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Hotels have been very keen on hotel spas in recent years--whether opening their own full-blown facilities with a dozen treatment rooms and exotic therapies or simply having one or two treatment rooms available with the basic rub-downs all travelers need. But just because a hotel might be five-star, doesn't mean its spa is. We told you what to look for in a very good spa as well as signs of a very bad spa. Now, here's a little spa love for the men out there.
Often aimed at women, hotel spas can be daunting places for men. However, more and more treatments especially tailored to men’s needs are popping up on spa menus all over the world and it’s no longer a rare sight to see a man getting a massage, facial or even, (gulp) a wax.
Yet despite the evolution in spa culture, there aren't many male specific tips for navigating the spa. So we thought we'd come up with a few of our own. These aren't too dissimilar to those for women but here are few things that can optimize a man’s spa experience, whether a first-timer or a veritable spa hound.
Funky Spa Treatments / Hotel Spas / Austria Hotels / Bad Gastein Hotels / Salzburg Hotels / Organic Hotels / → All Tags
Wild roses outside the Grüner Baum: probably thrown into the treatments too
Ah, Austria, country of mountains, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and holistic healthcare. Eco spa treatments here are nothing new, of course – this is the country of salt caves and hay wraps and oil baths – but an organic spa in a soon-to-be organic hotel doing treatments involving mare’s milk? Why, colour us Cleopatra. Yes please!
The Grüner Baum is a family-run, 100-year-old, 80-room, four-star hotel in Bad Gastein (Salzburg province), which is currently transforming into an entirely organic hotel, from the food to the cleaning products. The conversion will finish next year, but they’ve just completed the most important part: the spa.
Forget Clarins or even Amala; at the Grüner Baum, you’ll now be treated with products from Marías Organic Care – not just organic, but local, too, as they’re based in Salzburg. And not just organic and local – organic, local mare’s milk. Yum.
When Hard Rock introduced their Rhythm and Motion spa treatments earlier in the year, we, along with everyone else in possession of common sense, heard the “gimmick” klaxon. “The world’s first fully immersive music-centric spa menu utilizing amplified vibrations, pressures and patterns, as the foundation of its treatments,” heavy-breathed the press release. “Bass vibrations ripple through the massage table as treble beats come from above, sending pulses through the body and leaving guests feeling energized and invigorated.” What rot, we thought. Vibrating, titillating rot.
And then we tried one.
A couple of weeks ago, I stayed at the Hard Rock Palm Springs, one of the first to get “the dome” (the treatments are referred to as taking place “under the dome”). Being a massage fiend, I wanted to see what the pulsating “Synchronicity” massage was like. First impressions weren’t great: the spa is small with just four treatment rooms and a tiny, not very atmospheric, relaxation room. The signature Hard Rock pre-treatment guitar on the bed was fun, but “the dome” looked like one of those hair-setting bowls at old lady salons.
The massage started to a soundtrack of chill-out music, and just a hint of a vibrating bed underneath me. Just as I’d thought: gimmick. Rub, dig, swirl, should have chosen a normal massage, rub, dig, swirl, stop trying to identify the music, rub, dig, swirl OHMYGODWHATISHAPPENINGTOME.
Hotels have been very keen on hotel spas in recent years--whether opening their own full-blown facilities with a dozen treatment rooms and exotic therapies or simply having one or two treatment rooms available with the basic rub-downs all travelers need. But just because a hotel might be five-star, doesn't mean its spa is. We told you what to look for in a very good spa. Now, here's what to steer clear of in a bad spa.
It’s mind-boggling how many five-star hotel spas miss out on those 6 signs of a very good spa that we shared this week. The rule is simple: if you’re at a five-star hotel, then your spa should be five-star as well. .
Now, here are the 6 telltale signs that a hotel spa isn’t quite deserving of its reputation.
JW Marriott Hotels want you to relax. Wait. Actually they want you to "demystify and re-imagine the spa experience" with their new spa concept---Spa by JW.
While JW Marriott hotels around the world often have a spa component of some sort, the hotel brand is now officially getting into the spa game with Spa by JW. Not very creative but at least, we know whose spa it is.
The first Spa by JW will open at the new JW Marriott Hotel in Houston Downtown when the hotel itself opens in September. Another Spa by JW will open at the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar in December followed by at least 20 more.
Through a variety of treatments--short and long--Spa by JW will concentrate on four purposes--Calm, Indulge, Invigorate and Renew. Here are some examples of that:
On a visit to the Langham Pasadena a few months ago, one of the better perks of our guest room was the Chuan Spa toiletries found in the bathroom. Now, guests at the Langham can spend a whole day inside the hotel's new, real-life Chuan Spa.
Chuan Spa, the Langham brand's signature spa experience, creates its offerings using Traditional Chinese Medicine which balances the five Wu Xing elements--fire, water, earth, metal and wood. Such treatments include the Chuan Balancing massage and the Chuan Harmony massage, both of which incorporate acupressure, and the Chuan Stone Therapy, which aims to balance your yin and yang through both hot and cold stones. Regular massages start at $160 for an hour, while the special Chuan massages start at $205 for an hour.
But this being Los Angeles, many folks care not just about their bodies, but probably more of them care about their faces. (Hand raised here.) Which is why this Chuan Spa has cutting-edge skin care technology like HydraFacial MD® and Mistral LHE, essentially a laser machine that provides an advanced combo of light and heat. It works as an anti-aging therapy but also works to clear acne and remove hair.
Other facial treatments include specially designed ones by Kerstin Florian and PRIORI (Caviar Facial anyone?) In short, in the spa brochure, there's one page for massages and three pages for facials.
Palm Springs Hotels / Palm Springs Week / Hotel Openings / Hotel Spas / Kimpton Hotels / Autograph Collection / Marriott Hotels / → All Tags
The Palm Springs Hotel
Be still, breaking hearts – it’s the last day of Palm Springs week! We’ve covered how to get there on the cheap, the must-stay hotels, and your essential pools and spas. We’re wrapping up today with forthcoming hotels that should be on your radar in the coming months – either brand new or refurbished.
Hotels have been very keen on hotel spas in recent years--whether opening their own full-blown facilities with a dozen treatment rooms and exotic therapies or simply having one or two treatment rooms available with the basic rub-downs all travelers need. But just because a hotel might be five-star, doesn't mean its spa is. We'll be taking a closer look at hotel spas in the coming weeks, starting with what makes for a really great hotel spa.
It's surprising how many great hotels are let down by their spa. And while we won't name names, we will give you six signs of a very, very, very good spa.
1. Separate saunas and steam rooms for men and women
A must Let’s face it, as liberal as we can be in certain countries, we love not having to stumble upon a person of the opposite sex in a small, steamy room wearing the smallest of swimming costumes. It’s just nice to let it all hang without that preoccupation in mind. Luxury hotels in the Middle East are inevitably the best at providing wonderfully grand single-sex services including a super sized ornate hammam of the Anantara Eastern Mangroves in Abu Dhabi or Talise Spa at Al Madinat in Dubai.
Palm Springs Hotels / Palm Springs Week / Hotel Spas / Desert Hot Springs Hotels / Hard Rock Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
The hot spring pool at The Spring
Possibly not the scrub selection
First it was massage with beer. Now it’s with bourbon. Are Four Seasons trying to tell us something?
First comes the scrub: a wicked scrub of brown sugar, ginger, pecan and Kentucky bourbon. Then, once your pores have been suitably boozed up (and back bacteria slaughtered by the bourbon), comes the massage – not just any massage, but one with hot stones.
Does it get any better than a bourbon scrub and a hot stone rub? Indeed it does. The treatment ends at the bar: not the poncy spa bar, but the actual hotel bar, Allium, where you’ll sample its signature single-barrel bourbon. Presumably you’ll be expected to change out of your robe for this part.
Hombres! Try a “Mexican beer and lime facial”, which whisks up Corona and egg yolk to make a hydrating, skin-elasticizing facial. The process takes 75 minutes and costs $185.
Chicas! If you don’t fancy beer on your face, try a Margarita Medley treatment. You’ll get a marg (or, as they say, “spagarita” – it’ll never catch on) to accompany a lime-based massage of the hands, feet, head and neck.
Hombres y chicas! Just try them both.
Getting your five a day is important, of course, but sometimes tricky to fit in. So try this work-around: putting one of your portions on, instead of in, your body?
The Miramonte Resort & Spa at Indian Wells, California, already has a foodie menu for its spa, including treatments with wine extracts, and it’s just added a holier than thou-sounding “Farm-to-Table Body Scrub” to its menu – spa menu, that is. It promises “wholesome natural ingredients of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs”, all picked for their skin buffering abilities.
The spa picks a selection of up to 10 F&V from local sources every day (local sources including the hotel’s own garden), all known for their different properties (lemon brightens skin, for example, and sage busts cellulite). You simply make your selection, and choose either sugar or salt as an exfoliant, and the spa staff mix them up with olive oil, then rub you down. Finally, you get a Vichy shower rinse and a shea butter moisturizer.