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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.

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The accent is Asian at Ville de Coco spa and salon, owned by general manager and executive manicurist Coco Hayano and located in the Outrigger Luana Waikiki. Sleek and white, the facility has custom-made furniture in its peaceful reception area, one massage room and one facial room, a large manicure-pedicure space and a private VIP room with an Italian pedicure chair. It is staffed with three spa therapists, two estheticians and five nail technicians.

Spa therapist Michyo Aoyama’s lomi lomi massage was from powerful hands that belied her petite size. The highly refreshing massage was 60 minutes in length for $115, but can also be performed for 90 minutes for a cost of $150. It was performed atop a table covered with kimonolike fabric, and Aoyama and the spas’s team members also perform deep tissue, light touch, hot stone, aroma oil and the signature 90-minute Deluxe Ville de Coco massage that combines various techniques with flowery aromas.

Paul Brown’s Spa Olakino

Paul Brown’s Spa Olakino and Salon has special ties to tropical ingredients such as coconut, mango and seaweed through its namesake owner’s hair product line, and according to spa director Jasmine Ai Shinozawa, a licensed massage therapist, “Olakino means ‘a state of well-being and health.’ ” Located in a 6,000-square-foot facility in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort overlooking the waves across Kalakaua Boulevard, the spacious spa has six individual massage rooms, two dual massage and facial rooms, two wet and dry treatment rooms, and five steam showers with 40 spa and five salon staffers.

Treatments stress the Hawaiian nature of the spa, with noni-and-aloe body wraps and papaya-and-pineapple enzyme or chocolate-and-macadamia scrubs available. Spa Olakino’s Magic Island signature massage treatment “combines four modalities: traditional Hawaiian kneading with a kukui nut oil scented with ginger root, Thai stretching, shiatsu pressure points, and reflexology hands and feet point stimulation,” Ai Shinozawa says. Available at $160 for 80 minutes, the treatment aims to combine the various elements for ultimate relaxation.

Spa massage therapist Suzanne Granelli says, “You can only experience the Magic Island in Hawaii, because we’re on a healing island, right by the ocean. It’s a truly unique healing experience. As massage therapists, we’re trying to get the person to relax so the body can heal itself, and get all of its mana—or ‘energy’—flowing.”