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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.
Traditional lomi lomi massage, a Hawaiian signature, is often performed with warmed stones, as it is at Waikiki Plantation Spa.
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The Outrigger hotels and resorts are locally owned, and as part of Plantation Spa’s Polynesian allure, its product line includes hydrating botanical oils derived from kukui, macadamia and other Hawaiian nuts. Also, by June 2009, Plantation Spa’s sister Serenity Spa is expected to reopen at the nearby Outrigger Reef on the Beach resort.
SpaHalekulani is located off the courtyard pool of one of Waikiki’s oldest properties, the Halekulani Hotel. It is comprised of a lush terrace, two couples’ and five individual treatment rooms, and oxygen machines for facials that combat jet lag. It also offers a Hawaiian scents product line, and, according to spa director Gloria Ah Sam, the facility employs 28 massage therapists and estheticians, as well as hair and nail care staff members who work in the salon area.
The SpaHalekulani’s signature massage is the Polynesian Nonu, a Samoan-inspired treatment incorporating lomi strokes and warm stones. “We use noni gel to coat the stones,” notes Ah Sam. Noni is a plant that grows in the South Pacific and is believed to have healing properties. Aromatherapy also accompanies each massage.
Massage therapist Laura Tefft began my Nonu treatment on the terrace, spraying manoa mint mist into the air and gently pounding my feet with coconut fronds. Inside the massage room, a lovely Polynesian offering of leaf, orchid and oil sat on the table, and Tefft used her forearms and the heels of her hands to massage, “ ... following the rhythms of the ocean for a very soothing, relaxing massage.” While I was facedown, she lifted my arm over my head to give my body a stretch, and the smoothed lava stones that she slid over the body are “kept comfortably warm in a hot water bath to soothe muscles; we dip them into cooler water to cool them off. The heated stones give a deep warmth that enhances the effects of lomi lomi, relaxing muscles,” Tefft explained.
Rich facials, body treatments and experiences, hair care, and manicure and pedicure options round out SpaHalekulani’s menu, as well as a section that’s specially designated for tweens and teens. These renewing, healing services certainly reflect the spa’s atmosphere of a oasis in paradise.