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Hawaii (Big) Island
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
This classy massage studio, owned and operated by resort-trained massage therapists, is conveniently located in downtown Kona. In addition to traditional massage, you can get a five-star experience—warmed coconut oil scalp massage, lemongrass-ginger hot-stone foot soak, or other tropical specialties—at a fraction of Kohala Coast resort prices. www.pauhanamassage.com.
This ranks among the best massage facilities on the island, partially due to the superlative setting—private massage areas are situated amid the waterfalls, saltwater pools, and meandering gardens, as well as right on the beach. In fact, the Fairmont Orchid is one of the few resorts to offer beachside massage. Splurge on the 110-minute Alii Experience featuring hot coconut oil treatments, lomilomi, and hot-stone massage. There are other great treatments, including caviar facials, fragrant herbal wraps, and coffee-and-vanilla scrubs. And where else can you relax to the sounds of cascading waterfalls while watching tropical yellow tang swim beneath you through windows in the floor? www.fairmont.com/orchid.
The spa is for the exclusive use of Four Seasons Resort guests, and features 28 massage treatment areas. Tropical breezes waft through 14 outdoor massage hales, situated in beautiful garden settings. The therapists are top-notch, and a real effort is made to incorporate local traditions. Apothecary services allow you to customize your treatment with ingredients like honey, kukui nuts, and coconut. Massage options range from traditional lomilomi to Thai. www.fourseasons.com.
It's not unusual for locals to drive an hour each way to get their hair styled here. The salon is still the center of the operation, but today it's joined by a full-service spa—nicely designed to let in lots of light—that has an extensive menu of massages, facials, and body treatments. The most popular massage is the lomilomi (traditional Hawaiian massage), but don't overlook the spa's unique body treatments. Consider the detoxifying volcanic clay treatment or the salt-and-aloe exfoliation. This is the best place for waxing. You can use the gym at the Hapuna Golf Course's clubhouse, accessible via a free shuttle. www.paulbrownhawaii.com.
If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind experience, this is your destination. Most treatments take place in outdoor hales (houses) surrounded by lava rock. Wonderful therapists offer a mix of the traditional standbys (lomilomi massage, moisturizing facials) and innovative treatments influenced by ancient traditions and incorporating local products. One exfoliating body treatment is self-administered in one of the outdoor saunas. Watsu therapy, which mimics the feeling of being in the womb, takes place in a 1,000-square-foot grotto between two lava tubes. You feel totally weightless, thanks to some artfully applied weights and the buoyancy of the warm salt water. It's a great treatment for people with disabilities that keep them from enjoying a traditional massage. The aesthetic treatments on the menu incorporate high-end products from Epicuran and Emminence, so a facial will have a real and lasting therapeutic effect on your skin. The spa also offers a full regimen of fitness and yoga classes. www.maunalani.com.
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