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A Body of Work: Interview Transcripts and Photos

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: September 26, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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A sleep expert leads this program that takes place four times a year. Three days are focused on nothing but that issue, and the program includes treatments and exercise that are focused specifically around sleep. We are constantly looking at new treatments Marketing: We e-mail blast current and former guests, we talk about it in the press. The piece that’s new is to have a resident expert.

Advice for smaller spas? Research the areas that interest you. Develop a philosophy about why people don’t sleep well and start putting the pieces together. A day spa could theoretically. It’s harder to have it at a day spa. People will find their way to things that will help them. They will find more and more benefits.

Kate Mearns, Spa Director, The Spa at Colonial Williamsburg

Being part of Colonial Williamsburg and the rich historial aspect here, it was only a natural fit to become the experts in the different wellness practices over the centuries. We worked with a consultant to help develop the concept of the continuum of wellness. What our spa could do here was to go back through the different centuries of American wellness practices. Each of our centuries depicts the wellness practices of that time. Our services brings that to a modern-day interpretation.

One trend is when a guest comes in, they want to do something authentic, unique; they know they want to try different services, they also want to stay in one room and have multiple services. Our 17th century is the first century that we had inspiration for. It’s a two-hour treatment; people are spending more time in services to increase benefits. This service depicts the early American-Indian practices, sweat lodges and hot stones—they put cool water on hot stones and sit in the areas with a dokter and detoxify and they would run to the river, jump in, do a cold plunge, they would do a bear oil with angelica and treat their skin. They may have been doing it for a variety of reasons, such as protection from the insects. Our service starts with a detoxifying wrap to take the person back to that time period with the detox process, and we have a cool aromatherapy towel that helps rinse and cool, and we complete the service with a hot stone massage. It’s one of my favorite services, it’s relaxing and uses a lot of the local herbs that were used in the time period, as well. The service blends culture, multiple services in one treatment and indigenous products.

We have tourists and a local base. We are part of a large resort with four different hotels. We have a strong local clientele, as well. They really enjoy the century services. It’s different, something they can enjoy and go home at talk about.