While on a bus in Rotorua, New Zealand, the tour guide drew our attention to a one-story building with several interesting, pointed roofs.
She told us this building was the Polynesian Spa, one of the top ten spas in the world, renowned for its mineral pools and spa treatments.
Sitting there on the bus as it drove past this popular place of comfort and relaxation, I remember thinking how nice it would be to spend some time there.
Little did I know, weeks earlier, my husband scheduled a day at this spa as a surprise! After a week and a half of hiking and traveling, it was the perfect way to unwind and de-stress.
It was an amazing experience for the both of us, one I think about often and would love to relive if we ever get to visit Rotorua again.
But you came here for my review, so here are the 10 things I loved most about the Polynesian Spa:
1. The Food.
It is suggested to anyone receiving treatments to eat before arriving. However, time was against us so we decided to just grab something to eat at their little cafe.
We ordered a plate of spaghetti to share (serving sizes are HUGE in NZ) along with a Revitalize juice. OH. MY. GOODNESS! I love spaghetti but this stuff was amazing! I wanted the whole plate for myself and even though there was no way I was going to finish it alone, I just wanted to keep trying.
And the Revitalize juice was so good it was gone in minutes! I don’t remember all that was in it but it was a powerful combination of flavors and I would have ordered another if time had allowed.
Lucky for us, the spa treatment my husband purchased actually came with lunch so we each got another Revitalize juice with our meal.
This was my lunch! The salad was the biggest I’d ever attempted to eat and every bite so incredible; I never would have thought to throw all those ingredients into a salad but I’m glad someone did because it was a very satisfying meal.
To say it was good would be an understatement. I was shocked at how much I ate of it 1) because the salad could have fed my whole family, not to mention the fruit bowl that came with it and 2) the spaghetti I polished off only an hour earlier. It was just that flavorful!
2. The Gift Shop
I am adding this one now because it is the first thing you see when you walk in.
I was skeptical of the gift shop, mainly because I am a budget spender and was already trying not to think about the money my husband was spending for our time there. (More on that in the next point.)
However, after our treatment, we spent time shopping and was pleasantly surprised to find something for every budget. It was not at all as extravagantly priced as I expected, even for New Zealand.
3. The Prices are Reasonable.
I am the kind of person who would rather spend money on lasting things, not on momentary pleasures like a massage or fancy restaurant. Which is why my husband wouldn’t tell me how much our treatment was costing him. I tried my best to forget about it and just enjoy the experience, but when we went to check in I couldn’t resist the urge to view the prices.
Again, I was surprised. When you break down the monetary difference between New Zealand and America, what he spent for a few hours at the spa was comparative to what an American spa would have cost us. And this was a world-renowned spa! I was blown away. Needless to say, I was able to enjoy myself a whole lot better knowing we weren’t going broke. haha
4. The Service is Great.
Yes, I understand it’s a spa but I was still impressed with the service we received. From the people who check you in to the ones giving the massages, everyone was very pleasant and helpful.
I felt so pampered and important, even though I’m quite sure they treat all their guests the same. It was just nice to experience it firsthand.
5. Everything is 1st Class.
This should probably go with the above point but I felt it deserved a spot all its own.
From the decorations to the plush furniture, the serene atmosphere, even the tea they offer after your massage; everything is thought out and geared for your comfort.
I was even impressed with the changing rooms! They thought of everything down to the plush towels and hair dryers.
6. The Massages are Heavenly
I have had some wonderful massages before but this was Steve’s first massage and my first couple’s massage. The experience was perfect. Our masseuses were very friendly and concerned not only for our comfort but also accommodating my desire to get the right shot for the blog.
I’m telling you, the hour we had scheduled was not enough. If ever we return to New Zealand, I will definitely be suggesting a secondary massage. I’m sure it won’t take much convincing for Steve. 🙂
7. The Mineral Pools
I had never been to a mineral pool before so I knew this experience would be a pleasant one as I’d had nothing with which to compare it.
The Polynesian Spa has 28 hot mineral pools with some designated for adults only, some for families and some reserved for those receiving a package treatment. After changing, Steve and I entered the Deluxe pools, an area of five mineral pools overlooking Lake Rotorua.
My two favorites were the Rachel pool (above) whose alkaline waters are great for the skin and the Priest Pool whose slightly acidic water was perfect for our sore muscles (below).
8. The Views
The Deluxe Spa and the Deluxe Private Pools overlook Lake Rotorua for the perfect view.
I spent most of my time in the pools enjoying the birds who live in the bird sanctuary at the edge of the lake and listening to their calls echo across the water. It was both peaceful and relaxing.
9. The Private Pools
Steven worked with a sweet lady from the Spa who graciously upgraded our private pool to a Deluxe (which comes with a view) in exchange for my review of the Spa. I’m so glad he did because I got to enjoy the view for a while longer.
The private pools are nice if you prefer to relax away from the other bathers. Steve and I are rather private people so we enjoyed having a pool to ourselves.
However, there was one drawback: our neighbors were rather loud so we could not relax as well as we had hoped. It was much quieter in the Deluxe Spa with the other bathers than it was in the private pool area, which gave the illusion it wasn’t private at all.
With that said, if your neighbors relish the peace and quiet as much as you, then you will find this option perfect.
10. The Health Benefits
Mineral water has long been treasured for its restorative powers but in Rotorua, to the Maori people, it is so much more. It is their history, an element in their formative years and a key structure to their livelihood.
To hear a Maori native talk of the hot springs and what it means to their people, you can’t help but feel the wonder for yourself. Take a dip in the healing pools and you will feel it for yourself.
I’m not 100% sure what one visit to the Polynesian Spa did for our long-term health, but I can tell you it did wonders for our short-term benefit!
The Polynesian Spa in Rotorua was a great experience for us, one we hope to share with our girls one day when we return in the future.
If you are close enough to visit, you won’t regret the time spent relaxing and getting pampered there.
You can check out packages they have to offer here.
For more information about New Zealand, check out these posts:
About the author
Kimberly McGraw is the founder of Life Worth the Living, a blog focused on helping mothers live their best life. Her desire is to help moms find purpose in who they are as a person, not just as a mom. Life Worth the Living has been featured in Making Sense of Cents, Outwit Trade and Believe and Create.