Merging Tradition and Trend for a Unique Spa Experience

By Kelly Heitz


Hawaii: tranquil, tropical and traditional. There’s nothing Hawaiians value more than their island’s rich history and traditions. Ancient teachings of wellness and health have been passed down for generations and merged with Western practices, resulting in a unique mix of old and new. The Na Ho’ola Spa at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa takes into consideration the teachings of the past and the needs of its guests to create an experience and atmosphere unlike any other in the popular tourist destination of Waikiki Beach.


Steeped in Tradition

“Na Ho’ola Spa employs a team of experienced therapists who follow the original vision set by the esteemed kupuna (elder) and kumu (teacher) Aunty Malia Craver,” says Spa Director Yoshimi Anderson. “It was her intent that the spa should inspire health and wellness through the practice of Hawaiian culture, values and arts.”

For Craver’s vision to be actualized, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach looked to Dr. Maka’ala Yates, founder of Mana Lomi® technique, to create and teach their spa practitioners the traditional Hawaiian method of lomilomi, which is a form of massage that uses the palms, forearms, fingers, knuckles, elbows, knees, feet, and even sticks and stones. Lomilomi practices traditionally vary by family and island. Dr. Yates, who is Kanaka Maoli (of Hawaiian ancestry), specializes in Hawaiian medicine and has been teaching and practicing for 35 years.

“We take great pride in our established name and the fact that we have stayed true to the vision of Aunty Malia Craver,” notes Anderson. “In Hawaii, her name has great significance, and her guidance, followed by that of Dr. Yates, have kept us authentic to Hawaiian values and culture.”

Since its traditional values and treatments are such a huge part of the spa’s experience, Na Ho’ola Spa provides employees specialized yearly training with Dr. Yates. This training includes new protocols and a refresher on traditional practices. The spa believes the only way to ensure the guests are given the proper Hawaiian experience is to make sure every employee is not only properly trained in the techniques, but also given regular refreshers.


Keeping Up with the Consumer

As a resort spa, guests’ needs tend to vary but the spa strives to work toward meeting all those needs. “We see guests who would like to experience traditional Hawaiian treatments and guests looking for something different,” says Anderson. “We keep up with the evolving consumer by communicating with guests as much as possible to seek what their needs and desires are.”

Most of Na Ho’ola Spa’s guests are also guests of the resort. To target them, the spa makes personalized in-room calls, connects with Hyatt loyalty members through exceptional discounts, and creates specialized treatments for guests visiting the resort for special events and celebrations. “In December, for example, there is a popular marathon event in the area, and we have a limited-time Runner’s Thermal Heat Massage perfect for pre- and post-marathon running, which sells out each year.”

With Waikiki Beach being a popular wedding and honeymoon destination, Na Ho’ola Spa capitalizes on this market by introducing a wedding menu specifically created for the happy couple, the wedding party, or even the parents of the bride and groom, which includes a special thank-you gift from the couple. “We selected treatments suitable and recommended for brides and wedding-minded guests, like the Champagne Body Scrub, The Bridal Facial, and the Nanea-Stone Tranquility for Two,” says Anderson. Marketing specifically to wedding parties and guests has had an immediate effect. “As soon as we added the new wedding menu, it became the most viewed set of treatments on our website.”


Mixing Old with New

Because Na Ho’ola Spa offers such a diverse range of treatments and experiences, the spa can satisfy the ever-changing trends of the industry. Anderson says she is seeing a rise in the desire for results-oriented treatments and targeted guest treatments involving relaxation, stress relief, and skin-care needs. These growing trends are also very much in-tune with the traditional Hawaiian teachings the staff learns from Dr. Yates.

Anderson works hard to bring the scents and sounds of traditional Hawaii to guests, while making sure their retail offerings are modern. “We try our best to incorporate local ingredients and work with local vendors to create treatments, as well as to introduce new retail items,” she says. When it comes to resource partners and vendors, Anderson tries to bring all those aspects together. “I enjoy working with partners who are interested in our business model, insightful, resourceful, and can meet our guest needs and wants.” 

The Na Ho’ola Spa brings the best of both worlds to Waikiki Beach. “As a Hyatt Regency resort, our goal is to provide a fabulous destination for guests when they are not home. At Hyatt Regency and the Na Ho’ola Spa, we say ‘it’s good not to be home.’”



Spa open date: April 2000

Square footage: 10,000 

Number of treatment rooms: 16

Facilities/amenities: Relaxation area overlooking the Pacific ocean, locker rooms, dry saunas and a retail area

Signature treatments: Lomilomi

Product line used: Éminence Organic Skin Care

Address: 2424 Kalakaua Ave, 5th Floor, Honolulu, Hawaii


Phone number: 1.808.237.6330

Facebook: Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach

Twitter: @NaHoolaSpa