Maui’s sweet, heady, tropical scent—all fragrant frangipani and fresh rain—hangs heavy in the air. The steady din of a waterfall beats rhythmically nearby; its waters churn up an ethereal mist that cloaks passersby in its dewy, gossamer veil. And all this is without even stepping outdoors.
This is the Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea (A Waldorf Astoria Resort), and while the potent, myriad sounds and scents of Maui aren’t typically found inside, this tiled temple manages to capture the redolence of Hawaii’s second-largest island with its powerful curative waters. It holds the honour as Hawaii’s largest spa with a palatial 50,000 square-feet, which includes a Terme Hydrotherapy Circuit. This immersive water-world experience features a Roman tub, saunas, cascading waterfalls, Swiss jet showers, a Japanese furo or soaking tub, and five therapeutic baths all at varying temperatures and each featuring a new lineup of signature Maui aromas.
On the island’s tony southwestern enclave that is Wailea, there are other luxurious shrines of scent that are designed to soothe guests into fragrant, idyllic well-being. The newly renovated Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Kea Lani recently introduced Inspire Your Energy, a fitness and wellness program drawing on ancient traditions, where honouring nature—rich flora, fruits, earth deposits, and pure waters—is believed to restore mana, or life energy.
At the perennially elegant Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, the healing traditions of Hawaii and cultures of the Pacific Rim are practiced in a luxurious subterranean spa. Oceanfront hales, or thatched huts, sit perched on the beach for those who want to hear waves lapping the shore. The Espresso Body Lift with its fragrant coffee-chocolate scrub is followed by a shot of coffee-chocolate lotion, a warm-stone face massage with virgin coconut oil, and, finally, a cup of freshly brewed Maui Mountain Coffee culled from the slopes of the Haleakalā volcano.
In Kaanapali, the West Coast resort area just north of the historic whaling town of Lahaina, the Marilyn Monroe Spa at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort offers casual, oceanfront respite. The spa’s ethos follows a Hollywood-diva-does-Maui mood—the goal here is to “just feel wonderful”. The Lomilomi Kamaha’O treatment, an off-the-menu option featuring a traditional Hawaiian massage (lomi means to knead, rub, or soothe in ways unique to generations of practitioners), is followed by a hot oil scalp massage and foot scrub all with the locally-sourced Kamaha’O product line: rose hip seed oil, juniper berry, citrus lime, lavender—all certified natural organic ingredients that support global fair trade farming and sustainability practices.
Over at the Spa Helani at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, the Heavenly Signature massage may be even more celestial. Introduced this past spring, the new treatment begins with a full-body dry brushing using natural loofahs harvested by farmer James (Kimo) Simpliciano of Simpli-Fresh Produce in Maui. Dry brushing gives the skin a healthy glow through exfoliation while stimulating collagen and improving circulation and lymphatic elimination. Post-brush, the massage closes out with natural-based Hawaiian Ola Tropical Apothecary products using locally-grown pineapple and passion fruit.
The final stop on this sweet-smelling journey through Maui is the new Spa Montage at Montage Kapalua Bay. Formerly the high-end Ritz Carlton residences, this new resort firmly plants its own luxury flag in the north, which now bookends the upscale offerings in the south. Designed to bring the body peace and tranquility, it begins with a reflexology massage that flows into a full-body dry brushing and customized green, white, and red algae body mask. Nurtured in a body cocoon and luxurious sea salt foot exfoliation, this treatment uses Laminaria algae oil, a pure seaweed extract that sends senses into overdrive.
Maui’s spas are the perfect places to experience olfactory nirvana and local flavour all in one fell swoop.
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