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International Trends: Spa Growth in Singapore

By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: June 20, 2007, from the July 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Several new trends were highlighted at March’s BeautyAsia 2007, the 11th International Cosmetics, Skin Care, Fragrance and Hair Products, Equipment & Packaging Technology Exhibition, which incorporated Spa Asia 2007, Health Asia 2007 and Natural Asia 2007, and was held in Singapore. 

  • Natural products—Green is the new black.
  • Ayurveda—The industry is turning more toward holistic therapy and wellness and going back to the basics.
  • Food as cosmetics—Using ingredients such as chocolate, green tea, tamaran, papaya, saffron, coffee and fruit augur is becoming popular.
  • Hands-on—Singapore looks to Thailand and India for examples of techniques.
  • Pain-free treatments—They can help reduce the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)—Treatments involving techniques such as acupuncture and qi-, or energy-, balancing, are on the rise.
sharing views on the industry with the spa professionals. My journey was eye-opening and enlightening as I learned more about the trends and consumer demands that drive these businesses.

       Earth Sanctuary Spa & Boutique. This unique, holistic day spa is managed by The Wellness Group, which also is a distributor of spa products. Here, therapists are sent to different countries to train. “We take various treatments from different countries, and then give them an Asian twist,” says Albert Kok, vice president, sales and marketing international, The Wellness Group Private Limited.
        The range of treatments and products are designed to complement holistic therapies, and include “Healing Hawaiian, native Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime, legendary Thai, holistic ayurveda, traditional Indonesian Jamu remedies and other unique therapies and treatments, along with principles of music therapy, color therapy, aromatherapy and herbalism,” says Kok.
        In this five-room facility, a majority of the clients are men who come in mostly for massage. “The spa is for those who want balance and harmony in their lives,” Kok says. Clients come from Japan and Russia; however most of the spa’s clients are local executives, and nearly 1million of them—a quarter of Singapore’s population—are said to be expatriates who hail from America, Japan, China and France, says Kok. “It is important to educate the consumer on mind/body/soul,” he states. The spa and boutique has staff that brings in new products and also understands the concept outside of Asia. The Bodywork Training Institute is the training arm of Earth Sanctuary Day Spa, providing short courses for individuals and continuing education for practitioners. “We invite those who are interested to share the experience of studying holistic therapies in an environment that is supportive and friendly, and where each person has an opportunity to grow and to fulfill dreams” explains Kok.

       Estheva Spa. This high-end spa, which is considered a medical spa, was opened in July 2000 by His Excellency, The Ambassador of Switzerland, Raymond Loretan. Its name translates into a place where life is always a beautiful experience. Tan Wee Tech, the spa’s director, says the spa has seen double-digit growth this past year. Unfortunately, space is a prohibitive factor even with the spa’s fairly expansive 5,000 square feet, which includes an aromatic steam room, hydrotherapy rooms, a makeup room, personal lockers, spa retail shop, retreat space and VIP spa suites with built-in showers. The spa is situated within the exclusive Palais Renaissance Shopping Arcade, home to many upscale boutiques.
        “Our customer base includes regulars and locals,” says Tech. “Many clients come from referrals and overseas; India and China are big draws. They are always looking for new treatments and trends—they want to look younger.”
        Although Singapore does not have a lot of indigenous materials to draw upon for treatments, Asia does. “Asia tends to offer more exotic treatments than Western nations,” says Tech. “Spas here are aware of what is going on trend-wise, and much of it is right from their own market. The key is in coming up with the right combination that works.”

       RafflesAmrita Spa. I had the pleasure of experiencing this flagship location that includes more than 35 treatment rooms spread out over three levels and occupies more than 50,000 square feet. The name Amrita is Sanskrit for “elix

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