Back at the Hualalai Resort, the in-house apothecary is the spa’s showpiece: All treatments touch on its colorful array of ingredients, most of which are island in origin, including vanilla beans, hibiscus, and macadamia nuts. The apothecary’s concept was inspired by the kupuna, or island elders, and their longstanding knowledge of native plants and healing properties. The display’s aesthetic is all clean lines, wood, and glass, with touches of coral — a modern take on the traditions, done in a trendsetting way.
I began my apothecary treatment with a walk through the outdoor waiea garden, which means water of life. A lava rock waterfall feeds a pool with a meandering path and a bottom covered in stones and gravel; guests are invited to wade into the pool and walk on the stones for a kind of reflexology experience, and the gravel provides a natural exfoliant for the feet.
Lounge chairs are tucked into leafy hideaways for quiet reflection; as I sat and sipped my iced tea, I was mesmerized by the morning light filtering through bowing fronds of ferns. Red-crested cardinals flitted through the tropical landscape, venturing close to my side.
After consulting with Kiyomi on my customized blend of ingredients, we headed for the treatment room. I emerged buffed, polished, and refreshed, and smelling like a sweet coconut cookie (not a bad thing). My body felt healthy and supple, and after swimming a mile in the fitness center’s 25-meter lap pool that morning — all treatments include use of the expansive sports club and spa — it was the best I had felt in a long time. The only thing left to figure out was how to import that Big Island recipe to cook up relaxation back home.
Bonnie Tsui can be reached at www.bonnietsui.com.