Insider's Guide to Spas
Taking time out at Grand Wailea's gorgeous spa.

My Spa Experience

My Maui Spa and Beauty Insights

Shelley Lotz

Hawaii has always been my happy place since I was a “frozen” teenager in Alaska. The perfect weather, gorgeous beaches, and lush tropical flora keep visitors coming back to the Aloha state. Hawaii is the ultimate wellness destination, and it’s not surprising that it is home to the healthiest people in the country. This paradise has many benefits, including tranquil spas with authentic rituals, treatments, and fresh ingredients from the local farmers. The residents are trying to be more sustainable and retain their culture, which is always challenging with the constant pressure of development.

A Few of My Favorite Maui Spas

No visit to Maui is complete without a spa experience surrounded by the backdrop of beautiful scenery, fragrant Island flowers, and signature coconut-mango scents. Maui has numerous spas: The Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea, Spa Montage at Kapalua, Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, Awili at Andaz, and Travaasa in Hana, just to name a few. Olavine Spa is a small hidden gem in Wailea that features custom treatments and local products (olivine are green lava gemstones found on Hawaiian beaches). Kaanapali has many nice resort spas. Four Seasons Hualalai and The Hilton Waikoloa are also beautiful spas to explore on the Big Island of Hawaii. As an esthetician and spa professional, I try to experience as many as I can.

I love them all, but after the beach, you have to experience the beauty and extensive amenities at the Spa Grande in Wailea. In addition to excellent treatments and therapies, you can enjoy fitness classes and the Healing Waters of Maui. These waters are five thermal baths with customized blends of essential oils, plants, and ingredients from local organic farmers. You can enjoy the impressive terme hydrotherapy circuit with pools, showers, steam, and Japanese Furo baths. Try the green coffee slimming scrub, detoxifying wrap and massage for a refreshing change and smooth, toned skin ready for the beach. The treatment was both effective and therapeutic. After enjoying the waters and a Hawaiian lomi-lomi massage, plan enough time to relax in the outdoor lounge with a stunning view of the resort and ocean for the perfect ending to a spa day. Don’t miss the fun store with many popular spa lines.

At the other end of the island you can experience zen-like bliss at  Spa Montage at Kapalua Bay. This is definitely the place to go when you want to have peace and quiet. The Spa Montage honors the Hawaiian culture with the focus on the mountain-to-sea journey. This luxurious spa includes spa suites and outdoor treatment rooms, a fitness center, an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and private outdoor sanctuary. Make sure you have a few hours to meditate, read, or soak in the atmosphere. I did not want to leave!

A Beautiful New Hawaiian Beauty Brand

Island spa treatment ingredients are popular and many include sugar, lavender, and macadamia nuts. A new brand I just discovered is Kuleana Beauty oils and cleansers made from sunflowers handcrafted in Hawaii. I was skeptical at first on how it would work on my skin, but I really like it. It’s a nice clean, simple line with only three cleansers and oils: Soothe (for all skin types); Nourish (dry skin); and Rejuve (maturing skin) oil. The cleanser is formulated with oils, sea salts, and rainwater. Surprisingly, it does not feel oily and leaves a light silky feeling on the skin. The oils are lightweight and have a very subtle scent. I love the glass packaging—no plastic! Definitely a brand that promotes simplicity and sustainability.

There is an interesting story behind the brand: Kuleana is owned by Maiden Hawaii Naturals, a subsidiary of a renewable energy company, Pacific Biodiesel Technologies. A sustainable, zero-waste model of agriculture and energy, the company farms sunflower crops for biodiesel at the Maui Tropical Plantation, which you can tour. Maiden Hawaii Naturals also makes pure, plant-based oils from macadamia nuts, avocado, kukui nuts, green coffee, and sunflower.

Another Hawaiian brand is Honua, which won the Green Spa Network 2017 Beauty Brand Award.

With travel becoming more of a headache with airport lines and customs, a trip to the Hawaiian Islands is a smart wellness vacation choice with great flights from the West Coast, laidback atmosphere, and the special Aloha welcome.


Shelley Lotz

Shelley Lotz

Shelley Lotz has over 25 years of experience in the spa industry as an esthetician, educator, and entrepreneur. She is a major contributing author of "Milady's Standard Esthetics Fundamentals," a textbook for estheticians, and wrote "Green Spas and Salons: How to Make Your Business Truly Sustainable" (