleanse the body and spirit.

The incredible full-body Pa’akai Salt Scrub is scented with night blooming jasmine oil and infused with limu kala (seaweed). In truth, this is really a scrub combined with a massage, designed to release the old and allow your body to receive the new. Soft and smooth from the scrub and oil massage, I was ready for my steam therapy. Flora led me to my private sanctuary, where I sat in the steam shower for fifteen blissful minutes. A bowl of ice containing washcloths and bottled water at my side, the steam was just perfect after the salt scrub. I could literally feel the detoxification happening in my body and mind as I sat in the steam; release and relaxation had arrived.

After showering, Flora led me back to the treatment bed, where, using the energy and power of ocean shells, she performed a ritual to clear whatever blocked mana (life force) was within. She then she gave me the most incredible Hawaiian lomi-inspired massage that focused on releasing the old and bringing in the new.

When my treatment was complete, I joined the other girls on the aformentioned chaise lounges for green tea and a single piece of mochi ice cream-the perfect treat. We compared notes, and we were truly transported to another world, where relaxation became second nature. The Polynesian body wrap was so unique it actually inspired one of the ladies to share her out-of-body experience with all of us.

We then sat down to lunch at Orchids, where we feasted on dishes like seafood curry, scallops with hearts of romaine, kampachi tartare and steamed onaga. Everything was light and perfect and elegant; a perfectly elegant meal to end a transformative experience.

A day like this stays with you; several days after, I was still reliving parts of it. The amazing attention to detail is what keeps bringing me back; the feel of the hot towel under my neck, the cold bottle of water in the steam shower, the perfect bite of sweetness in the mochi ice cream, the serene ocean side lunch at Orchids… everything combined to make the final result a perfect memory of relaxation, rejuvenation and renewal.

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