On My Mind - THE
EXPERIENCE - Part 1
by Julie Register
Something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through.
following is a typical spa experience that I have found more and more frequently
at day spas (as well as some hotel spas) in the last few years:
advised when I made the appointment, I check in at the reception desk 15 minutes
before my scheduled treatment.
receptionist may ask me to pay in advance for the treatment.
receptionist instructs me to wait in the small area in front of the reception
desk. This area often has all the ambiance of the waiting room of a dentist's
office. From here, I can overhear the phone calls at the desk and staff conversations.
There may be (but usually is not) a table with refreshments.
receptionist may ask me to complete a health history form. (This has become a
rare occurrence at all spas. I estimate I am asked to do this less than 10% of
appointed time, my treatment provider appears, introduces him or herself to me
and escorts me to a treatment room.
treatment provider instructs me to disrobe, hang my clothes on a hook on the back
of the door, and get under the sheets on the treatment table while he or she waits
outside the door.
treatment provider delivers the facial, massage, body treatment, etc. which is
usually very good.
When the treatment is over, the treatment provider instructs me to get dressed
and meet him or her outside.
get dressed, open the treatment room door where I usually (but not always) find
the treatment provider waiting - sometimes with a cup of water for me.
treatment provider escorts me to the reception area. I am almost always very relaxed,
groggy and sleepy.
pay if I haven't done so already and leave.
immediately get into my car or otherwise have to deal with life back in
the real world outside the spa.
missing here? The spa experience, which is more than just the treatment.
Time and space, in particular, are missing:
and a quiet, comfortable place to decompress - to relax and prepare myself for
the upcoming treatment.
and a quiet, comfortable place to recompress - to savor the treatment, recover,
reawaken and slowly emerge from my super-relaxed state.
are essential elements of the spa experience. No matter how great the treatment
or service is, it is diminished by not having this time and a quiet, comfortable
place in which to spend it.
Not everyone shares my view point. I know one
spa owner who could not understand why anyone would want a place to relax. Her
idea of the ideal spa "experience" consisted of walking in a minute
before her appointment, having the treatment and leaving on time - not a minute
wasted. The way she described it sounded like a drive-thru. She had no value for
the spa experience. She was a type A personality and simply incapable of
relaxing - although she is one of people most in need of it. I wonder why she
is in the business. I have not been able to bring myself to visit her spa. Although,
if I intend to see it, I should do it soon. My guess it won't be around very long.
I consider her the exception (thank goodness). Most spa owners I've met want to
provide a healing, recuperative experience for their guests.
All spa owners,
but day spa owners in particular, have to be very careful about how they spend
their resources - especially on facilities. I think many have been advised by
consultants to sacrifice relaxation / recovery areas for "income-producing
treatment rooms." They have been told that changing areas, lounges, relaxation
rooms, and wet amenities like showers, steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools and pools
(the very things that help to create a spa experience) are money wasters
- some with big operating and maintenance costs and no ROI.
I know a number
of day spas that have converted their relaxation lounges into treatment rooms
with the hope of being able to increase their income. I have to wonder how the
spa's regular guests feel about no longer having that quiet area. How often are
these new treatment rooms empty? What are their occupancy rates? Close to 100%
of a spa's guests used the "nonproductive" lounge. I find this a real
dilemma. If the spa doesn't have the facilities necessry to deliver a spa experience,
is it really a spa?
That's my opinion of The Experience (This
part anyway - check back for Part 2). Thanks for "listening." I would
love to hear from spa guests on how they feel about this. I would also love to
hear from spa owners who have eliminated lounges to convert them to treatment
rooms. Does the data show that it was worth it? I am interested in your opinion.
Share it with me at jar@DiscoverSpas.com.
Absolutely in agreement with you about the value of quiet integration
time, and the unrealized loss of this in the cafeteria spa setting.
I wrote that word 'value' I realized that you've described another truly glaring
example of how modern life (business life) can and has led to a distortion of
It's good that you asked spa owners for feedback on
figures regards turning rest areas into treatment rooms, and yet it would be wonderful
if we didn't even need to ask this.
When I was running my private
spa-retreat, all the guests (day and stay) appreciated the spaces before and after
their sessions to sit in the lounge or wander around the gardens.
often I could join them (this was the joy of being self-employed on a small scale
level) and build trust, relationship and in small ways continue to add value to
their healing experience.
If I couldn't join them, or they needed
to be alone anyway, I considered the spaces (inside and out) to be 'unpaid help'
in providing the rest of their session time. Time has a value far beyond money.
do (unconditional) peace, touch, companionship, and countless other simple things
that many people do not have enough of in their lives. Imagine this kind of 'value-added'
I look forward to reading Part 2.
Vision Spa Retreat
On My Mind Articles
Lantana Spa at JW Marriott San Antonio
Farm to Treatment Table Lavender Experience
This package is available Saturdays only, May 12 – July 14 (excluding June 8), must be booked one week in advance and requires 48 hours notice for cancellation.
Hill Country Lavender Farm tour,
a bottle of organic lavender massage oil made at the farm,
lunch at Replenish Spa Café with items featuring lavender, and a lavender-based spa treatment featuring the organic lavender massage oil from the Hill Country Lavender farm.
You can clean your home, fruits, vegetables and meats with the same 'Aqueous Ozone' that spas and other companies use. Tersano's ‘Aqueous Ozone’ Cleaning Systemt is the world's most effective chemical-free cleaner. ‘Aqueous Ozone’ quickly oxidizes (kills) viruses and bacteria (including E.coli, Salmonella, MRSA, C-Difficil), mold, mildew and other contaminants on any item or surface - from toilets to bedspreads - before changing safely back into water and oxygen. ‘Aqueous Ozone’ is 3000 times faster and 50% more powerful than bleach and chlorine-based cleaners. It is 100% chemical free - no toxins, carcinogens or chemical residue - and safe for babies, pets and people with sensitive skin or those with strong reactions to normal cleaners. ‘Aqueous Ozone’ has long been used in water treatment, food sterilization and medical therapies for its remarkable anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. It sounds too good to be true, but the data show how effective the system works.
I'm a believer.
Hearth Health Month at mySpaShop including the best in health and wellness products from companies that give to those in need.