THE TUCKED-AWAY LOCATION of the Koʻa Kea Hotel & Resort on the island of Kauaʻi proves a most appealing feature to couples seeking a quiet, romantic Hawaiʻian interlude. It also presented a bit of a challenge to my husband and me as we sought the entrance to its drive off the lushly landscaped boulevard which parallels Poʻipū Beach on the island’s sunny south shore. Armed with precise directions and using our vehicle’s navigation feature, we still managed to drive right past before reversing our course and spotting an inconspicuous sign tucked among the foliage. The grounds and buildings of two large resorts flanked the winding road which ended at the circular drive in front of Koʻa Kea’s main building.
As we entered the lobby, the floor-to-ceiling windows drew our gaze out over the saltwater pool, the palm-studded lawn and fire pits to the ocean just a few hundred feet away. Koʻa Kea boasts the closest hotel accommodations to the water on Kauaʻi, offering immediate access to water sports and stunning sunset views.
The property opened in 2009 and has garnered numerous “most romantic” and “best hotel” awards from a host of travel publications and organizations. Its name, meaning “white coral” in Hawaiʻian, honors the goddess representing spiritual power and new life. Fitting, as Koʻa Kea was built on the site of the former Poʻipū Beach Hotel, destroyed by devastating Hurricane Iniki in 1992. We anticipated it boded well for our upcoming couple’s treatment at the spa, too, as we looked forward to a little rejuvenation after several full days of touring the island.
We stayed at another property on Kauaʻi but were drawn to The Spa at Koʻa Kea for its focus on the use of natural, indigenous ingredients in its treatments. The Garden Isle provides the seaweed, pineapple, guava, coconut and a plethora of other botanicals as well as the famous Kauaʻi red clay and red sea salt which inform the scrubs, wraps, facials, and hair and skin treatments on the spa menu. While featuring just five treatment rooms, the spa offers an impressive selection of massages, body treatments and facials, individually or in packages. In addition to the locally sourced, indigenous botanicals of Mālie Organics, the spa highlights Kerstin Florian products as well.
We made our way to the second-floor spa where Brandy, the spa concierge, greeted us and had us fill out the spa paperwork before she introduced us to our therapists, Jenny and Machiko. They escorted us to the couple’s suite, its pale walls, dark wood accents and dim lighting creating a calm ambience. Once Harry and I settled on our tables, neroli oil was placed in an infuser beneath us, offering a light, refreshing, slightly citrusy scent.
We had decided on a Pohaku hot stone massage, as neither of us had ever had one before, and it seemed only fitting here in Hawaiʻi to experience a massage using smooth, heated volcanic stones bathed in tropical nut oils. The spa menu stated this ancient healing treatment would encourage relaxation and wellbeing while melting knotted muscles and increasing circulation.
It proved to be every bit as relaxing and soothing as promised. Jenny began by gently massaging my back with warm oil before settling a row of stones down my spine. The combination of the weight and heat felt so comforting, draining tension from my chronically tight shoulders and neck. I’ve benefited from more intense massages with much firmer pressure in the past, but I found this approach much more in line with my vacation mindset and the island vibe.
As the stones worked their magic, Jenny quietly massaged my arms, hands and calves before removing the stones and having me turn onto my back. (Aside from having to get off the table at the conclusion of a treatment, I’ve always found this the most difficult maneuver, as I’m too relaxed to want to budge!) My feet, legs, shoulders, neck and scalp received more gentle kneading before Jenny softly announced she would be leaving the room, and I could take my time getting up. Harry voiced my own wish after Machiko also left the room: “Can’t I just lie here and take a nap?”
We resisted that urge, but we did take our time getting dressed and making our way back to the reception area. The spa doesn’t offer a lounge area or changing rooms, as most visitors are guests of the resort and can unwind in their rooms. We did appreciate the opportunity to sit by the pool and explore the grounds, including the oceanside spa cabana. As the valet brought our car around, we agreed that a future visit to Kauaʻi would have to include a stay at this peaceful resort and some more rejuvenating pampering in its spa.
The Spa at Ko‘a Kea
New Orleans has a full roster of activities, events and festivals enticing guests throughout February and March.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
With Black History Month and Women’s History Month right around the corner, it’s time to highlight and recognize South African women working hard to make the travel industry better.
Since Cheval Blanc, an extraordinary, newly designed and refurbished 72-room hotel owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, launched in September 2021, it has been the talk of the town. Le Tout-Paris remarks about its WOW factor … and the hard-to-get reservations for the 30 seats at Plenitude, the intimate, first-floor gastronomic outlet headed by chef Arnaud Donckele, who earned three Michelin stars at Cheval Blanc Saint Tropez. Reservations are also recommended for Limbar, the ground-floor bakery/café/tea shop/bar where we watched Pastry Chef Maxime Frédéric preparing desserts and an absolute must-have for dinner at Le Tout-Paris, the 7th-floor, all-day brasserie. This brightly colored space, with its raised seating and Fauve-like floor tiles and the adjacent Milanese restaurant, Langosteria, both have access to terraces facing the Seine River, with amazing views encompassing Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal-clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture and unique French Polynesian style. The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti and offers visitors the space to relax and reconnect and to be Embraced By Mana. Mana is the life force and spirit that connects all things in The Islands of Tahiti.
Nevada-based The Spa at Green Valley by Well & Being and The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being celebrate the start of 2022 with new health, wellness and spa treatments available through March 31. Both spas offer an array of treatments for guests wanting to relax and unwind before 2022 kicks into full gear.
Now through Jan. 28, JEOPARDY! and Lindblad Expeditions team up for a viewer promotion, the JEOPARDY! Explore Alaska Sweepstakes. The contest will award 10 winners and their guests with an eight-day, small-ship cruise of Alaska’s coastal wilderness.
Go ahead, take a nice, deep breath. Because a Seabourn voyage is all about this moment you’ve come so far in life to embrace. It’s not an escape, it’s an arrival.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Santorini, Greece, with us.