Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua’s $180 Million Makeover :: Maui pt.3

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Ambassadors of the Environment

Again, due to multiple daily feedings, I didn’t have time to make a dent in the variety of activities that the Ritz-Carlton offers. Luckily, I had signed up in advance for the magical Kapalua Resort Arboretum hike led by naturalist, Jaclyn Schlindwein, one of the Ambassadors of the Environment “green guides.” Not only was she was extremely knowledgeable about the native rainforest, but she was a born teacher and we were all entranced with her enthusiasm and fascinating stories. She pointed out two plants that always grew near each other. The first one was used to weave baskets, and the second one produced seeds that induced sleep. The natives used to throw the “Excedrine PM” seeds into the sea which caused the fish to fall asleep and thus rise to the surface. They would then take the baskets they had made from the first plant, scoop up the comatose fish and put them in private pools for later use. So cool! (Jacyln’s snorkeling and underwater photography class also garnered rave reviews.)

Spa Deux

After our exhilarating hike I was really looking forward to my spa treatment. This is where the Ritz-Carlton really shines. The renovated 17,500 square-foot hotel spa features 15 treatment rooms- many offering private shower gardens, and either coed or separate men’s and women’s lounges with eucalyptus steam rooms, cedar saunas and whirlpools. Filled with many thoughtful touches, such as chilled cucumber slices for your eyes, lavender infused cool towels, fruit infused water and nibblies, I could have happily camped out here for the week. grotto2-spa2

I swear (or at least want to believe) that I looked ten years younger after indulging in a hydrating blueberry soy facial. My superb esthetician, Leah, told me that she wouldn’t put anything on my face I couldn’t eat, and then proceeded to rub on a whole produce section of fragrant products: wild plum eye cream, a rosehip and maize masque, a variety of berry treatments, ending in a tomato sun cream that had a naturally occurring 15% sunscreen provided by the tomato.

*Typical of Ritz-Carlton’s excellent staff training, before Leah started my treatment she asked me if I’d prefer to have her explain the different steps as she went along or would I rather relax in peace and quiet? (Priceless.)

The brand new Kapalua Spa, located a quick five minute shuttle away at the Kapalua Resort, is a real stunner: almost twice as big it features an Olympic-size saline infinity pool, many more outdoor treatment rooms with oversized stone tubs and waterfalls, a full service salon, yoga room, and a 24 hour fitness facility featuring state of the art Kinesis training. Their spa menu offers a variety of time-honored Hawaiian treatments based on native plants fruits and flowers. I felt like $180 million after receiving a rhythmical lomilomi massage, based on a healing art from old Hawai‘i that incorporates pule (prayer), ha (breath) and mana (spiritual energy). And next time I’d even give up a liquid Happy Hour to try “Kapalua on the Rocks “a relaxing warm stone massage with smooth, flat volcanic stones.

Best Overall Tip:

I highly recommend paying a little extra to reserve a room on the Club level. Not only for the clubroom’s exceedingly helpful concierge whose mission is to grant your every wish, but the lounge also offers a generous array of food and drink throughout the whole day, starting with a Continental breakfast and ending with evening Chocolates and Cordials. One afternoon, when I was completely wined-out and couldn’t decide what to drink, they concocted the most delish mimosa- mixing four tropical fruit juices with Roederer Champagne. If only all life’s problems were so easily solved.

Posted by Janice Nieder on June 23, 2009 in Travel

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