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Santa Fe Spirit

Mary Bemis September 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

“Because of that, we have the highest per capita alternative healer population in the nation,” she adds. “Santa Fe attracts some of the best and the brightest healers and therapists.” After a recent visit to the resort and its newly renovated Avanyu Spa, I’d have to agree that it does indeed attract quality therapists: The spa staff consists of 60 full- and part-time employees. I actually was impressed more with the treatments than with the renovations, but soon discovered that they were more than cosmetic in nature. Avanyu Spa is owned by RockResorts—a luxury resort hotel company that owns nine properties throughout the United States. For more information on these properties, see RockResorts Snapshot.

Recent renovations

Approximately $500,000 was spent on renovations at this 4,500-square-foot spa that includes a redesigned fitness center with new equipment, a Cardio Theatre with LCD screens, a new reception and retail area, and revamped locker areas and bathrooms with modern copper vessel bowl sinks. “It really was to improve upon what we already had in place and to make it more serene, beautiful and user-friendly,” explains Mansure. Susan Michele-Brazee, corporate spa director for RockResorts, notes, “Specific renovations included design elements that incorporate Southwestern adobe décor—including stone tile, wood detailing and use of glass—as well as organic decorative elements and pottery. A serene water sculpture of stone and copper, as well as relaxing lounge chairs and love seats in a calming sage hue, were part of the redesign.” In addition, each of the spa’s eight treatment rooms was updated with reallocated space to add a new couples treatment area and a private Eucalyptus Steam Room.

Product change

With the physical transformations also came a change in product lines. “The Phytomer skin care line was added for our facial treatments, as well as its extensive line of home-care regimen for retail,” says Michele-Brazee. The spa also added Astara, and carries the Naturopathica, Pevonia Botanica and Franché mineral makeup lines, as well as its own locally sourced signature line of body lotions, shampoos and conditioners. “We strive to offer indigenous specialty treatments that use locally sourced ingredients to create services that are in harmony with the environment and climate, and that speak to the Native American culture and Southwest lifestyle,” says Mansure.

Exclusive treatments

It’s this setting that makes the spa stand out in the RockResorts portfolio. “La Posada is one of our more successful spas in terms of volume of service sales and profit margin,” says Michele-Brazee. “I attribute this to the unique setting in Santa Fe, in which our clients are seeking relaxation, self-exploration and immersion in authentic indigenous experiences.”

To cater to this clientele, the spa recently created the Avanyu Legend treatment (90 minutes, $170). Designed to “awaken the spirit,” this customized body treatment was introduced at the spa, as well as at the other nine RockResorts properties. An experiential treatment, it allows clients to choose from a selection of scrubs consisting of aromatherapy-infused sugars, salts, bamboo and crushed flowers, followed by a selection of body masks in moor mud, seaweed or oil. The treatment ends with a massage and a choice of moisturizer: body butter, blended essential oils or hydrating lotions.

A new wellness retreat recently was introduced during the spa’s slower months. “We hope to increase the number of retreats in the fall with greater success once we have our corporate Web site running to help promote the program,” says Mansure. The wellness retreats will vary from three- to five-day programs, and include luxury accommodations, meals, movement classes and intense programs with the top leaders in the fields of wellness, life coaching and alternative health theories.

All in a word

The tag line for Avanyu is “Reconnect to the Wisdom of Nature and Awaken the Spirit,” and the word itself comes from the Tewa, a Native American tribe of New Mexico. “The legend of Avanyu emphasizes the delicate balance between nature and mankind,” explains Michele-Brazee. “It calls on us to honor the power of the elements, to reconnect to our natural surroundings, and to bring balance to our own spirit and our presence here on Earth.”



RockResorts Snapshot

A subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc., RockResorts is a luxury resort hotel company founded in 1956 by Laurance S. Rockefeller that includes nine properties throughout six states. The Avanyu Spa brand was adopted as a brandwide initiative in 2003. Future corporate spa plans include “increasing brand identity and brand recognition through refinement of facilities to more clearly reflect the specific and unique natural environment of each spa’s location,” affirms Susan Michele-Brazee, corporate spa director for RockResorts. Currently, there are six Avanyu Spas, with three in development. The properties include the following.

  • The Equinox Hotel & Spa in Manchester Village, Vermont
  • Keystone Lodge in Keystone, Colorado
  • La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Edwards, Colorado
  • The Lodge at Rancho Mirage in Rancho Mirage, California
  • The Lodge at Vail in Vail, Colorado
  • The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colorado
  • Rosario Resort & Spa in Eastsound, Washington
  • Snake River Lodge & Spa in Teton Village, Wyoming

Indigenous Spa Services

“Each Avanyu Spa offers a variety of indigenous treatments that reflect its distinctive location and natural environment,” says Susan Michele-Brazee, corporate spa director for RockResorts. Following are some of the standout signature services at the Avanyu Spa at La Posada de Santa Fe.


Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $115Mineral-rich hot adobe mud is used in this revitalizing Native American-inspired body treatment that exfoliates and remineralizes dull, tired-looking skin.


Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $120A Southwestern take on the ever-popular chocolate treatment, the exclusive blend of chocolate and chile in this service detoxifies and tones.


Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $115A popular service with clients, this treatment gently exfoliates the entire body.

“We strive to offer indigenous specialty treatments that are in harmony with the environment and climate, and that speak to the Native American culture and Southwest lifestyle.”

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