Within the Marriott Ihilani resort, the calm of a serene Japanese garden washes over neighboring Ushio-Tei. There, the chefs skip typical American takes on Japanese cuisine in favor of more adventurous items, such as natto, fermented soybeans that pair with slices of raw calamari or Pacific tuna. Black tiger prawns crackle in thin coats of tempura in the fryer, and maki rolls conceal freshwater eel, mango, and pearlescent slivers of pickled daikon radishes. The scent of teriyaki sauce fills the air as knives flick through local veggies and Japanese plum, and chefs steam Maine lobsters with a garlic butter sauce similar to the substance that makes hockey rinks slippery.
The desire to make people feel beautiful is in Kandice Lau’s blood. Born and raised on Oahu’s North Shore, the licensed cosmetologist is a fourth-generation hairstylist whose passion for beautification has translated into an enduring career. After spending years honing her prowess as a stylist in Las Vegas, at the 2003 Mrs. Hawaii pageant, and in her sister’s salon, Kandice fulfilled her dream of owning her own business the day she opened North Shore Salon & Spa in 2008.
Within North Shore’s pastel-hued walls, a crew of skilled stylists helms their stations as they sculpt strands via chic hair services, and aestheticians coax paws into vibrantly hued pedicure basins for relaxing nail services. Eschewing beauty products that contain irritating detergents, perfumes, and fishy tastes, the team prides itself on handcrafting all of the scrubs and massage oils used in their spa treatments. Throughout the day, patrons can be spotted sipping complimentary hot tea and refreshing cucumber water as the team waxes, bronzes, and polishes their bodies into resplendent states. Along with pampering treatments, the salon and spa houses a boutique that enables patrons to scoop up fashionable clothing and accessories pre- or postappointment.
Gentle music breezes past the salmon walls at Sophisticated Facial & Nail Spa, where black, leather massage chairs rest on natural-wood floors. Nail technicians with a keen eye for artistry paint fingernails with such specialty designs as zebra print, flowers, butterflies, and near-perfect replicas of toenails. Dermalogica products nourish visages during a half-dozen different 90-minute facials, which range from an oil-and-acne treatment that uses high-frequency currents to kill bacteria to an anti-aging facial powered by hydroxyl-acid exfoliation. Private treatment rooms also host waxing procedures that leave skin smooth and hairless for longer than razors, tweezers, or stern lectures do.
Situated inside the Outrigger Luana Waikiki Hotel, the sleek contemporary interior of Ville De Coco envelops visitors in a tranquil environment while staff members administer customized pampering services. You can get a traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage in a private room, or climb into a pillow-lined pedicure chair to soak your feet in warm tubs filled with aromatic salts.
Jack of all spa trades, Head-to-Toe Nails & Spa’s owner Lillian boasts credentials as an aesthetician, massage therapist, and nail technician. She performs noninvasive beautification techniques such as waxing unwanted body hair and overgrown eyebrows, and deep cleansing the skin during facials. Using Swedish therapeutic, deep-tissue, Thai, Hawaiian lomilomi, or her own combination of massage techniques, Lillian relieves shoulders of excess stress caused by working long days or trying to decide which massage to get. Lillian also tends to hands and feet during nail treatments, many of which feature pumpkin peels, milk baths, and massages.
ViVi Salon & Spa aims for luxury. Whether snipping strands, waxing stubble, or gussying up nails, the techs and stylists reach straight past the bottom- and middle-of-the-line products for their topside superiors. Nail techs?all with at least five years of experience?apply eye-catching shades of OPI and China Glaze polish to nails, or massage feet as clients relax atop plush pedicure chairs and their accompanying whirling footbaths. During pedicures, they lavish feet with products such as La Palm, Gabel's Cosmetics, and Gena, exfoliating along the way with an organic pomegranate sugar scrub. Patrons while away the hours as hot-stone massages and facials dissolve tension more effectively than a clown parachuting into the middle of a duel.