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Short and Sweet

Mary Bemis October 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

“We, as a country, are starved for free time. Minitreatments offer a quick fix during our busy daily lives,” says Carla Ciuffo, co-founder of LVN, La Verite Nue Spa—a soiree and events company based in Sedona, Ariz.

This facial is part of the De-Stress Day Package available at The Spa at The Island Hotel, Newport Beach.

“They allow us to take care of ourselves, and they give us permission to fit in some personal time. Granted, we need to schedule ourselves more quality time, but minitreatments offer a way to begin to accomplish this,” she continues.

However, there are two sides to every coin. “Express treatments are perfect up-selling tools, clients love them and they’re great for spa parties,” notes Ciuffo. She adds that this type of treatment is more difficult to schedule and has a low profit margin. Typically, team members would prefer to book a full treatment. “The challenge is keeping the services unique, maintaining integrity, fulfilling a client’s expectation and retaining the client for the larger, more profitable experience,” she says.

Benefits of minitreatments

Just how do these shortened treatments benefit spa clients? “Sometimes people have time constraints, and these services fit perfectly into lunchtime appointment slots,” says Barbara Close, founder of both the Naturopathica Holistic Health Spa Pure Beauty Lounge in East Hampton, N.Y., and the spa’s product line. She added the Pure Results Express Facial to the spa menu three years ago. (See On the Menu.) “Sometimes clients even book this for additional moisture and extra hydration. It’s also a useful add-on after a massage,” Close points out.

The Spa at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa in Stowe, Vt., has offered a variety of express treatments since it opened. Kathy Wheelwright, assistant spa director, says, “I think they are a wonderful addition not only for clients who are strapped for time, but also for those who are unable to afford traditionally priced services. This enables them to still have the spa experience.”

Taking a time-out is hard for a lot of Jim Croghan’s clientele. “Express treatments offer a brief respite from their hurried days,” he says. As the director of spa and recreation at The Spa at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach, Calif., he has noticed that not enough people jump at the opportunity to relax. “Miniservices offer them a chance to reflect,” he adds.

Minitreatments also need to benefit the spa therapist and be profitable assets to a spa’s menu. “For team members, these services give them an opportunity to treat and educate clients who perhaps they otherwise would not meet,” says Debi Harris, regional spa trainer for Mario Tricoci Day Spas, based out of Palatine, Ill. “Our therapists are honest with clients about the realistic results of an express treatment and will recommend the full-service menu item that optimally would treat their concerns,” she explains. These brief appointments also are useful schedule fillers. “An express treatment fits into smaller booking increments that a full-service treatment would not,” adds Close.

Who is booking

The De-Stress Day Package was added to the menu at The Spa at The Island Hotel in February of this year. Croghan notes that tired mothers and overstressed executives often book this package. Harris finds that a wide range of clients schedule express treatments—from the newcomer sampling the menu to the busy professional on a lunch break. Ciuffo finds that spa diva parties for 6–16-year-olds are popular ways to celebrate graduations and birthdays. These events lend themselves to a range of express treatments. “Every year, spa-going becomes more mainstream and accessible,” she notes. “Even men are booking brow-grooming services, manicures and men’s minifacials.”

The cardinal rule

Because these services are so short, team members should emphasize to clients the necessity of being prompt. “Spa-goers should keep in mind that it is important to be punctual when booking an express treatment, even arriving a few minutes beforehand,” notes Harris. In addition, these treatments don’t replace a full service or its benefits. “Clients need to realize that these are miniservices and are in no way a substitute for an actual spa service,” adds Croghan. “They simply help people to get through the week.”

“When done right, minitreatments offer a satisfying menu sampler experience,” affirms Ciuffo. “Longer treatments can accommodate deeper cleansing, such as extractions in facials; more specific bodywork, such as in massage therapies; and a greater sense of satisfaction and caretaking for the client.” She also states that they can be affordable quick fixes that also are nurturing.

A perfect fit

Whether they are seeking a quick taste of the spa menu or have a limited amount of time to spare, clients can benefit from these minitreatments. Spas also can fill up their booking schedules by strategically placing them in between full-service treatments.

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Short and Sweet: On the Menu

This selection of miniservices includes facials, massages and nail treatments.


Location: Naturopathica Holistic Health Spa Pure Beauty Lounge, East Hampton, N.Y.

Time & Cost: 30 minutes, $55

This classic facial features Naturopathica’s plant-based products and the popular enzyme peel that helps to reveal a smooth and more radiant complexion. “We book a lot of these for spa parties and wedding parties,” says Barbara Close, founder. In addition, no extractions are administered in this half-hour treatment.


Location: The Spa at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, Stowe, Vt.

Time & Cost: 25 minutes, $70

The therapists at this newly revamped resort spa focus on the back, neck and shoulders during this short massage. Assistant spa director Kathy Wheelwright says, “We added express treatments to our menu from the very beginning, knowing that busy people would want to get in and get out quickly, but need quality services.”


Location: Repêchage Spa de Beauté, New York

Time & Cost: 30 minutes, $75

“This treatment is a favorite for busy New Yorkers who come in during a lunch break or after work as a refresher before a night out,” says Shiri Sarfati, director of corporate communications for Repêchage. “It instantly lifts, hydrates and brightens, and is the perfect pick-me-up.” As an antioxidant-rich facial, it also features bearberry extract—a brightening agent—to combat hyperpigmentation, as well as the Hydra Dew Express Lift Moisture Mask, which is high in beta-carotene; vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3 and B-6; calcium; magnesium; and iron.


Location: The Spa at The Island Hotel, Newport Beach, Calif.

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $135

This hotel spa, located in the heart of the business and fashion district in Newport Beach, features this quickie package that combines a facial with a complete minimassage. The facial includes a cleansing, an exfoliation, lymphatic drainage and a mask, while the massage targets the upper body, arms, neck, legs, feet and scalp.


Location: Mario Tricoci Hair Salon & Day Spa at Pheasant Run Resort & Spa, St. Charles, Ill.

Time & Cost: 45 minutes, $55

“This is a perfect refresher facial,” states Debi Harris, regional spa trainer at Mario Tricoci Day Spas. “There are no extractions, much to many of our clients’ delight, and it doesn’t result in the redness that may occur from a deep-pore cleansing or steam application.”


Location: Aspire Day Spa, Denver

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $50

“We wanted to offer a service to those clients who are short on time, but want their nails to look nice,” says Amy Augustyn, owner and spa director. “This is geared toward people who want results, rather than an experience.” This service covers all of the basics, including a soaking, trimming of the nails and cuticles, moisturizer, and polish.


Location: The Spa at The Palms, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

Time & Cost: 30 minutes, $80

This menu item appeals to clients who are looking for quick results. First, a Power Breakfast of oats, Greek yogurt, honey and fresh fruit is served with a cup of cleansing green tea. Then, those same ingredients are blended into a revitalizing facial that includes a cleansing, a minimassage, a Power Breakfast Mask, and a face and hand exfoliation. This service is available to hotel guests until 11 am only.


Location: The I Spa at the Willard, Washington, D.C.

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $100

Recently introduced in August, this new service allows clients to choose from any of the spa’s express 30-minute massages, including Swedish, aromatherapy, shiatsu or sports; or facials, such as the Microdermabrasion Facial, Hyper-pigmentation Brightening Facial, or the Collagen and Elastin Eye Mask. A nutritious gourmet lunch served on a private terrace or in the VIP spa suite also is included.

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