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Spa Trends 2010: Prevention Trumps Pampering


by Bernard Burt, December 11, 2009

Stressed by the economic crisis, American spas have a new prescription for wellness: Prevention of illness is the focus of new programs at leading resorts. And for the first time, Medicare covers costs.

In Florida, the Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa relocated to Miami at the former Doral Resort. Pritikin staff moved from Aventura to a Mediterranean-style complex built as Saturnia Spa in the ‘80s, now a golf-oriented Marriott resort.

The first-ever coverage by Medicare for Pritikin programs to control weight and reduce heart ailments will start in 2010.

On the beauty front, anti-aging treatments and products that prevent problems and avoid costly, invasive actions are attracting a new generation of baby boomers turning 60. Look for a new breed of health retreat – Silver Spa. No longer geriatric, spas for seniors are going upscale. Integrating yoga and fitness classes, acupuncture, nutrition, workshops, fertility programs, around the core spa mode.

Travel to exotic destinations has been fueled by interest in ancient healing therapies. Venerable hammams like the 16th-century Çemberlita in Istanbul, Turkey, have new incarnations at Dubai’s One and Only Royal Mirage, and Morocco’s La Mamounia.  The trend hit Las Vegas: Drift Spa at Palms Place, and Mandarin Oriental in CityCenter, recently rolled out hammams where you are soaped, scrubbed, and massaged. Trump Soho in Manhattan (slated for early 2010) will boast separate hammams for men and women. And expect Turkish hammams in both the Traymore and Epic Hotels in Miami. 

As a new wave of cruise ships debuts, spas at sea are getting bigger and offering services once found only at medical spas. Steiner now has licensed specialists aboard ships that offer Botox and teeth whitening.

Wellness tourism allies spas, hospitals, and the travel industry. Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder, sees more international travel for medical services. Examples:

  • Malo Clinic Spa at the Venetian Macau-Resort Hotel in China, an integrative wellness center offering both comprehensive medical treatments and executive health checkups (six operating theaters, a staff of 50 doctors, etc.) with a full spa featuring 100 spa therapists. 
  • The new Mandarin Oriental Sanya resort on China’s tropical Hainan Island has a traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy and resident shaman. 
  • Established medical/wellness destinations getting a new look: Kurotel in Brazil. Champney’s in the UK, Rancho La Puerta in Mexico, Chiva-Som in Thailand.
  • Canada’s first Wellness Hotel, scheduled to open in April 2010, is part of the $100 million Sparkling Hills Resort in British Columbia.

Bernard Burt

Also See: Recap: The 2008 Global Spa Summit / May 2008

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