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As you travel beyond tony Princeville, life slows down. The single-lane bridges may be one reason. Another is the Hanalei Day Spa, an open-air, thatched-roof, Hawaiian-style hut nestled just off the beach on the grounds of Hanalei Colony Resort in Haena. Though this no-frills day spa offers facials, waxing, wraps, scrubs, and the like, its specialty is massage: Ayurveda, Zen Shiatsu, Swedish, and even a baby massage (and lesson for Mom, to boot). Owner Darci Frankel teaches yoga, a discipline she started as a young child. That practice led her to start the Ayurveda Center of Hawaii, which operates out of the spa and offers an ancient Indian cleansing and rejuvenation program known as Pancha Karma. Think multiday wellness retreat. www.hanaleidayspa.com.
This superb spa at The St. Regis Princeville Resort is indeed a House of Joy, as its Hawaiian name translates. Opened in 2009, the 11,000-square-foot Halelea Spa transports users to a place of tranquillity. The spa's 12 luxurious treatment rooms afford a subdued indoor setting outmatched only by the professional service. Take advantage of the dedicated couples' room and enjoy a taro butter pohaku hot stone massage. Follow that with a few hours sipping tea in the relaxation lounge, sweating in the sauna, and rinsing in an overhead rain shower. There is a qualified wellness consultant, and spa programs are inspired by Native Hawaiian healing rituals. You can find health, beauty, and inner peace at this spa, but expect to pay for it. www.stregisprinceville.com.
It doesn't get more authentic than this. In the mid-1980s Aunty Angeline Locey opened her Anahola home to offer traditional Hawaiian healing practices. Now, her son and granddaughter carry on the tradition. At Angeline's Muolaulani Wellness Center, there's a two-hour treatment ($150) that starts with a steam, followed by a sea-salt-and-clay body scrub and a two-person massage. The real treat, however, is relaxing on Aunty's open-air garden deck. Hot-stone lomi is also available. Aunty's mission is to promote a healthy body image; as such, au naturel is an option here, but if you're nudity-shy, you can stick to the more traditional approach. On second thought, Aunty would say consider it, as muolaulani translates to "a place for young buds to bloom." Detailed directions are given when you book a treatment. www.angelineslomikauai.com.
The luxurious ANARA Spa has all the equipment and services you expect from a top resort spa, along with a pleasant, professional staff. Best of all, it has indoor and outdoor areas that capitalize on the tropical locale and balmy weather, further distinguishing it from the Marriott and St. Regis spas. Its 46,500 square feet of space includes the lovely Garden Treatment Village, an open-air courtyard with private thatched-roof huts, each featuring a relaxation area, misters, and open-air shower in a tropical setting. Ancient Hawaiian remedies and local ingredients are featured in many of the treatments, such as a Lokahi Garden facial, and a Hawaiian Herbal Aromatherapy body wrap. The open-air lava-rock showers are wonderful, introducing many guests to the delightful island practice of showering outdoors. The spa, which includes a full-service salon, adjoins the Hyatt's legendary swimming pool. www.anaraspa.com.
This sister spa of Alexander Simson's Beverly Hills spa focuses on body care rather than exercise, so don't expect any fitness equipment or exercise classes. The Alexander Day Spa & Salon at the Kauai Marriott has the same ambience of stilted formality as the rest of the resort, but it is otherwise a sunny, pleasant facility. Massages are available in treatment rooms and on the beach, although the beach locale isn't as private as you might imagine. Wedding-day and custom spa packages can be arranged. www.alexanderspa.com.
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