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Relax in elegant surroundings at the new Kapalua Spa

By Staff | Aug 27, 2009

Enjoy beautiful views in the Kapalua Spa’s waiting area. Photos by Paul Janes-Brown.

KAPALUA — Maui is known the world over as a luxury destination, but the new 30,000-square-foot Kapalua Spa has set a new standard in spa elegance.

The simplicity of the building’s design is in keeping with the cultural traditions of Hawaii and Asia. The building looks from the parking lot like a one-story Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired prairie design, but when one enters, the Asian influence is readily apparent.

Just past the registration desk is a magnificent raised pool that spills over into a waterfall dropping one story to another pool outside of the fitness center. The attention to detail is readily apparent here. Look down at the drain by the lobby pool and you’ll see the signature butterfly Kapalua logo punched into brass. The building is perched on the edge of a promontory with a spectacular view of Kapalua Bay.

The facility boasts 19 treatment rooms. Nine of the indoor treatment rooms are deluxe and capable of providing couple services. There is a full-service salon with three pedicure stations and two hair stations. Soon they will complete six outdoor massage hales and four deluxe treatment hales with stone tubs, where couples can enjoy tandem treatments.

The fitness facility has state-of-the-art digital machines on which one can program an exercise regime or watch cable television. There are trainers on staff to help one navigate the free weights, cardio, circuit training or Kinesis training.

A wide range of yoga and movement classes are offered in the Yoga Room.

A full menu of yoga and movement classes are available, including “hot” yoga (up to 106 degrees) for those who have a need to sweat.

There is a juice bar where one can obtain a healthy bite as well as fresh juice. A full array of products is also available.

The entire range of facilities are available to anyone who books a treatment. I would recommend going about two hours prior to the treatment appointment. Spend an hour in the fitness center working up a good aerobic feeling, then repair to the locker rooms and use the sauna, steam room, cold rainfall and whirlpool in one of the gender-specific areas.

By then it should be treatment time. Their signature treatment is the ‘awa and cacao wrap, and I can recommend it without reservation. It was the cleanest I have felt since I was born.

The treatment begins with a ceremonial drink of real ‘awa. This is the only treatment that features 100 percent ‘awa; the others cut the ‘awa with pineapple juice. Then it’s onto the table for a lomi lomi-style rub with the ‘awa and cacao mixture. The ‘awa is one of the gentlest exfoliants I have ever experienced, and the massage tables are heated for the client’s comfort.

Once the mixture has been thoroughly applied, then one is wrapped in layers of plastic, paper and sheets. The wrapping allows the ‘awa and cacao mixture’s natural warmth to express itself, heightening the experience. It’s hard to say how long the wrap was; ecstasy has a tendency to distort time perception.

After being unwrapped, it’s into the shower to rinse the ‘awa and cacao mixture off, towel dry and back on the table to receive a pikake spray and a concluding rub. The final nod to the Hawaiian culture is three deep breaths of a salt that is supposed to cleanse the passages and revitalize the lungs.

To conclude a sybaritic day, take a trip to the sun deck around the saline, infinity lap pool for some sun and perhaps a relaxing dip. Stretch out on the chaises, slather on the sun block and dive into one’s favorite guilty pleasure novel. What a life? It doesn’t get any better.

World-renowned spa consultant Sylvia Sepielli was responsible for putting this spa together. As an art reviewer and spa writer, I have to say something about the artwork. The huge Tadashi Sato that greets all of the guests in the main lobby is certainly an exceptional piece, but there are wonderful pieces of original art throughout the spa. Unfortunately, unless one is really aware of Hawaiian art, the artists are anonymous. It would be a very nice touch if management placed identification plaques near each piece, so the artists could be known to the viewer.

A full menu of treatments is available, and surely there is something to appeal to just about anyone. The spa is open to the public, and the management wants to encourage kama‘aina to come on a regular basis. They are offering a monthly kama‘aina special — to find out what the special is, go to their website at www.kapalua.com/recreation/spa/ or call (866) 941-5772 or (808) 665-8282.