Spas: Luxury Hotels Continue To Raise The Bar With Newer and More Robust Spas
By Edward Donaldson VP Marketing, Small Luxury Hotels of the World | October 28, 2008
The demands of luxury travelers have revealed that just having spa services is not enough anymore. Rather, they seek new, unique and spectacular spa facilities. The Park Hotel Kenmare in Ireland recently invested $5 million dollars in a 10,000 sq. ft spa making it Ireland's first luxury five-star destination spa. With 37 rooms, this 12-acre, 1897 estate has reinvented itself with modern amenities. Interestingly, the Park Hotel Kenmare does not sell individual spa services. Rather, they offer blocks of time during which guests can indulge in a variety of treatments and services. Similarly, the 21-room Stoke Park Club in England, which was one of the first Golf Country Clubs in England founded in the late 1800's, invested over $20 million in building Spa SPC, a Spa, Health and Racquet Pavilion which echoes the magnificence of the original mansion and creates a perfect harmony of history, sport and contemporary luxury. The adjacent facility has not only created a new client base of spa travelers but the hotel now offers private Health & Racquet memberships to both local residents and overseas frequent guests.
As the ever-increasing focus is on personal health and well being, an emphasis has certainly been placed on travelers. This extends to both the traveler enjoying a pleasure holiday as well as those that are traveling for business. Spas have evolved from a simple room for a massage to expansive havens for relaxation and healing. In addition to various treatment centers, spas boast lounges, couples areas, food and beverage outlets and even gift shops. At Stoke Park Club, guests can order spa cuisine to the relaxation lounge pre or post-treatment in the comfort of their spa robe and slippers.
At the newly-opened, 33-room Brentwood Bay Lodge & Spa, located on the oceanfront in Victoria, British Columbia, the 3,500 sq. ft. spa features a fireplace, outdoor terrace, seaside aroma garden and a private heated pool and hot tub. Spas at hotels such as this have become destinations unto themselves and help propel hotels further and further into the destination leisure market. The Hotel Hana Maui, stretching 67 acres along the east coast of Maui, recently opened Spa Hotel Hana Maui, which has significantly elevated the guests' experience at this luxury oasis. Hana Maui's 7,600 sq ft. spa boasts nine treatment rooms, including four massage suites with private gardens and water features and two suites for couples.
Many properties have also looked at an alternative way of incorporating a true spa offering into their business mix by following the successes seen in leasing out restaurant operations to high profile, spa operators. This allows for the hotel to accomplish many important business needs. The hotel reaps the benefit of associating themselves with a proven operate and therefore can utilize that association effectively in Public Relation and Marketing efforts. Also in doing this, hotels ensure that their square footage is providing an income and does not have to take on the additional employees required to operate the facility.
As a result of the influx of spas into the leisure market, individual properties need to make a considerable effort to offer unique services to differentiate themselves and capitalize on their locations. Brentwood Bay's spa specializes in Vinotherapies, which feature treatments using organic grape products, ocean salt body scrubs and B.C. granite hot stone treatments, all of which celebrate the native surroundings. Hotel Hana Maui features a list of treatments utilizing traditional Hawaiian techniques as well as their own line of spa products. Hotel Punta Islita's Casa Spa in Costa Rica unveiled a beautiful, ocean-front spa that also uses indigenous natural ingredients which are mostly grown on property local fresh herbs. Other products used include volcanic mud from the area.
By expanding the hotels' offerings to guests, spas are having a positive effect on the hotel's overall bottom line. At the Chester Grosvenor Hotel in England, leisure business has increased by 20% since they opened up their spa approximately one year ago. The Huntington Hotel and Nob Hill Spa in San Francisco has had similar results. The 31-room Castle on the Hudson in Tarrytown, NY is breaking ground on a 4,500 sq ft spa including a full-service hair salon and gift shop. The property has no more room to increase weekend occupancy but the addition of the spa will certainly add to the guests' experience as well as the hotel's revenue.