The Spa Grande is located inside the sprawling resort of the Grand Wailea in Maui, a Waldorf Astoria property, a brand that immediately conjures up a picture of wealth, luxury and grandiosity. The hotel is set on some of the most stunning land on Maui, and sits on 40 acres of beachfront property on Maui’s south-west side.
Spa Grande at Grand Wailea claims to be the hands-down the best spa on Maui, and has a few accolades including Best Hotel or Resort Spa #1 in Hawaii in Hawaii Magazine’s Readers’ Choice for 2016, and Forbes Four Star Spa in the Forbes Travel Guide for 2016. Indeed it is a grand spa, like the hotel it sits in, befitting of the Waldorf Astoria masthead. There are 40 treatment rooms in a 50,000 square-foot spa, making it the largest spa in Hawaii. When we visited it was a little old-school in feel, a bit on the turn-of-the-millennium side of interior design, but since then the spa has undergone a renovation and refresh to the tune of $70 million. The revamp focused on modernizing the “dry” area treatment rooms with ohia wood flooring, modern window shades and light fixtures, and air conditioning. The relaxation area is decorated in softer shades of island tones include sand-colored carpet and upholstered seating. The outdoor relaxation area received new chaise lounges, while the treatment rooms each have individual iHome speakers so that guests may customize their music.
The Spa Grande has several different areas for spa-goers to experience. It’s all contained in what’s called a “termé hydrotherapy circuit”, comprised of a series of thermal baths, showers and “one-of-a-kind features” designed to soothe and rejuvenate. The spa encourages guests to spend an hour prior to a spa treatment in the circuit to enjoy the benefits of the termé. When you spend an hour or so in the termé circuit before your treatment, you also get a complimentary full-body loofah exfoliation performed by a termé circuit spa attendant. This is a quick scrub down in a small room just off to the side, just to get your muscles warmed and your skin prepped for the main treatments you’ll receive, or to enhance the effects for the five different soaking bath experiences.
The Roman area of the circuit features a large whirlpool with a cold plunge, a dry Redwood sauna and a eucalyptus steam room. All are quite spacious and decently sized. The sauna is sufficiently hot, and the steam room is sufficiently steamy.
The Japanese area has traditional Furo baths with hot and cold plunges. In this area you can take a Japanese-style bath after you shampoo and wash yourself at one of the bathing stations with a low stool. Japanese spa etiquette dictates that you can enter a soaking tub only once you are clean.
The “Maui area” seems to be the crown jewel of the spa, featuring five soaking bath experiences based on the waters of Maui, cascading waterfalls, and tropical showers. The three cascading waterfalls drop from a height of 10 feet to massage your neck and shoulders. The two tropical showers have 50 invigorating water jets that massage your entire body from head to toe. These are pretty rough though, so prepare yourself for an aggressive shower.
The five soaking bath experiences created exclusively for Spa Grande were the neatest part of the spa, and the most visually stunning baths I’ve seen in a spa. When we visited, the baths were based on the 5 major Hawaiian islands, but now the soaking baths have a “Healing Waters of Maui” theme, representing the island’s clouds, waterfalls, rain forest, streams and ocean. Each bath has a signature scent and bath salt, thanks in part to a year-long project by the resort’s Hawaiian cultural ambassador and the founder of Ala Lani Bath & Body who is also a former Spa Grande therapist. While I really enjoyed soaking in these special baths, they are on the small side, so prepare to bathe with strangers if the spa is really busy.
The co-ed relaxation area overlooks the Grand Wailea’s garden towards the ocean, so you can chill out and wait for your treatment while enjoying a spectacular ocean view. It’s shaded from the sun, so no need to worry about sunscreen while lounging here.
The only negative thing that I would have to say about the spa is that the facilities area is kind of loud. You have a lot of water running (like the cascading waterfalls) and people chatting in an area that is completely tiled in marble or stone, so the echo effect is huge. The spa doesn’t make it clear that the termé hydrotherapy circuit is a quiet area, so as a result, it’s not.
Massage & Body Treatments
My treatment for the day at the Grand Wailea’s spa Grande was the Pala’au Journey (80 minutes, $260). The spa’s brochure says that Pala’au means “to heal with plants,” and the service includes a Hawaiian Lomilomi massage followed by a full-body cocoon, and ending with a scalp and foot massage using products created on Maui. I’m not sure that plant-based healing was really featured all that much during this treatment, but the products were nice enough.
My therapist was an older island-hippy-ish haole lady who was a bit too chatty. Though she did seem like she had a lot of wisdom, I personally didn’t want to chat too much during my treatment, and thankfully she got quieter as the treatment went on.
This Lomilomi massage was different than the other ones I had received, perhaps because this one took place in a super corporate Waldorf Astoria resort. It had elements of traditional Lomilomi, such as the use of palms, forearms, fingers, knuckles, elbows, and knees. But that’s about where the similarities ended. It was a relaxing massage, and the therapist was good at working on my trouble spots. But it wasn’t really a Lomilomi. Spa directors in Hawaii should realize that this is disappointing because when you book a Lomilomi in Hawaii, people expect to receive one, or as close to an authentic version as possible.
A hydrating product was applied during the massage (I can’t remember what it was now) so that it could soak into my skin during the cocoon/head/foot massage portion of the treatment. I was wrapped in warm blankets, and the therapist was good at asking if and making sure I wouldn’t get panicky or claustrophobic during the time that I’d be wrapped up. Some people can get claustrophobic if they are wrapped up and then panicky when they feel like they can’t move, so obviously this is not a good thing for a relaxing time.
While I was all warm in my cocoon, she proceeded to the head and foot massage part. Her head massage was very lackluster, and it seemed like she was almost checked out of the process. Some oil was applied to my scalp, and she rubbed it in, without much intention or effort. The foot massage was slightly better, probably because therapists are better trained at massaging feet (or do it more often) but on the whole it left me wanting more. Or at least better.
Service was in line for a spa that has been voted one of the “Top 10 Spas in the United States” by both Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure magazines, and that was the recipient of the 2015 Forbes Four Star Award. When you get to the spa, you’re greeted warmly and checked in efficiently. They also make sure you get a tour, and you’re even organized into a group for the tour if you get there at the same time as other people, because the spa is large and there is a lot of ground to cover during tour. They didn’t mention though that you get a complimentary loofah scrub down before your treatment, and that caused a bit of confusion, so hopefully that bit of key information is better integrated into their meet and greet or tour.
My therapist’s service was also excellent, the only minor con being that she was a little too chatty. She was kind and nurturing, listened to my requests and adjusted the treatment accordingly.
The Spa Grande is worth the splurge for a special occasion if you are in Maui. Be advised if you want to spend some spa time with someone of the opposite sex, you can’t really do so unless you hang out in the co-ed relaxation area and/or get a couples’ treatment. The hydrotherapy circuit is a fantastic place to unwind and relax, but please, can we all just try on some silence and being present in there?
- Roman Tub
- Dry Sauna
- Steam Room
- Cascading waterfalls
- Swiss jet showers
- Japanese furo
- Five specialty baths
- Co-ed relaxation area with an ocean view
- Hair Salon
- Poolside Treatments
- Fitness Center
$$$$ = Pricey
Spa Grande is located inside the Grand Wailea Hotel in Maui, Hawaii.
3850 Wailea Alanui Dr.
Wailea, HI 96753
HOURS OF OPERATION
Spa hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Salon hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The first Termé hydrotherapy circuit starts at 8am and last one starts at 5pm. Treatment Hours start at 9am and the last treatment starts at 6pm.
HOW TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
You can book appointments online or by calling 808-875-1234 x 4949.