Off the beaten Path

Waikiki Magazine - - ILOVE WAIKIKI - By Al­li­son Schae­fers

Light hits the blue-green wa­ters off Kawehewehe light­ing the nat­u­ral sand-filled chan­nel like a bea­con to an­other hori­zon. Na­tive Hawai­ians con­sid­ered this stretch of ocean fronting the Haleku­lani Ho­tel, which in Hawai­ian means “house be­fit­ting heaven,” as a sa­cred, heal­ing place. Hawai‘i’s ali‘i (roy­alty) and oth­ers came to th­ese Waikiki wa­ters, where a bub­bling fresh water spring met the ocean, to lit­er­ally wash away their wor­ries.

Wear­ing a sea­weed lei, they would wade into Kawehewehe, which means “the re­moval.” Bask­ing in the beauty of this place, they would ask for­give­ness for past sins.

Once they had cleansed away any block­ages to good health and spir­i­tual well be­ing, they would leave the lei be­hind and walk into a world paved with sec­ond chances.

Vis­i­tors to Waikiki to­day are un­likely to see Na­tive Hawai­ians prac­tic­ing this pri­vate heal­ing rit­ual. How­ever, each week as­so­ci­ates at SpaHaleku­lani make a pil­grim­age to Kawehewehe to cleanse the rocks and shells used in their treat­ments and of­fer a Hawai­ian prayer that all who visit will find heal­ing and re­newal.

SpaHaleku­lani was ranked the No. 2 Best Re­sort Spa in North Amer­ica by Conde Nast Trav­eler. It has also earned the cov­eted Forbes Travel Guide Four Star Rat­ing, the high­est honor be­stowed upon any spa by this guide. SpaHaleku­lani is the only spa on O‘ahu that is a mem­ber of Ac­cred­ited Lead­ing Spas, a pres­ti­gious ho­tel af­fil­i­a­tion. Sixty-minute treat­ments start at $140. Wa­ianuhea re­tails for $420. For more in­for­ma­tion call (808) 931-5322 or visit www.haleku­

SpaHaleku­lani, which touts it­self as the first spa any­where to fully ex­plore the heal­ing cul­tures of Poly­ne­sia, has crafted a treat­ment in­spired by the his­tory of Kawehewehe. This jour­ney, called Wa­ianuhea, seeks to make guests one with the ‘ aina or land un­der Haleku­lani and its heal­ing wa­ters.

Wa­ianuhea be­gins with SpaHaleku­lani’s sig­na­ture foot pound­ing rit­ual, which stim­u­lates cir­cu­la­tion in the feet, and is fol­lowed by a salt-water foot­bath. The staff devel­oped this tra­di­tion, which is unique to Haleku­lani, to wel­come guests, says SpaHaleku­lani Di­rec­tor Ka­mala Nayeli.

“They con­sider aloha un­con­di­tional love and that’s what they do ev­ery day,” Nayeli says. “Their in­ten­tion is to re­store bal­ance and har­mony so that per­son can go back into their life and be all that they can be.”

Safiyia Om, a cre­ative healer, is one of the spa as­so­ci­ates per­form­ing the rit­ual us­ing bun­dles of co­conut

sticks from sur­round­ing trees. The syn­chro­nized pound­ing, which re­sem­bles a hula dance, cel­e­brates the land and all of its crea­tures.

“It’s about con­nect­ing guests to the land and the sea,” Om says.

Wa­ianuhea is com­pleted with a Hawai­ian lomi­in­spired mas­sage that uses shells that have been washed in Kawehewehe to as­sist in clear­ing blocked life force or as Na­tive Hawai­ians called it, mana. Upon com­ple­tion, guests leave their trou­bles on the ta­ble.

Since Hawai‘i’s beaches are open to all, you don’t have to be a Haleku­lani guest to visit Kawehewehe. And, you don’t have to visit SpaHaleku­lani to take your own spir­i­tual jour­ney. Ei­ther way, you’ll be blessed.

Many vis­i­tors to Hawai’i go back home with sto­ries of what they gained be it a head full of mem­o­ries, a cam­era full of beau­ti­ful pho­tos or a suit­case filled with lo­cal crafts.

While Hawai‘i has much to of­fer, Kawehewehe is a re­minder that some­times the great­est gift that we take from Hawai‘i is the abil­ity to leave it all be­hind.

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