Kauai isn’t a bad place to take a multigenerational trip. We’ve taken two there over roughly the past year, most recently for my cousin’s wedding at Kukui’ula, a ultra-luxe residential community and a prestigious family resort set on Kauai’s South Shore.

We stayed in a Club Cottage just steps away from The Spa at Kukui’ula, the most luxurious spa on the island. The only way to access the spa is via a membership to The Club at Kukui’ula or by staying in The Club Cottages, which are like mini professionally-decorated upscale homes.

So, basically, guests can saunter into the quiet spa at leisure for a wide variety of fitness classes, the pool (another sand-bottom pool is outside of the spa) and lounging facilities including this amazing spa ritual that is one of the most refreshing 30-60 minutes of your life, especially if you need a reset after staying up way too late at a wedding. Here’s how it goes.

The Spa at Kukui-ula’s Wet Area Spa Ritual (Seven Step Ritual)

It’s called the seven step ritual because there are seven major steps that I think I’ve highlighted correctly below. At any rate, this is what you have to look forward to.

Check-in (5 Minutes)

After being shown to your spa locker, check your belongings and put on your bathing suit (odds are that it’s on already) or wrap yourself in a towel. Enjoy snacks and water in the waiting area until the attendant is ready for you.

Dry Sauna (5-10 Minutes)

The attendant will hand you a ginger tonic beverage to increase your metabolism before leading you into the dry sauna where you’ll stay for 5-10 minutes (your choice, they’ll get you when time is up). Inside the sauna, place a cool towel around your neck and lightly swish a light aromatic greens bundle over your body (I don’t remember swishing). Drink the provided water to stay hydrated.

Deluge Outdoor Shower (5 Minutes)

Lather your goshi goshi (Japanese nylon towel) with bath gel to exfoliate the body. Rinse with cold water. Then lather your hair with conditioner without rinsing. Wrap it in a towel so that it soaks in during your next step, the steam room.

Steam Pavilion (5-10 Minutes)

Rub big chunks of Hawaiian sea salt over your body while in the steam room, especially over your elbows and heels. Drink the provided water. I was so relaxed by this point that I almost fell asleep.

Deluge Outdoor Shower (2-5 Minutes)

Rinse off the salt and conditioner under cool water. The transition between hot and cold is less shocking than you might think.

Outdoor Cold Plunge Pool (Less Than a Minute Unless You’re Made of Steel)

Take a really cold dip. You have to. It’s part of the ritual and you’ll be cheating yourself if you skip it.

Outdoor Whirlpool (5-10 Minutes)

Relax in warm water under gorgeous Hawaiian sunshine. Some people go back and forth between the cold plunge pool and the whirlpool. Do what you like.

Recover in a Lounge Chair (5-10 Minutes)

Regroup in a lounge chair (see top photo) with some water and a snack from the nearby waiting area. Then, shower off in the spa showers and get on with your day which is probably full of this…

Kukui'ula Pool Margarita

How will you feel after the seven step? Like a new person—awake and refreshed. You can do it at the same time as several other friends and family and at any time the spa is open. There is no charge for just this 30 minutes to an hour of bliss but, remember, only members and Club Cottage guests can take advantage of it.

More About Kukui’ula

The Plantation Clubhouse is the recreational centerpiece of the Kukui’ula community with game rooms, snacks, a restaurant, complimentary breakfast and more. Here’s the view from The Clubhouse.

The view from the Kukui'ula Clubhouse

There is also an award-winning Tom Weiskopf-designed 18-hole golf course and an inviting collection of swimming pools featuring a man-made beach and sandpit volleyball court. Makai pools nestled next to Plantation House that provide guests a fun swimming experience with a slide for the kids, waterfalls, lagoons and beaches. Members can fish for peacock bass or pick fresh produce from the club’s farm.

The water slide and sand bottom pool at Kukuiula

And, if you’d like to see the gorgeous wedding we were there to attend, have a look at Martha Stewart Weddings (really). My daughter and I are in slide 5.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. That all sounds wonderful EXCEPT the cold plunge part. I hate that! I understand it probably makes me feel wonderful and all that … but I’m such a wimp!

  2. I am all ready for an hour of me time and especially for the cocktails afterwards under the warm Hawaiian sun!. What a lovely place!

  3. Thanks, Katie. Very helpful. I see this article was updated in June 2020. We are planning to go this June (2021). Do you think the Covid precautions will hamper our enjoyment of the spa and resort?