Today's spa-goers look for a holistic approach to health and happiness.
Guests influence what spas deliver, but, just as much, spa professionals are in the business of creating new ways to balance mind, spirit and body. As spas and their guests evolve together, the influences—and benefits—are mutual. Not surprisingly, today’s biggest spa trends involve cutting-edge as well as new approaches to tried-and-true, enduring therapies. In accelerated times, when trends come and go with warp speed, spas are responding with new ways to help us de-accelerate.
Hot and Cold
The first big spa trend goes beyond the traditional steam/sauna/whirlpool circuit. Full-on hot saunas and steam baths have been joined by the gentler, less-intense heat of tepidariums (warm rooms) and laconium (dry) rooms. Also new are dedicated “cold” rooms with ice fountains—which are available at Four Seasons Hotels in Macau and Hong Kong—to help in the vital cool-down. Yesterday’s cold plunge pool pales in comparison with today’s tiled ice cave.
One of the most promising new approaches to wellness of mind, spirit and body is the emergence of sleep programmes. Susie Ellis, founder of SpaFinder, a media company that tracks the global spa marketplace, says, “Among other benefits, research shows that healthy sleep promotes health and makes it easier to lose weight.” Spas, including Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, are addressing the “sleep debt” epidemic in many ways, such as creating ideal environments through minimal light and sound and relaxation lounges for post-treatment naps, using aromatherapy and hypnotherapy.
Another big trend in wellness is an increasing emphasis on nutrition. From having registered nutritionists on staff to an abundance of cooking classes, spas put the role of diet at centre stage. For example, at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, a registered dietician creates personalised, stress-reducing healthy eating plans for guests, tailored to their specific lifestyle needs.
Do Real Men Spa?
They do—and in impressive numbers. The emphasis on wellness—coupled with a plethora of new treatments such as sports massage and pedicures, dedicated male skin care and rejuvenating energy treatments—has created a dramatic increase in male guests. At many spas worldwide, such as Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru almost half of spa-goers are men.
Finally, it’s no surprise that spas, with origins in the waters and plants of the Earth, have an increased commitment to protect the planet. Among the first institutions to embrace going green, spas are emphasing organic local products, recycling, ozone or negative ions instead of chlorine to purify pools, and cleaning products that are environmentally friendly. Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai in Thailand is among many spas using herbs grown in its own organic garden for treatments, products and cuisine.