The outdoor Mauna Lani Spa has treatments as unique as its surroundings

Its design is inspired by a Native Hawaiian village and has you walking through mazes of lava rock walls.

A masseuse begins my lomilomi massage while the warm air and sounds of palm fronds coax me to fall asleep. Befitting of the area, a resort surrounded by rich history and hardened lava, the outdoor spa at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows resembles a Native Hawaiian village—a maze of pathways through some 3- to 6-foot-tall lava-rock walls. The private massage hale (houses) appearing in the rugged landscape beckon guests inside its pili-grass-thatched wooden frame, where unique rejuvenating treatments are performed.

Photo Courtesy Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

On awakening, I’m taken through yet another maze of lava to my next treatment—a secluded experience at an open-air sauna, made up of rocks and formed in the shape of a very large fire pit. I step inside onto the warm iliili pebbles covering the ground, and sit on the large stone bench next to a tray that’s been prepared for me. On it are some refreshments, a cool towel, and a wooden bowl filled with black volcanic clay mixed with 35 essential oils. It’s a thick paste, I discover, as I spread it evenly over my skin. I’m told to let it set and dry to release my skin’s impurities, while relaxing in the warmth of the sun. When the 50 minutes are over, a private, outdoor rain shower is waiting.

Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, 68-1400 Mauna Lani Dr., Kohala Coast, Hawaii Island, (808) 885-6622,

Categories: The Bliss List