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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.

page 6 of 7

The gracious Moana Surfrider Hotel, now a Westin Resort & Spa, opened on Waikiki Beach in 1901. For decades, the Hawaii Calls radio show was broadcast live from the Moana’s stately Banyan Court. Now, with the hotel’s new Moana Lani Spa debuting in October 2008, this facility has become one of the newest additions to the 50th state’s spa scene.

Perched just above sand, surf and catamarans, the 18,000-square-foot Moana Lani Spa offers splendid seaside vistas, two beachfront suites with Diamond Head views, three custom facial rooms, one Vichy shower, a custom body treatment room, nine massage rooms and a fitness center, according to spa director Lena Mossman. The gender-divided facilities have whirlpools, steam rooms, dry saunas and restful lounges, with approximately 20 massage therapists and estheticians on staff. Mossman, a Hawaiian trained in indigenous massage, notes with pride that traditional practitioners provide lomi lomi massage at Moana Lani.

I partook in the spa’s 50-minute, $120 Heavenly Massage treatment, which Mossman says is, “customized to clients’ needs, using a warm herbal pack placed on the back.” Also available as an 80-minute service for $180, my massage was administered by therapist Tamoko Omoto, who describes this signature treatment as, “combining Swedish, deep tissue and lomi with aromatherapy oil.” Sea salt, an ipo—or gourd—and a seashell lie on green ti leafs atop each massage table. Omoto says, “I have passion for massage. I want to give to clients from my heart. Massage is deep; it’s connecting with clients. Even if I’m tired, I get energy from clients. Always when I finish, I feel better and so refreshed. I love massage.”

Moana Lani Spa’s menu selection also includes unique, tranquility-inspiring body and skin care treatments called Escape Packages, body rituals, wraps and polishes, glow-inducing facials, and options for hands and feet. Continuing the peaceful, exotic atmosphere exuded by the island, this spa helps nourish and heal the body and soul.

Close to heaven

Lani, a word reappearing in the names of several these Oahu oases, translates as “heaven.” How apropos, as all of these spas are healthy Hawaiian havens in a Polynesian paradise of pampering and well-being. Between the lapping waves, warm breezes and skilled touches of the island’s estheticians and spa therapists, Hawaii could easily be taken as a heaven on earth.