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Small Luxury Hotels of the World Launches Spa Book

A Guide To The Best Full Service Spas Around The World

Indian spice wrap, a traditional Malaysian warrior treatment for men, and a skin cleansing using Alpine hay vie for attention with a green tea facial at the Huntington Hotel, a rainforest mist massage at Hotel Hana Maui, or a maple sugar body scrub at Mirror Lake Inn.

By Lanny Grossman*


Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the exclusive hotel brand featuring over 320 independently-owned, luxury hotels in more than 50 countries, has recently published a robust, yet user-friendly guide to selecting some of the best spas around the world: the Spa Book, Exclusively by Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

The Spa Book, the first published guide of its kind, is a 64-page book, which highlights 53 of the most spiritually uplifting, sumptuous, full-service spas across the globe, within various SLH member hotels. A non-exhaustive glossary of terms is provided to help guests understand the meaning of particular spa treatments and techniques, as well as a section on spa etiquette and spa culture to help the reader manage expectations in different parts of the world.

"Spas are a notoriously unregulated business. We have now extended the benchmark of quality that SLH represents to cover the centers of therapeutic well-being that exist within our already qualified, pre-selected, luxurious hotels," commented Brian Mills, Managing Director of Small Luxury Hotels.

The Spa Book details treatments and services from all edges of the globe and covers almost every genre of therapy and specialty treatment from longevity treatments, massages for couples, jet lag therapies, crystal healing facials, to treatments using vine and grape extracts.

Each of the 53 spas featured in the book has a dedicated page that provides a detailed description of not only the spa, but the hotel of which it is a part. Each page features color photographs, a listing of the spa facilities on property as well as hotel room rates; local area attractions and a listing of spa treatments including an Indian spice wrap, a traditional Malaysian warrior treatment for men, and a skin cleansing using Alpine hay.

The SLH Spa Book also draws attention to the variety of exotic hotel environments in which many of the treatments take place. These include a lava rock whirlpool, a rooftop infinity pool, open-air massage beds beside carp ponds, and volcanic thermal springs in subterranean caves. Special mention is made of signature treatments, such as a green tea facial at the Huntington Hotel, a rainforest mist massage at Hotel Hana Maui, or a maple sugar body scrub at Mirror Lake Inn.

Small Luxury Hotels -- a collection of over 320 independently-owned exclusive hotels in more than 50 countries carefully selected for their style and sophistication -- recognized the growth in consumer demand for luxurious spa experiences and responded with a complete guide to the best spa experiences to be had around the world.

The spa directory, which acts as a companion to the award-winning hotel directory, will be available for consumers at each spa included in the book, as well as by sending an e-mail to spausa@slh.com for a shipping and handling fee of $5. Reservations for any of the spa destinations can be made through www.slh.com or by calling toll free on 800 525 4800. Specific spa treatments can be scheduled with the property by using the e-mail address provided on the particular hotel's page.

Small Luxury Hotels Spa Survey Reveals Guest Preferences and Dislikes

- Over 1 in 3 spend more on treatments than food and wine

- Appearing Naked Ranks Among Top Dislikes


In conjunction with the release of the new Spa Book, Exclusively by Small Luxury Hotels, the global luxury brand surveyed over 1000 frequent travelers and regular spa-goers in 20 countries as to their likes, dislikes and preferences of the spa experience. Research found that typically these guests book at least one treatment during every weekend break, and three during a week-long stay. More than a third (36%) say they spend more in hotels on spa therapies than they do on fine dining and wines.

The goal of 'stress reduction and relaxation' is singled out as the main reason for using a spa, but is only marginally ahead of the explanations 'to look good/appear younger', and 'to feel more sexy and attractive'. The objective of 'pursuing a spa lifestyle' is also a frequent comment.

The top 10 most commonly booked spa services are identified (in ranking order) as aromatherapy massages, facials, local 'signature' therapies, manicures, pedicures, more 'creative treatments', Ayuravedic massages, reflexology, body wraps, and hydrotherapy programs.

Spa regulars also revealed their dislikes:

  • having to appear naked for treatments, or to use a mixed sauna without bathing suits or being bathed by strangers
  • receiving hard-sell tactics to spend more on spa or beauty products
  • treatments derived from chocolate or other dessert ingredients
  • any evidence of lack of cleanliness or poor hygiene
  • being ushered out speedily once their treatment is over
  • pretentious spas which seem to prefer clients with perfect bodies
  • having to make small talk with over-familiar staff
  • on arrival, finding the hotel spa fully booked with locals

* Member of SATW

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