The Lap of Luxury: Maui Resort Spas

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but every body needs some over-the-top indulgence now and then.


Hawaiian Embrace

THE TREATMENT:  Hawaiian Herbal Embrace for Two | The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Kapalua | | 665-7079

sea salt scrubs
Bowls filled with aromatic sea salt stand ready to exfoliate the skin.

WHAT IT INCLUDES: Husband Chris and I eased onto separate massage tables as classical music drifted into the cozy room, and soon our two therapists were working in tandem, immersing each of us in an invigorating, scented salt scrub . . . followed by a cleansing shower . . . and then more aromatherapy with an oil-scented massage. We drew in deep, slow breaths as our bodies luxuriated in the touch of Hawaiian lomilomi massage; using the pressure of their forearms, our therapists administered long, fluid movements to our back muscles. The “Embrace” is literally head to toe—or rather, toe to head—from a detoxifying salt foot scrub, to the cocoon of a warm towel wrap, to a sensuous coconut-oil scalp massage.

And not just toe to head, but inside/out. The treatment includes halo therapy, based on the ancient Greek practice of adding mineral salts to the bath and breathing the salt-scented steam to remove impurities in the lungs and tissues. Chris and I relaxed in the steamy-hot bathtub and touched toes as the tropical-scented citrus, spice and herb mineral salts awakened our minds and bodies to healing.

couples spa massage
An outdoor shower mid-treatment removes exfoliated skin.

BEST FOR: Exfoliating the dermis to baby-skin smoothness, enlivening the scalp’s circulation, and detoxifying the body from the bottom up. The exfoliating scrub is not recommended for someone with sensitive skin, skin ailments or sunburn.

THE PERKS: We arrived thirty minutes early and learned that we’d have free run of the entire spa and fitness facility before and after the treatment. I happily soaked in the grotto-like Jacuzzi and slipped into the dry sauna twice before our treatment, while Chris opted to enjoy the relaxation room, where he read, hydrated with fruit-infused filtered water and “Zenned out.”

WHY IT’S WORTH IT: The invigorating salt scrub with ‘alaea salt (containing micro particles of Hawaiian volcanic red clay), combined with rare sandalwood oil, is an exhilarating experience.

maui massage
A massage with kukui-nut oil softens gardening-roughened hands.

Sandalwood, once abundant in the mountains on all the major Hawaiian Islands, was harvested and exported nearly to extinction more than a century ago. Being able to wrap myself in an aromatherapy of sandalwood for two hours was a huge treat. My husband especially enjoyed and benefited from the ‘alaea-salt foot scrub and rejuvenating warm-towel wrap. As a former long-distance runner (think Run to the Sun in his younger days), he abused his feet and now they are forever grateful for pedi-love and attention.

THE COST: $700 for two for 110 minutes, plus all-day use of the spa and fitness center. The fitness center is open round-the-clock. Spa hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with spa services 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Hours are subject to change.)

Becky Speere



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