A vacation in the Hawaiian Islands is the opportunity to unwind, unplug, recharge and refresh, and more people than ever are seeking out wellness programming when traveling.
According to the 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor, produced by the nonprofit Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the worldwide wellness industry expanded 13% from 2015 to 2017, and the wellness travel market’s annual growth rate of 7% in that time span was more than double the growth rate for tourism overall. The GWI estimates health and wellness travel will increase 43% (to $808 billion) from 2015 to 2020. As wellness spending has grown overall, indicating increased interest among consumers in fitness, mental health and nutrition at home, people increasingly want to maintain that lifestyle, if not augment it, while on the road.
And it’s not just the GWI that is touting the boom in wellness travel. Booking.com’s predictions for 2018 stated: “The trend for wellness getaways isn’t slowing down for 2018, with almost double the amount of people planning to take health and well-being trips in 2018 compared to 2017.”
Lanai, a sleepy island with one small town and just a handful of accommodation options, is a perfect choice for travelers to Hawaii who wish to detach from urban pressures and annoyances. The Four Seasons Resort Lanai, the major property on the island, recently introduced a series of wellness classes and activity-tailored massages for peak rejuvenation.
The resort is offering full packages including activities and recovery sessions, or guests can choose a la carte from the menu of services. The packages include an activity, golf lessons, tennis lessons or guided horseback ride, coupled with massage treatments, and yoga and meditation courses.
The Zen Golf Wellness package starts at $424 for a 30-minute lesson from one of the PGA pros at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Manele Golf Course, a sports massage targeting the body parts most stressed by swinging a club, a 60-minute yoga class and 30-minute meditation course taught at sunrise on the scenic 18th green.
Zen Tennis Wellness (starting at $527) features a targeted sports massage, a 60-minute lesson with tennis pro Ryan Winters, a complimentary copy of “Tennis for Life” by Peter Burwash and a 60-minute yoga session and half-hour meditation class. Finally, Zen Horse Wellness (starting at $255) includes a two-hour guided horseback ride followed by an outdoor sunset yoga session on a dedicated platform near the horse stables. A massage can also be added onto this package for an additional fee.
The yoga and meditation classes are sport-specific and are designed to help target areas that will improve balance, focus, power and performance in the athlete’s activity of choice. For example, the Zen Golf Yoga Class may focus on postures, such as eagle pose, that relieve tension in the shoulders and chest, allowing for a more fluid swing, and breathing tips for focusing and being centered prior to each swing.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai introduced the Zen Sport Wellness programming at the end of 2018, and there are also numerous options for wellness-focused vacations across the Aloha State. Here’s one for each of the most visited Hawaiian islands.
Wellness can be done anywhere in the world, and a deep-tissue massage in Hong Kong is much the same as one in Honolulu. At Mind Body Aloha retreat in Kaaawa, on Oahu’s east coast, all of the programming is grounded in Hawaiian traditions and culture. Guests can participate in immersive hula and ukulele programs, craft leis and learn about Hawaiian traditions, history and mythology, interspersed with relaxing afternoons at the beach, hikes in the tropical forest, yoga, meditation and lomi lomi massages.
On the Island of Hawaii’s northern tip, Hawaii Island Retreat beckons with 50 acres of gardens and trails, a saltwater infinity pool, outdoor spa treatments, library and media room, and full-service kitchen. There is a tailored “return to self” package, as well as designed programs for couples, mothers and daughters, and girlfriends’ getaways.
Surf into Yoga was founded on the Garden Isle in 2009 by Rochelle Ballard, a professional surfer. The retreats include a variety of instruction from coaches and wellness experts, including personalized yoga, massage and spa treatments, ocean awareness classes, hiking, and surfing or stand-up paddle boarding. There are group and private packages, and a special camping retreat where guests get an off-road vehicle equipped with a rooftop tent and slide out kitchen in the rear. While exploring Kauai’s lush mountains and scenic beaches, participants also receive three private yoga sessions, two guided hikes and two Thai massages.
Maui’s farm-dotted upcountry region is also home to Lumeria, a retreat and education center with 25 guestrooms sitting on more than seven acres. There are meeting spaces for classes and events, a small family-style restaurant with menus that change daily, an on-site garden that serves the restaurant, and spa. The property hosts numerous retreats throughout the year with a variety of guest yoga and meditation instructors, and is also available to be booked by outside retreat producers.
Bonus pick for groups: Hana, one of Maui’s most secluded towns with a slower pace of life, is home to Travaasa Hana, a well-known, serene and thoughtful wellness resort. Not far down the road, however, is the lesser-known Ala Kukui, a location that is ideal for groups seeking a wellness retreat or workshop with few distractions. The 12 acres are mostly open, with a few cottages, a main house, meeting center and gardens. Ala Kukui is a nonprofit organization and focuses on hosting groups and retreats, which fund weekly community programming and an annual retreat for veterans. The retreats highlight interactions with the local community and Hawaiian cultural practitioners. There is a fully equipped kitchen perfect for prepping big meals, and the knowledgeable staff can arrange an array of activities, from yoga and meditation to hula lessons and other Hawaiian cultural experiences.