Today's Spa: Holiday Spa Treatments

When planned properly, holiday-inspired treatments can boost the bottom line and often end up running throughout the entire season, depending upon popular demand. “We like to plan our holiday menu six months out or, if push comes to shove, three months out,” says Jenean LaRoche, spa director at San Francisco’s Nob Hill Spa at The Huntington Hotel.

There’s a lot to take into account when planning holiday treatments: finding and approving the products, completing the protocols, training team members, and publicizing the new service. This year, LaRoche is offering a Cranberry-Pomegranate Body Treatment—a traditional scrub that uses a salt glow infused with cranberry and pomegranate essential oils. (See On the Menu.)

“This is really about the flavor of the season,” she says. “Pomegranate and cranberry are trendy ingredients right now, and also are high in antioxidants.” LaRoche likes to offer scrubs as specialty treatments for one very good reason: The protocol is simple, and the team doesn’t need to be retrained.

All in the ingredients

Cranberry is a popular holiday ingredient. Carol Ford, spa director at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, offers clients a soothing Cranberry Scrub & Pumpkin Wrap from November through mid-January. “The seasonal foods and ingredients used in the treatments have healing, moisturizing and restorative properties,” she says. “This treatment cocoons you in a nourishing and hydrating embrace with the mouthwatering scent of pumpkin pie.” The 80-minute, $175 treatment begins with an exfoliating cranberry body scrub that is removed with moist, hot towels and is followed by a hydrating pumpkin body mask rich in vitamins and minerals. As the client is wrapped, they receive a relaxing face, scalp and foot massage. Once the wrap is showered off, a luxurious pumpkin body butter rich in shea and cocoa butters is applied. Also featured on the holiday spa menu is a Chocolate-Peppermint Pedicure.

Enjoying the season

So just who goes for these holiday treatments? “Sometimes it’s really experienced spa-goers who say, ‘Oh, this is fun—let’s try something different,’ and sometimes it’s the newcomers who also find holiday treatments fun and interesting,” says Courtney McGovern, spa director at the recently revamped WET, The Spa at TI at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. She and her spa manager enjoyed creating menu items such as the Warm Apple Pie Body Treatment and the Spiked Eggnog Body Wrap. “We use a product line with a great array of scents and products,” says McGovern. “We combined different fragrances to come up with our holiday services.” She also notes that the Cookies and Milk Manicure and Pedicure, first offered last year, was a huge success. Could the addition of chocolate chip cookies served with this treatment have had anything to do with its popularity, I wonder?

A cup of soothing tea is served to spa clients who choose the Pumpkin Enzyme Facial at the Living Spa at El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa in Taos, New Mexico. “We start with a cup of tea, as well as hot packs around the hands and feet,” explains Sierra Shore-Vorel, spa director, who adds that the pumpkin peel included in this facial has a scent reminiscent of pumpkin pie. Although the facial is on the menu year-round, Shore-Vorel promotes it from the end of October through the end of November. She does this by highlighting it on the spa’s Web site, printing special inserts for the menu and offering a 15% product discount. For other pumpkin-infused treatments, see this month’s Spa Cuisine column, “Take Part in Pumpkin,” by Kate Hamilton, on page 40.

Keep it simple

Back on the East Coast, Travis Umpleby, spa director of The Spa at Rowes Wharf at the Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf, Boston, opts for promotions that are simple and quick, such as foot baths and foot massage. This year, from mid-December through the first of February, the spa is offering Winter’s Mint Skin Care—a rejuvenating anti-aging facial that includes a menthol-infused clay mask, as well as a soothing treatment for the hands. “I like to choose earthy services because winter is, naturally speaking, in a dormant phase: Flowers and trees pull nutrients down into the earth,” he says.

’Tis the season

From elaborate packages to simple holiday add-ons, ’tis the season to spice up your menu. Try services inspired by seasonal recipes filled with rich, homey aromas. Make sure to add a yummy treat, such as a cookie or a cup of tea. No matter what your muse may be, in the end, when it comes to creating holiday treatments, heed this advice from Nina Smiley, director of marketing for The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York: “Be creative, be playful and dive into what it is that makes your spa special!”

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