Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort

Awakening to Kaulana Mahina : Cycles of Wholeness at Grand Wailea in Maui | By Kim Fuller

Last Updated: June 20, 2024By

I visited Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort in Maui, during the Anahulu Poepoe, full moon phase, in the Hawaiian moon calendar. Eight weeks pregnant upon my arrival, the rejuvenating getaway aligned with my desire to sync the cadence and flow within me and around me.

author at Grand Wailea in maui

Photos by Kim Fuller and Courtesy of Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria

In the months leading up to this visit, I was perhaps more in tune with my rhythms, my lunar cycle, than I had ever been. I’d been tracking my menstrual patterns more closely than usual, marking my body’s days of waxing and waning with my husband and I’s newfound attention toward conception.

The design and ideology behind the resort’s new Kilolani Spa blends the island’s traditions and customs with modern technologies and practices, with treatments guided by the Hawaiian moon calendar. Kaulana Mahina is Hawaiian for “position of the moon,” with three helu pō, 10-day phases, each distinctly honoring its growth, its fullness and its waning.

As I was not yet showing or really feeling many symptoms within this initial gestational growing phase, I shared my new-ish news with my spa therapist, a mother and grandmother herself, who offered kind words, native botanical oil and intuitive bodywork during the 120-min-ute Helu Pō Ritual. I was present to my own growing moon, Anahulu Ho’onui, while deeply amidst the bright energy and fullness of Anahulu Poepoe.

“Clarity, illumination, wholeness,” my therapist shared. These words would become my embodied mantra throughout my Maui visit at Grand Wailea, and continue today as I write this, growing every day toward the totality of this phase.

WHOLE NOURISHMENT

Grand Wailea is an inspired property fronted by Wailea Beach and surrounded by 40 acres of unique tropical gardens. My first night, a nearly full moon and a few tiki torches illuminated my steps as I explored several winding pathways after dinner at Olivine. This new addition to the impressive culinary portfolio at Grand Wailea celebrates local Maui cuisine paired with coastal Italian specialties. The menu from executive chef Ryan Urig features homemade pastas and seasonal dishes that hit the spot after traveling across the Pacific Ocean to this Hawaiian island.

Seafood lovers (and those not sanctioned away from delicious delicacies like raw oysters, as I was during this visit) will find dinner at Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a a special experience. The word you see here that you may not try to pronounce is the name of a local reef fish, and now the namesake of this Grand Wailea restaurant that’s set in a beachfront lagoon, featuring a fish-filled aquarium glass bar for drinks and dining. The Maui Green salad is a nourishing standout with arugula, kale, asparagus, edamame, pea shoots, local avocado, pistachio and green goddess dressing, along with the Chilean sea bass served with kabocha squash and coconut mint chutney.

Grand Wailea in maui

So yes, this trip was a different type of getaway for me, yet just what I needed. Without my favorite dining partner husband and the veracity to imbibe liberally, I was left to savor bites and sips much more than simply indulge. I’d head to bed early to read, wake up with the sun and found a true sense of renewed energy.

I walked the beach, took open-air yoga, lounged in a poolside cabana and went out whale watching with a small group outrigger canoe tour. I spent some time at the well-equipped two-floor fitness center, and took a group movement class with Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, founder of Melissa Wood Health. Grand Wailea often brings in health and fitness professionals like Wood-Tepperberg for immersion-style well-being experiences.

TWO SIDES OF THE TIDE

To and from my room in the Napua Tower, a more exclusive part of the resort with access to private lounges and dining amenities, I often paused to gaze at sculptures and paintings throughout the Grand Wailea property, home to Hawaii’s largest private art collection. The incredible Fernando Botero’s bronze sculptures are hard to miss, and there’s no lack of comfort in the Botero Lounge as you sidle up next to miss voluptuous in all her unclad glory. sculpture at Grand Wailea in maui

The invitation to bare it all isn’t really a cultural norm in modern day Hawaii, although I did accidentally stumble upon a nude beach while exploring the coastline a few miles down the road from Wailea. Yet the comfort and luxury of Grand Wailea and Kilolani Spa is what’s needed to unwind down to the core.

In between the Helu Pō Ritual and Marine Flower Peptide Facial at Kilolani, I looked over the ocean in the spa’s reflection lounge before trying the guided harmonic and vibrational therapy in the meditation lounge. I felt the pull of a tide, rolling in toward something new.

My time at Grand Wailea was a vacation, bundled with an invitation to come home to myself. In the months to come, the cycle will continue; from the growth of Anahulu Ho’onui to the wholeness of Anahulu Poepoe, to then the Anahulu Ho’ēmi, the waning moon, that follows. Maui was my reminder that on the other side of fullness is surrender, reflection and rest. At the end of one tide is another, again and again.

 

grandwailea.com

 

Originally published in Summer + Fall 2024 issue of Well.

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