From the Sea

The spa at the JW Marriott Ihilani is one of two authentic thalasso therapy centers in the U.S. 

By: By Marty Wentzel


JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa

Escape Spa Package: Oceanview accommodations and a choice of one aromatherapy massage or thalasso therapy per person. Rates start at $609 per night. Valid through Dec. 30.

Escape Golf Package: Oceanview accommodations, two rounds of golf per day, two sleeves of golf balls and two personalized bag tags. Rates start at $699 per night. Valid through Dec. 31.

Aloha Package: Mountain-view accommodations, $60 daily dining credit and daily use of in-room high-speed Internet. Rates start at $399 per night. Valid through Dec. 21.

Fifth Night Free Package: Clients receive the fifth night free along with a room upgrade and daily breakfast for two. Rates are $485 for oceanview (upgrade from mountain-view) and $605 for deluxe oceanview (upgrade from oceanview). Valid until Dec. 18.

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The JW Marriott’s fitness program is built around its location. // © JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa 
The JW Marriott’s fitness program
is built around its location.

Like the fresh tropical tradewinds that nurture Hawaii, a steady infusion of health-and-wellness concepts enlivens the overall philosophy behind the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa. The setting alone looks invigorating, from its unspoiled beaches to its tranquil lagoons basking on the sunny western shores of Oahu. Add to that a long list of spa and fitness programs and facilities, and it’s no wonder the Ihilani has earned so many accolades, whether from the readers of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, or reviews on Web sites like and

Dan Banchiu, general manager of JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa, credits the hotel’s idyllic location for much of its rejuvenating effects on clients.

“We have taken a cue from Mother Nature to offer the best health-and-wellness setting for our guests,” said Banchiu. “For example, the Ihilani Spa offers treatments that utilize natural ingredients. Our culinary team seeks out organic, locally-grown products as much as possible, including hand-picking fish straight off the boats in Honolulu Harbor to be served that evening at our fine-dining restaurant, Azul.”

Front and center of the resort is the Ihilani Spa, with 20,917 square feet of interior space and 14,200 square feet outside. It claims to be one of only two facilities in the U.S. to offer authentic thalasso therapy — an underwater massage technique using pulsating jets of warm, filtered seawater.

Clients can select treatments a la carte or design their own full-day spa programs, including three 50-minute treatments of choice and a health-conscious lunch. Some of the unique treatments available include La Stone Hot Rock Massage, which incorporates thermotherapy to promote healing. It alternates the use of heated basalt stones and extremely cold marble stone (50 min., $155; 75 min., $190). The Deluxe Thalasso Therapy With Color and Essential Oils is an invigorating combination of seawater massage, color therapy and pure essential oil. Air and water jets provide a stimulating full-body massage using fresh Hawaiian seawater pumped directly into the spa (25 min., $75).

The spa also features specialized scrubs and wraps such as the Scrub Bar Therapy. These full-body scrubs — including the Maui Ginger Sugar Scrub, Ihilani Signature Scrub and Specialty Scrub — all utilize natural island ingredients (50 min., $115). The Rejuvenating Wrap begins with a moisturizing body scrub that prepares the skin for a rejuvenating wrap containing natural extracts of pineapple and tamarind. While wrapped, the client receives a Thai-style head massage. The skin is then massaged with an Asian body-oil blend (50 min., $145).

If guests are more interested in beauty treatments than body scrubs, there’s the Heavenly Splendor Facial Supreme. This ultimate deluxe facial includes exfoliation of the back, legs and arms to gently remove dry skin. A back massage helps to stimulate the senses and induce a state of deep relaxation, followed by a hand and foot treatment (110 min., $230).

And for those that simply want it all, there’s the Refresh package, offering a massage, wrap, facial and even lunch (four hours, $456).

Finally, the spa’s personal fitness training options range from traditional weights to Hip on Hula, a class where clients work out while learning native Hawaiian dance moves.

Beyond the spa and fitness center, in this year-round, warm-weather locale, visitors can dive into aquatic activities like swimming, snorkeling, scuba, deep-sea fishing and sailing. By land, guests can work out and enjoy the views on a three-mile fitness walk led by certified trainers. In the Ihilani’s tennis garden, six championship courts encourage clients to lob and volley on their own or sign up for lessons. For golfers, the adjacent Ko Olina Golf Club awaits with 18 challenging holes and 16 water features.

Whether your clients want to unwind or recharge, the Ihilani presents a thorough and thoughtful approach to the concept of a health-and-wellness resort. The end result, said Banchiu, “is a vacation that treats the mind, body and soul with luxury.”