Wellness and Pampering at Spa Grande
I’m not against a little pampering at a spa. I just don’t seem to find the time! But a stay at the Grand Wailea in Maui was a perfect excuse to indulge.
Let’s start in the Spa Grande lobby
My first look at the lobby of Spa Grande with its Italian marble and chandelier gave me the sense that I was in for something very special.
I was met by Assistant Spa Director, Stephenie Handley, who gave me an overview of the 50,000 sq. ft. facilities on two floors and a walk-through of the women’s area of the spa. The men have their own equally impressive facilities on the other side of the spa. Between the men’s and women’s area is a shared verandah overlooking the lush grounds and ocean. The spa is the largest in Hawaii and has won numerous prestigious awards, renowned for their wellness and beauty treatments that incorporate Eastern, Western and Hawaiian styles of therapy.
Having an early morning appointment added to the VIP feeling of the spa as I was the only guest in the locker room to change out of my clothes. Although I’m not overly modest, I opted to wear bikini bottoms provided by the spa — but not the top. I assumed that other guests would be nude and I didn’t want to seem too out of place in this exclusive spa.
Spa guests spend one hour prior to their scheduled treatment in the Terme Hydrotherapy Circuit (three water therapy areas). I began in the Western therapies area of the spa where I spent time in the Roman whirlpool, followed by a dry sauna and then eucalyptus steam room (making sure to stay hydrated, of course.) It’s funny how it takes a little time to actually start to unwind when you’re used to super-busy, active days at home and work. But by the time I got into the steam room, I could feel my shoulders and facial muscles start to relax.
I really didn’t keep track of time (a good thing), but after a while one of the therapists lead me into a private room for an exfoliation treatment to polish up my skin.
From there I moved on to the Eastern therapies area and a traditional Japanese Furo bath (sitting bath). I felt a little awkward at first, but then started to appreciate the new cleansing experience.
My favorite part of the pre-treatment therapies was the Hawaiian sea salt baths, complete with three waterfalls. The five colorful baths look so inviting and each has its distinct composition, aromas and benefits. Created with salt masters on the island of Molokai, each bath is made of freshly harvested premium sea salt blended with herbs, fruits, minerals and spices representing the personality of each island. My favorite of the three I tried was the Maui bath with blue sea salt, coconut oil and the oils of eucalyptus, rosemary and the Ylang Ylang flower. (Apparently, Ylang Ylang is commonly used in aromatherapy and the making of perfumes.) The benefit of this bath is to oxygenate and hydrate the skin and take away stress. Indeed, I was quite stress-free after the Maui bath.
It was here that I first came across other guests in in the baths and showers. They were all wearing bathing suits — tops and bottoms. I felt rather daring and proud of myself.
Then I was called for my spa treatment.
A taste of honey
It was surprising to learn that the Grand Wailea has its own rooftop apiary where bees produce the honey that is used in the spa and restaurants. The resort was the first on Maui to do this in their efforts to support the island’s environment.
I had never heard of a honey treatment before, but the Ali’i Honey Steam Cocoon body therapy turned out to be the highlight of the experience, one I’d like to repeat someday.
I loved the feeling of the raw honey being applied on my body. It was heavenly. I really didn’t want to get up off the table, but there was an important next step in the treatment. With the honey now on the skin, my body was cocooned in a sheet and I was taken back to the steam room where I stretched out while the steam was helping with the absorption of the nutrients in the honey.
Of course, that’s not me in the photo below (or in the bath above). The treatment is fantastic and my skin felt fresh and hydrated, but it didn’t perform a miracle!
Good for the skin
After a shower and brief massage, my morning at the spa had come to an end. I was now totally relaxed, glowing and truly feeling the aloha.
Not so good for the skin
Properly protected with sunscreen, I enjoyed a Mai Tai at the pool. I know this isn’t very good for the skin, but it’s great for the attitude.
Where was Mr. TWS?
Mr. TWS doesn’t like to be spa-pampered. Actually, I think if he’d give it a try, he’d enjoy it and it would do him a world of good. In fact, Spa Grande has “Sweetheart Packages” that sounded very romantic — and he is a romantic. But he would rather spend time on the beach.
Another surprise for me at the spa was to learn that they have Family Programs including chocolate-coconut massages for kids. I guess some kids are lucky enough to start getting pampered at early ages.
For more information: Grand Wailea Resort
Disclosure: My accommodations and spa treatment were courtesy of the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, but the enjoyment was totally mine.