Top Spa Travel Trends for 2015

Nalu Kinetic Spa at Turtle Bay Resort offers a therapeutic Salt Stone Massage for couples.
Nalu Kinetic Spa at Turtle Bay Resort offers a therapeutic Salt Stone Massage for couples.

For travel agents, it is no surprise that the main reason clients book vacations is for relaxation. And, what better way to offer that than through a destination that features a spa, which is pretty much considered a given, these days. In fact, last year’s State of Spa Travel Report from Spafinder noted 73 percent of North American travel agents reported growth in hotel bookings, resorts and destination spas. As travel agents, it is imperative to know exactly what type of facility your client is looking for when it comes to wellness, fitness, and relaxation.

Many agents we spoke to agree that Millennials seeking a vacation destination prefer one with a spa facility. “Millennials love spa experiences, even while staying at hotels in urban destinations,” says Anne Morgan Scully, president of McCabe World Travel in McLean, VA. “Those treatments are so uplifting to clients that are so busy either working or sightseeing. It is the calm after the storm.”

Scully also finds that spas “are especially important on romantic getaways, as the treatments often satisfy the yearnings of what the heart wants.” This makes destinations featuring spas even more appealing for those booking a wedding, honeymoon, or anniversary.

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According to Jill Taylor of Jetset World Travel Inc., it is especially important to offer hotels with top-notch spas for clients traveling internationally. “I highly suggest when clients are flying internationally that they book a spa treatment upon arrival to help with jet lag,” Taylor says. “Most of the luxury hotels provide spa credits as an amenity, and that has helped to promote spas in general.”

Taylor goes on to point out that the spa culture is now being embraced by men more than ever. “My male clients are more open now than ever, as maintaining a healthy lifestyle includes wellness.”

Spa Nalai at Park Hyatt New York has six treatment suites, a spa terrace, steam room and a hot tub.
Spa Nalai at Park Hyatt New York has six treatment suites, a spa terrace, steam room and a hot tub.

In addition to just relaxation, many clients are also looking for a way to unwind with wellness. Mayla Melo, leisure travel consultant at First in Service in New York City, sees this firsthand often. “I see a lot of clients looking for yoga retreats, massages treatments, and healthy spa cuisine,” says Melo. “Equally, we are seeing more interest in medical health spas, which involves a team of doctors to aid in achieving an individual’s physical and mental health goals.”

Melo also says that more and more of her clients are looking for a spa getaway. “It certainly is one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry. More people are looking after their health and wellbeing. People have a hard time disconnecting, and visiting a spa is a great, healthy way to relax and recharge.”

According to Jetset’s Taylor, offering clients the option of destinations with high-end spas is a sure way to boost business. “It has been exciting to see the trend grow. I can see the momentum increasing in the industry, which only helps the luxury travel advisors to sell better.”

New & Noteworthy Spas

For clients looking to discover new spas either here or abroad, here are a few that are worth checking out.

For guests headed to the Big Apple, the recently opened Spa Nalai at Park Hyatt New York is sure to please. The 13,000-square-foot spa offers a panoramic view of the city skyline and Central Park. The treatment menu is customized to each client, who meets with a consultant and discuss their individual needs. The spa’s signature treatment is based on incorporating the Earth’s energy to connect the body to natural surfaces and includes a scrub, a wrap and a warm poultice massage.

Heading south, clients can make a stop at the bucolic town of Walland, TN, to enjoy the comforts of a spa in a picturesque farm setting. Just opened last summer, The Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm is designed as a barn and serves as the perfect respite for those looking to enjoy the benefits of a spa in a rustic, yet elegant, setting. The menu is inspired by the location, featuring such treatments as the Sheep’s Milk & Lavender Wildflower Honey Manicure and Pedicure and the Appalachian Body Purification scrub.

The Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN, is designed as a barn, and offers a menu that is inspired by its rustic location.
The Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN, is designed as a barn, and offers a menu that is inspired by its rustic location.

One of the most popular vacation destinations in the U.S., Hawaii has its share of fun to offer visitors, but the recently renovated Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu is sure to impress even the most avid spa-goers with the debut of the new Nalu Kinetic Spa. Highlights include an expanded and updated outdoor area for guests to relax, open-air massage cabanas, an ocean-view couple’s treatment room, a salon and a movement studio, where guests can partake in a variety of fitness classes, including hula, yoga, and Zumba.

For those who want to go abroad, India is currently a hot destination. If you have clients traveling near Dehradun, which is located in the foothills of the Himalayas, a must-see for spa-goers is the holistic and eco-friendly Vana, Malsi Estate. The property is spread across 21 acres and includes 69 rooms, 17 suites, two restaurants, and a 55-treatment-room spa. The facility focuses on seven areas of wellness: Ayurveda, Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan healing), yoga, natural therapies, spa, fitness, and aqua, which includes exercise classes in the water.

Clients in the mood for Swiss bliss should head to The W Verbier in the heart of the Swiss Alps is the bran’s first-ever Alpine ski resort, where guests can go straight from the slopes to the spa. The largest spa in the village of Verbier, Away Spa offers guests a taste of the luxe life while helping them relax après-ski. In addition to nine treatment rooms, the spa also offers a sauna, a hammam, a Jacuzzi, and an indoor-outdoor wet pool deck with views of the bar area.

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