Monday, January 16, 2012

Spa Slut: The Mauna Lani Spa in Kohala (Part Two)

Sitting here with my multiple layers, listening to my pre-war heater’s inner poltergeist bang pipes together, it’s hard to believe I was just in Hawaii a mere ten days ago.  After re-reading Part 1 of my visit to the Mauna Lani Spa, I realized I had forgotten one detail about the spa that I find so cute — instead of robes, patrons are given brightly-colored sarongs to change into.  Since a  majority of the services are outside, the sarong is brilliant.  It’s also fun to see women of all different ages and snottiness walking around looking like tropical Skittles.

This <<I’m pointing both my thumbs at myself>> little green Skittle did the Kona Mocha Scrub her first full day on the island.  I love starting a beach vacation with a scrub.  I much prefer to wait until I get to the location since most places have scrubs that reflect the local culture and utilize local ingredients. The Mauna Lani’s Kona Mocha Scrub is by far the best scrub I’ve had in terms of ingredients and benefits.

The scrub starts with a rubdown of a mixture of Kona coffee grounds, ground cocoa beans, and sugar. Imagine what that combination smells like… Right, now imagine it 500% better than that.   Because of the coffee grounds, the scrub is more powerful than just a sugar scrub, but is still gentle enough for my sensitive skin.  The cocoa is soothing and moisturizing while the coffee increases circulation and has a tightening affect.

After I showered off the delicious mocha goodness, I was thrilled to find  I could still smell it on my skin.  Once I settled back onto the table, the therapist massaged a thick vanilla bean cream into my skin, combining with the mocha scent, leaving my skin soft and delicious.  For the rest of the day when people would ask, “How was the spa?” I would raise my forearm to their nose and say, “smell.”

Okay, so I feel bad even telling you my water-boarding story because I beyond  love the Mauna Lani Spa.   But, I feel like I’m obligated to warn my readers, in case they are ever tempted to venture into the dangerous waters of the Watsu.  I’ve seen the Watsu massage offered at other destination spas, but I’ve never been tempted to do it.  It just never appealed to me, and I would much rather spend my time with a deep tissue or hot stone massage.  So what came over me? I read through their press and the Lava Watsu was by far the most talked about. Their Wastsu massage received glowing reviews from writers and editors.  Natalie Epenesa, the Mauna Lani’s spa director, was quoted multiple times saying the Watsu is “not to be missed” and the star of their signature treatments.   I thought, “why not?”   Here is the description from their site:

 

LAVA WATSU
Watsu is a passive form of aquatic body work that supports and gently moves you through warm water in graceful, fluid movements. This relaxing, meditative treatment is designed to bring total tranquility to you as your therapist supports, stretches and massages you

Total tranquility…. Right…

Once I changed into my bathing suit and sarong, an attendant walked me through the outdoor spa and healing garden to the lava watsu pool.  When I walked up my first thought was the pool structure resembled an amusement park ride, possibly Flintsones-themed.  The structure is connected to a real lava tube.  I know this because as soon as I walked up, my therapist, a small older man with a white beard, greeted me in a wife-beater and swim shorts, asked me if I would like to see the lava tube.  “Sure.”

After our mini-excursion behind the structure to see the lava tube, he continued setting up while I got into the pool.  The water is heated precisely to body temperature which would be lovely with a breeze, but the Fred Flintsone structure traps in all the heat, making it that much hotter.  I waded around in there until he came into the pool and instructed me to put my arms around him.  He cradled me and started swaying me around the pool. My ears were in the pool and I could hear that they were pumping World Music under water. Nice touch, except it kept shorting out, so I would jolt whenever the music came back on full volume.  As he swayed me around, I felt two sensations — 1) I was uncomfortable with my proximity to this stranger.  For my arms to be around him, up against his chest, while he cradled my body… It was way too intimate. 2) The swaying back and forth with my eyes closed was making me sea sick.

I think he could tell I was straining my neck to keep my face above water so he put my head in a floating head rest.  This sounds nice in theory, but I assure you this head rest made the treatment take on a more water-boarding vibe. When the head rest bobbed, it would splash my face with water.  My therapist starting stretching me, which was awkward because I was trying to make sure I didn’t lose my balance, and then he started massaging my hands under water.  When he massaged my shoulders it felt more like unpleasant rubbing, because it was underwater.  Then he started swaying my body in half circles, and all I could think of was that I was going to have to endure 80 minutes of this (as water splashed into my face).  I got up, rubbed my eyes, and I told the little man that I’d had enough and that I wasn’t enjoying the service.  He looked a little defeated, but he was quite understanding, and rushed to the spa to find us a room so he could do land-locked massage for the remaining minutes. Unfortunately this process took a while and I only ended up getting 40 minutes of massage.  It was probably for the better since as soon as I got onto the massage table, I closed my eyes and I still felt like I was swaying in the Watsu pool…

 

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One Response to “Spa Slut: The Mauna Lani Spa in Kohala (Part Two)”

  1. January 01, 2013 at 8:55 pm, Beauty Binge's Favorite Blog Posts of 2012 - Beauty Binge | Beauty Binge said:

    […] Getting Waterboarded in a Watsu Massage at the Mauna Lani Spa in Hawaii  While I may have been traumatized during the experience, I certainly had a lot of fun writing […]

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