A team of Oyster reporters spent a month exploring 92 top resort hotels on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. We slept in the beds, lounged on the beaches, ate in the restaurants, and even danced some hula, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here’s a list of our favorite hotel spas.
The 50,000-square-foot neoclassical Spa Grande is the biggest in Hawaii -- and one of the top-rated in the U.S., thanks in large part to its extraordinary baths. They include five aromatic pools, a Japanese furo bath, cascading waterfall, Roman hot tub, and Swiss jet shower. The spa offers more than 100 treatments, including locally inspired signature therapies like the Pala'au Journey. Use of the facilities costs more than most spas charge for a whole day, but it does come free with a treatment.
Opened in January 2009, the Ritz-Carlton Spa is the newest spa on Maui. The large, 17,500-square-foot facility conducts treatments in spacious suites with private showers. The first-class facilities (for which you can purchase a day pass) include whirlpools in tucked-away grottos, eucalyptus steam rooms, cedar saunas, and rain showers. Body treatments incorporating Hawaiian healing methods are also available.
The 17,000-square-foot Moana Lani Spa is one of the largest and newest luxury spas in Waikiki. But what really makes it stand out is its prime location on Oahu's Waikiki Beach. The ocean views from its swank treatment rooms, including its couples treatment suites with private balconies, are superb. The extensive facilities include oceanfront relaxation lounges, steam rooms, saunas, and a Jacuzzi. Day passes are available for purchase.
Oahu's Kahala Spa offers an indulgent and -- most significantly -- very private spa experience. There are no common areas. Instead guests get the use of a 550-square-foot private suite for changing and post-treatment showering. Time in the infinity tub is included in some of the longer rituals, or can be added to any treatment for an additional fee.
Guests who make the long drive to Maui's secluded east coast are rewarded with one of the island's best spas. All of Honua Spa's treatment rooms have private lounges facing the lush grounds. In keeping with the hotel's respect for local traditions, the treatments focus on Hawaiian techniques. Honua is also the best spa value on Maui: Guests have free use of the facilities, which include an outdoor lava-rock pool, cold plunge bath, stream room, and outdoor shower. Treatments start at reasonable prices.