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Hawaii (Big) Island
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
Mandara Spas blends European, Balinese, and indigenous treatments to create the ultimate spa experience. Though this facility is on the smaller side, the excellent treatments are up to the company's exacting standards. Try the Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial or, even better, the Mandara Four Hand Massage, where two therapists work out the kinks simultaneously. Hawaiian traditional lomilomi is also available. The hotel operates a separate hair salon that offers manicures and pedicures in addition to standard salon services. www.mandaraspa.com.
Overlooking the hotel's main pool with a distant view of the ocean, Mandara offers a very complete, if not unique, spa menu, with more facial options than you'll find at the island's other spas. Mandara, which operates spas all over the world, uses Elemis products in spa and salon treatments. The spa menu contains the usual spa suspects—lomilomi, scrubs, and wraps—but it incorporates local ingredients (lime and ginger in the scrubs, warm coconut milk in the wraps), and the facility, which fuses contemporary and traditional Asian motifs, is beautiful. www.mandaraspa.com.
Tucked into a residential neighborhood above Kealekekua, this little gem is a welcome alternative to the large Kohala Coast resort spas. Mamalahoa offers a secret-hideaway ambience and massages at affordable prices. Soaking tubs of the finest quality wood are enclosed in their own thatched gazebo with portholes in the roof for your stargazing pleasure. Indulge in some romance with a couple's twilight soak. www.mamalahoa-hottubs.com.
With awesome views of Kailua Bay, Oceanfront Massage and Spa offers a full roster of massage treatments, as well as wraps, facials, and waxing. This is a convenient place to get pampered before you hit the village shops. www.oceanfrontmassage.com.
Stories to inspire your own adventures at Outrigger's travel blog.