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The Hawaiian Spas of Paradise

By: Ed Rampell
Posted: April 28, 2009, from the May 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Mark Twain called Hawaii, “The loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean,” and indeed, the Aloha State has long been synonymous with a kind of paradise. According to local filmmaker Edgy Lee’s documentary Waikiki, in the Wake of Dreams, the sandy enclave facing the Diamond Head volcanic cone was “a special spiritual haven for ancient Hawaiians and a place of healing and special power.”

Today’s Hawaii is where East meets West meets island, while Waikiki—an urban beachfront tourism mecca—is a nerve center for spas and treatments bearing Polynesian and Asian accents.

Spa Pure

The Wyland Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu is unique, an art-themed hotel featuring marine life sculptures and graphics of scuba diver-cum-painter Robert Wyland. Internationally renowned for his “whaling wall” murals in Honolulu, Hollywood, Japan and other locations, Wyland’s pieces depict cavorting humpbacks, orcas, manatees and dolphins.

With this maritime artwork backdrop, the Wyland Waikiki is a perfect setting for Spa Pure, which, appropriately enough, offers a signature Ocean Massage. Spa director Dennis Miller devised this liquidy relaxation technique after observing California hot springs therapies, and it is performed outdoors in a heated saltwater pool on the Wyland Waikiki’s grounds reserved for spa guests. The immersion in water is especially soothing, with the swirling motion enhancing a sense of antigravity as Miller gently stretches muscles and applies pressure point therapy for 30 minutes. Also available as a 50-minute option for $120, the 30-minute services cost $60.

Clients can also combine the Ocean Massage with other treatments or enjoy them separately, partaking of services inside the intimate health facility. Spa Pure includes couples’ and individual massage rooms, as well as a cabana for poolside massage.