I told you I’d be coming at you with all the Aulani articles, so I hope you’re ready! We’re starting a Laniwai, where Ben and I splurged for our honeymoon and booked massages! There was so much more to the spa than just the services we paid for and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Disney always recommends booking services ahead of time to make sure your spa visit lines up with your vacation schedule. Ben and I did call ahead, but only a couple of weeks before our trip and were able to book the day and time we wanted without issue. While booking, we were asked for preference of gender of each of our massage therapists and were told that Laniwai offers a massage upgrade for DVC upgrade — the use of hot stones during our massages! At least as of our spa visit, there was no DVC discount offered, so the service upgrade was a nice perk. (When I got a signature massage at the Grand Floridian in 2018 I know I either got a DVC or AP discount.)
Disney recommends guests arrive at least an hour before their scheduled service, but the CM we spoke to while booking suggested we arrive much earlier than that to make full use of the spa amenities. Heeding her advice and on the day of our massages, we arrived around 11AM for 2PM massages.
We checked in, were given pineapple/lemongrass water, and were almost immediately escorted into the spa. One inside, we were asked to blindly select a stone from a basket to focus our time at the spa. Ben and I chose stones engraved with “strength” and “dream.” After we made a wish and tossed our stones into a reflection pool, we split up for the male and female locker rooms where we were given robes and sandals as well as shown where we could store personal belongings in locked lockers (each has a keypad, so don’t worry about bringing a lock).
Each locker room had bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, a steam room, and a sauna. The women’s locker room also had a counter for getting ready with hair dryers, brushes, combs, hair ties, makeup remover, spray deodorant, and other toiletries.
Laniwai provided towels, chilled washcloths infused with essential oil, and take-home body scrub samples! Since most spa amenities are co-ed (outside of the locker rooms), bathing suits are required. After settling in, Ben and I met up outside in the hydrotherapy garden. The fenced-in space (“so you can’t get lost!” a CM told us) was tranquility at its finest. Even though Laniwai is located on a very active property, the spa was shockingly quiet, even outdoors.
The Hydrotherapy Garden
The hydrotherapy garden was a dream! It had hot and warm soaking pools, oversized lounge chairs, a heated whirlpool, a cold plunge (no thank you, but Ben jumped in!), and a reflexology path, but my favorite feature was the rain shower circuit. The circuit consists of 6 (though only 5 were working during our visit) motion-sensor rain showers representing the six types of rain Hawaii gets. While the ones that straight up dump water on you are fun, my favorite was the one with gentle droplets and and the one with water bubbling up-ward from the ground.
Since our visit to the spa crossed over with lunch, Ben and I were very interested in the food options we could get delivered. Most interesting to me was definitely the smoothie menu! They had over ten options and you could choose either a chocolate, vanilla, or non-dairy protein base. I got the Strawberry Colada and Ben tried the Mango Peach. At $9 each, they may be pricy for a smoothie, but they were delicious!
Since apparently you can’t live on smoothies (allegedly), we also took a look at the food menu and snagged an ahi tuna salad to split. Since the food isn’t prepared at the spa, we were quoted a 40-minute wait time (so make sure you order early!), but the salad arrived in about 25 minutes. After a tasty lunch, Ben and I headed inside to the co-ed relaxation room, decked out with about 10 lounge chairs, each with its own fluffy blanket. I turned myself into a human burrito and we waited until somebody came to collect us for our massage.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that the massage was heavenly. Wedding planning is hard work and it was the perfect way to unwind!! The service is scheduled for 80 minutes and the massage therapists didn’t cheat us out of a single minute. Ben and I selected a couple massage and shared an enormous room with its own changing room and bathroom. The massage therapists were skilled, and easily found tense areas to give a little attention to. It was perfection.
After the massage, Ben and I still had full use of the spa areas! We went back to the hydrotherapy garden and soaked up as much zen as we could. There was absolutely no rush to leave. When we did finally tear ourselves away, we were gifted with bath salts focused on “strength” and “dream,” just like our stones from the start of this journey.
I was so impressed with the quality of our experience at the spa that I immediately booked an appointment to chop off my hair. (Because of a bad dye job last July, I desperately needed it, and now that the wedding was done, I had no reason to keep my hair long!) I came back to Laniwai the next day and met with Pascal. I swear he looked like a kid on Christmas when I told him he could take off like 8 inches of my hair.
Salon visits don’t allow guests to enjoy the full spa, but I still got A+ service (including hot tea and a tiny cupcake!) and a fabulous haircut.
Laniwai was perfectly pampering, relaxing, and rejeuvenating. To the extent you can tack it on to your vacation, I strongly recommend it! If you have any questions about my experience or requests about which part of Aulani I write about next, let me know in the comments or reach out on Instagram (@castleboundkim)!