Luxurious Laniwai Spa at the Aulani Resort

Jill Weinlein

Recently I met Lucia Rodriguez Amasio, the Laniwai Spa Director at the Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa for a tour of her 23,000-square-foot luxurious spa. As she greeted me in the lobby, I learned Laniwai in Hawaiian means freshwater heaven. 

The backsplash at the reception counter is wavy and white with a hue of rainbow colors. The lighting decor includes a crystal raindrop chandelier and soothing cloud lights. Both symbolize the gifts of nature to create a rainbow. "Rain comes down from the heavens, travels down the mountains to the sea and back to the heavens," Amasio said. "We try to replicate that experience for our guests."

What makes this spa different than other resort spas is the Disney Imagineers play on color, light and water to create a rainbow effect throughout the spa. Also, the music is not Disney-esque, but soothing Hawaiian sounds that change as one walks through the locker rooms, rain showers, steam room, dry sauna and treatment rooms. 

Spa guests are initially given a wood bowl filled with po.haku or wish stones. I was instructed to hold my hand over the stones and select one "or one might select you," said Amasio. I chose one with the word "Balance." On the back side was the Hawaiian translation Pono. "Balance can be both physical and mental," Amasio said, as she handed me a glass of pineapple lemongrass water to begin my detox cleanse. I held onto the stone and followed her to the center of the spa before stopping at a small circular pond.  "Our guests can never get lost, because this is distinctive and round like a rainbow. We only see the arch of a rainbow, but actually a rainbow is a complete circle," she said.

I was told to make a wish, and place the stone into the pond. "Keep balance in your mind all day," Amasio said. I noticed as I dropped "Balance" into the water, it landed near stones that said “Dream”, “Happiness” and “Harmony”. The wood sticks lining the wall in this area are made of the ohi'a lehua trees. It's a species of flowering evergreen tree that is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawaii.  

Amasio encouraged me to drink a glass of pineapple and coconut water from the hydration station. “All superfoods rich in antioxidants to help fight free radical damage, promote skin cell rejuvenation, boost metabolism and provide a super immune boost," she said. 

Guests are advised to arrive one hour before their appointment to take full advantage of the outdoor relaxation garden as a prelude to their treatment. We stopped at the complimentary exfoliation station known as the Pulu Bar. Guests may take a container of coconut vanilla salt scrub to one of the six different shower heads to achieve a soothing and polishing E Kala Mai shower experience. Nearby are two different temperature plunge pools - a hot one at 101 degrees and a colder one at 90 degrees for sensitive or pregnant guests. Above are rain drop lights hanging in the lushl trees. "This tropical area has become a popular spot for anniversary celebrations and even weddings," she said.

Spa guests may sit out in a cabana in the garden and order light and healthy snacks that include a protein shake and salad. There are complimentary banana muffins and cookies available in the morning, and chocolate treats in the afternoon. The staff will also offer a tea flight served with organic gummy bears for a sweet snack.

Taking a tour of the 15 treatment rooms, I learned guests can choose from four different Hawaiian scents for aromatherapy and a vaierty of music to personalize their experience. The treatment beds are heated, and the products used are organic lotions that are not too strong to all the senses. After a treatment, guests receive a glass of hydration water and cube of guava jelly for a little spike of sugar. 

What is new for younger guests is a high-style retail studio and salon to help little girls can get luau ready and become Moana or pretty mermaids, while young boys can don new board shorts and rash guards to look super cool in the Rainbow Reef or sliding down the Volcanic Vertical waterslide. 

The Painted Sky Spa experience is for 13 to 17-year-old guests who seek a clarifying facial, new hairstyle, or makeup lesson. The 1,500 sq. ft area. allows teens the Laniwai spa privileges with an accompanied adult. Together mother and daughter may enjoy the showers, plunge pools, relaxation lounge areas, complimentary snacks, and hydration waters. 

Since the Painted Sky is near the adult-only outdoor Wailana pool and pool bar, parents can enjoy some quiet time while their teen is receiving a treatment. Also near the spa is the 2,000 sq. ft. Mikimiki Fitness Center filled with Life Fitness equipement, free weights and stretching areas.

While enjoying the Alunai Resort or staying at a nearby property in Ko Olina, be sure to make a reservation at the luxurious Laniwai Spa to unwind, detox and satisfy all of your senses.

Jill Weinlein

The center water feature in the Laniwai Spa is filled with water and stones that offer a message to reflect how you should live your life.

Jill Weinlein

The hydration stations at the Laniwai Spa offer detoxifying water to keep you balanced.

Jill Weinlein

The Laniwai Spa is so tropical that guests have had weddings in the gardens.

Jill Weinlein

Los Angeles based Jill Weinlein covers travel, food and lifestyle destinations for multiple newspapers, magazines and websites. Her areas of expertise include, luxury travel, culinary reviews, cruising and family travel destinations. Born in Los Angeles, Jill studied Communications and Theatre Arts at UCLA. She has a a Dine and Travel blog - and she writes a weekly restaur...(Read More)

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