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The List-Defying Spa Model
August 30, 2006By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Good news for spa clients, bad news for spa media From our friends the SpaQuest spa professionals It is always interesting to us when magazines create ‘top’ lists for spas, because for us the perfect spa vacation cannot be defined by general criterion, but instead by whether or not an individual’s specific set of needs has been fulfilled. There is no cookie cutter mold that fits all spa experiences, or clients. A spa vacation that is rich in holistic immersion, for example, might be intentionally meager on luxe amenities in order to encourage guests to focus on achieving intrinsic goals without distractions. Likewise, pampering spas with endless arrays of treatment options and mega facilities tend to soft pedal a focus on goal attainment in favor of the delight of almost instant gratification. Of course both have their place in the spa industry because they cater to very different types of clients, or even the same clients seeking different experiences at different times. Luckily for die-hard spafanatics, in recent times the industry has been undergoing a form of upgrading of spa retreats. Destination spas, the holy grail of holistic experience, have been melding age-old philosophies of weight-loss, detoxification and stress management with modernized spa facilities and engaging outdoor activities. The latest destination spa to enter the category we fondly refer to as ‘holistic luxury’ is the Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah. Founded in very strict dietetic/fitness philosophies – older clients will remember it as the National Institute of Fitness, a spa that would have fallen into the boot camp category years ago – the ages old spa is always in flux in order to meet the demands of the new, more discerning spa consumer. The holistic resort’s new Sage Stone spa is a haven of treatments that incorporate elements of the local minerals and flora. Spas such as Miraval located in Tucson, and the Canyon Ranches (Lennox, Massachusetts and Tucson, Arizona) had the foresight to offer holistic luxury for years now. As industry leaders, both properties have not only become brands, but also usually top those lists we mentioned earlier. And each of these experiences is tailored to appeal to different types of clients with the Canyon programs fulfilling a Type A demand while Miraval cultivates a “balanced” vacation. Newer spas added to our roster, such as the Lakeview at Fontana, North Carolina and Sivory Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, were created with this amalgamation of mind, body, spirit and sensuality in mind. They are destination spas with a pleasing balance of philosophy and pampering. We embrace this evolving model of spa experience, one that is sure to throw a wrench in the cogs of print media machines and their fanciful ‘top’ lists, because it will prove increasingly difficult to determine which spa is ‘best’ when the delineations are less black and white. The lists may also prove irrelevant with the new and newly upgraded spas and also better educated and sophisticated spa clients that understand that spa experiences cannot be judged simply by star rating or celebrity sighting, that the intangible benefits are just as important as the physical ones, if not more so. Visit SpaQuest at http://spa-quest.com/