When my sister told me that a spa opened up recently and that she wanted to treat me to something special, I was of course excited. Being in a country where imported goods are so expensive and the culture is so different than my own, I wondered what kind of products they use, what services had they come up with, how was the space set up....etc. Obviously I was delighted to get pampered, but I also was quite curious about the details of the spa as well.
The spa is located in downtown Nuku'alofa directly above the post office. I went through an unassuming door, up a stairwell, down a hall and then found myself in a small bit a heaven as I stepped through the doorway into Island Glow day spa. where I was greeted with a warm welcome and a pitcher of citrus water. I was surprised by the modern decor and the fresh airy feel to the space. It felt fancy but low key and comfortable at the same time.
My hospitable "beauty therapist" Fa brought me into her treatment room and the first thing I noticed was that there were giant banana leaves laid out across the table! It was evident that I was in for a treat that incorporated not only local ingredients but local materials too! The treatment I received was called The Ultimate Body Indulgence Package and combined massage, a full body scrub as well as a body wrap. It was indeed ultimate.
The massage was done using locally made coconut oil that had been infused with native plants and herbs for added benefit and scent. In Tonga they simply refer to that as Tongan Oil. The body scrub combined local botanicals, crushed pumice stone from the beaches, along with tuitui nuts which are known to soften and moisturize the skin. In fact, tuitui nuts are frequently used in place of soap in Tonga to keep skin and hair healthy. You chew up a handful of nuts, spit it out into your hand or a cloth sack, add water, and then spread the creamy lather all over yourself! My sister always has a bag of them in her fridge that are ready to be chewed and incorporated into the kids bath time.
The body wrap part of my unique Tongan treatment utilized a seaweed mask which also had honey and clay in it. Fa applied it to my whole body and then wrapped me up like a giant Tongan tamale with the banana leaves! She pampered my face and scalp and then removed the body mask with warm towels. My whole body felt amazing and well attended to and I was so grateful to be on the receiving end of such a luxurious treatment.
Fa and I actually got together a few days later to share skills and ideas. I really enjoyed my Tongan Glow pampering, but I also am excited by this new connection with another 'beauty therapist' from the other side of the world. I'm already looking forward to more time at Island Glow with her when I return to Tonga again next year.