Spa Pas de Deux: Part 2

Wine + Food Travel’s Spa Pas de Deux: Part 1

Best Spa to Make you Miss Each Other (don’t worry, there’s a silver lining): Ihilani Spa at JW Marriott KoOlina, Hawaii.

At 35,000 sq. feet, the newly renovated Ihilani Spa has separate lounges for men and women on their own private floors.  A Roman Spa complete with a steamy hot jacuzzi and icy cold plunge, Wet and Dry saunas, a Needle Shower (much more fun than it sounds, think head-to-toe hydro-jets giving you a 360 shower/massage;  delightful), and treatment rooms for Body Scrub and Thalasso treatments made for an impressive Ladies Lounge.  The Men’s Lounge featured the football game and much of the same; Mario was thrilled.

Their body scrub had us feeling like we’d been given brand-new bodies, who wouldn’t after 25-minutes of scrubbing with sea salt infused with mountain apple?  The spa uses signature products harvested from the honua (earth) and the moana (ocean) in the islands of Aloha.  By the time we made it to the massage we had had enough time to enjoy ourselves alone that our face-to-face massages made for a butterflies-in-the-stomach reunion.

Best Spa Package Gift for Valentine’s Day: Lia Schorr Day Spa, New York. European Facial and Basalt Hot Stone Massage.

Self-made entrepreneur Lia’s Be-My-Valentine Special includes a European facial, de-stressing body massage, paraffin manicure/pedicure, and your choice of brow or bikini wax. Four hours at the sumptuous Midtown spa for less than $200 ($185!);  It’s so good you’ll want to buy two.  This spa also wins our vote for outstanding massage therapist. Kelly doesn’t ask any questions but gets right down to business dissolving aches, pains, stress and sorrow with hot stones (from Hawaii!) and a generous helping of joy(and strength).  She taught me that massages don’t need to be painful to be effective, that her desired result for her clients are that they leave happy, and that when you receive a good massage the results can last a month.  The results of her massage lasted a round-trip flight to Japan, several weeks of work, travel, and then some; for me, it was the epitome of “body melting massage.”

Best Post-Travel Massage: Waikiki Plantation Spa in Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach, Oahu, Hawaii.

As Hawaii’s Only Penthouse Spa, Waikiki Plantation Spa,  accommodates “mostly couples” according to spa coordinator Karen Dunn.  With two couples rooms and a penthouse sun deck with gorgeous views of Waikiki Beach we could see why.  Soft music and Hawaiian hands helped lomi-lomi the jetlag away and is our pick for Best Post-Travel Massage.  Don’t miss their nail spa and excellent offering of Hawaiian products to take home.

Best Treatment for When You’re Fighting: Detoxifying Spirulina Body Wrap at Paul Brown’s Spa Olakino within The Marriott Waikiki, Hawaii.

Nothing like a blow-up fight to make you not want to have a spa treatment together, but Spa Olakino’s Spirulina body wrap convinced us otherwise.  Putting our differences aside we meandered up to the spa for a Hawaiian Spirulina Wrap where pure Hawaiian spirulina from the Kona coast of the Big Island is said to detoxify and nourish the body.  As we laid side by side in the couples room our therapists slathered generous handfuls of the sensational blue-green algae onto our skin then wrapped us in layer after layer of heat-holding blankets.  Several minutes passed, the therapists left after aromatherapy scalp massages, and we had our heated discussion in hushed tones – without the ability to walk heatedly away from one another or angry fist shaking or any other such drama.  It was a revelation in anger management and couples therapy.  Try it; you’ll see.

Best Spa for the Hopeless Romantics: The Kahala Spa, Hawaii.

A few words come to mind when you hear about The Kahala: luxury, dolphins and for the overly amorous, kahi nanea (a place of repose and delight) at the Spa Suites of The Kahala.

Surrender to warm pohaku (stones) as oils filled with organic lavender, marjoram and sandalwood glide over you with a surprisingly deep-tissue version of lomi-lomi massage followed by soothing aromatherapy mists and a never-ending (or at least, never-emptying) bath of warm water filled with rose petals & red currant and citrus natural bath crystals.  Do I have your attention yet?  The Kahala spells romance this Valentine’s Day with therapies made to bring you and your darling together.

Most importantly remember that a day at the spa is a treat for the senses, and if you let it, can ignite the inner romantic in you. Happy Valentine’s Day from Wine + Food Travel!

Katherine Hsia

Known affectionately as "the wandering concierge," Katherine segued a hospitality career in fabulous New York City into a life pursuing her passions of writing, adventure and travel on the spectacular island of O'ahu. She is a freelance writer for publications such as Honolulu Magazine, Hawai'i Parent, Freesurf, and more, while working on her Hawaiian comic and non-fiction book. She enjoys seeing life for its whimsical beauty, great meals with good friends, her love affair with travel, and being overstimulated by new experiences. Want to get in touch with Kat? Add her on facebook or send her a message on her website,, where she's been known to get her blog on.

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