Pampering in Paradise

Hawaii's spas have raised the art of relaxation and healing to a new level. The traditional Greco-Roman-style spas have evolved into airy, open facilities that embrace the tropics. Spa-goers in Hawaii want to hear the sound of the ocean, smell the salt air, and feel the caress of the warm breeze. They want to experience Hawaiian products and traditional treatments they can get only here.

Today's spas offer a wide diversity of treatments. Massage options include Hawaiian lomilomi, Swedish, aromatherapy, craniosacral (massaging the head), shiatsu (no oil, just deep thumb pressure on acupuncture points), Thai (another oilless massage involving stretching), and hot stone. There are even side-by-side massages for couples, and duo massages -- two massage therapists working on you at once.

Body treatments, for the entire body or just the face, involve a variety of herbal wraps, masks, or scrubs using a range of ingredients from seaweed to salt to mud, with or without accompanying aromatherapy.

After you have been rubbed and scrubbed, most spas offer an array of water treatments -- a sort of hydromassage in a tub with jets and an assortment of colored crystals, oils, and scents.

Those are just the traditional treatments. Most spas also provide a range of alternative health care like acupuncture and chiropractic, and more exotic treatments like ayurvedic and siddha from India or Reiki from Japan. Some use cutting-edge treatments, like the Grand Wailea Resort's full-spectrum color-light therapy pod (based on NASA's work with astronauts).

Spas also have a range of fitness facilities (weights, racquetball, tennis, golf) and classes (yoga, aerobics, spinning, tai chi, kickboxing). Several even offer adventure fitness packages (from bicycling to snorkeling). For the less active, most spas also have salons dedicated to hair and nail care.

Of course, all this pampering doesn't come cheap. Massages are generally $150 to $275 for 50 minutes and $250 to $295 for 80 minutes; body treatments are in the $120 to $250 range; and alternative health-care treatments can be as high as $200 to $300. But you may think it's worth the expense to banish your tension and stress.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.