North America

Hawaii: Leave the World – and the Men – Behind

written by | Posted on April 1st, 2010

Female spiritual journeys take vacationers into the soul of Hawaii.

Hawaii is one of those destinations that envelops you the moment you set foot on any of its islands. The lushness, the sculpted cliffs, the ocean breezes mingling with the floral scents, and the feeling you’ve left the mainland far, far behind, all combine to create a perfect setting for women who truly want to immerse themselves into a wellness or spiritual retreat.

Located approximately 2,800 miles from any continent, “Hawaii is truly an escape,” says Clifford Naeole, cultural advisor, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Here, “One has no choice but to ‘leave things behind.’ Nature virtually surrounds the physical being and therefore influences the spiritual essence. There are strong energies such as the volcanoes, the pounding surf and cascading waterfalls. At the same time, the more subtle energies to set things in balance can be the rainbows, the ever-changing clouds and the forest as it dances for you while listening to the songs of the birds and the music of the wind. One can easily find balance here, hence finding oneself, hence finding wellness.”

Although the spa trend has in recent years hit every high-end property around the country and many resort vacationers can’t do without a body wrap or facial, in Hawaii wellness retreats take it to the next level and go far beyond a simple massage. “It is no longer good enough to experience a good massage,” says June Cappiello, marketing communications manager, The Kahala Hotel & Resort. “People are looking for the experience that goes beyond the physical. And as long as it is respected, most [Hawaii] natives are happy to share their knowledge—it’s part of their culture.” In fact, says David Gaynes, founder, Wellness With Aloha, “The natives have realized that being part of a bridge to the only economy around—tourism—is the only way to survive.”

And, according to Julie Zadeh, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau’s travel trade managing director, there’s a pool of clients in your database that would be ideal for this type of vacation. In fact, she says, it’s “…anyone who has a desire to experience something beyond the physical and who wants to create wholeness for themselves.” For women especially, she adds, “The bond between girlfriends and the intimacy they share, makes wellness retreats and spa getaways a perfect activity they can do together.”

Wellness With Aloha, located on the Big Island and offering 15 percent commission, offers a great “buddy” package on this island that has your women clientele tip-toeing into a spiritual journey. The 4-night Lokahi Lei, or “the flowers of peace,” is a spiritual healing journey that takes guests from a lei greeting and limousine pick-up at the airport, to a personal meeting with a kahuna (high priest).

Accommodations are inspiring in and of themselves—a spectacular oceanview guestroom at the famed Fairmont Orchid—and then there’s a private boat charter on Kealakekua Bay on the Kona side of the island to watch and swim with wild dolphins (whales, as well, in March and April), a morning beachfront lomi lomi massage pp at the hotel’s famed Spa Without Walls, followed by an afternoon with the kahuna, where clients connect with the spirituality of the past and present energies of the Big Island in a quiet location. During the session there’s a Hawaiian blessing as well as chanting to induce ancient mana (energetic properties).

“The Big Island is known even amongst Hawaiians as ‘The Healing Island.’ It has all the forces of nature at play in a gentle and healing way: fire energy from live volcanoes, earth energy from the Mauna Kea mountain, and, of course, it’s surrounded by ocean and bathed in tropical breezes.” The Lokahi Lei package is priced at $9,895 for two people (land-only). Note this is a rate exclusively for Recommend (use booking code Recommend).

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, located on Maui on a century-old, beachfront pineapple plantation surrounded by the lush foliage of rolling hills, doesn’t offer a wellness retreat per se, says Naeole, but “we do pay commissions on room packages that allow guests to experience different wellness options.” That includes a trip to The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Kapalua, which prides itself on offering a variety of treatments and therapies based on native Hawaiian healing and the potent plants, flowers, fruits and herbs abundant on the islands. Clients can choose to have their treatments in the facility’s private garden treatment suites, offering up a menu of detoxifying and hydrating body treatments—the Firming Volcanic perhaps? Here, they’ll also have access to an outdoor private garden shower. This oasis also offers a variety of classes including yoga classes and one of our favorites, the Kapalua Walk.