The Spa at Kukui‘ula is an exquisite sanctuary: a lushly landscaped, endlessly nurturing garden of delight, where only good things happen. One such thing is the wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating “Water Ritual.” (Why “water”? Because its highly effective therapies revolve around filtered water in a variety of forms: cool, warm, liquid, mist, steam.) If you haven’t yet experienced this restorative offering, you’re in for a treat—and a revelation.
A leisurely round will take about an hour, but the entire complimentary service can be completed in as little as 35 minutes. Immediate benefits include improved blood flow and circulation; expulsion of toxins; stress relief; and a blissful feeling of physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The thoroughly enjoyable self-care sequence can even be a shortcut to recovery for frequent fliers: “This ritual is often called ‘the jet lag cure,’ ” says Spa & Activities Manager Justin Franklin.
While some regulars choose to complete the entire progression every time, you are always welcome to visit as many—or as few—stations as you wish. Every step is imbued with The Spa’s holistic expertise and thoughtful attention to detail, and even a partial routine will leave you feeling immeasurably renewed. The steps of the ritual are listed below in logical order, but the sequence can be customized, as well.
THE WATER RITUAL
● First Step (Women’s Locker Room): The dressing area’s tropical-themed woodwork, imported from Bali, echoes the opulent foliage on all sides. This airy, well-appointed space is where you change into a white cotton robe before setting off.
● Metabolic Boost (Service Orientation): If you’re accompanied by a guide (which is always an option, even after you know your way around), she’ll begin by explaining the process. Next, you’ll fortify yourself with a flavorful, energizing infusion made from cinnamon sticks and ginger root steeped in hot water, then chilled in a small refrigerator just outside the sauna. “This gets the metabolism going,” explains Liana Camara, one of the friendly, knowledge¬able attendants. Ginger is noted for its thermic qualities, and even a small dose can speed up metabolism by as much as 20%, while also stoking the calorie-burning process.
The exceptional health-giving powers of heat also define two of the Water Ritual’s showpiece services: the dry sauna and the steam room. The simple act of perspiring can strengthen the immune system; promote cardio¬vascular function; soothe nerve endings; reduce soreness in muscles and joints; and diminish stress, to name just a few of the potential rewards.
● All Aglow (Dry Sauna): Before venturing into the exhilarating, skin-beautifying warmth of the sauna, you’re handed a tray containing a lavender-scented oshibori, along with a Misty Mate atomizer of cool water and a tumbler of chilled drinking water to spritz and sip, respectively, as needed. The elegantly minimal aesthetic—luminous natural wood, gleaming black-stone flooring—blends seamlessly with the surrounding greenery, visible through a sheltering dome. It’s typical of Kukui‘ula’s beyond-the-call conscientiousness that the dome’s glass is engineered to screen out harmful UV rays.
● Waterfall (Indoor-Outdoor Shower): The picturesque shower nearest the sauna is floored with a mosaic of polished lava rocks and surrounded by lavish, glossy foliage: pandanus, ti leaves, lacy moosehead ferns. This stall doesn’t offer hot water, but after your sojourn in the therapeutic heat of the sauna, you’re likely to welcome the splash of coolness. After showering, you are encouraged to slather on some LOMA Deep Conditioner, an all-natural blend supercharged with the potent Aloemoist Complex. (“It does amazing things for your hair,” Liana enthuses.) Next, you’ll wrap your damp head in a large white towel and replenish your supply of cold drinking water, then head for the most atmospheric (literally!) portion of the circuit.
● Cloud Nine (Steam Room). Before entering this spacious, gleaming structure, you’re given a clamshell containing a mound of Hawaiian sea salt mixed with kukui-coconut oil (an ultra-efficient exfoliator for elbows, knees, and feet), along with a dry towel to wipe your feet afterward, and another lavender-infused oshibori. Because The Spa thinks of everything, you also receive a White Flower–brand Chinese embrocation: a sinus-clearing oil made from eucalyptus, menthol, camphor, wintergreen, and other essential oils, to apply at the base of your throat for smoother breathing amid the hothouse humidity.
The steam room is like an all-glass solarium furnished only with a sleek two-sided banquette covered in pale tiles, and the filtered-water vapor whooshing from vents at either end soon reduces visibility to zero. If you glance out at the lovely garden before the billowing clouds of steam obscure the view, you may notice the Red Sealing Wax Palm, with its graceful fronds attached to a bright-crimson stalk that seems to evoke this step’s subtle Chinoiserie motif.
● Waterfall, Take Two (Indoor-Outdoor Shower): This stop delivers another refreshing cooldown, with two main functions: to wash off the oily sea-salt residue, using Tropical Lave body wash that’s enriched with plant extracts and essential oils, and lightly scented with coconut; and to rinse the trans¬formative conditioner out of your newly soft, strong, shiny hair.
● Hydrotherapeutics (Cold Plunge/Hot Tub): Two sparkling, gorgeously tiled pools stand side by side in an attractive courtyard. You’re advised to start with a dip in the smaller pool, whose still waters are kept at a bracing 58 degrees. The many-jetted hot tub is nearly double the size, and at a pleasantly toasty 104 degrees, twice as warm. Ideally, for maximum invigoration, you’ll hop back and forth between those salutary extremes three times apiece. If you’ve booked a treatment to follow the Water Ritual, it’s recommended that the last dip be in the whirlpool to ensure that you’ll arrive at your appointment in a state of maximum relaxation; otherwise, the revivifying cold plunge provides an ideal finishing touch.
● Moment of Zen (Lounge Chair): If time permits, an optional final step is to stretch out on a poolside recliner, where you can catch a quick catnap, practice a spot of mindfulness, or simply luxuriate in the sensation of total, cell-deep bliss.
No matter how you choose to conclude the ritual, you’ll return to the world feeling infinitely relaxed, revitalized, and restored—and, quite possibly, with an enhanced appreciation for the magic of water, and the marvels of The Spa.