The worldwide spa market is worth $60 billion and growing. Yes, even in a time of recession, it’s a business that’s expanding. Weight management is one of the main reasons people go to spas, but our lives are also becoming more stressful — and, increasingly, the spa is the deal clincher when people choose a hotel or resort. (Only ten years ago it was whether there was an indoor pool and gym.)
The spa break is no longer seen as an indulgence, but rather as a necessity. Alongside this shift in perception, spa menus have been changing to incorporate more stress-busting therapies, rather than pure pampering. Wellness is the key trend. It now embraces helping insomniacs sleep like a dream, full medical MOTs, fertility treatments, detoxes and so on.
There’s now markedly more testosterone in spas, and hence more therapies aimed at male needs — whether exercises for tennis elbow or hot shaves. ‘Men tend still to go alone to spas and combine it with a bit of car racing or golf,’ notes ESPA’s founder, Susan Harmsworth. There’s also an escalation in women of all demographics and ages visiting spas together.
Most of us want to lose weight, gain energy, feel better and sleep soundly. With our crazy, unhealthy lives, why wouldn’t we? So here we’ve gathered some of the newest and some of the most tried and trusted spas: from city havens to destination spas up mountains; from hardcore detoxes to pampering in petal-strewn baths.
If it’s boot camp you want, we’ve covered it; if it’s a massage then a glass of whisky in front of a roaring fire, you’ll find it here. Whichever you choose, you’re guaranteed to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
Jo Foley and Caroline Phillips, Spear’s Spa Selection editors