Considering back and forth travel restrictions in Hawaii due to COVID-19 (current requirement: negative PCR test done 72 hours before, maybe vaccine certificate on the road; without these, around 10 days) and island closures, Hawaii has not been the easiest vacation destination to plan. But given the islands’ enduring beauty, the reopening of resorts, some refurbished and in new hotel groups, and the enhanced wellness programs on offer, there’s always a good reason to navigate the protocols and go.
Hana-Maui Resort Part of the serenity-inducing experience of this long-standing resort is the location: the remote east end of Maui on the Pacific Rim, a world away from mega resorts on the opposite end of the island. Surrounded by tropical foliage and waterfalls, the 66-acre resort dotted with socially remote cottages reopened in November as part of Hyatt. The spa’s new menu emphasizes authentic and traditional Hawaiian treatments with products made with local ingredients. Among them: Lomi Lomi Rhythmic Massage, Pohaku Wela Hot Stone Massage, Aloha Kai Spirulina Body Wrap using Blue Green Ocean Algae plus Hawaiian Sea Salt to detoxify and reduce water retention and Honua Mana Laʻi & Aloe treatment with Hawaiian aloe vera gel and ti leaves from the garden to rehydrate and nourish the skin.
Mauna Lani on the Big Island is another long-standing resort that opened in November after a $ 200 million renovation and new owners, the Auberge Resorts Collection. The resort’s new spa menu, called Farm to Spa, also emphasizes local herbs such as turmeric, honey, flowers, local sandalwood, and oils from farms in the area. Among the treatments: ti leaves and a mixture of herbs are part of the Lomi Lomi massage of the spa, local hibiscus and papaya as well as vitamins A, C and E are used as an exfoliating and softening treatment for the body and ancient Hawaiian holistic and botanical healing practices. de Lāʻau lapaʻau are used in facials.
When Sensei Lāna’i, A Four Seasons Resort opened on this Hawaiian island at the end of 2019, a redesign of the old Lodge at Koele, the approach to wellness retreat was already a scientific program and full team. But with a new initiative called the Optimal Wellness Program, Sensei personal guides who craft clients’ personalized itineraries offer a deeper dive into health and wellness. Among the features of the new program: a partnership with Whoop, the bracelet device that tracks a range of physiological measurements such as sleep cycles, recovery time to give recommendations for level of exertion and level of tension that l ‘we suffer. Guests receive the Sensei version of the Whoop bracelet before arriving at the resort and continue to track their progress after they leave with a one-year membership. All data and notes related to test results and program features that a guest wants to remember is uploaded to a new Sensei portal that guests can continue to access after they leave.
Other in-depth tests include a determination of VO2 max (the amount of oxygen an individual can use in a minute), grip strength, vertical leap, and blood marker tests to reveal blood sugar readings and lipid panel to facilitate nutrition sessions. Due to the increase in testing, a five night stay is recommended instead of the three nights recommended for regular programs. But this property in the center of this 141 square mile island, now the home of owner Larry Ellison, is such a relaxing place to stay, it would be worth spending a week there, even without the extensive programs. The rooms and suites are white on white, calming and contemporary, but not austere or harsh. The 10 1,000-foot spa hales (houses) have deep wooden Japanese tubs inside and onsen pools outside. The tropical gardens surround a pond in the center and dotted throughout the grounds are important works of art among which are sculptures by Fernando Botero and Robert Indiana. Meals with many ingredients produced in two 20,000 square foot greenhouses are under the wing of Nobu’s operation and dishes such as Sensei Farms roast lobster with tomatoes, smoked dressing and tropical fruits are wholesome and barely spartans. And for those in need of a slight break from wellness activities, the resort shuttle transports guests to sister property Four Seasons Resort Lanai for more Hawaiian experiences: swimming and snorkeling. in the Pacific.