The Essence of Ease
WHAT IT INCLUDES: Ask anyone who knows me—I never shut up. So when a good twenty minutes go by without a peep, I realize I’ve dozed off on the table under the warm, emphatic hands of my masseuse, Sarah Gregory. That’s a first. But so is the Essential massage I’ve chosen from ‘Āwili Spa’s menu. The combination of light-, medium- and deep-tissue pressures is designed to release muscle tension, relieve stress, and promote relaxation. Okay, I’ve mainly chosen it because I’m curious about what sets the Essential massage apart: therapeutic cannabis. In 2018, soon after the State of Hawai‘i made it legal, ‘Āwili became the first spa on Maui to incorporate cannabidiol (CBD) in the treatment. This is not your mother’s marijuana trip (nor mine, which last occurred during the Reagan Administration). CBD is a non-psychoactive substance that won’t get you high.
BEST FOR: What CBD will do, scientists think, is relieve aches and pains, arthritis and inflammation. In the treatment room, Sarah offers a small cup of cannabis-infused tea to help me relax from the inside out. (Tastes pretty good, too.) Then I’m on the table on my tummy, Sarah’s comforting hands pressing warm CBD oil into my back, shoulders, arms. “Would you like me to focus on any particular area?” she asks. I direct her to my neck and shoulders (chronically stiff from long hours at the computer) and arthritic thumbs. After a while she’s using her whole forearm to apply deep, slow strokes to my back. I recognize it as lomilomi, traditional Hawaiian massage.
THE PERKS: Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and clients who purchase at least $140 in spa services (along with Andaz guests) are welcome to enjoy the amenities all day. ‘Āwili recommends arriving well before your appointment to enjoy its dry sauna, steam room and heated plunge pool. Do. Before my massage I wrapped up in a thick terry robe and regally ensconced myself on a chaise longue, on my lap a plate of orange and apple slices, dried mango and cookies, the curtain partly closed so no one would see if I spilled crumbs. After the treatment—joints blissfully pain-free—I oozed into the plunge pool, hoping no one would notice if I never left.
MEMORABLE MOMENT: The beginning of the massage, when Sarah applied a facial oil of eucalyptus and lavender. The scent was strong, but so delightful that I kept breathing deeply to enjoy every molecule.
TIP: The word ‘āwili is Hawaiian for “blend,” and ‘Āwili’s salon lives up to the name, with oils and fragrances custom blended just for you—and available for purchase.
THE COST: 60 minutes, $195; 90 minutes, $275; 120 minutes, $385 – Rita Goldman