I Have Become a Spa Candle Snob
I have become a spa candle snob…and to a large degree I have only myself to blame. I noticed it last week as I was touring the new Amrita Spa at the Swiss Hotel in Istanbul. Their spa is quite large and has a lovely ambiance. I was especially impressed with the long corridors, which featured rich-colored wooden floors lined with candles. Gorgeous. I noticed the candles because they were beautifully spaced, occasionally branched into an artfully designed cluster of candles, and mostly because they were real! I remember thinking how great it was to see genuine candles again.
You see I have been noticing that more and more spas are using fake (flameless) candles. I must admit I was really enthused about these flameless candles when I first discovered them years ago. In fact I remembered writing about them in one of my SpaFinder Insiders.
Checking my blog archives I was amazed to see that I had written about flameless candles (like those pictured here on the right) in 2003! Well, the word spread like wildfire (pun intended) and voilà, they are now everywhere – including the foyer of our SpaFinder offices to my chagrin. I still think they are clever, avoid a fire hazard, and give a pretty nice ambiance. However… I am afraid the novelty has worn off for me. I miss my real candles.
My aversion seems to be escalating. Lately I have noticed that I am actually “judging” a spa based on their candles! The spas with “real” candles get higher marks in my mind than the spas with “faux” candles. I know that isn’t fair, but I am beginning to see fake candles like artificial plants – I much prefer the real thing. Perhaps all the emphasis on authenticity in spas has now spilled over into my preference for candles with a natural smell, sound, and look.
I think I liked the fake candles more when most people didn’t know they were fake. Nowadays many spa guests have had the chance to peer into the top of one of those flameless candles (often they are placed on the floor or in a low position where people can easily look down into them) and seen the surprise fake “wick” which goes on and off via a battery. The jig is up.
So…what to do?
Well, I think it is unreasonable to assume that all spas will go back to real candles because some places don’t allow them and for others, it just isn’t worth the fire risk. So I think the best thing we as an industry can do is make more of an effort to use these little darlings in a better way.
Here are some suggestions and I welcome yours!
1. Place flameless candles in a higher position (not on the floor) so guests cannot peer into them
2. Get creative in disguising the battery operated “wicks”
3. Mix it up. Use some of the newer fake candle varieties (example shown) that are available so we don’t see the standard fake ones over and over again.
4. Try some candle arrangements, which use a few fakes and a few real candles together.
Perhaps together we can spark interest in putting this rabbit back in the hat.