If you would’ve told me that a spa in a Grand Hyatt would end up being one of my favorites in America, and possibly the world, I wouldn’t have believed you. But Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt Kauai blew me away the first time I visited, and hasn’t disappointed the several times I’ve returned.
It’s an island of serenity set off on a quiet end of the Grand Hyatt on the southern side of the island of Kauai. The hotel itself sits on 50 oceanfront acres and can be quite busy, so if you’re into a quieter experience, book a room as close to the spa as possible.
The spa itself is 45,000 square feet, which sounds huge but doesn’t necessarily feel that way. It is one of the only spas I visited in Hawaii that takes full advantage of the outdoors, with a gorgeous design that incorporates as much nature as possible. There are meandering stone paths through lush gardens, past fountains, colorful flora, and the occasional critter.
It is one of the only spas I visited in Hawaii that takes full advantage of the outdoors, with a gorgeous design that incorporates as much nature as possible.
The 11 treatment rooms are placed in an open-air courtyard, and each has a private garden and fountain; another five freestanding thatched roof “hales” have private gardens with outdoor showers and, in some cases, tubs, too. Most treatments start in the outdoor relaxation room, where clients can lounge in comfortable chairs and indulge in healthy snacks, while waiting for their session-starting foot scrubs. On my first visit, the therapist had arranged the scrub mixture to form a yin-yang symbol in the bowl.
The locker room is also indoor in that you can shower inside, or partake in the outdoor lava rock showers. There’s a 25-yard lap pool, and I took a harder-than-you’d-expect water aerobics class there during my last visit. This pool is also a great escape from the main resort pools that can get crowded with kids or day drinkers having a good time on vacation. I don’t blame them, but I also don’t always want to be around them, so the pool at the spa made for an adults-only haven.
There are some snacks, as well as coffee, tea, water, and juices on offer, and you can order food (but the menu isn’t as healthy as I’d have liked). They also, oddly, didn’t have any sunscreen available at the pool for guest use. That said, the waffle-weave robes provided to all guests do have hoods, so you can cover up if need be. Those are minor infractions for what is a truly wonderful spa, with a very strong sense of place and topnotch treatments.
Contributing Travel Editor Rima Suqi is an avid world traveler who was raised in an international home. She has explored and covered emerging destinations in the Middle East and Africa, far-flung luxury resorts in French Polynesia, as well as those closer to home including the burgeoning arts scene in Marfa, Texas. The Chicago native has traveled to over 40 countries, writing about the trends and tastemakers for leading travel and lifestyle publications, and subjected herself to innumerable spa treatments—sometimes under very odd circumstances—all in the name of journalism. Her work is regularly published in national and international outlets including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Departures, Architectural Digest and Elle Decor; she has also written, consulted and hosted panels for hospitality brands including Proper Hotels, the Baccarat Hotel, Edition Hotels, St. Regis Hotels, Miraval Resorts, Mii Amo Spa at Enchantment, Grupo Habita and Marriott Hotels. Her last book American Fashion: Designers at Home (Assouline) in partnership with CFDA, sold out three printings.