If you go to a resort, chances are you’ll try some piece of what their spa has to offer, whether its a full blown massage or facial or their swimming pool and steam room. Many often have a gym which sometimes is part of the spa area and other times, its own entity.
The Four Seasons is, well, the Four Seasons. You’d expect the service to be top notch and the hotel and spa at Hualalai is no exception. While they have a number of services and treatments, the magic is in the fine details. Some of the treatments you can have include a foot bath and massage, a face, scalp and neck massage, a Polynesian Niu (coconut) scrub, a Hualalai Macadamia Nut scrub, a sugar cane, coconut oil and island honey body treatment, a green tea and ginger wrap, a mud clay mosaic, and of course a whole page of various facials using organic products.
You can have a massage outside so you can stare out at tropical plants, hearing the sound of the stream trickle by. They have an eucalyptus steam room and its divine, one of the things that brought me back to the spa twice a day. It does wonders for your skin and helps with your breathing and circulation even if you’re not sick. When you walk out of the steam room, you have an option to head into the sauna, or you can walk through their outside stream in waterproof slippers they provide. (or barefoot). OR, if you want to do nothing at all, they have a soothing area where you can sit back, put your feet up and just listen to the birds.
If I had to describe the place in two words, it would be ultimate serenity. Between the sounds of the trickling water to the luscious beautiful fauna around you, its impossible not to relax. It was even possible for this tightly wound and overworked cat. And oh btw, they bring you nuts, raisins, melon and passionfruit ice tea so you don’t have to think if you so choose. I never seem to take time to do “nothing” and it was a great place to do it. Ahh yes, Four Seasons, your spa nails it on the fine touches.
Take a look at one of the outside massage tables – if just looking at it won’t put you in a relaxing mood, I don’t know what will. (it always amazes me how sterile most massage ‘rooms’ are – white walls, its often chillier than it should be, and the ambiance isn’t warm).
A serious WBTW Thumbs Up for all the pampering and hospitality Four Seasons!
The Hawaii Island Retreat is not a big property, but it is a luxurious one. Tucked away at the end of a winding dirt road in the north of the Big Island, it feels as if you’ve landed in the tropics. While they may not have a whole staff dedicated to massage, scrubs and facials, co-owner of the property Jeanne Sunderland who runs it with her husband, has a long history of spa and resort management.
She has worked as a Spa Director at the Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt, Maua Lani & the Sheraton Luxury Collection and aside from her long history in massage and skincare, she also has experience in holistic healing with work that she has done with her husband, a doctor.
And, her experience shows. But, it isn’t just her experience that should bring you to the Hawaii Island Retreat for a stay and a spa treatment, but its her intuition of what your body needs at a particular time and knowing what to do to transform you on the table.
While you’re on the massage table, which is also outside under a covered pavilion, this is the view you face as you lie on your stomach ready to unwind, relax and take it all in.
Jeanne has been trained in a system called Neurolink, which was developed by Dr. Alan Phillips from New Zealand. Since she also has training in muscle testing, she resonated with its approach. She says, “I appreciate that by muscle testing, a treatment can be streamlined to each person rather than what is usually needed for someone with specific symptoms.” Their system addresses acute pain and most people who go for regular massages have muscular pain from overuse or sitting and walking incorrectly. Neurolink uses the latest scientific research at a cellular level to address the causes not the symptoms. Their belief is that only by addressing your health at a cell level can you achieve optimum sustainability.
Her ability to listen and keep you present and connected through the process together with her acute intuition is her magic. Combine that with the fact that the grounds are stunning, flowers are plentiful, you can eat lychees off the trees, and its one of those places you can go to not just unwind, but become rejuvenated and perhaps even be inspired to write a book.
A magical Two Thumbs Up from WBTW! Let’s just say it was very hard to leave.
Note: the reason the quality of these photos are less crisp than the majority of the ones I shot in Hawaii is because I only had a mobile phone camera with me at the spa.
For more posts on Hawaii, check out this section. To experience nature, botanical gardens and rainforest by segway, check out this post. For photos on the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. For more on Hawaii and food/wine only, go here. For Hawaii and lodging, here. For more on Hawaii and arts, go here.