Hualalai Spa at the Four Seasons


Occasionally I fantasize about being Madonna. Not to be onstage flaunting the arms of a 20-year-old, or offstage in the arms of a 20-year-old — but I imagine she gets spa treatments whenever she wants, with no thought of time or expense. After all, taking care of Madonna has proved to be a good investment. I expected to see her (or her ilk) when I visited the amazing Four Season’s Hualalai Spa on the Big Island.

The day I was there, a complimentary pre-treatment foot spritzer was offered to aid relaxation. It’s these small touches that got me thinking of Madonna again, and wishing I could book this type of trip for myself without worrying about silly things like the cost, and who would feed the chickens and get my daughters to their various activities while I’m away.

One of my favorite features of the Hualalai Spa is a coed garden lounge. Here, before a treatment, guests can hear the symphony of nature, pounding of a waterfall, breezes rippling through various leaves and a resident flock of mynahs and other tropical birds—all soothing enough to lull any type A into a momentary B status.

I chose the apothecary scrub, just one of the “experiences” on the menu. Over 20 native plants and minerals have been selected for therapeutic properties by kupuna (island elders), and after much sampling I chose coconut (moisturizing), ginger (for circulation), sugar (gentle exfoliation) and pikake (aphrodisiac). As I relaxed post-treatment in the garden, sipping coconut water, I decided I would much rather be me than Madonna, and I too am worth the investment.

Amenities: Coed lap pool, water garden (mentioned above) and fitness center. Women only whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and cold plunges. Massage rooms are either outside in private hales or inside.

Access: Guests of Four Seasons only. The spa is open daily from 6am to 8pm.

Highlight: Lomi Lomi massage (experienced on a return trip) I always ask for this ancient Hawaiian treatment wherever I go because it settles my stomach, and relieves any tension for jet lag etc. but here it was a transcending experience, not just a massage.