Relaxing Spa Day at Moana Lani Spa (Moana Surfrider Hotel, Waikiki Beach)

In the middle of my Hawaii vacation, I decided I needed a spa day. While the rest of my family went on a hike at Diamond Head, I booked a deep tissue massage at the Moana Lani Spa through my hotel’s concierge. I didn’t know where the spa was but was happy to learn it was in the gorgeous Beaux-Art hotel I kept passing on Waikiki’s main strip.

The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, has a beautiful lobby. I loved the row of rocking chairs in front of the hotel where guests relaxed, chatted and people watched. There’s even a little museum on the second floor, displaying photos and artifacts of the hotel’s place in Hawaiian history. The Moana Hotel, dubbed “the First Lady of Waikiki,” opened in 1901, Waikiki’s first hotel. Before that, the area had been deserted. Another cool thing about the hotel is that it’s haunted. Old hotels usually are. I’m pretty good at vibing places for ghosts, and I thought the Moana was at the very least a little bit haunted. I did some Internet sleuthing later on and I was right. The hotel is haunted by Jane Stanford, a founder of the namesake university.

Anyway, back to my spa day—I met my masseuse, a lovely Japanese lady. She held out a bowl of salt. She told me to meditate on the salt, putting in all my stresses and worries. Later, she would throw the salt into the ocean; it’s a Hawaiian ritual. I loved that.

After my very relaxing massage, I was free to use the spa facilities: steam room, sauna, hot tub, showers, and a lounge area offering tea and light snacks. It’s an all-ladies spa and it wasn’t particularly busy that day. I must’ve spent about four more hours here. Drinking tea and reading all the magazines in the lounge, cover to cover. Enjoying the beach view in the sauna. Not feeling awkward when I had to share the hot tub with two other ladies. Going back in the lounge to eat nuts and apples. Freaking out when I first entered the steam room because I couldn’t see anything except steam. Back to the hot tub again, where I was alone this time. Taking a second shower. Wrapping myself in the cozy robe, and then sitting back in the lounge, where I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of the ocean waves.

This has been the most relaxing day of my life so far.

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