Laniwai Review – A Disney Spa at Aulani
Let me start off by saying that my wife and I were on the fence about booking any time at Laniwai Spa. Let’s face it; it’s a Disney spa in Hawaii. Which means, the prices are at least double that of many other fancy spas (to be fair, I haven’t been to many fancy spas so the prices might be in line with other elaborate spas). However, IT IS DISNEY! That means it’s probably awesome. And it was!
You start the tour with a cast member having you select a stone blindly from a basket. It contains a word that you are supposed to focus on during your time at the spa. I picked Ho’olohe (listen) and Nicolle picked Moe ‘Uhane (dream).
You proceed down a hallway to the tranquil pool where you make a wish and throw the stone into the pool.
The tour then continues to the changing facilities/locker room area, where we first paused outside to sample two of the beverages available. The drinks are rotated, but the two available while we were there were “Energy Flow-Glowing Skin” featuring pomegranate and acai berry and “Longevity-Immunity” which was an antioxidant green tea extract with peach. At this point we separated, with the female cast member escorting Nicolle to the women’s changing rooms and a male cast member escorting me into the male side.
Each side has a private relaxation room with comfortable lounge chairs, magazines, water, and fruit. The only difference between the two that I noticed was that the men’s relaxation room had a TV on the wall and the women’s had two additional chairs.
Each area has multiple showers, sinks, lockers and bathroom facilities. Included is a heater for your bathing suit, sauna and steam room enhanced with eucalyptus as well as toiletries such as shaving and hair products for your use. Your cast member provides you with a pair of sandals and a locker, equipped with a very cozy robe. The robes at Aulani are available for purchase.
The facility also has a co-ed relaxation room, which is much more spacious than the private rooms and has access to the outside garden. The co-ed space also has more snacks, providing not only fruit and fruit infused water but there were also oatmeal raisin cookies (which Nicolle swears are the best she’s ever had) and mini banana muffins topped with a macaroon (also very delicious).
The last part of the tour is truly surreal. Your cast member takes you outside, first pausing at a station equipped with complimentary scrubs, which you are given a sample of.
Then you are led around the corner and into the hydrotherapy garden, Kula Wai. Spanning 5,000 square feet, Kula Wai features lounge chairs, some with canopies, two soaking tubs, a heated whirlpool, a plunge pool, six different rain-style showers, a reflexology path, and two private vitality baths, which are reserved to you for an additional cost.
There is also a station set up that offers complimentary exfoliation blends and, for an extra cost, face or eye masques.
We arrived a bit early and hung out in the gender specific relaxation rooms with some infused water after the tour and waited for our massages. It was very comfortable and as we were there first thing in the morning we had the areas practically to ourselves. Once it was time for our treatments, our individual therapist came and got us. I decided to go with the Kilikili, which includes a full-body exfoliation scrub, which I got to select from three different scents, accompanied by a soothing massage under streaming jets of warm water, and ends with a signature body butter. The massage was 70 minutes and meant to leave you refreshed and reenergized. I must say, it worked! Now the price was a lot higher than your typical massage at $230, but you have to remember, this price technically includes your time before and after your treatment. I really enjoyed my treatment. I felt like a king being bathed. The jets of water move back and forth once each part of the body is complete. The body butter feels very smooth and all in all it is a very relaxing treatment.
Nicolle had the Hana Pohaku, which is a hot stone massage. She opted to get a 50 minute massage, which cost $165.00, so she would have more time to enjoy the Kula Wai. With this massage, she had a choice of four different scented lotions and four different choices of soothing music to listen to. Never having a hot stone massage before, she had no idea what to expect, but said the stones were used to help knead the tension out of her muscles and she claims it’s the best massage she’s ever had. Afterwards, we were both treated to anti-oxidant guava jellies, which are made in house and are absolutely delicious.
When our treatments were over we proceeded to the hydrotherapy garden where we grabbed one of the canopy lounge areas and settled in to enjoy the area.
We relaxed in the soaking tubs, and tried out all of the rain showers. I jumped into the plunge pool, which was a mere 50 degrees, after soaking in the heated whirlpool; it was very cold but very refreshing. After hanging out in the garden for a while we went inside to the co-ed lounge areas to have some more snacks and refreshments.
High costs aside, I couldn’t really find anything to complain about. It was a fantastic time and the garden (Kula Wai) was great. There were only a few people in any of the areas so it wasn’t crowded and the cast members were very accommodating and nice. If I were to mention anything negative, it seemed a bit odd that some of the rooms from the resort were looking down on the garden, but that’s really not a big deal. I do wish the vitality baths were free, that is the only reason we didn’t try it. They do offer five different treatments, which they refer to as ‘Nature’s Soaks.’
When we left Laniwai we we’re each given a bag containing our word paired with a bath salt as a complimentary gift and reminder of our time there. If we return to Aulani in the future, we will book time there again for sure.
Note: Inside Laniwai is a store and a salon. Next to Laniwai is ‘Painted Sky’, which is a spa designed just for teens.