A Tranquil Getaway From Daily Stress

Eiko Kim (left) and Akiko Chun  PHOTO FROM LAKA SKIN CARE AND SPA

Eiko Kim (left) and Akiko Chun

When Eiko Kim and her daughter Akiko Chun moved to the Islands after spending Chun’s youth in Japan and Korea, they noticed that Hawaii spas were lacking in some of the services they had been accustomed to.

So they founded their own. “It was a great partnership between me and my mom,” says Chun, who previously had done marketing for a hotel in Korea, while Kim had run a spa in Japan. “We wanted to create something together.”

Laka Skin Care and Spa opened in 2010, tucked away off Ward Avenue. If you don’t know it’s there, you could easily miss it. But then again, that is part of the appeal. As soon as you walk into Laka, you find a world away from the busy street downstairs. Soft music plays as you enter the dimly lit waiting area. Beyond that, there are six tranquil treatment rooms where you’re whisked away to relax.

The space, Chun says, is designed with the hope that customers will forget about their daily stress — and maybe even the outside world altogether.

“(Customers) will always feel like they’re by themselves, no matter how busy we get,” Chun explains. “We are extremely passionate about customer service. From the moment they walk in to the moment they leave, we want them to completely feel comfortable and at ease.”

Inside those rooms there is a range of services, including massages, body scrubs, vitamin-C facials and acupuncture. In addition, Laka provides treatments that have been inspired from their international travels.

“We wanted to incorporate elements that spas in Hawaii do not have,” Chun says, “such as the hot stone detox room or the hydrogen scalp spas.”

The hot stone detox is designed to eliminate toxins and promote circulation throughout your body, while the hydrogen scalp treatment is preventive care for hair loss. There also are foot and facial reflexology, which involve acupuncture points on the feet and face to detoxify your body.

“We just want to truly heal others,” Chun says.

One thing that is particularly important to Chun and Kim is to conduct their business in a way that is not harmful to the environment. They monitor water usage. All products used are vegan and have not been tested on animals. Even the wallpaper is made from recycled material.

“We are all about sustainability and being conscious about our environment,” Chun says.

After your treatment is done, your Laka session isn’t over just yet. Enter the tatami room for alkaline water, tea and gelato.

Working together as a mother-daughter team, the pair says that they have become closer than ever. Perhaps it’s the family-run ethos that has encouraged the intimate marketing strategy they’ve employed to build up their business — they have relied almost entirely on word of mouth.

“It does take time to build that rapport,” Kim says, “but we knew that it was well worth it because it’s all about that here in Hawaii: building relationships.”

For more information, call 397-5252 or visit lakaspa.com.