A yogi finds inspiration on a Kauai beach. // © 2011 Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
Whether clients are searching for a relaxing getaway or a spiritual journey, Kauai offers a multitude of options for improving health and wellness. The island's dramatic natural environment, first-rate spas and inspiring special events provide visitors with a unique opportunity to revitalize their spirits using the resources of the island.
"The island's beauty offers a sense of purity," said Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau (KVB). "It provides the perfect setting for visitors to escape, rejuvenate or heal in the way thatís best for them."
Clients can put themselves in the right frame of mind to enjoy their getaway with a traditional massage. Their ideal escape might begin with a Hawaiian lomi lomi massage, which uses rhythmic strokes to relax the body and nurture the spirit. Another popular treatment uses hot stones, a traditional way to soothe aches and pains and promote relaxation. Many spa treatments are enhanced by local fruit and flora to guarantee an authentic experience.
Clients looking for these rest and relaxation options have an appealing range of spas to choose from on Kauai. Most of the island's wellness centers offer on-site treatments as well as in-suite or outdoor massages.
On the south shore, Anara Spa at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort combines Hawaiian healing customs with contemporary pampering to create harmony and restore balance within its clients. It caters to guest preferences with both indoor and outdoor options.
St. Regis Princeville's Halelea Spa, located on the north shore, is another standout with its luxurious and therapeutic practices. The spa offers an elegant escape along with a selection of scents and services. Also on the north shore, Hanalei Day Spa presents a more homespun setting and allows visitors to enjoy their massages accompanied by nature's soundtrack.
Visitors to the east coast can try Spa by the Sea at the Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort, offering unique Hawaiian treatments including healing facials, Hawaiian flower foot baths and volcanic clay body wraps. The spa uses only organic ingredients and features a boutique filled with healing herbs, candles and body products, so guests can take the experience home with them.
Near the main town of Lihue is the Alexander Day Spa and Salon, located at the Kauai Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach. Known for its excellent massages and inviting cabanas, the spa is an ideal place for travelers seeking pampering.
Heading west, A Hideaway Spa at Aston Waimea Plantation Cottages treats clients with different wraps, scrubs, massages and Ayurvedic treatments. Set amid authentic old-Hawaii dwellings, itís great for travelers who want a more down-to-earth ambience.
Practicing yoga and meditation on the beach is another option for visitors to fully embrace the natural environment of the island. Kauai Yoga on the Beach offers a number of programs, including sunrise classes and weekend retreats, all aimed at improving the health of its clients. Using the backdrop of paradise, instructors are able to weave the island's beauty and traditions into their activities.
"They are very dedicated to incorporating the Hawaiian culture into the things they do, which you don't find everywhere else," said Susan Tanzman, president of Martin's Travel and Tours in Los Angeles. "Just being on Kauai gives you a very unique feeling of being in touch with the land."
All around the island, spas and healing centers offer romantic packages for couples and bridal parties, so that clients can find rejuvenation in the company of loved ones.
For travelers who want to immerse themselves further in the health and wellness scene on Kauai, there are a number of annual events throughout the year which focus on that theme. Taking place in January, the Kauai Wellness Expo highlights healthy practices with multi-cultural workshops, exhibitors, entertainment and extensive demos in the healing arts.
In September, the Kauai Marathon offers a challenging race with a breathtaking backdrop for runners. Participants can even catch a glimpse of turtles, dolphins and monk seals while pounding the pavement.
The Na Lima Hana Festival at the Grand Hyatt is another great way to celebrate fitness, rejuvenation and healing. The three-day program takes place in October and is a must for clients interested in health, yoga, martial arts, exercise or herbal medicine.
KVB's Kanoho expressed that many clients will want to return to this healing island to relive their previous getaways. For those who have not yet visited Kauai, she recommends simply putting up posters of the Garden Isle and sharing images of the landscape.
"Our collateral alone speaks to the traveler because of the natural beauty and the emotion it can bring out," she said.