T+L Reports: Heavenly Hawaii
Halekulani, Honolulu's top beach hotel, means "house befitting heaven" in Hawaiian, and its just-opened Polynesian spa evokes a tropical Elysium. Kapa-cloth murals, water-hyacinth pillows, and ti-leaf leis set the island vibe in seven muted suites, where healing therapies from South Pacific cultures—Samoan, Tongan, Tahitian, and Hawaiian—quickly put you in an aloha state of mind. All treatments begin with a gentle foot-pounding ritual that incorporates a puili, the traditional bamboo mallet used in hula performances. Following a noni-gel massage with pohaku stones, or a body wrap with sweet hibiscus lotion, guests who time their spa visit with low tide can bathe like the ancient Hawaiians in an anomalous freshwater spring that flows under the Waikiki surf in front of the hotel. After that, heaven will seem like a letdown. SpaHalekulani, 800/367-2343 or 808/923-2311; www.halekulani.com; doubles from $324.