Clubs and resorts are establishing their own spa identities and differentiating themselves from the competition by promoting and packaging different treatment options and services.
It goes without saying that spas offer massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. But how about advice on skin care and diet, or techniques spa-goers can use on their own to relax and stay fit? All that—and more—is increasingly becoming available, as spas in the club and resort industry seek to differentiate themselves from the competition.
“The menu of treatments at most spas has exploded in the last decade or so,” says Michael Simmons, Spa Director at The Keystone (Colo.) Lodge & Spa. “There used to be a couple of massages on a typical spa menu or a handful of body, skin, and wellness treatments; now, there are dozens.”
Modern-day spa-goers also have developed a much higher level of sophistication. “One size no longer fits all,” adds Simmons. “Clients are now demanding experiences that are tailored to their personal needs and desires.”
SUMMING IT UP
•Spa-goers seek personalized services tailored to their desires.
A tired client who wants to learn how get a better night’s sleep, for example, might seek out the Sleep Therapy at the Spa at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. And clients who want skin rejuvenation beyond what they can get from traditional skin care often gravitate toward more exotic treatments such as milk-bath immersions, chocolate body painting, or being wrapped in organic mud.
While such treatments may seem beyond the pale, Simmons points out that many of them actually rely on venerable, even ancient, practices. Having your body cocooned in a layer of silky warm mud while a therapist takes you on a sensory journey might sound bizarre to some, but it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in Australia, where such treatments have been performed for centuries.
“It’s important to remember that things we may deem ‘far out’ in our culture are actually deeply embedded traditions in others,” Simmons says. “One person’s ‘strange’ is another person’s ritual.”
Once a winter-oriented destination, Keystone Resort now offers countless activities in addition to skiing and snowboarding, such as golf, rafting and biking. To add to the variety, the Spa at Keystone, one of the property’s most popular amenities, offers visitors a decadent menu of massages, facials, body wraps, manicures and other pampering beauty and wellness treatments. There are also yoga classes, two hot tubs, a dry sauna, outdoor heated pool, steam room, and weight and cardio rooms.
Even with these “mainstream” options, reports Simmons, spa guests are drawn most to Keystone’s indigenous treatments and products.
“We combine organic products, indigenous ingredients, and rituals of massage, baths, warmth and relaxation,” says Simmons. “One of our most popular treatments is based on 40,000-year-old rituals from the Indigenous Aboriginal people of Australia.”
The treatment, called Mala Mayi, is a 100-minute sensory journey that begins with a cleansing exfoliation, a head and scalp massage, some rain therapy under a Vichy shower, and finally a rhythmic body massage.
Beyond unique treatment options, Keystone goes a step further and takes the guesswork out of the spa experience by offering various packages and specials. Additionally, when services are bunched, the spa discounts the packages to make them even more appealing.
“We have dozens of different treatment options,” says Simmons. “Packages and specials help make it a little easier for indecisive guests.”
One package offered this past summer—dubbed “Champagne and Chocolate’—proved especially popular with female clients, reports Simmons. “It began in our hydrotherapy room with a full-body, champagne sugar scrub, followed by a decadent and antioxidant-rich chocolate truffle body wrap,” he describes. “We then applied a mimosa champagne body lotion, followed with a mimosa champagne massage. Last but not least, we gave the guest a pedicure while she sipped on a glass of champagne and nibbled on a truffle made by our famous chocolatier, Ned Archibald.”
The treatment took 150 minutes and cost $265, with gratuity included. “We sold 63 Champagne & Chocolate packages over the summer,” says Simmons. “It was a very successful service.”
Many Hands, Many Benefits
The Bethel Inn Resort and Country Club in Bethel, Maine, offers weary and time-strapped members and guests an indulgence like none other: the four-handed massage.
“It is exactly what it says: a tandem massage performed with four hands by two therapists,” says Cathy Lane, owner of Many Hands Massage, a local vendor hired by the resort to oversee all of its spa operations. “It is a blend of long, flowing, Swedish-style strokes, and guests can decide the amount of pressure they prefer, whether it be light, medium or firm.”
Having two massage therapists rub you down at the same time certainly sounds luxurious. But how do guests know if it’s worth it? The answer, according to Lane, depends largely on what the guest is looking for and how the club sells the service to them.
|The Spa at Quail Creek Country Club has positioned itself as a “wellness partner,” and members have responded enthusiastically.|
“A four-hand massage isn’t necessarily any better or worse than a regular massage,” explains Lane. “It really depends on what benefits the guest hopes to achieve from the session.
“For example, if the client is wavering between [the two options], the four-hand massage may be the best choice because while the benefits are very similar, the relaxation and pain relief will arrive more quickly, because twice the work is being done to the body,” she explains. “If, however, the client is seeking energy healing or another form of therapy that’s more related to traditional massage, he or she may not receive those benefits with a four-hand massage.”
In those instances, Lane adds, her staff will explain the other treatment options, to help steer the client toward a service that aligns best with his or her desires.
Kinks From the Links
Golfers are learning they don’t need to be Tiger Woods to benefit from massage therapy. In response, clubs and resorts are designing massage sessions that target the specific needs of both recreational and serious golfers.
Ani Dumas is the Spa & Sports Retreat Director at Morgan Run Resort & Club, a private club, boutique resort and conference center located in Rancho Sante Fe, Calif. The club boasts 27 holes of championship golf, a 320-yard driving range and short-game practice facilities. As a result, the spa clientele includes avid amateurs, as well as top professionals.
“The ‘Golfer’s Special’ is a 30-minute massage that targets the head, neck and shoulder muscles that become tense during golf,” says Dumas, who works with golfers and non-golfers alike. “More often than not, a golfer wants a spa treatment that is quick, effective and won’t cost him a fortune.”
Standing the Test of Time
At Quail Creek Country Club, in Naples, Fla., the average member age is 68. “And while we are primarily a golf, fitness and tennis club, our spa has become a huge part of our offerings,” says Kate Kerwin, Director of Fitness at Quail Creek. “Members view the benefits of massage as a part of their overall wellness plans.”
With 580 golf members and 280 social members, Quail Creek encourages spa-goers to first relax in the sauna or soak in the whirlpool before treatments that include everything from Swedish massage to the more exotic Thai massage.
|An infinity-edge, chroma-therapy tub at Keystone Spa eases sore muscles, while a light-therapy feature entertains in a myriad of colors.|
“Thai massage is becoming more popular with members because it is a gentle, noninvasive manipulative technique that is more of a stretch than a massage,” says Kerwin. Also, members keep their fitness clothes on during the treatment, which is provided on a mat on the floor.
While the spa isn’t the primary draw at Quail Creek, it has become so popular that, according to Kerwin, at least 50 percent of members who use personal trainers now also make use of the spa.
“Three of our personal trainers are also licensed massage therapists,” she adds. “This helps our members feel more comfortable with the different spa services, and it helps us market our offerings in a more personalized fashion.
“We’ve positioned ourselves as a ‘wellness partner,’” she says. “We’re here solely for the benefit of our members.”