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SpaFinder Releases Top 10 Global Spa Trends for 2012

Posted: December 6, 2011

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In 2012, more hospitals than ever will incorporate – and more doctors will prescribe - spa and wellness approaches. Meanwhile, big spa players like Rancho La Puerta (Mexico), Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spas (across Asia, Europe, and North America), and SpaFinder.com have adopted a custom version of SpaEvidence.com, while other spas prominently link to the site. As clinical studies continue to erode the barriers between traditional and alternative therapies, look for more spas to adopt the language of evidence-based medicine.

9. Spas Become a Family Affair

As more families travel with children to spas, the industry is evolving to accommodate the under-18 set--from opening kids-only spas to offering services focused on everything from childhood obesity to the development of lifelong wellness practices.

Spa parties, big with brides-to-be, now come in kid-friendly versions, while kid-specific day spas such as Sundae Spa in Connecticut offer playfully named treatments like “ice cream pedicures" and "starfish sparkle manicures." The Omni Houston Galleria now offers dedicated kids’ packages, while Nickelodeon Suites in Orlando showcases a kids’ spa. Major destination and resort spas have also recently opened separate spas for kids, including Schloss Elmau in Germany and the new Disney Aulani resort in Hawaii, which offers a special spa designed exclusively for kids and teens, baby massage classes for new parents, and a host of other family-oriented services.

10. Spas Aim for the “Wow” Factor

Gone are the days of interchangeable spas with the same beige, Zen look. As seasoned spa-goers seek new experiences, spas are piling on the "wow" factor to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

There are wows for almost any budget. Big wows include celebrity partnerships (Richard Branson speaking at Six Senses, Thailand; Mariel Hemingway serving as spokesperson for SpaFinder Wellness Week), futuristic designs like Milan’s outrageous bubble-themed Atomic Spa Suisse, or the cool, inspired treehouse concept at the Cocoon Spa at Indigo Pearl Phuket. Small wows include unexpected amenities like Mii Amo’s (US) WaveMotion rocking massage table, which makes clients feel like they’re floating.