Expert answers to your spa questions
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By Susie Ellis
January / February 2008
Q: I don't hear much about spas in South America. What kind of spas are there?
A: You're right, the continent isn't top of mind as a spa destination for most people yet. However, one homegrown spa that already has an international reputation is Brazil's Kurotel Longevity Center and Spa, the winner of our Readers' Choice Award for South America three years in a row. It's known for combining medical technology and natural medicine. I checked with Helyana Malheiro in Brazil, a SpaFinder-certified Virtuoso travel agent. Her recommendations include Llao Llao Hotel & Resort in Argentina and Four Seasons Carmelo in Uruguay. I also suggest Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa in Chile.
Q: I'm looking for a spa in the Los Angeles area where I can take six of my friends for massages and manicures and their dogs for massages and "pawdicures."
A: Our 2008 Global SpaFinder directory and Spafinder.com both have "pet friendly" categories. In your area, pets are welcomed—and in some cases offered special amenities—at the Four Seasons Westlake Village, Ojai Valley Inn, and Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Casa Laguna Inn & Spa in Laguna Beach goes a step farther, providing a dog massage therapist. You could also have an at-home party, with the pet portion handled by Thespadog.com and the human part done by a mobile-spa operator. I'm tracking this trend of people wanting to go to spas with their pets. Soon I may be able to share more information about a spa that will offer pooch and master spa services in the same room. Keep watching the pet-friendly section on Spafinder.com.
Q: I'm looking for a spa outside of North America that focuses on weight loss, beauty, and pampering.
A: I recommend a destination spa, which is a full-immersion spa experience, as opposed to a resort or hotel spa, where the other amenities can be distracting. At destination spas for weight loss and beauty, guests generally stay a week or longer and the price is often all-inclusive. Fitness, healthful cuisine, spa and beauty therapies, education, motivation, and sometimes medical diagnostic tests are part of the experience. Standouts in the category include Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland and Chiva-Som in Thailand.