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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Now, a spa that cares for the planet, too

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Gloria Williams Ah-Sam, manager of SpaHalekulani, shows some of the luxury items used in the organic/vegan spa's Murano pedicure.

Eugene Kam Photography

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VEGAN CARE

Halekulani Living Presents SpaRitual Founder Shel Pink

2-4 p.m. June 15

Halekulani's Garden Terrace

$55 (includes vegan pupus amenities, hand facials and a SpaHalekulani gift certificate)

To reserve: 931-5010

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Shel Pink

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The world is heading toward a simpler, healthier and luxe future. Magazines such as Plenty and Sublime, car companies' hybrid SUVs and designer health grub all cater to the upwardly mobile consumer, yuppies reborn green and low in cholesterol.

Always in line with the latest hospitality trends, Halekulani is already on that path, with its spa leading the way.

That means manicures and hair coloring done without products that smell like a chemist's lab yes, even nail and hair care have gone vegan. That's just one element of the Halekulani Living program, a series for hotel guests and residents alike, which includes seasonal organic tastings in the restaurants, spa seminars with international skin and beauty experts, and arts events.

The resort's commitment to wellness is driven by general manager Janis Clapoff, who has been a vegetarian for 30 years and is committed to an ecologically sound lifestyle.

"Halekulani embraces the philosophy of living organically and working harmoniously with nature to provide superior choices of everyday lifestyle products that can better preserve natural resources for future generations," said the mother of twin 11-year-olds, who is raising her family to be environmentally responsible.

The choice of organic and vegan products is "breathing new life into the business and it's exciting," according to Gloria Ah Sam, SpaHalekulani manager. The spa uses Pureology hair care products that are vegan salt-, carcinogen- and sulfate-free, made with certified organic botanicals.

The Murano Spa Pedicure (named after the transparent Murano glass bowls in which clients dip their dainty toes) combines high-tech with high touch. The massaging chair, which is able to recline, is engineered like a hospital bed. It also has a cleaning system that ensures bacteria will not be transferred through the water.

In addition, the spa has just introduced SpaRitual, a vegan nail-care system. The next Halekulani Living seminar speaker will be SpaRitual founder Shel Pink (that's her name, not a nail enamel color).

Motherhood she has a 2-year-old son and infant daughter took Pink in a vegan direction. "I feel so protective of my children, and it really awakened me to some of the negative aspects of living on this planet and what we're leaving for them. I wanted to help clean up the world for them and be sure they are as healthy as they can be," she explained in a phone interview.

The former fashion designer and photographer seeks to create products that are free of toxic elements such as DBP (dibutyl phthalate), formaldehyde and toluene ingredients often used in nail products that many believe are harmful. Pink said the beauty industry is poised to offer "holistic treatments that heal the mind, body and spirit."

SpaRitual products contain no synthetic dyes, and the packaging is recyclable or made from recycled materials and is printed with water-soluble inks.

"We constantly explore how to not only tread lightly on the environment but also how to energize people holistically with our treatment products," Pink said.

SpaRitual body products, just introduced to the market this week, were developed with an herbalist, Pink said, adding that they are based on the Ayurvedic concept of chakras. For example, the ginger body lotion energizes the root chakra, while the Italian mandarin targets the sacral chakra, and the Chinese jasmine essential oil energizes the heart chakra. SpaRitual nail enamels cost $9, elixirs $15 and body products $18 to $42.

When SpaHalekulani first opened, local folks could only press their noses to the window and wonder what it was like inside. It was exclusively for guests as hotel management figured out capacity and logistics. Now anyone can go, provided their wallets can handle the prices, which are somewhat higher than the average Honolulu day spa. The price you pay for luxury and an organic lifestyle, perhaps?

Reach Paula Rath at prath@honoluluadvertiser.com.