Waikiki Plantation Spa

On the Road in Honolulu, Hawaii.

HONOLULU, HAWAII — Hannah Lee, executive editor — When I’m in Hawaii, the only thing I really want to do is go to the beach. So after spending a few days inside judging the Japan Nail Olympics (see my coverage on page 68), I was a little overzealous in my “tanning” at the beach. Sunburned and tired, I decided to spend part of my last day in Honolulu at the spa.

After doing a little research online, it seemed at least several of the major hotels in the resort oceanfront area of Waikiki were home to privately run day spas. After perusing several spa menus, I decided on Waikiki Plantation Spa at the Outrigger Waikiki hotel mostly because the Volcanic Foot Therapy was enticing. (I mean, I was in Hawaii, right? A volcanic stone foot massage seemed like the service to book.)

Arriving at the Outrigger, I took the express elevator up to the penthouse and walked in to a calming Zen-like oasis overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Owner Sheryl Bell gave me a tour of the two-story spa that opened in June of this year. (Coincidently, it’s the only penthouse spa in all of Waikiki.) It’s her second Waikiki location; her first, Serenity Spa Hawaii at the Outrigger Reef hotel just up the beach, was one of the first day spas in the area when it opened in 2001. “The spa industry is relatively new to Waikiki,” said Bell. “Serenity Spa was the second spa to open in Waikiki, and that was just five years ago.”

I figured spas and Hawaii go hand in hand, so I was shocked to find out that the industry is still so young there. In addition to treatment rooms on both floors, the spa boasts two outdoor decks overlooking the beautiful beach and ocean, where clients can relax or mingle with each other. Just off of the reception area, the manicure/pedicure area includes two manicure tables and two spa pedicure thrones with ceiling-to-floor windows on two sides. (The sliding glass doors facing the ocean can be pulled back for spa parties when clients are getting nail services and hanging out in groups.)

Both of Bell’s spas share four nail technicians, and the day I was there, nail tech Marin Nakano was working. That was definitely my lucky day. Nakano, a licensed nail tech for about a year, rubbed, scrubbed, and massaged my legs and feet like no other. The Volcanic Foot Therapy that I added on to my basic spa-style pedicure included a paraffin treatment and hot stone massage — possibly the best I have ever had. What a treat to escape the hot sun and get into this calming oasis.

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