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Hawaii (Big) Island
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This spa is a great place to get a massage or body treatment for much less than you'd pay at the big resorts. Though not quite as nice as the bigger facilities, it's simple and clean, near the ocean, and staffed with well-trained therapists. The spa offers facials using its own line of products made from island ingredients. www.outrigger.com.
The hotel's oceanfront spa offers a menu of tropical delights with combination options which let you mix and match for a super heavenly—and affordable—treatment. The private outdoor lanai lets you melt into dreamland as you listen to waves lapping at the rocks inches away. In winter, you may hear a whale or two nearby. Massages, such as the combo lomilomi, shiatzu, pressure point, and Swedish full-body treatment is given using only Ola organic oils made in Hawaii. Hot stones, steamed towels, and salt scrubs add to the luxury. Afterwards, you can rinse off with hot steam and cool water in the complimentary shower/steamroom. Couples' treatments take place outside on the secluded blacony and start with a private whirlpool bath followed by a side-by-side massage. www.hoolaspa.com.
This peaceful and elegant sanctuary in North Kohala offers three artfully appointed indoor treatment rooms and two massage platforms outside that overlook the valley. The spa is first-rate, with handcrafted wooden lockers, rain-style showerheads, and a signature line of lotions and scrubs that's made locally. The owners also create their own scrubs and wraps from ingredients grown on the property. The Papaya Delight lives up to its name, and features roasted ground papaya seeds mixed with goat yogurt and geranium. The roster of massages includes lomilomi, Thai, and deep tissue. Try the Shirodhara treatment of warm oil slowly drizzled over your third eye. www.hawaiiislandretreat.com.
Those staying in Volcano or Hilo have quick and easy access to the body treatments, massages, and facials—and at far more reasonable prices than on the other side of the island. Hale Hoola's menu features a bounty of local ingredients and traditional Hawaiian treatments, including a handful of unique Hawaiian massages, such as lomi hula, which is lomilomi massage choreographed to hula music; laau hamo, which blends lomilomi with traditional Hawaiian and Asian healing herbs and plant extracts. Popokapai is a divine blend of hot-stone massage and laau hamo that incorporates lomilomi massage with warm compresses filled with healing herbs. Facials and body scrubs use the traditional ginger, coconut, and macadamia nuts, but also some surprises, including taro, vanilla, and volcanic clay. www.halehoola.net.