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A Time for Tea

By: Mary Bemis
Posted: June 16, 2008, from the August 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

“Tea fits into the spa setting because people associate the drink with cleansing,” says Karen Sprung, group spa and fitness director for Sandals Resorts International, home to Red Lane Spas, based in Montego Bay, Jamaica. “I think clients want something that feels like they’re doing something good, inside and out.” Before each service at Red Lane Spas, clients are encouraged to enjoy a cup of tea and relax. Tea is so popular at these resort spas that the corporation recently added the scents of tea to its new line of fragrances.

Sip and soak

Many spas have incorporated tea into rituals and journeys, offering a cup at either the beginning or the end of spa treatments. At the Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona, clients sip a special blend of Desert Restorative Tea while enjoying a eucalyptus foot bath included in the Havasupai Body Oasis Experience (120 minutes, $309). A body exfoliation with a chamomile salt scrub and a eucalyptus bath follow. This elaborate treatment also includes an aromatherapy wrap, as well as a face and scalp treatment that uses acupressure to release tension and promote relaxation. “The tea partnered with the foot bath is very relaxing,” says Jill Eisenhut, spa director. She adds that the spa’s signature teas sell very well in the gift shop.

Tea is a top seller at Spa of Eden at Eden Roc Renaissance Resort and Spa in Miami Beach, Florida, where spa director Timothy Williams retails a brand of green tea for $40. He also serves it to spa clients as a post-treatment. “Our green tea has no caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives or alcohol,” he says. He sampled the beverage at a tradeshow and was so impressed that he purchased two cases on the spot: “I felt this would offer a great end to a massage, and also provide a healthy and tasty alternative to water.” Williams began selling the tea only after he received a number of compliments and requests from guests. “We began retailing the 2-ounce bottles at $40 each last spring and have sold an average of three bottles a week,” he notes.

“The cool thing about green tea is that it balances the skin and improves the overall complexion,” says Lucia Rodriguez, director of spa and retail at The Boutique Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, where spa-goers can indulge in a green tea body wrap with the Ultimate Body Facial (80 minutes, $190) or the Sea Enzyme and Green Tea Body Wrap (50 minutes, $130). Rodriguez also offers clients My Leaf teas in the relaxation room, and the facility soon will carry White Lion teas—a line that’s growing in popularity at spas nationwide.

Although Tea Garden Springs in Mill Valley, California, doesn’t include on its menu any treatments that use tea as an ingredient, it does feature a tea garden on the premises where clients can relax either before or after their services. “They’re offered a variety of teas,” explains spa manager Jessica Wozniak. “They sit and take the extra time to relax and listen to music. The area can seat about 12–15 guests, and we have an outdoor area we use in the summer, as well.” The beverages also correlate with some of the offerings, such as an ayurvedic tea that complements an ayurvedic treatment, or a cup of slimming tea paired with a detoxifying menu item.

Tea and skin care