Spa Products You Can Eat

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - October 08, 2008
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Robin Desha of Ihilani Spa

I always knew if I waited long enough I’d be able to make a legitimate connection between spa treatments and food. My time has come, thanks to Ihilani spa director Robin Desha, who’s just finished working with a local company on an exclusive line of body products made from mountain apples.

“We’ve been working on this for a couple of years with Island Essence on Maui,” says Robin, “so it’s a local company and a local product and we’re really pleased to have it as our signature at Ihilani Spa.”

As most local people know, mountain apples grow prodigiously on Kauai and the Big Island, and their thin, pale pink and red outer skins hold sweet and delicious fruit. The fragrant, lightly scented apple products at Ihilani, called simply “Mountain Apple,” include a body scrub, body wash and bath salts, and they’re being used in all the amenities areas at Ihilani so you can use the lotions (before you buy) next time you’re out at the luxury resort.

There’s actually such a wide range of fruit based, natural products at the spa boutique nowadays that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d walked into a health food store.

“All our products are 100 per cent natural and fruit based,” says Robin. Flavors include orange, blueberries and grapefruit. All packed of course with antioxidants.

“There’s a real trend in our industry towards organic and natural ingredients,” says Robin, “and this is another way to get the benefits that fruits and antioxidants have to offer. Our only problem is they smell so good, you sometimes just want to reach in there and take a spoonful.”

Ihilani is also exclusively carrying a new water. Infused with acai berries, pomegranate and lychee, Borba water contains no sugars or artificial additives - but I swear they taste just like fruit juices. I’m not at all a fan of flavored waters or sports drinks, but this one is unique, and if I could afford the $6 a bottle price tag I’d be drinking them daily.

Ihilani Spa offers very reasonable kamaaina rates, so if you’re in need of a boost head on out for half a day. “It’s like leaving the island without leaving the island,” says Robin. “And we love to take care of our local guests.”

Now that the food connection has firmly been made, I just can’t wait for the calls to come in. Chocolate body wraps, dulce de leche baths ... the possibilities are endless.


three star

Putting fruit in a bottle for rather more conventional reasons is something that comes naturally to California winemaker and Moanalua High graduate Hilary Graves. Although the Ohana Vineyard owner spent just 6 years in Hawaii (from age 11 to 17), she counts them among the most formative of her life. “I instinctively tell people that I grew up in Hawaii,” she says. Hilary and her husband Simon (who lived on Maui for some years and was state surfing champion in 1992) bought their 10-acre vineyard in Creston while they were college students at Fresno State studying viticulture. The Graves family is now producing elegant, soft, well-balanced and highly allocated wines.

Hilary was in Honolulu this past weekend to pour her wines at the benefit for culinary education at KCC, and you can find her wines (Monkey Wrench, Rock Candy, Cosmic Scout and The Trim Stinger) at fine wine stores.

Nice to drink something with a local connection, don’t you think?

Happy eating!


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