The Resort-Retreat-Destination Spa Trend
By Cecilia Hercik Founder & President, C-Spa Consulting | June 30, 2019
In today's fast-paced lifestyle, it's not surprising that many people look and feel exhausted all the time. Playing multiple roles everyday can take its toll, and usually the first thought that pops into the mind of an exhausted, over-worked, tension-ridden citizen is "I could really use a spa day."
There's a reason that this tends to be the indulgent thought that creeps up to the surface, but most people look at going to the spa as inessential, merely a splurge or something extra. The idea is to shift that mindset, to make it known to the general public that a day at the spa is about as essential as taking your vitamins and drinking that bottle of water every day. Spas are in the business of helping people focus on reducing the harmful effects of stress and increasing the overall sense of well-being; in layman's terms, to RELAX.
Many spas now offer specific stress management programs, healthy food options, exercise classes, non-traditional ways preserve and maintain youthfulness, and sleep and relaxation tips, all which allow you to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle anytime you want even outside the facility. The spa is the perfect place to be cared for by professionals and spend your time the way YOU want to, either by taking a walk, meditating, reading, exercising or getting a therapeutic treatment. Whether it's that quiet moment away from it all that you desperately need, or that quality connection with loved ones during a mutual moment of relaxation, a visit to the spa can be just what the doctor ordered.
Now, the real question: which spa is the right one for you?
Traditional Resort Spa
Your first option is the traditional Resort Spa, which is the spa facility found within a Resort or Hotel. Resort spas typically offer spa treatments "a la carte," meaning they're not inclusive of the room rate, so even if hotel guests are their primary audience, this leaves the option for non-hotel guests to come and play too. Spas within a resort focus mainly on relaxation, fitness and beauty during a guest's stay.
Integrated within the spa vacation experience are usually things like golf, pool time, dining in neighboring restaurants and exploring local sites. Hotel guests are also encouraged to take the wellness experiences beyond their stay to fulfill their new path to health and healing once they get back to real life, so Resort Spas accommodate by offering not just products but also lessons and skills, like learning a non-toxic beauty tip or a healthy cooking recipe. Many resorts now offer a wellness ecosystem for the entire hotel room with options like guided meditation channels on the television that you can access at any time, a circadian lighting system, state-of-the-art air purification, and exercise equipment, all to help promote the wellness lifestyle throughout a guest's stay.
Option number two is the Destination Spa. Destination Spas have a more fine-tuned approach to wellness, and guests venture to these remote facilities to achieve a particular objective. This objective can be anything from weight loss to improving overall fitness, recalibrating your lifestyle or adapting a healthier routine, including addressing medical conditions or any other specific limitations.
The mission of a Destination Spa is an immersive teaching method for well-being, meaning that with your intentions held fast, you surrender to the all-inclusive facilities and learn how to live a happier, healthier life. Destination Spas usually teach you about things like how to eat for long-term health, come up with strategies to spark your libido, push through some old fears and habits, stop smoking and start sleeping better, and talk about sex, divorce or death.
Destination Spas are becoming a favorite escape for groups, especially for fun girlfriend getaways or for spending quality time with multi-generational family members. Their all-inclusive programs (and we really mean all-inclusive) make the stay truly stress-free, seeing as you don't have to worry about counting your pennies every time you want to do something.
Lastly we have the Medical Spa, or "Medi-Spa." A Medical Spa is a combination of a traditional day spa and a doctor's clinic. So while the facility may look and feel almost as relaxing as that Resort Spa you visited during your vacation to Hawaii, the services offered are not going to be what was on the menu in the Pacific. A Medical Spa is run or overseen by a doctor and the services provided usually include options like laser and light therapies, clinical acne treatments, micro-needling, chemical peels, and injectables like Botox.
The objective of the Medical Spa is to provide the stress-free sheik environment of a day spa while providing treatments you'd only be able get at the doctor's office, and that blend of wellness facilities and techniques is only the beginning.
Trends in the wellness market are showing that the lines between Medical Spas, Resort Spas and Destination Spas are beginning to blur. Aside from spa amenities like tennis courts, lap pools, hydrotherapy circuits and lifestyle-shifting spa treatments, some Resort Spas are taking on the characteristics of a Destination Spa by offering a variety of exercise classes, wellness lectures and global therapies like acupuncture, cupping, sound baths or even full day wellness retreats.
Likewise, some Medical Spas are taking on the natural wellness concept by blending natural therapies with their minimally invasive medical procedures and advanced skincare rejuvenation services in a relaxed atmosphere of a spa-like environment. Resort Spas are utilizing the strategy that Destination Spas around the world have been using for cultivating health and wellness tourism in their locations, which is to bring the beauty of their local setting to the forefront while focusing on the unique aspects of their host culture in an authentic and respectful manner.
Destination and Resort Spas alike nowadays offer a wider range of wellness services to appeal to multiple spiritualties as well, including complementary and alternative medicine (Ayurvedic teachings, chakra balancing, colonics, grief therapy, herbal therapy, homeopathy, moxibustion, etc.), the healings of nature (agri-tours, botanical gardens, herb walks, hikes, organic foods, etc.), inner pilgrimages (dream work, qi Gong, vision quests, detox, Feng Shui), an array of service and purpose options (beach cleanup, environmental conservation, recycling programs, trail clearing, etc.), along with nutritional sessions and stress management classes.
A last and not least option for those unsure of how to integrate wellness and self-care into their daily lives and maybe want to start before taking that trip to spa is something that permeates all parts of our society today: technology. That's right, while maybe not the most obvious of choices seeing as most of these spa choices include "un-plugging" as a necessity, if you're not sure about which facility might be right for you and still want to take that first tentative step into taking better care of yourself, a technological option might be just what your over-worked, multitasking mind needs.
Now that's not to say we're promoting a sit-down sesh with your device to scroll and burn brain cells, we're talking about making healthy lifestyle choices through options now provided through technology. Today more than ever, wellness goers have the power to prevent health issues using a wide variety of wellness apps and mobile health monitors, along with medication reminders or notifications from your doctor with specific instructions. Technology is empowering individuals to monitor and analyze key health indicators like heart rate, activity and stress levels, and brings attention to important lifestyle traits that may have normally gone unnoticed (sleep tracking anyone?).
Medical wearables like smart watches do incredible things like make emergency situations easier for first responders, yet also help you stay at your target heart rate during your group cardio fitness class, or let you know you've reached your step goal for the day. There are even advances within the spa industry itself integrating technology, a good example being the Foreo "Advanced Smart Mask," a device that gives you clear, glowing skin using LED light therapy, cryo-therapy, thermo-therapy, and T-sonic pulses. Devices like these can all be used from the comfort of your own home, which make a good in-between for spa-goers, or a nice introductory wellness method for those wanting to give this whole spa thing a try.
Over the past decade and a half, wellness has worked its way into nearly every inch of the hospitality industry, striving to become more commonplace and less of an unknown factor. As more and more people realize how important self-care is, spas are becoming one of the main go-to destinations for health and relaxation. No matter what state you feel in physically and emotionally when you enter a spa, trust the professionals to help guide your mind and body to find total relaxation within the warm embrace of therapeutic waters and soothing touches.
Today, those seeking the rejuvenation and relaxation don't need to travel to an exotic geographic location, spas are closer than you think; just search within your location! When it comes down to it, each spa has its own purpose and it's up to you to decide which wellness journey you want to take, but no matter which relaxation destination you walk into, walk out with your head held high knowing that you took that mighty step toward taking care of YOU.
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