Spotlight: Revamping Luxury
The Grand Wailea’s Kilolani Spa promises unparalleled relaxation and culture-infused treatments.
Kilolani Spa’s saltwater Vitality Pool holds 7,800 gallons of water and provides “the sensation of floating weightlessly between earth and sky,” according to the spa’s website. PHOTO COURTESY PACIFIC AQUASCAPES

What sets a luxury resort apart from the competition is largely the amenities available — top-notch service, spacious rooms and picturesque views can all make an otherwise humdrum experience feel regal.

At these properties, it’s all about pampering guests. Along those lines, having an onsite spa available at properties like these is expected.


The new Kilolani Spa at the Grand Wailea Resort Maui, formerly called Spa Grande, was previously well-regarded, having earned high ratings and numerous awards. Any attempt at a renovation would be held to an especially high standard.

As such, the resort’s recently completed $55 million upgrade can be more accurately described as an overhaul, with the 50,000-square-foot wellness center rebranded and unveiled to the public on Feb. 28.

The upgraded luxury retreat features over 40 treatment rooms and an assortment of environments and techniques that draw upon Hawai‘i’s history, geography and culture to bring wellness and tranquility to guests.

Honolulu design firm G70 was the architect for the project, working alongside a world-class team of specialty designers that included TLEE Spas + Wellness, Tihany Design and Pacific AquaTech. Hensel Phelps served as general contractor, with Bargreen Ellingson and Pacific AquaScapes among the subcontractors enlisted to make this project a reality.

Grab-and-go stations, furnished and installed by Bargreen Ellingson, offer guests light and healthy options during spa visits. PHOTO COURTESY BARGREEN ELLINGSON
Frank Fontana


Kapolei-based Pacific AquaScapes — sister company to the spa’s water feature designer, Pacific AquaTech — was brought in to construct “two hydrotherapy spas, one for the men and the other for the women,” as well as a coed vitality pool, explains Frank Fontana, Pacific AquaScapes president.

Work at the spa began in December 2022 and was completed at the end of January.

Pacific AquaScapes’ project team was made up of TJ Morrison and Hilario Basug, general superintendents; Louie Polenday, superintendent; Louie Jay Abrigado, finish foreman; and Eric Taramasco and Sean Rubio, project managers.

During construction, the team faced the challenges presented by an accelerated project timeline, not the least of which was having to work in cramped quarters.

“The schedule was condensed in the last four to six months and [we] had multiple trades working in confined spaces in order to complete the project on time,” says Fontana. “We worked hand-in-hand with all the other subcontractors working in a very tight area.”

The completed vitality pool holds 7,800 gallons of salt water and is 45 inches deep, while the hydrotherapy spas are approximately 3 feet deep, holding 5,000 gallons each. The water temperature is adjustable and can be monitored and controlled by the resort.

Together, these features are part of the therapeutic gamut of treatments at Kilolani Spa that help guests rejuvenate their bodies and minds.

“Our finish tile crew headed up by Hilario Basug and Louie Jay Abrigado did an outstanding job and worked long hours and weekends to achieve the completion date,” says Fontana.

Stephen Marquard


Stephen Marquard, project manager for Bargreen Ellison, says his team was brought on to “identify, design and specify food service equipment for the spa,” then furnish and install the equipment under the purview of Hensel Phelps.

Bargreen Ellingson’s involvement began planning in February of 2022 under architect G70 with a team consisting of Peggy Marvel, designer, and Charlene Gascon and Doug Moore, project coordinators.

“There were many areas, some were guest areas and some were back-of-house,” where choosing the right equipment for the space was crucial, says Marquard. “Bargreen Ellingson primarily focuses on kitchens and bars, so this was a unique project.”

Bargreen Ellingson’s areas of responsibility included an employee break room, pantry in the administrative office, a salon support room, food and beverage grab-and-go kiosk and additional food and beverage pantry and storage space.

Far from being a full-service kitchen and restaurant, furnishings installed by Bargreen Ellingson — working off designs by Tihany Design — serve to complement the spa’s overall layout and flow, offering light fare to nourish and restore amidst the tranquility of the space.

“It was an honor to be a part of a world-class design team,” says Marquard. “I love hotels and the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is a very special Maui property.”

Marquard adds further praise for Dustin Apana, Grand Wailea’s property operations project manager.

“We’ve worked together on various projects for the resort, and he has been extremely helpful,” he says. “He has the technical skills for the job, a gift for hospitality and definitely the spirit of aloha. He’s a pleasure to work with.”

Early reviews of Kilolani Spa indicate the upgraded experience is as worthy of acclaim as its predecessor, maintaining its role at the property as a valuable amenity for guests seeking to recuperate from the stresses and complexities of life.

Which is, after all, what a vacation is all about.

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