Heavenly Hana

Hotel Hana-Maui's new spa is the final step in the property's renovation

By: Marty Wentzel

HANA, Maui Hotel Hana-Maui general manager Doug Chang likens the opening of his resort’s new spa to the icing on the cake. “The spa represents the end of the journey, the last step in our renovation,” said Chang. “It’s a major milestone for us.”

The Feb. 1 unveiling of Spa Hotel Hana-Maui caps a $14 million renovation of the rural East Maui resort, a 67-acre property dating back to 1946.

During a series of ownership and management changes starting in the mid-1990s, the hotel’s accommodations and public areas fell into disrepair. The current owner and manager, Ohana Hotel Company and Passport Resorts, respectively, came to the rescue with an 18-month overhaul. In January, back in shape at last, Hotel Hana-Maui earned its first AAA Four Diamond award.

The new 7,650-square-foot spa occupies a building once housing the hotel’s original guestrooms. While the interiors were completely gutted and redesigned, the exterior provides the same one-level bungalow ambience as the rest of the property.

Planners selected the location of the spa for its sensitivity to the environment, Chang said. With views of Hana Bay, the facility’s horseshoe shape provides a sense of enclosure, with no intrusions from the rest of the resort. At the same time, “it opens up to the power and peace of our environment,” he said.

Since the days of the ancient Hawaiians, Hana has been considered a place of natural healing energy, Chang noted.

“Our challenge was to present an age-old spirit in a contemporary spa setting,” he said. “We wanted to keep the spa as grounded as possible, in keeping with the Hawaiian belief that we are all connected.”

Not surprisingly, the name of its line of signature spa products is Honua (Earth).

Many of the spa’s 15 massage therapists and four estheticians have worked at high-profile health and wellness centers, but they chose to move to the Hana facility because of what it represents.

“We offer a connection between the place, the guest and the therapist, and nothing more,” Chang said. “We’re not over-the-top. We don’t want to become a spa resort. The spa is another element of the Hotel Hana-Maui guest experience, complementing all that we have here.”

Treatments at Spa Hotel Hana-Maui abide by the philosophy that less is more. Alongside standard body treatments, signature indulgences include the Rainforest Mist, combining a facial, body massage and reflexology using a blend of native fruits and nut oils.

The Maemae features a sugar scrub and hydrating body wrap. Clients might want to experience a hot lava stone massage, or a salt bath followed by Hawaiian lomilomi massage.

Chang noted that massages last one hour, unlike the 50-minute treatments offered at most spas.

“We don’t want to rush the experience,” Chang said.

Each of the spa’s five massage rooms averages 500 square feet, with original Hawaiian art on the walls, a Hawaiian quilt on the treatment table and sliding shoji screen doors.

“Our design balances a sense of the Oriental with things Hawaiian,” Chang said. Four of the massage suites feature private gardens with water features, and two are designated for couples. There are also two wet rooms for body services, and two rooms for facials.

A waterfall trickles down the wall opposite the entrance to Spa Hotel Hana-Maui.

After checking in at the reception area, which flanks the spa boutique, clients are escorted to changing areas with beautiful mahogany lockers, bamboo floors and travertine tiles inlaid with a variety of island stones.

Guests have access to a cold plunge, whirlpool, steam rooms and outdoor lava-rock showers.

While they wait for their treatments to begin, they can unwind in the relaxation room and enjoy complimentary herbal teas, purified water and fresh fruit.

Then there’s the tandem Watsu pool. In water heated to body temperature, therapists glide guests through gentle therapeutic movements.

Although the pool is outside, it’s surrounded by landscaping to maintain the privacy of the guest.

Now that the spa is up and running, Hotel Hana-Maui owners plan to renovate the town center, across the street from the hotel. Construction will start this fall on a three-year plan to rebuild Hana’s central hub of shops and create pedestrian walkways.

Once that’s done, said Chang, “we’ll start all over again.”