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Today's Spa: Holiday Spa Treatments

Contact Author Mary Bemis November 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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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

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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!”



Today's Spa: Holiday Spa Treatments: On the Menu

Here is a mélange of holiday treatments spicing up seasonal menus throughout the country.


Location: The Spa at Rowes Wharf at the Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf, Boston

Time & Cost: 80 minutes, $140

This facial and hand treatment is a special service that combines the hydrating benefits of maple extract with the stimulating effects of mint extract and menthol to nourish both the face and hands. A natural, nutrient-rich earth mask with a hint of mint is applied to improve circulation and is followed by a soothing facial massage using mint-infused facial gel. The hands benefit from a hand scrub, as well as an application of a mint-enhanced hydrating cream.


Location: Living Spa at El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa, Taos, New Mexico

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $115, or 90 minutes, $160

This purifying facial capitalizes on the beneficial enzymes found in pumpkin to clear the skin of cellular debris and promote rapid cellular turnover. Fortified with beta-carotene to ward off environmental damage and gently exfoliate dull complexions, this facial product also relies on aloe gel for extra hydration.


Location: WET, The Spa at TI at Treasure Island, Las Vegas

Time & Cost: 75 minutes, $175

“Grandma’s secret recipe is put to good use,” says spa director Courtney McGovern, speaking of this treatment that is offered from September to November. The service includes a spice-enhanced body scrub, a warm apple body wrap and a massage with a vanilla ice-cream body lotion.


Location: Alvadora Spa at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, Phoenix

Time & Cost: 105 minutes, $169

This experience begins with a Cran Mary pedicure, which includes a soak, an exfoliation, a mask, a massage, a lotion application, a pedicure and a polish application. The Cran Mary manicure involves a soak, an exfoliation, a massage, a manicure and a polish application. As the finishing touch, a Sparklemintini cocktail is served.


Location: Spa Marquis at the Marquis Los Cabos Beach, Golf, Spa & Casitas Resort, Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Time & Cost: 50 minutes, $115, or 80 minutes, $170

Created specially for the resort’s Thanksgiving Spa Getaway package, available from November 23–26, this massage uses calabasúchitl lotion, which is derived from the Mexican flower of the same name, as well as natural pumpkin. Its benefits include smoothing the skin and reinforcing natural collagen, while providing vitamins A, B complex, C and E.


Location: Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club, Aventura, Florida

Time & Cost: 90 minutes, $245–269

Created to relax spa-goers and help those who have trouble sleeping, this treatment uses the spa’s signature aromatherapy blend of vetiver, cypress, lemongrass, ylang-ylang and spikenard oils to bring balance to the mind, body and spirit. The experience begins with a soothing foot bath and exfoliation, continues with a hydrating oatmeal and honey body scrub, and ends with a full-body massage.


Location: Nob Hill Spa at The Huntington Hotel, San Francisco

Time & Cost: 50 minutes, $125

Cranberry is the star ingredient at this San Francisco spa and was chosen for this seasonal treatment because of its gentle exfoliating qualities. This festive service includes a specially created scrub and lotion. To top it off, it concludes with a cup of cranberry tea and a cranberry-coconut chew—both enjoyed by the poolside fireplace.


Location: Salon Va Bella, Tempe, Arizona

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $115

Vern Snider and his wife, Gayle, recently added this treatment to the menu in November and plan on offering it until the end of the year. “It’s a nice treatment for holiday shoppers,” says Vern Snider. “Our clients need to de-stress at this time of year.” Beginning with a glass of Pinot Noir and a relaxing foot massage, a red wine body scrub containing green tea, cranberry, grape seed oil and vitamin E ensues. The menthol and peppermint that also are included help to stimulate circulation. After this is rinsed off, a 30-minute massage featuring a cream rich in shea butter, aloe vera gel, and vitamins C and E completes the service.


Location: Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $155–169

Designed with weekend warrior skiers and tired holiday shoppers in mind, the goal of this treatment is pure tension relief. It begins with a “seasonings” foot soak of “colds and flu” bath salts containing essential oils of rosemary, black pepper, eucalyptus, cinnamon and cajeput. Along with a foot scrub, a hand and foot massage that focuses on the body’s vital energy points follows. As the hands and feet absorb the essential oils, the client receives a head, neck and shoulder massage.


Location: The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $75

This holiday treatment begins with a peppermint foot soak, followed by a peppermint salt exfoliation that softens and smoothes the skin. Next, a warm, hydrating chocolate mask is drizzled over the feet, which then are wrapped in steamed towels. During the mask application, a cup of hot chocolate is served. The treatment concludes with a relaxing peppermint oil massage, nail care and choice of polish.

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