Everyone else was naked, so i got naked too. I was at Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa in Maui, a deliciously indulgent spa; the largest — and perhaps most luxurious — in Hawaii. Check-in was a hushed affair in an expansive marble lobby crowned by a sparkling Venetian crystal chandelier. I was quietly whisked into the inner sanctum where an attendant showed me to the women’s changing room as she explained the treatment I was about to savor.
I was in for a treat.
First, I was invited to spend an hour enjoying the spa’s signature Termé Wailea Hydrotherapy. Make no mistake: Hydrotherapy at Spa Grande is much more than a plunge pool and a Jacuzzi. It’s about surrendering your mind and body to the healing properties of water in an atmosphere of sensual indulgence — which, according to the spa attendant, could be experienced au naturel or while wearing a swimsuit.
A relatively firm believer in the “When in Rome…” philosophy of travel, I asked the attendant how the majority of female spa guests opted to experience the hydrotherapy suite.
Seconds later, she returned to report that it was about “half and half.” I decided to opt for the more modest approach, but stopped short as soon as I stepped out of the changing room.
Everyone was naked; wrapped in plush towels, but dipping in and out the pools and stepping in and out of the showers in their natural state. (I think the “half and half” response is designed to assure spa patrons it’s okay to make a personal choice.) I felt immediately conspicuous; darted back into the changing room where I shed my suit and — wrapped in my own plush towel — stepped back into the host of languid women lounging, soaking and generally letting the weight of the world slip from their relaxed shoulders.
Spa Grande’s expansive hydrotherapy suite consists of three individual rooms connected by graceful archways. A Roman-style whirlpool tub with cold plunge pool is front and center surrounded by lounge chairs and a table set with fresh fruit, water and specialty teas. Moving clockwise, the next room features a Japanese-style furo (bath) with stools and hand-held showers for washing before stepping into the bubbling tub. The third room, my favorite, features cascading waterfall massage chambers where seated spa guests let tension go as aqua-jets massage hips, calves and feet and a waterfall cascades from a height of 10 feet to knead the neck and shoulders. Next up, Swiss jet showers: private enclosures equipped with needlepoint water jets to target trigger pressure points. (I had trouble working the timer on this one. I was ready to get out, but couldn’t turn the water off, so I grabbed my towel and made a break for it.) And the final indulgence: a series of five oversized soaking tubs — moor mud, limu (seaweed), aromatherapy, papaya enzyme and Hawaiian mineral salt.
Keep in mind, all of this aquarelaxation is just the appetizer. While patrons ever more languidly slip through the mist from one bath to another, spa attendants emerge to gently lead them to adjacent treatment rooms for a pre-treatment loofah scrub.
Then it’s on to the main course: Sufficiently languorous, robe-clad patrons are eventually escorted to the second floor of the expansive spa for their choice from an extensive menu of specialty massages, wraps and other treatments.
For me, though, it was time to return to the lobby where I met my robe-clad husband, who had been indulging in the adjacent men’s hydrotherapy suite. He emerged from the men’s changing room looking more relaxed than I had seen him in a long time. We sipped citrus-infused water and quietly compared experiences (yes, he got naked, too) while we waited for a spa attendant to escort us to the outdoor hale, an al fresco — but very private — massage hut set amid tropic al flora and fauna just steps from the beach.
A second attendant greeted us at the hale and, seated side by side on a comfortable bench, we soaked our feet in bowls filled with warm aro- matic water and fresh flower petals while the therapists gently massaged our necks and shoulders. After enjoying this little slice of heaven, we moved to side-by-side tables for an hour-long, hot-stone couple’s massage. I drifted through the hour, completely surrendering to the moment, until the therapist whispered softly that I could take my time getting up.
It was time to return to reality, yet I would be bringing back a keepsake. Our special treatment included the robes we had been given in the hydrotherapy suite. Too fluffy to fit in our suitcases for the trip home, we packed them up and sent them via FedEx from the hotel’s business center. So now, whenever I want to relive the memories of that decadently indulgent day, I just have to wrap myself up in my robe, close my eyes and relax.
The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”
The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.
Up Norway, Norway’s travel curator, partners with sustainability experts to offer travelers a new tour. The Discovery Route, called the “world’s most sustainable journey,” combines personal wellness with the wellness of the environment.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Driving into Dallas during a rainstorm, we were eager to arrive at our destination. The valet parking at Marriott Dallas Uptown is underground and ideal for inclement weather. We took the elevator to the lobby and made our way to the registration desk. The staff wore masks, but still managed to convey a warm greeting. On the wall behind them hung a colorful piece of art made partially from reclaimed wood that depicts neighborhood scenes. The new hotel covers an entire block in a residential area and opened earlier this year.
Business travel is on the brink of returning, according to three new reports. The latest monthly Traveler Confidence Index developed by Travel Again shows business traveler confidence soared in May, with 42 percent now fully ready to travel, up from just 20 percent in April. An additional 31 percent are planning some type of business travel for summer, with 74 percent willing to travel domestically for business in the next 90 days. However, employers may not be as ready, with only 22 percent of business travel respondents with current business travel plans.
Although travel restrictions are beginning to lift, many Americans aren’t ready to travel yet, but still want to get out and explore something new. WalletHub, a personal-finance website, recently conducted a study to find out the best cities for a staycation this summer.