Spa Montage Kapalua Bay

Health Spa in Maui

Luxury Resort Health Spa

It happens to the best of vacations. At a certain point – no telling when – the high of exotic novelty takes a downward turn. Before you know it, you find yourself reaching a depressing low.

If this happens to you while visiting Maui, don't worry. Just hire a car, or hail an outrigger canoe if you have whatever means, get yourself to Spa Montage Kapalua Bay, which just opened in June of 2014. It is a perfect cohesion of standard luxury and native tradition.

Spa Montage is situated on the northernmost corner of the western shore, within a vortex of cross breezes that turn the whisper in a wash of comforting white noise. Add to this the honeyed light that suffuses the foyer as you enter, backlighting the smiling attendants like beatific figures in a Renaissance chapel, and suddenly your vacation malaise seems almost like a blessing. It is, after all, the reason you are here.

A collection of little pots full of scented salt scrub are arrayed beside the reception desk; I did what anyone would do, while waiting to be escorted down to the spa, and picked up one after another – lilikoi, pikake, plumeria – to inhale their aroma. The desk attendant asked which I liked best; assuming this was a gentle sales technique, I was not surprised to see her discreetly make a note.

As part of the Kapalua Bay resort complex, Spa Montage naturally has the plush yet muted elegance familiar to any frequenter of luxury accommodations. Where its décor might resemble other health spas around the country, however, Spa Montage offers treatments with a signature approach, inspired by the lore and resources of its locale.

Their treatment program is designed around the twin concepts of mountain (mauka) and shore (makai), with ingredients largely sourced from the West Maui Mountains of Kapalua.

For those whose vacation malaise comes as a result of overexposure to sun, the spa offers facials with crushed pearls and high-grade caviar, to nourish and polish the skin back to brilliance. For those left lethargic by overindulgence, the spa offers "cocoon" treatments done with undaria seaweed to balance out the effect of the elements, or cacao and white algae to draw toxins and restore minerals. One of the more sumptuous treatments involves a black granite tub filled with coconut milk and orchids, where guests enjoy a long, skin-softening soak facing a breathless ocean view.

My masseuse ushered me down a pebble pathway to an outdoor hale, a Balinese-style hut with bamboo roof and door panels. Before beginning, she offered me a half coconut shell, no bigger than my palm, filled with a drink called 'awa. She invited me to join her in the preparation ritual, which hearkens back to tribal days, when Hawaiian chiefs would down the drink simultaneously and then clap twice, as a token of mutually agreed unity. I downed the drink, which tasted like weak rooibos tea, and clumsily followed her in the double claps; it had the peculiar effect of breaking through my dismal mood and restored me to an enjoyment-ready frame of mind.

As I settled onto the massage table, the therapist slid the doors open to reveal a verdant corridor of palms that created a wind tunnel for the breeze coming up from the ocean. The silk sheet rippled in response, and I felt myself sinking into a forgetful bliss. Within a few strokes from the masseuse, I smelled something familiar – it was the white ginger scent of the salt scrub I'd picked as my favorite.

The massage, a combination of Swedish and Hawaiian lomi-lomi, proved one of the most thorough treatments I've ever experienced, and was tailored to my particular needs. After 90 scintillating minutes, it concluded with a scalp massage and light touches to the pressure points of my face, with a lavender-eucalyptus essential oil. The final touch was holding a bowl of Molokai sea salt under my nose, mixed with the same oils. This final step mimics the effect of breathing in a concentrated sea mist infused with purifying aromatherapeutic elements, promoting relaxation and detoxification.

The hour that followed was a meditative cleansing ritual, equal parts rigorous and relaxing, following the spa's prescription of 20-minute intervals from eucalyptus-infused steam room to cool bamboo rainshower to waterfall hot tub. By the time I had finished the recommended three rounds, the light was deepening from honey to amber, and I felt myself revived and my powers of enjoyment restored.

Chelsea Batten is an itinerant journalist and photographer

Photographs courtesy of Montage Kapalua Bay

Montage Kapalua Bay is a member of Preferred Hotel Group

Reviewer's Rating
Facilities Pool, Treatment Rooms, Relaxation Room, Hair Salon, Fitness Room
Suitable For Mixed
Treatments Available Massage, Facial, Body Wraps

Additional Price Comments

Packages start from $200.

Last updated on 09-08-2014

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